If you sell it, they will come.

I’ve said it before, but the one area of unquestioned improvement under Smart is recruiting.  In little more than a month’s time, he locked down a good class in his first attempt, but that appears to be nothing in comparison to what Georgia will bring in after his first complete year chasing recruits.

How good an effort could this turn out to be?  Well, if things hold up (insert usual it’s not signing day yet caveat), unprecedented would be an accurate description.

If National Signing Day were today, Smart would have put together the SEC’s statistically greatest first full class in the 247Sports composite era. The Bulldogs were third in the 2017 recruiting cycle as of Tuesday, with 301.11 points. Those points come from recruits in the class, so the more higher-rated recruits a team has, the higher number of points its class has.

Only one first full recruiting class ever broke 300 points. That was Urban Meyer’s 2013 Ohio State class, and Meyer was a proven coach after winning two national championships at Florida.

That’s basically off the charts type stuff there.  The article goes on to compare Georgia’s potential 2017 class with other first full SEC classes to drive home the point.  One of those I found particularly interesting:

Hugh Freeze, 2013 points/class rank: 275.5/8th

Names to remember: 5-star OT Laremy Tunsil, 5-star DE Robert Nkemdiche, 4-star WR Laquon Treadwell

This class brought a lot of success to Ole Miss, as its members were key pieces in beating Alabama in two of the past three years and the Rebels’ winning the 2016 Sugar Bowl. But it has brought its fair share of problems. The NCAA has been investigating Freeze and the Rebels for Tunsil’s recruitment.

It’s an interesting point of reference not because of the rule-breaking — okay, alleged rule breaking — but because it’s an example of how one talented class can turn a program around in short order.

Sure, two words in response:  Ron Zook.  You’ve gotta coach ’em up and the program’s future won’t be sustainable unless Smart keeps repeating that success on the recruiting trail, but, damn, sitting here in January, 2017, that looks pretty impressive to me.

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45 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

45 responses to “If you sell it, they will come.

  1. Assuming we close this class as it appears now and things don’t fizzle on NSD, no doubt this recruiting class could be a game changer for the program. A couple of uncommitted prospects would truly take this class over the top. Hopefully, the staff can take the chicken and turn it into chicken salad once on campus.

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  2. Herschel Talker

    What’s crazy is that there wasn’t a ton of room for improvement (roster management and attrition aside). Maybe CMR wasn’t bringing in what we needed, but there were plenty of stars. To elevate that to another level is damned impressive.

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    • Plenty of room for improvement on OL and at WR. To Kirby’s credit, he didn’t sugarcoat that at all and worked to fix it like he said he would.

      Plenty to be critical of in year 1, but recruiting and Kirby’s vision of what a complete roster looks like earn A+ marks in my book.

      Liked by 1 person

    • artful codger

      Yes… this gets to the heart of the question about offensive talent on the ’16 team. Plenty of stars in the CMR recruiting years, which – generally speaking – might transpose to talent. But not so much in the OL and WR areas. The failure to distribute the star/talent recruiting evenly across the roster was exposed this last season with a bare cupboard. We had an offensive backfield probably rated an average of 4.5 stars (one a true frosh, admittedly). But they were operating behind an OL and WR corp that averaged closer to 3.5.

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      • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

        Our WR corps averaged 4 star or better. There are an awful lot of 4 stars in our WR corp and Godwin was a 5 star.

        And they were running open quite a bit this year, but the freshman QB didn’t see them or couldn’t get them the ball.

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        • PTC DAWG

          Went back to look at Richt’s last 3 WR classes…only McKenzie and Godwin were much of a contributor out of a WR class that averaged less than 4 stars. Used Rivals for comparison. And many of us (including me) have said that recruiting “skilled” positions were never CMR’s downfall.

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          • dawgtired

            I have felt that the WR position has had too few standouts for many years now. While teams like Tex Tech, Baylor etc had more than one on the same roster. If we could get a couple of AJ Greens on the same roster, the efficiency of the QB and offense would improve.

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            • PTC DAWG

              Honestly, I didn’t recognize a few of the names at all…I know all teams get some non factors on the roster, but we seemed to get a slew of them the last 2-3 years.

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            • artful codger

              Nico Collins is taking his last official at UGA the weekend before NSD. Be nice if AJ Green could be there to show him around and close the deal

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          • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

            rivals is blocked at work, but I thought I remembered about an equal # of 3 and 4 star receivers. I stand corrected. I still maintain they were plenty open at times and didn’t get the ball thrown their way, which isn’t a talent issue, at least not on that part.

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            • Uglydawg

              Good point, Snoop. The best receiver in the world can’t catch a ball that isn’t thrown to him…I think (and hope, and believe) that a year older Eason with an improved line will be more comfortable in the pocket and will see his receivers better. Having his backfield cabinet back won’t hurt either. They’ll know him better and know how to help him out.

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              • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

                I agree. we missed out on some explosive plays with wide open receivers that he did see due to inaccurate throws. Assuming he gets that worked out in the off-season, all of a sudden, our no-name wide receivers all of a sudden start showing up in stat sheets.

                It’s off topic, but Aaron Murray’s ability to throw WRs open even when covered was a thing of beauty. If Eason figures that out, Godwin, Ridley, Wims are going to have big, big years with the running back depth we have on campus.

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      • Otto

        It wasn’t just stars on the OL it was number of kids signed period.

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  3. 81Dog

    Snagging a pile of blue ribbon recruits isn’t a guarantee of future championships, but it’s a step in the right direction. To mix sports, Guy Lewis at Houston didn’t seem to be able to coach his way out of a paper bag, but he was able to make 3 Final Fours in a row in the 80s with all the hoop talent he brought to Houston (and he got there in the 60s with Elvin Hayes, too). I guess you have to wait two years to see how they actually play, but this signing class looks pretty awesome right now.

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  4. paul

    It does give us something positive to talk about after a very disappointing season. Hopefully it make the preseason Kool-Aid taste that much better.

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  5. Macallanlover

    Has been incredible to watch this build, some of these players may make contributions this year even though we have a significant number of returning starters. We should see a significant improvement in ST’s play with these athletes available for play. Let’s just hope we got the “right” 4 and 5 star guys this time.

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  6. Brownesman

    Boy has Robert Nkemditche (sp) been a total bust in the NFL.

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  7. Argondawg

    I’ve been following recruiting probably too closely for the last 30 years and I have never seen a UGA class as full of HS talent as this one as it stands today regardless of who else we sign. I am still on the fence about Kirbys coaching chops but his recruiting chops are nothing short of sensational. Only Bama and Ohio State are recruiting better than us and they have all those dusty rings and trophys to stand on.

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  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Six are already in school. If the coaches use some of these players effectively, like Rocker did with his freshmen last year – Rochester, Marshall, Clark, they should have a big impact.

    Just the verbal commits would be an awesome class. But it looks like we may add at least a few more this signing day.

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  9. TimberRidgeDawg

    Senator,

    On the coaching them up piece. I know Kirby’s record last year raises question marks but since we’re talking recruiting… I think we need to point out that our 2012 team that was 5 yards from a probable BCS title had 69 scholarship players on the team. In an effort to get the numbers back up, we signed 34 players in the 2013 class which became a well documented disaster through a combination of disciplinary issues, injuries, and missed player evaluations. It’s one thing to have a weak class but altogether a different thing to miss so badly with a class of 34. Contrast it with Clemson’s signing class 2013 and you are spot on with how one class can impact things so positively or in our case negatively.

    The previous regime’s inability to sign and manage a roster of 85 players and, in hindsight, an apparent inconsistency in evaluation of talent is the reason I’m not as inclined to worry about the record last season and yes Kirby had growing pains as well. I do expect to see a great deal of improvement next season but we will still be young with question marks on the OL. Thankfully it’s only a matter of time before Pittman makes them one of the strengths of the team.

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    • Mayor

      I think CMR took some guys in the 2013 class character-wise he ordinarily would not have taken just to get up to 85. Not surprising they didn’t work out.

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  10. Greg

    “Sure, two words in response:  Ron Zook”…..and on the flip side, you had Vince Dooley. I always thought he was one of the best at getting the most he had out of talent. His teams were always well prepared and his gameplanning second to none. Nonetheless, excellent article and good comments…it gives me more hope, gotta back it up with wins in order to sustain it.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Dooley had a hell of a run with the best player in College Football…talent matters.

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      • Greg

        sure it does, so does coaching……but you knew that, right??

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        • Cpark58

          Zook, the supposed poster boy of inept coaching, went 2-1 in jacksonville against UGA during its its best run since the 80s. Just saying…

          Liked by 1 person

        • Uglydawg

          Dooley made great halftime adjustments in an era when all they had to look at at halftime were Polaroid pictures. He made Georgia “Tailback U”…he had road grader llinemen and some running backs of yore and fame…Walker, Worley, Hampton, Tate, Ellis…but remember those guys had some great blockers whose names aren’t so easy to remember. Dooley also had some great placekickers…Rex Robinson and Kevin Butler to name a couple…and also..he had Larry Munson on the radio and Grizzard in the papers.
          It would be so wonderful to see a dominant running game like that once again. Receivers are nice..but memories of seeing those backs ripping off ten and twenty yard runs, crushing the defense in the third and fourth quarters are better..The way Georgia handled TCU in Memphis was a lick of that ice cream.

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      • dawgman3000

        Yup

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  11. Mayor

    The greatest turnaround because of recruiting, at least on the field, was the 2008 class signed by Nick Saban. His 2007 team finished 7-6. His 2008 team finished 12-2 while winning the SEC West. The ’08 team basically replaced all the starters from the previous season with freshmen, transfers and JC signees. Saban also ran off some kids. That class propelled the Tide to the BCS title the following year and the rest is history. Some may find fault ethically with how Saban treated some players but there is no question that was roster management at its finest from a results standpoint.

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    • Greg

      Agree…..When Saban took over, they were still on probation for recruiting violations. The team the year before was 6-7 (wins vacated). Although he was still on probation in his first year, he improved their record. No comparison to Georgia imo (40 wins in the prior 4 years)…..all I have is hope for Kirby’s next season. I need to see it to believe it….

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    • Otto

      He may have brought in key players but majority of the 1st string OL was from Shula.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Alabama_Crimson_Tide_football_team

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      • Greg

        SO!!…coaching matters??

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        • Otto

          Coaching certainly matters. Everyone wants to draw parallels to Saban and Bama. Saban walked into a much better OL than Smart. Shula also recruited well given the realities of probation.

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        • Macallanlover

          Of course it matters, just not as much as many here believe. The combo of talent and coaching is the right formula, just more on the talent side, imo. They are so intertwined since coaches evaluate/recruit talent that it is impossible to distinguish them most of the time. But I put more on the players since even great talent, and great schemes, will fail without solid execution of plays. That is why it is more on the players to me.

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          • Uglydawg

            They both matter..but I think great coaching trumps great players. Great coaches win pretty quickly wherever they go. I’ll take a great coach with good talent over a good coach with great talent. It won’t always hold true, but (to me) it’s a pretty good rule. Not just on the Head Coaching level but also the OC and DC. Look what happened to CMR with Schotty…If he’d still had Bobo, he might very well still be at Georgia, (I said “might”..who knows? Rhetorical q. by any means). Georgia’s talent is stacking up nicely. If the C staff is even pretty good (vs great) things will almost certainly be better this fall.

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  12. AusDawg85

    Up next at GTP…how great the nutrition and strength training is, followed by video of the players private workouts showing amazing feats of athleticism. Then get 93k to GDay, some awesome QBR numbers from Vaughan, and finish with Fall happy talk. Finally, with a 4th & 1 on the Notre Dame 40 with 3 seconds on the clock and down by 1, Kirby sends Rodrigo out to win the game with a 58 yarder. The kid steps into the kick, stops, looks at Kirby and screams “where’s my scholarship?!” and the Dawgs find another unique way to lose a big game.

    Keeping the snark real at GTP 🤓

    Liked by 1 person