Building a wall around the state: more thoughts on Georgia and NFL draft talent

I posted yesterday about how Georgia’s current success on the field wasn’t reflected in the numbers of NFL draft-worthy Dawgs over the past couple of years. Over at USA Today, you can find an article that takes a look at where NFL draft picks have come from over the past 20 NFL drafts (h/t Eleven Warriors). In certain respects, the numbers are a bit surprising.

Look at these two charts:

Colleges sending most players to NFL
Miami (Fla.)
Florida State
Ohio State
Notre Dame
Southern California
Penn State
States sending most players to NFL
from high schools
North Carolina

If I’m reading that correctly, the state of Georgia ranks fourth overall among states in producing NFL draft picks over the past 20 years, but the Georgia football program doesn’t rank in the top 10 schools that delivered that talent to the NFL. This despite the facts that Georgia Tech’s recruiting posture has largely been supine over this period of time and that Georgia has been led by three head coaches who all have had the reputation of being first rate recruiters.

Compare those numbers with Tennessee, which ranks third on the list of schools. And note that Miami, FSU and Florida all made the top ten list. (Miami also led all colleges with an incredible 41 first round draft picks over that period.)

That’s not the whole story, though. There’s an interactive map you can play with where you can refine the parameters on where (and when) the talent comes from. If you reset the time period to the Richt era (2001-2007), the state of Georgia still ranks fourth in talent production, behind the same three states, with 93 players drafted. During that period – which obviously includes some kids that Donnan signed and developed to some extent – 43 players from the Georgia program were selected in the NFL draft.

That number ranks fourth among all colleges. Here’s the top ten list for 2001-7:

  • Miami (54)
  • Ohio State (53)
  • Florida State (44)
  • Georgia (43)
  • Tennessee (41)
  • Florida (40)
  • Notre Dame (36)
  • Southern California (35)
  • LSU (34)
  • Virginia Tech (33)

Consider two things about those numbers. One, Georgia has obviously fared much better against its peers this decade in recruiting and developing top talent than it had previously. Two, as Eleven Warriors’ Jason noted, there’s a clear demographic shift in play. Only two schools outside of the Sunbelt (the region, not the conference) appear in the top ten on the more recent list, a significant drop from the composition of the 20 year list where half the schools came from outside the Sunbelt.

Bottom line? Expect carpetbagging to remain alive and well as schools from outside of the South come in to the region to chase top talent as the numbers decline in their home regions. In other words, recruiting won’t get any easier for Richt and Garner.


Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting

9 responses to “Building a wall around the state: more thoughts on Georgia and NFL draft talent

  1. Another take away….

    1. Goff’s recruiting really wasn’t that good.

    2. Dooley really did leave Goff with nothing.

    If you expand the search to 10 years, I think UGA still fares pretty well. But I’ll need to check that.

  2. pwd, I agree with you that Dooley left the cupboard pretty bare for Goff. And I also thought recruiting tailed off in the last two or three years of the Goff era.

    But I think back to all the offensive talent on that ’92 team and I have a hard time believing that Goff’s recruiting wasn’t that good…

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  4. dean

    I also thought Goff was a good recruiter, though I wasn’t keeping up with it back then. He did bring in a lot of talent but couldn’t coach’em up. Of coarse the same thing could be said for Donnan.

  5. JasonC

    RE: Goff
    I think there were 2 things at work:
    1) As Dean noted, I don’t think that the level of coaching was that high during the Goff era.
    2) I think there were some errors in evaluating talent during Goff’s tenure. (Sterling Boyd or Mike Friedenberg anyone?) And as the Senator mentioned this seemed to get worse.

  6. Interesting thing looking at the numbers is that the state of Georgia when controlled for population shows that the state of Georgia far outperforms all the other states in terms of producing NFL talent. For example if Georgia produced talent at the same rate and had a population equal to California it would have produced over 1000 NFL players. (or 704 with TX pop).

    Granted I just used 2007 pop figures and didnt control for shifts over the last 20 years or demographics but interesting still because it isnt even close except with Florida (GA at 568 with FL pop).

  7. HV

    Nice work, Chris. Whattaya gettin ya mater’s at tech ah somethin?

  8. MikeFriedenberg


    Nice cheap shot at your classmate.

    Bet you wouldn’t talk your smack to my face.

  9. Big Dawg

    Sterling Boyd was a true talent, if he would have stayed at Georgia, he would be in the NFL right about now