Tucked into this piece about how Alabama has had to adapt to stay atop the recruiting rankings is this little bit:
Going back to Georgia, in 2012 Alabama plucked Geno Smith, Dillon Lee, Brandon Greene, Kenyan Drake, Tomlinson, Dakota Ball, Kurt Freitag and Adam Griffith all out of the Peach State. It’s also where it found Chance Warmack in 2009, along with Adrian Hubbard, Brian Vogler, Blake Sims and Austin Shepherd a year later.
In 2016, the only addition was tight end Miller Forristall. This year, it’s safety Xavier McKinney.
Add to that this observation about how Georgia’s been an underachiever based on its recruiting rankings…
Georgia is a special case. While it consistently ranked high in recruiting and sent plenty of players to the NFL, it also consistently missed on many of the top players in its talent-rich home state under former coach Mark Richt. From 2012 to 2015, Richt only twice signed the top player in the state. One of those was Josh Harvey-Clemons, who was kicked out of school and transferred to Louisville.
“There are a lot of guys on the roster at Florida State, Ohio State and Alabama that are from Georgia that would have maybe made things a little bit different for Richt in his final few years,” Crabtree said.
That’s not the case in this class, however. Second-year coach Kirby Smart signed five of the top six players from his home state, including all three five-star recruits.
… and again, keeping in mind all the usual hedges (only one year, you gotta coach ’em up, etc.), you have to think Smart is at least laying the groundwork to take the program to a higher level.
Which is why I find Bill Connelly’s first 2017 projected S&P+ rankings of interest. Georgia comes in at 20th, which seems realistic, but it’s Bill’s breakdown in three categories that is illuminating.
- Recruiting impact: 6th
- Returning production: 41st
- Weighted five-year: 8th
One of those numbers is not like the others. There’s a lot of potential there. Can this staff unlock that?