Onward and upward on the recruiting trail

Dean Legge is prone to hyperbole, so you have to wade past the broad pronouncements in this post — there will have to be at least a couple of national signing days in the rear view mirror before I’m ready to proclaim that Kirby Smart is out-recruiting Nick Saban — but I will admit this little tidbit is interesting:

With all of that said, have a look at the current trajectory of Kirby’s recruiting vs. Mark Richt’s time in Athens as well as some of UGA’s peers in college football. Kirby has signed or gotten commitments from 36 players who qualify to be ranked in Scout’s Top 300 (2019’s Luke Griffin will almost certainly be considered a Top 300 player, but our ranking for rising sophomores is not out yet). Of those 36 players, 27 of them are Scout Top 300 players. That’s a 75% rate of Scout 300 prospects secured by Kirby so far in seven months – pretty good.

What happened in the Richt era? From 2008 to 2015, Mark Richt signed 190 prospects – 97 of them were Scout Top 300 players. That’s 51%, or every other prospect being one of the top 300 players in the country. Pretty good. At least good enough to win division titles and pretty much win ten games a season. 51% is a rate many programs around the country would take in that time.

Had Richt signed players at the same clip Kirby is signing them right now he would have signed 143 Top 300 players – about 46 more of them over eight years. That means UGA would have had a floating average of about 20 more Top 300 players each year in the program (a little more than five per class). That would have made a difference, because those players would have been near the top of the list of the 85 scholarship players – not at the bottom simply due to the fat (sic) that they were Scout 300 players. In other words they would have played – many would have been starters.

Obviously the 2017 hay is a long way from being in the barn (it’s a real stretch to claim that “Kirby is signing them now”), but strictly in terms of judging the trajectory of Georgia’s recruiting efforts and impact, it’s clear that there’s been a change in bending the arc upwards since Smart took over the reins from Richt.  And Legge is correct to point out that there would be a real effect over time as the improvement accumulates… assuming it does, of course.

No, that doesn’t translate into an automatic berth in the SECCG, or the national playoffs.  But it sure as hell doesn’t hurt Georgia’s chances.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

24 responses to “Onward and upward on the recruiting trail

  1. Lrgk9

    Like many things in life, the slope of the curve is important.


  2. dawgtired

    This takes us back to that question, “Do you prefer a recruiting coach or an X/O coach. I like brining in the talent and having good position coaches that teach technique. To me, that’s the best place to start. The schemes certainly play a part, but I think the meat and potatoes is in the talent and technique. A coach would have to scheme extra poorly to ruin the effect of good talent. Kirby and staff are certainly spending the energy in recruiting. I like where this is all headed.


  3. rchris

    Also some of those missing 5 blue chips per year were going to Auburn, Tennessee and Florida. Winning the zero sum game against them year after year would make our task a little easier.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      Great point. Hate seeing a guy like Juwan James leave our recruiting backyard and end up a 3+ year anchor on ut’s line.


  4. DawgPhan

    Surprised Legge didnt give Smart credit for Bama’s 2016 class as well.


  5. Gravidy

    Senator, I know you don’t dedicate much of your time and blog space to recruiting topics. So I have to say I’m surprised that you chose someone who is prone to such, ummm, “hyperbole” as Legge as the springboard for such a post. 😉


  6. JCDAWG83

    I seem to remember the disciples using the “…it will destroy recruiting…” as one of their protestations of firing Richt. Signing day is a ways off but, so far, recruiting seems to be going fine.


  7. Go Dawgs!

    It’s a shame we can’t go ahead and sign the next class before we play a game. The 2016 season is going to be very, very important if we’re going to keep these commitments.


    • stoopnagle

      So much this! And while I think we’re good enough to win the 9-10 games to keep it moving; it could happen that Chubb and/or Sony doesn’t come back until 4-5 games in, we stay unsettled at QB all year, defensive front line takes time to develop, Mizzou is better than anyone thinks, Auburn does its “no expectations = 10 wins” bit, we keep losing in Jax, Tennessee is actually that good and Butch doesn’t f it up, Tech turns around, and maybe Kirby has some OTJ training to do after all… 5-6 wins? And then where is everybody?


    • JCDAWG83

      I think Kirby is in a win/win situation in that regard. A great season and the recruits want to come. A disappointing season and he can tell them “see, we really need you and you can come in and play right away”.

      Look at Saban’s first season record and then look at his recruiting classes after that.


  8. UGA85

    IMO, energy and a significantly improved offensive staff are the two main things CKS has brought to UGA so far. These two upgrades have proven, at this point, to be huge in recruiting.


  9. Based on the 2017 commits, UGA while the going is good should send a proposal to NCAA to allow high school juniors before senior year to go ahead and enroll early to college of choice, i.e. college juniors to NFL, LOL.


  10. Cousin Eddie

    His math is not correct, Richt hardly ever got to the 85 number on scholarships so he would be down another 1 to 3 players a year.


    • Normaltown Mike

      ugh, this.

      I liked CMR but his inability to grasp this key concept was an epic dumpster fire for the “CEO coach”.

      Didn’t we have something like 70 legit recruited athletes on the 2012 team and a bunch of walk-on special awards?

      Whereas Saban had probably recruited 100 scholarship athletes though he had whittled down to 85 through his roster management.


      • JCDAWG83

        I think we had either 59 or 60 recruited scholarship players available for the 2012 SECCG. Richt should have been fired for poor roster management alone. USC, in the midst of their “crippling” NCAA scholarship reduction sanctions had more recruited scholarship players than Georgia did.


  11. W Cobb Dawg

    It’s not just the verbal commitments. The bigger story is Kirby & Co. won’t be out-worked. And it’s not just the 4 & 5 star recruits, he pushes for PWOs too.

    It’s the work ethic, more than anything else, that gives me very high hopes for this season and beyond.


  12. 69Dawg

    Recruiting where counting your chickens before they are hatched is the national pastime. Other than the click bait all this BS causes is there really anything about the 2017, 2018 and certainly the 2018 classes that is relevant to us here in 2016? Win some games we shouldn’t win and all of them we should and I’ll be happy.


  13. CB

    The numbers are interesting, but the hindsight speculation is as atrocious as Legge’s frat hair cut.


  14. Sanford222view

    The biggest thing for me thus far is the focus and commitment to recruiting the OL. The lack of emphasis/effort or whatever it was under Richt in this area was frustrating. Signing Day is a ways off but you can already see the change in strategy towards recruiting the OL. UGA brought in some better bodies and numbers in the 2016 class and, if the verbals hold, we have some talent and numbers coming in the 2017 OL class. Kirby’s belief in building from the “inside out” has created much optimism for me personally.