The state of Georgia recruiting: Georgia State and fence-building

John Pennington looks at what’s coming on the horizon in this state, football-wise, and sees potential in Georgia State’s move to FBS football (and Georgia Southern’s attempt to do the same) to upset the status quo on the recruiting front.

Each February, more SEC football signees come from the state of Georgia than from any other state in the Union.  That includes Florida, despite the fact that the Sunshine State produces more NFL-caliber talent year-in and year-out than the Peach State does.  The explanation for that is pretty simple:

FBS Schools in Florida: Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Florida, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, and Florida International.

FBS Schools in Georgia: Georgia and Georgia Tech.

It’s easier for SEC schools like South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Auburn to target Georgia kids because — face it — they can’t all stay in state.  That’s the reason Missouri is now aiming at Georgia and Atlanta, too.

Ah, but things could get a bit tougher in the years ahead for all those schools who mine Georgia for talent.  And don’t laugh too hard when you read this: Georgia State is moving to the FBS level this season and Georgia Southern is taking steps toward such a move down the road.

He raises some valid points there, but leaves out one which I think is relevant:  Georgia Tech isn’t an attractive option to most high-profile in state recruits.  Take a look at Scout’s Georgia database for the 2012 class.  The Jackets signed one four-star recruit this year.  Here’s the list of schools which equaled or bettered Tech’s results:  Alabama (5); Auburn (3); South Carolina (2); FSU (1); LSU (1); Miami (1); Stanford (1); Tennessee (1); Virginia (1).  That’s a total of sixteen, which is twice as many in state players as Georgia Tech signed total.

No, you don’t expect a school to sign them all, and, yes, Alabama is on a different plane than Georgia Tech is when it comes to what it offers to a top-ranked high school player, but that’s still a lot of bleeding.

My point here isn’t to mock Georgia Tech, believe it or not.  As this post shows, over the last decade, Tech’s done a credible job getting in state players in its program to the next level.

Its no surprise that Georgia and Georgia Tech have signed the most players (28) from the Peach State to go on to be drafted after started raking players in 2002.

That should be the basis for a well-honed sales pitch, but the reality is that Georgia Tech has become a less likely destination for the state’s best since Gailey’s best recruiting class.  Here’s what the numbers look like for Tech’s four-star signees (per Scout) over the five classes leading up to this year:

  • 2007 – 6
  • 2008 – 1
  • 2009 – 3
  • 2010 – 2
  • 2011 – 0

If high-end talent is the lifeblood of any successful major college football program, that’s a disturbing trend if you’re a Georgia Tech fan.  And while it’s hard to see a newbie Georgia State program playing in the Sun Belt being a credible threat, you do have to wonder how much damage it could do to Tech’s recruiting with lower profile talent if it had someone more dynamic than Bill Curry running the show.

That’s where I see Georgia State (and Georgia Southern, too, if it gets that far) playing into what Pennington suggests.  By my count, thirty schools outside of Georgia signed kids from this state with three-star ratings in their 2012 classes, and they didn’t all sign with Alabama.  There’s some hay to be made, particularly if Georgia Tech isn’t up to the harvesting.

I haven’t said anything about Georgia so far.  Here’s the four- and five-star signee numbers over the last six classes:

  • 2007 – 7 (one five-star)
  • 2008 – 9 (two five-stars)
  • 2009 – 5 (one five-star)
  • 2010 – 8 (one five-star)
  • 2011 – 11 (two five-stars)
  • 2012 – 5 (two five-stars)

Georgia has different concerns in recruiting than Tech does, as those numbers make clear.  Georgia State isn’t likely to become as big a threat to Georgia’s in state efforts as Nick Saban already is.  (Per Legge, Alabama signed only five players from Georgia before Nick Saban became head coach and have signed 25 players since.)  Richt has to fight hard with other major programs for the élite talent – and if you’re into trends, it’s a good one that he’s already got commitments from four four-star Georgia high schoolers for the 2013 class – while Paul Johnson is looking at getting squeezed at the top and from below if Georgia State becomes a credible recruiting option.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia State Football, Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

26 responses to “The state of Georgia recruiting: Georgia State and fence-building

  1. charlottedawg

    At the expense of sounding like a broken record, if Georgia starts winning big we will get our pick of the litter in Georgia and the talent that goes elsewhere will either be A) our sloppy seconds or B) kids who looked at our depth and wanted more immediate PT. If Goff and Donnan could recruit talent to Georgia (while being the SEC east’s poster child for mediocrity), any coach worthy of the job can recruit talent to Georgia.

  2. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    In the long run, I’d see GA Southern being more of a threat. It offers more of a a “college experience” than living in a high rise in Atlanta. Also the school is quite often the fall back for GA kids that cannot get into UGA.

    • Spence

      I think you misunderstand many of the target recruits and what they’re interested in. Many would much prefer Atlanta to Statesboro. I’m confused who wouldn’t.

      • Governor Milledge

        But what’s truly different about Statesboro than say, Clemson? If you’re looking at an either-or sort of choice between Atlanta and Statesboro, they provide starkly different options (the city life v the college experience). But very few college students end up choosing the big city as a place to also play CFB (the only other major town I can think of at the moment w/ a serious football program is U of Miami).

        But is Statesboro as a town fundamentally different than Clemson? No. It would be a long, slow trek for GA Southern to even think about reaching those heights, but I don’t see any reason it couldn’t in some distant future equate itself to Clemson.

        • Unnamed Auburn Alum

          Why would anybody ever want to go to either Clemson or Georgia Southern? They are out in the middle of nowhere in some podunk town and nobody goes to school there but a bunch of rednecks…er…wait…

  3. Always Someone Else's Fault

    The Florida list is a big reason why the BCS schools are aiming for a divisional split: “Want to play for Florida International or Ga Southern? Cool. You won’t be in the Big Boy League.” That’s where all states are heading eventually, given population growth and the need to keep flagship campuses… flagships. Florida just got there first.

  4. Mayor of Dawgtown

    And Kennesaw State is about to start a football team which will be an FBS program within 5 years or so and will compete for recruits in Georgia—no, really!

  5. RocketDawg

    Until the Nerds fire Fish Fry and start running an offense that might give this kids a chance at the NFL they are going to continue to miss out on 4 and 5 star players. I am going to laugh when Ga State moves to the Sun Belt and regularly starts beating Tech.

    • Ubiquitous GA Alum

      You’re assuming they’ll play them …

    • Comin' Down The Track

      More to your point, eventually CPJ will leave or be asked to leave. At that time, Tech can either choose to continue to run the same or a variation of the same offense (see: Navy), or return to a more pro- style scheme.

      In the event that they returned to a more pro-style, they would have to wait a long time for the personnel turnover to correct itself now that CPJ is entrenched; and the longer he stays, the worse it gets for them.

      I would speculate that CPJ’s offense and recruiting has a radioactive half-life of probably eight years or so.

      He has the Wretched Touch.

      • Scott W.

        Correcting his mistakes couldn’t yield much worse outcomes than running his genius offense.

        • Comin' Down The Track

          Too true, but the point being that the N.A.T.S. are in for the long haul at wandering in the desert.

          • Puffdawg

            I wouldn’t necessarily say I have my finger on the GT fanbase’s pulse as a whole, but every songle one of my GT friends are still enthralled by CPJ. I think he’s going to be at Tech for a long time.

            • Scott W.

              To be so smart AND so delusional.

            • Yep. He wins 8-9 games/year in the 2nd worst former AQ and beat Georgia at his first try, both of which are enough to satisfy the Tech fanbase for at least a decade. They also perceive him to be smarter/outcoaches everybody so that appeals to their inferiority complex. Nevermind that recruiting, something he does at a subpar level, is just as important if not more important than actual X’s and O’s in big time college football. I also believe he’s in it for the long haul at Tech, which as a Georgia fan doesn’t scare me in the least little bit.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                Being a bad recruiter is a positive for Johnson with the average Techie. Indeed, it is a badge of honor. To the Tech-nerd mind the fact that he does what he does with inferior talent is a plus. This proves to them that he is “smarter” than other coaches. Sooner or later Tech will wise up because some of the Tech Alumni are serious people and they are the ones who really drive the Ramblin’ Wreck $$$.

                • Comin' Down The Track

                  But by then they will be scorched earth. Hilarious.

                  • Mayor of Dawgtown

                    I actually expect Johnson to take another job within the next couple of years. The guy is not stupid. He is stuck in a state where his program is “little brother” and is getting beaten every year by “big brother.” He can’t recruit effectively there. He has managed to get enough results there that could attract attention from some other schools in other conferences or at a service academy, though. Air Force? Army? A Big East school? Somebody will come calling or he will turn loose his agent to find another school. His history is that he changes jobs every 5-6 years. Tech has him 2 more years, max.

                    • I’m not going to break a confidence in how I know this, but I’ll just say you couldn’t be more wrong about Johnson’s loyalty to Tech. He’s not going anywhere unless he gets canned and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  6. ScoutDawg

    Can’t wait until GA State is THE Football destination in the ATL. Piss on you NERDS.

  7. ole dokes

    Between the impending recruiting trend you reference, CPJ’s lack of charisma, a flash-in-the-pan offense that has been debunked & a campus full of students who’d rather play D&D & split atoms than support the program; TECH FOOTBALL IS DEAD.

  8. Lorenzo

    But Georgia State can’t beat their current competition and draws only big high school crowds to games. I just don’t think most of their students care about football that much, so many already have jobs and families.

    • Spence

      They will care more the better the competition gets. No div II school draws well. Have to get to big boy league before you can get anyone excited.