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.