“Georgia is the wait-and-see school now.”

You don’t need to follow Georgia’s recruiting closely (not that I do) to catch a rising sense of angst from those who do over the slow pace of success with regard to the 2018 class.  It’s definitely moving to a different beat than last year.

At this time last year, the foundation for Georgia’s 2017 football recruiting class already was set for what turned into one of the program’s highest-rated talent hauls.

Already on board were five-star safety Richard LeCounte, four-star quarterback Jake Fromm and four-star offensive lineman Netori Johnson.

The Bulldogs were making noise under new coach Kirby Smart, who had created buzz with a capacity crowd of 93,000 at G-Day. Now, it’s like crickets by comparison.

The Bulldogs have three commitments total for 2018 and not one is in the ESPN 300.

Is the concern justified?  Hard to say.  I strongly doubt Kirby Smart is working any less hard this season than he did in 2016.  And there’s something to be said about the observation he made after roping in one of the best signing classes in the program’s history.

“Now, oh, we just signed the greatest class ever, we just signed the second or third greatest, so how are you going to play when they just signed all of these great players who aren’t on campus yet who have not played a down yet,” Smart told the Touchdown Club of Athens in March. “You have that hurdle to overcome. You have 50 to 60 percent of your roster was freshmen or sophomores so they’re all back. ‘So, how am I going to play there, coach?’” Those are things that we’re encountering now not to mention a state that is always very fertile with great talent.”

Moreover, if this is to be believed…

Recruits have told Mansell that other schools are pushing that Georgia’s 2017 and 2016 recruiting classes have created a crowded depth chart with young talent at quarterback, wide receiver and on the offensive and defensive lines.

… that concern has been weaponized on the recruiting trail.

Add in that the 2018 in state class is not perceived to be as loaded as either the ’17 or ’19 groups, that it’s fairly top-heavy with quarterback talent, an area that Smart is likely to run into resistance based on the present make up of his roster, and it’s easier to see why there’s an apparent lack of progress.

There’s one other common theme I’ve seen in this and other articles analyzing Georgia’s slow start — a desire by many recruits to see real progress on the wins front.

“They’ve got to go out there and win games and show that they are an SEC championship program right now,” Haubert said. “As we get deeper into the fall and we get to see how this team has matured a year under his leadership and how this 2017 class, which was outstanding, begins to contribute and they can turn that into wins, now that starts to paint a little more of a different picture for prospects, there’s a little bit more of a comfort level.”

There’s a part of me that wonders how accurate a perception that is.  After all, note that Miami is currently leading the field for next year’s class and you can make a similar show-me argument for Mark Richt’s program.

There’s another part of me that selfishly hopes that it is accurate, though.  Why?  Because if there’s one thing we’ve seen that drives Kirby Smart, it’s recruiting.  So, if it takes the fear of winding up with a mediocre signing class next February to drive a stake through the heart of a throwaway season mentality that may have plagued Georgia football in 2016 for good, then all I can say is, kids, take your time.  You’ll be doing all of us a big favor.

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53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

53 responses to ““Georgia is the wait-and-see school now.”

  1. Dawg in Austin

    Winning the East this year seems like it sure would solve a whole lot of problems.

    Like

  2. JarvisCrowell

    You addressed most of the problems going on with our recruiting this year. Top talent isn’t willing to ride pine unless the team has shown it means that they’ll be competing for championships. Winning at least the SECe will make a huge difference. Still one area I thought we would recruit well in is D line as we stand to lose so many starters this year. Oh well it all really boils down to just win baby!

    Like

    • Just Chuck (The Other One)

      Think you and the Senator have this covered nicely. Obviously the Tide doesn’t have this problem in recruiting because of their history of championships. Everybody knows you may have to wait to play much but it’s pretty much a given that there is a ring in your future. After your last sentence, there’s nothing else to say on the subject.

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      • Plus…even if they have to wait 2 years to play, they are practicing with and competing against the very best getting way better. Then when they get to play the next studs come and compete against them for 2 years.

        “I guess that’s how the whole dern Bama comedy keeps perpetuating itself, down through the generations…Westward the wagons…across the sands of time…”

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    • Kirby has been able to take advantage of the ‘opportunities’ part of recruiting. Kids wanted to come because there are opportunities to play immediately. Now the second part (and much harder) is the bandwagon part. Kids want to be part of a team that is going to/or has accomplished big things. That’s on him and his coaching staff. Kirby lets do this. Another throw away season is going to hurt your favorite part of this coaching gig (aside from the salary I assume).

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  3. RCBRick

    Wouldn’t it be wise to let year 2 of a coaches tenure play out when year 1 was so atrocious? There is probably a 25% chance we win the East convincingly, 50% we challenge for it or back into a win, and a 25% chance we are as bad as last year or worse. If the latter happens, the writing will be on the wall for Kirby. If I were recruit, I would sure as hell be playing wait and see.

    Miami doesn’t have that problem. Recruits can commit there knowing beyond any doubt they’ll get a great coach that wins a lot of games. If that works for them, no reason not to pull the trigger.

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    • dawgman3000

      If Kirby wins the east this season, then the recruits will come. The kids committing to Miami know they’re committing to a 9.7 win a year coach which is better than what Miami has done in recent history. Let’s see how long it last when the recruits down there realize that 10 wins is good enough because rings just collect dust.

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      • lakedawg

        Somehow Ibelieve Miami has a better chance winning ACC than Dawgs do winning SEC, and the main reason is coaching. One coach has proven he can win 9.7 games year vs a coach who has not beat Vandy or Twch yet.

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        • dawgman3000

          Oh yeah, it’s easy to say that since one guy has been a head coach for 16 years and the other just completed his first season. You probably would have a nervous breakdown if Kirby starts winning big.

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    • Papa Dawg

      In what universe do you get that we have a 25% chance of being as bad or worse than last year? All of defense returning and second year for insanely talented QB, more atheletes at WR, Chubb back at 100% and maturity of head coach… I mean really?

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      • RCBRick

        Is 25% that high? Teams sometimes regress when it seems like they shouldn’t. It happens. Also worth noting that even if we are technically better (say, going from 50’s in S&P to 40’s), that could easily yield a worse record. The 6-7 2010 team was 30th.

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  4. DawgPhan

    it aint just the recruits

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  5. Atticus

    Its a product of the depth of the roster yes and also the talent available in this state. That is why 2019 looks so good. The state is loaded that year. QBs are highly ranked and we won’t get one of them. But if we get Sayler and Zamir it will change. But yes they want to see year 2 now. Come out on fire and you’ll blow the lid off the program.

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    • Sherlock

      ^This. All of the kvetching over the 2018 class is over blown. The 2019 class is in great shape. We are leading for a number of top recruits for 2018. We just need to let it play out. If we get through the summer and still only have the same three commits, you can start worrying.

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      • Sherlock

        To add. Alabama’s 2018 class is ranked #44 (247sports). Minnesota is #10. Kansas is #20. We are ranked #60.

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  6. Paul

    In comparison to Richt and Miami, Richt has shown that he can win consistently over time. Kirby is still a second year head coach with a pretty wretched first year record.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christ, this again?

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      • Cojones

        It’s germain to the discussion, stated well in two sentences. You have to get over the mention of Richt’s name as any sort of reference to getting him back.

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        • I really isn’t. It’s been 18 months. Time for everyone to move on and look forward.

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        • Got Cowdog

          Well stated,yes. Germain, why? Comparable, not so much. RIcht has an extended sample size. Kirby does not. One would need to evaluate Kirby’s record after 15 or so years as a head coach in order to have an apples to apples comparison concerning winning over time. A more accurate sample would be:
          Compare Kirby’s stats 2016 to CMR’s first season, opening up the rousing discussion of “Richt lost with Donnan’s players” compared to “Kirby lost with Richt’s players” 8-4 and 8-5 respectively OR:
          Let 2017/18 play out then compare the first two seasons and see if CKS can match CMR’s improvement (13-1 Hell yeah bitchez!) and improve on that by beating MFing Florida for a Fing change.
          This is why I personally avoid comparing an historically very good coach with one who I hope will be a very good coach.

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  7. Go Dawgs!

    I still haven’t seen anyone that’s actually a part of the program and “in the arena” – not Kirby, not a player, not a support staff member, not the person who cleans the locker room – refer to 2016 as a “throwaway season.” It was a comment made by a sycophantic radio broadcast team. They were making excuses for a poor season; certainly there were plenty of excuses to go around. However, I continue to take exception to the idea that anyone in charge of the football program treated last year as a throwaway at any point. It’s a frustrating meme around here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • dawgman3000

      +1

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    • DawgPhan

      Isnt Kevin Butler actually part of the program, “in the arena”, and he might even clean lockers I can’t say for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

    • AusDawg85

      Believing it was a “throwaway season” is far more comforting that believing that was this regime’s “best shot”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cojones

        Ain’t that the truth!

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      • dawgman3000

        If that’s the case, then it could be said that those who complain about EVERY shortcoming of this regime has, takes comfort in doing so because they hate the fact that the last regime was sent packing.

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        • So you’re saying that you can’t criticize or question the current staff’s performance because you still hate the decision on the previous guy and wants to see the current guy fail? Sorry, but that makes no sense. The previous guy made mistakes that ended up getting him fired after 15 years. The current guy made some mistakes this year that if repeated will have his boss and him on a very warm seat entering 2018.

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          • dawgman3000

            It makes as much sense as someone supposedly taking comfort in some throwaway season meme.

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    • Pretty sure Kevin Butler was a grad assistant helping with special teams. I don’t disagree with your characterization of sycophantic, but to insinuate that wasn’t originating from somebody with inside access is a bit misleading.

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  8. Dave

    The key is that Georgia plays well this year. Bama, tOSU, Michigan, Clemson, et. al., should be plagued by the same depth chart issues, except that they all had very good/great seasons recently.

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  9. DawgPhan

    It’s a tough spot for Kirby.

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  10. NoAxeToGrind

    Start winning like Saban, and Smart can recruit like Saban.

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  11. Keese

    A little kingpin comes to mind about the GA program: https://youtu.be/SaYUqXAmXRQ

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  12. ASEF

    Reading the tea leaves. College football’s favorite off-season activity.

    Here’s something that people aren’t talking about yet, but the ingredients are there: the SEC is evolving from a “you have to play there, that’s where the best players go” to a “why would you want to go there” league.

    Think about it. The SEC East keeps generating “worst division in football” articles. The SEC West has become Alabama and everyone else. Meanwhile, the ACC has two different national champions in the past few years and is beginning to resemble the SEC of the past 10 years – a conference with multiple programs all feeding off of each other’s spotlight.

    So, while we like to look at Miami and Georgia within the referendum of “Richt versus Smart,” there’s a larger context that’s easily missed if you stare too long at that singular frame.

    IMO, the SEC is cratering, and it’s not going to blossom again until Saban hangs it up at Alabama. Top players want to compete, and they can choose Miami, FSU or Clemson genuinely believing that they have a shot at marquee games and championship glory. Anyone really think an SEC program not named Alabama can make that pitch convincingly?

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  13. PTCDAWG

    The CMR love fest continues….

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  14. As much as many don’t want to admit it, this last class had Richt’s hands all over. Now it’s transitioning fully to Smart and his staff and I think recruits want to see some good results. We really need to win more games this year.

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    • dawgman3000

      You have to be kidding right?

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      • Who recruited Fromm and Lecounte and most any other big name in that class?

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        • TXBaller

          I think Kirby flipped Fromm….

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        • Sherlock

          As TXBaller said, Fromm was a Bama commit until Kirby became our HC. Lecounte was one of Kirby’s first commits. Lecounte has said before that he would have followed Raekwon MacMillen to THE ohio state university if Richt was still the HC.

          Richt’s hand was all over Kirby’s 2016 signing class though. Eason, Nauta, Woerner, Cleveland, Rochester, Holyfield, and others were holdovers. Now that I think about it, the fact that all of those guys stuck to their commitment to Georgia shows that Richt was selling the program and the school and not the coaches / personal relationships. 2017, though, was all on the new staff.

          Liked by 1 person

        • PTCDAWG

          Not Richt…D, JD.

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  15. Cojones

    jaboo is correct, the most often overlooked factor with Kirby’s first class is that Richt had already recruited a bunch and added Eason before departing.
    That is not a statement of Richt love as much as it is for us to be honest concerning assessments of coaching qualities/hiring ability in our present coach and staff.

    The song and dance concerning new recruits balking at the “crowded depth chart” at UGA is as fanciful as the “the O gets off the field by scoring too fast such that the D doesn’t get adequate rest” bullshit meme of some time ago. You gotta be yanking our collective dicks with that one. Teams with crowded depth charts continue to pull better players because the recruits have confidence of getting on the field with their more athletic play than those now present. If we aren’t recruiting those better players, what in hell is our recruiting philosophy?

    Some of you folks have to get over any comparisons to the past with this regime: how else will we be able to assess progress if we don’t compare? Many of these dipshit excuses are worrying me in that the analysis of progress is becoming political and people continue to defend what’s here and now without reasoning causes that will mollify the dissident’s concerns for this team and the next class. The argument of “crowded depth chart” doesn’t seem to apply to the kickers. Shit, we even have another one for the 2018 class already.

    I don’t believe these kids in this 2018 class are looking at anything except track record from last year that didn’t match the preponderance of predictions. Yep, we now have to wait and see for the 2017 outcome before we get some of the answers we need, but that doesn’t mean we should speculate as if we suddenly are different than any other program. We aren’t any different when it comes to competing for the kids (now that we have equalizing facilities and gobs of recruiting specialists), so how is it that we are being out-recruited by those schools that don’t?

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    • dawgman3000

      No he is not correct. He referred to the 17 class, not the 16 class. As TXballer alluded to, Fromm was committed to Bama before Kirby flipped him. Do you really believe Richt, who we know didn’t make o-line recruiting a priority, had anything to do with that incoming stud o-line group?

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      • Cojones

        You are speaking of individual players as if someone is saying that Kirby didn’t recruit anyone at all. That is not what has been said. The statement of : “… …this last class had Richt’s hands all over.” is true. I took that as a more insightful look into the recruiting of the 2017 class, not a plug for Richt.

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        • dawgman3000

          “this last class had Richt’s hands all over.” is true.”

          Please, do tell us how this is true.

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  16. “Throwaway season mentality?” What a load of crap.

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  17. Macallanlover

    No question the slow development of the 2018 class is directly tied to the concern over playing time, the last two classes were deep in talent. You can bet the opponets are using that against UGA, when coupled with the disappointing look of the 2016 season it is effective so far. It doesn’t explain us not being attractive to WRs, DL, and OL recruits though, we have little proven, or experienced talent in those areas. I have no doubt Kirby will close the gap and get us into a Top 12-15 class by signing day but the pressure is on the staff to win the East to insure this. And we have to look good enough doing it to rekindle the buzz.

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  18. 69Dawg

    Let’s face it, it is Alabama and the 13 Dwarfs. There are zero coaches left in the SEC that can claim anything Championship. Sure there are the Saban offspring but guess what not one of his assistant coaches has ever beat his team ever. Saban has caused the firing of his only real competition in SEC coaching. When you consider that Gus is the only coach to sniff the NC from the SEC besides Saban it is scary. The person above who said the ACC was going up while the SEC was going down was spot on. At least Clemson had to survive it’s conference schedule not just cruise through it like Bama. The only team Bama has to fear is Bama. If they don’t shoot themselves in the foot they don’t lose the SEC ever.

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  19. Win an SEC Title and this won’t be a problem….assuming it even is a problem.

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