Roll with me here for a minute. I’m beginning to think that the biggest beneficiary of Paul Johnson’s recruiting track record in this state isn’t Mark Richt… but James Franklin. Take a look at this:
Last Friday, we pointed out that the Commodores had already gathered four commitments for the class of 2013. Another player has jumped onboard since then. According to Rivals.com, Vandy currently has two 4-star commits and three 4-star commits in line. Four come from Georgia, one from Florida. [Emphasis added.]
Think about it. Tech runs a quirky offense under a head coach who, whatever else you might think about him, doesn’t exactly possess a dynamic personality. Add that to Tech’s academics (which are more accurately about curriculum) and the inability to find a suitable replacement for Giff Smith on the recruiting front and you get a program with certain vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited by somebody else.
From Franklin’s perspective, it’s an ideal situation. Vanderbilt fishes in the same academic waters as Tech. Nashville isn’t as big a city as Atlanta, but it’s big enough. Vandy’s offense falls far more inside the norm than does Tech’s. Franklin’s pettiness with other coaches aside, it’s not much of a stretch to see how his personality might appeal to recruits more than Johnson’s does.
If Franklin’s thought all that through – and I’m guessing he has – you have to be impressed with his calculations. Best of all for him, he’s established a beachhead in Georgia that may prove tough from which to move him unless Johnson figures out a way to step up his game here. What we don’t know is whether that will have any long-term implications for Mark Richt. I hope not. Saban and Smart are already big enough pains in that department.