What never was and what could be

David Wunderlich offers a tale about Georgia’s in-state recruiting since the 2002 season that provides an interesting contrast between Richt’s final years and Smart’s first two.

We’ve all lamented the disintegration of the 2013 class, but David notes that the class was a disaster not just because of who came and went, but also because of who never made it in the first place.

It didn’t have the lowest percentage on the chart, but the 2013 cycle was the nadir for Richt and in-state recruiting.

The top seven prospects in Georgia went out of state. Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s top recruit, went to Ole Miss; to be fair, his brother already being in Oxford played a role there. Richt lost out on a pair of defensive linemen after that in Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams, guys who anchored Auburn’s defensive renaissance in 2016.

Fourth was Vonn Bell, who went on to star at Ohio State. Fifth and sixth were Alvin Kamara and Tyren Jones, a couple of guys who went to Alabama but didn’t stay long. Kamara eventually ended up a big contributor for Tennessee. Seventh was Demarcus Robinson, who became one of Florida’s top receivers in 2014 and 2015.

Georgia took a quarterback in 2013 with Brice Ramsey. He ended up a better punter than signal caller. Ramsey’s inability to fulfill his 4-star rating is why Georgia got the Greyson Lambert experience after Hutson Mason graduated. Another quarterback from Georgia who came out of high school that year was Alpharetta’s Joshua Dobbs. If 247 Sports has it right, UGA didn’t even offer Dobbs a scholarship.

Further down the list, UGA offered but couldn’t land Loganville’s 4-star running back Wayne Gallman. He and the next year’s 4-star Georgia product Deshaun Watson were obviously a huge part of Clemson’s amazing run the past couple of years.

That’s a lot of whiffing for one class.  Granted, the lack of success at running back can be partially attributed to Georgia’s giant haul in 2012 with Gurley and Marshall, but given their history with injuries and suspension, a top-flight back in the 2013 class sure would have been a big help.

Meanwhile, check out Smart’s trend line.

uga-ga-bc-pct

It’s not at Richt’s peak, but it’s certainly headed in the right direction.

That being said, it’s worth pointing out that, as the overall talent pool in this state has grown significantly over the last decade, it’s going to be nearly impossible for Smart to match Richt’s highest percentage levels, as they’re aren’t any more scholarships to offer.  What’s going to matter more, anyway, is if Smart can eliminate the dramatic swings that you can see beginning with the 2005 class.

Plateaus can be beautiful things.  Especially when they represent two gifts in one.

Even so, UGA secured 11 of the top 16 players within its home territory. Even better, the Bulldogs boxed out a lot of their direct competitors. Rival Auburn had signed 14 combined Peach State blue chips in the previous three cycles, but it only got one this time around. Florida nabbed two blue chips in 2016 but was shut out in 2017. Tennessee had signed at least one Georgia blue chip every year since Lane Kiffin arrived in Knoxville in 2009, but the Vols too came up empty.

Can Smart keep up that level of production?  That’s what we’ll have to wait and see.

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73 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

73 responses to “What never was and what could be

  1. DugLite

    The 2003 & 2004 classes gave us the 2007 season. That was definitely a national title caliber team. Dammit man!!

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  2. Atticus

    Funny thing is, with all those misses, if he had not whiffed on 3 straight QBs, Mason (who was good but not SEC starter caliber, especially for a team with not very good defenses or elite WRs), Ramsey and Park, he sill would’ve kept his job.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      Mason was productive, but the consecutive Lemay – Bauta – Ramsey – Park decisions help explain why offensive production took a nose dive.

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      • Mayor

        I agree with you on the first 3 but not about Park. Park is now the starter at another Power 5 conference school (Iowa State–I know, I know, not exactly a powerhouse) and the players used to rave about Park when he was the scout team QB. It looks to me like Park never really got a chance. Also, when Shitty…er…Schotty arrived–well, kids can tell when somebody doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground even if the adults can’t. Who can blame Park for baling out?

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        • You are right.

          Park is a great QB not in a place that remotely matters.

          Although Iowa State did pony up for a IPF 10 years before us (or 3 or w/e).

          Geez. “He never got a chance”. Sure. Thats it.

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  3. UGA85

    Look at the 2008 team. I honestly can’t think of a more talented collegiate team. Ever. As for recruiting, it is ironic that decisions regarding quarterbacks cost Richt (and Bobo?) so heavily. Losing Watson and others really hurt, especially given our supposed reputation for grooming QB’s.

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    • Athens Townie

      I can think of some more talented teams than our 2008 team…particularly because of weaknesses on the offensive line and some spots in the defense. I hear the point — that team had tons of star power at skill positions, but it was a very incomplete roster, which is maybe why we got exposed so badly by Bama and Florida.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        This is exactly right. Our OL, as mentioned, was mediocre at best. Let’s also not forget who our DC was back then either — that team featured glaring weaknesses in both personnel and coaching.

        I’ll never forget the hype going into that ’08 season, with UGA ranked #1 and on the cover of SI. A friend of my family who was somewhat close to the team inside BM back then (now retired) warned me that this was a flawed team with red flags all over the place, and he was concerned that they wouldn’t come remotely close to living up to the hype. And he typically was a sunshine pumper, so I knew something must really be wrong.

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        • 1smartdude

          Wasn’t that O-Line touted as one of the best in the country, preseason? I was thinking they were a big part of the reason for the lofty preseason ranking. The skill players were off the charts or the way the O-line ended up looking would have been really bad.

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      • JCDAWG83

        That description of the team applies to pretty much every team Richt put on the field after he ran out of Donnan’s players. We always had incredible talent at skill positions and HUGE holes throughout the rest of the roster.

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    • Talented – yes. I can also think of a zillion more talented.

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  4. steve

    2012 seems to be a turning point on this graph. What year did Rodney Garner take his lazy, over-rated, recruit-stealing, shit-print ass back to treeless money-town?

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    • dawgman3000

      For Garner to be so lazy he got 2 those players ( Adams & Lawson) right out from under Richt’s nose. Could it be that he was a product of that country club atmosphere while he was in Athens?

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      • Greg

        Just hope we can at least get back up to the “country club’s” level of wins….

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        • JCDAWG83

          We’re already at the level of championships for the last 11 years. I guess those thrilling wins over Vandy and tech made it all worthwhile.

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          • Greg

            At least Richt would beat them….last year was the first time in history that Georgia lost to Vandy, GT and UF all in the same season….statistically, the dawgs got worse on both sides of the ball. But you already knew that, right??

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      • steve

        ‘When Auburn football ended its 2016 regular season, Rodney Garner had zero commitments on his defensive line…..On National Signing Day, Auburn picked up two commitments on the defensive line — 4-star speed rusher Markaviest Bryant and 3-star tackle Tyrone Truesdell’…….RG = a combat-crawl, slow, lazy wind-sniffer that stood out in his own mind as a valuable commodity. A human stumble. He’s right where he belongs. With the job description both he and Ethics U deserve. Confidence intervals speak for themselves.

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        • Mayor

          If CMR had gotten rid of Garner and kept ol’ pornstache CMR would have had a lot more success IMHO and might very well still be UGA’s HC. Willie is who killed CMR in Athens–even after he was gone.

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  5. Argondawg

    I will never understand with the system that we ran under Bobo and the points and yards we put up why we couldn’t sign a top 5 QB at least every other year. It was baffling.

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  6. JacopoPeterman

    Unfortunately, it looks like Smart likely won’t come close to securing Georgia in 2018 like he did in 2017. As Wunderlich said, signed 11 of the top 16 in the state in 2017, but for 2018, 6 of the top 16 (including 3 of the top 4) are already committed elsewhere. Signing day 2019 is a long, long way away but looks to possibly be much better. And, of course, Georgia isn’t the only place great players at UGA come from. We’ll see!

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    • Argondawg

      Really not a great year for in state talent. Not that there aren’t some great players but it’s going to be a down year in state. I see Kirby going all over for players this year and then the 2019 class appears to be a really good year for talent.

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      • RandallPinkFloyd

        ^^this. Talent pool in GA for 2018 is weak. We’ll go out of state for 2018 and that will make things more difficult. 2019 is loaded.

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  7. NoAxeToGrind

    Toward the end of his tenure at UGA, I do not think Richt really gave a shit. If the top recruits signed, fine: and if they did not , so be it.

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  8. Got Cowdog

    Argon, I have asked myself the same thing a hundred times.

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  9. tbia

    The interesting thing on Nkemdiche….I have been told that Denzel could have been had at any time, but we didn’t take. Question is did we see the crazy, or didn’t think he could play?

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  10. Greg

    and yet….Richt and staff still won 50 in his last 5 years. I guess I will have to see what this new staff does with all these recruits, not a believer just yet..”show me”. Muschamp finished # 12 in recruiting his first season, then #3, #4 and #8. His record his last two seasons was 4-8 and 6-5 (28-21 overall) and it got him fired….lack of offense in my humble opinion. Nobody is pulling for the new guy like me, I hope it works out….but I got to see it. Coaching matters???

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  11. Otto

    Nice uptick capitalizing on new energy with the new staff. Kids also know he has most of it not all of their college career until he might be fired. Smart must win and get the facilities he asks for to keep the trend moving in a positive direction.

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  12. The Quincy Carter of Accountants

    “That being said, it’s worth pointing out that, as the overall talent pool in this state has grown significantly over the last decade, it’s going to be nearly impossible for Smart to match Richt’s highest percentage levels, as they’re aren’t any more scholarships to offer.”

    This point is really important. Depending on the amount of four star prospects in Georgia it might be mathematically impossible for Smart to match Richt in this regard not just nearly impossible. It would be interesting to see the graph with a fixed number of four and five stars to control for that – percentage of the to 25 in state recruits for instance. Of course there might not be a meaningful difference if there are fewer than 25 or so four star recruits in GA.

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    • Just Chuck (The Other One)

      To control for variation in the numbers, you can always calculate the percentage of four and five star recruits form Georgia we signed in any given year. Anybody want to try that?

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      • Just Chuck (The Other One)

        That’s what the graph is based on.

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        • The Quincy Carter of Accountants

          Right – but it’s a problematic graph if (as the Senator pointed out) if the number of four star recruits grows but your total class size doesn’t. It doesn’t make the graph false, you did sign less of the total population of four star recruits, but you shouldn’t conclude that it is necessarily because you didn’t recruit as well. You could have recruited perfectly, and still sign a lower percentage. This makes me a little cautious about the “peak Richt” time periods but I’m too lazy to go look up how many four and five star guys there were then vs. now in Georgia.

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    • 1smartdude

      Or, you could just look at how many of the very top recruits signed. If you’re only looking at the top 15, it doesn’t matter if there were 30 four and five stars in the Richt era and 50 in the Kirby era.

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  13. AusDawg85

    Stay tuned…after this brief commercial break we’ll be right back with another installment of the Mark Richt Monday episode here at GTP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As much as I love the boss man – its getting old.

      I am a CKS Fan and UGA fan and what is in the past is past. It’s not like we had much control over any of it.

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      • As I keep reiterating, facts are pesky things. Smart was hired to improve things. How can you know what they are without investigating the data?

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        • I think that is fair. Its just the way it always goes sideways about the former coaches removal is something we a) had no control over and b) is said and done. I look forward to 3 years from now when we are hopefully comparing Smarts data to Smarts data. I just want to be a CKS and UGA fan…just like I have been for all prior folks and teams.

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  14. Mg4life0331

    Can we refer to the ’13 class as the one we don’t speak of? Damn what an abortion that turned out to be.

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  15. 69Dawg

    As long as Saban is at Alabama and St. Urban is at tOSU Kirby will be doing great to come in 3rd. Maybe if his luck is better than Ray, Jim and Mark we might get to sniff the CFB Playoffs but if you think Kirby can out coach those two I’ve got some ocean front property in Valdosta I’d like to sell.

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  16. not reading any comment and just giving a lose rec for the Led Zep reference.

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  17. The circle jerk that never ends.

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  18. The Georgia Way: laud a couple coaches who regularly lost to rivals while demeaning a coach who actually did something. This feels like DawgPost lite

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  19. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    Richt and recruiting the top players in state is an interesting discussion point. Often times, the top players in GA flame out, generally speaking. The Deshaun Watson’s of our top players is much less likely than the Richard Samuel.

    For 2013, you have a think back to what the climate was at UGA with CTG as coach, and CRG departing with 2 months to go in the recruiting season.

    The Nkemdiche brothers were never coming. Denzel had an offer pending grades. Ole Miss offered come hell or high water. Mama wanted Robert to be at the same school.

    Vonn Bell played in Ridgeland, but lived in Tennessee. He was not an in-state guy. Carl Lawson was never offered. Didn’t fit CTG’s scheme supposedly. Moster Adams followed Garner who had recruited him since middle school. You lose some with coaching changes. Gain some as well most years. Demarcus Robinson would never have lasted at UGA. Woulda been gone like so many others from this class.

    Tyren Jones and Kamara hurt, but Bama didn’t have the depth at RB this year and signed something like 5x 4&5 star running backs. I think 3 ended up transferring. UGA had Gurley and Marshall, who both nearly eclipsed 1000 yards the year before.

    Dobbs was much lower rated than Ramsey and was kind of an afterthought most of the year.

    I’m happy to knock Richt’s recruiting woes at Offensive line or general issues at roster management, but this overstates the issues with the 2013 class.

    writing this post entirely from memory of that recruiting year tells me that I used to pay way too close attention to recruiting. My life is better for it that I don’t anymore.

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