I bet if you asked ten SEC fans to name the state which produces the most conference signees, at least eight of ’em would say Florida.
They would be wrong. This year, Georgia produced 25 more kids who signed with SEC schools than did Florida. In fact,
More SEC signees came from Georgia than South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, California, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Kansas, Indiana, Arizona, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado and all of the other zero-signee states combined.
For all the grumbling about Georgia kids leaving the state, Richt’s program had the third-best in state retention rate in the conference, behind only LSU and Texas A&M.
Four SEC schools besides Georgia signed more players from our state than they did from their home states: Tennessee, South Carolina (Spurrier signed more kids from Georgia than Richt did, believe it or not), Kentucky and Alabama.
Why is this happening? I think much of it’s the result of Georgia Tech’s in-state recruiting efforts becoming increasingly feeble under Johnson and the resurgence of Florida State and Miami, both of which pulled in outstanding 2012 classes. As a numbers game, Georgia is a more inviting place now to chase highly rated high school players.
You can blame Richt and Garner for not making enough of an effort, if that makes you feel better. But it seems pretty clear that they have an awful lot of ground to defend.