The new recruiting sheriff’s in town, part one

Over at, they’ve noted the recruiting off-years at the two big in state programs and are looking for some answers.

By anybody’s standards but their own, Alabama and Auburn both reeled in excellent recruiting classes this year.

The Crimson Tide brought in a 19-man class (its smallest since the probation days) that ranked No. 7 nationally and second in the SEC. The Tigers landed a 24-man class that ranked No. 12 nationally and third in the SEC.

But it was definitely a fall-off from recent years.

Alabama’s streak of seven straight No. 1 classes ended, while its overall ranking was its lowest since 2007. That was Nick Saban’s first year, when he and his staff had only a month to put together a class.

Auburn’s No. 12 finish was its first outside the Top 10 in Gus Malzahn’s tenure, and its lowest since finishing No. 23 in 2009. That was Gene Chizik’s first year, after the turmoil of Tommy Tuberville’s resignation and Chizik’s controversial hire.

So how did this happen?

Here’s answer number one:

1. Kirby Smart has built a recruiting machine at Georgia: The Bulldogs signed the country’s No. 1 class, with seven 5-star prospects, 14 4-stars and seven of the country’s Top 23 players.  Smart’s success at locking down his state has especially hurt Auburn, which has long had a history of pilfering top players from the state of Georgia (think Carl Lawson, Phillip Lutzenkirchen and Carlos Rogers, to name three). But he also beat Alabama head-to-head on at least two Top 50 players this year: Georgia linebacker Quay Walker and Florida cornerback Tyson Campbell.

Speaking of Auburn, does anyone know where Rodney Garner’s spending his time on the recruiting trail these days?  He sure had a quiet time in his old stomping grounds this past year.


Filed under Alabama, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Recruiting

25 responses to “The new recruiting sheriff’s in town, part one

  1. I unfortunately stumbled across PAWWL on XM on the way home on Thursday. Guest after guest in the BamaPravda media complained that Kirby was negatively recruiting against Bama whether it was Saban’s age or the pictures of the Bama recruiting boards Kirby allegedly took before leaving T-town. These same people weren’t complaining when Kirby recruiting for Bama was running down the UGA program across Georgia. They only said that’s the business.

    It sucks, Bammers, when your chickens come home to roost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tronan

      A friend of mine is a Bammer who’s normally a very level-headed and objective guy (yes, a few do exist). But even he recently spouted that “Kirby’s a heel!” crap. All I could say was, “So what? All’s fair in love and ‘crootin’.”


      • KornDawg

        The audacity! The unmitigated gall Kirby Smart has to actually recruit against his mentor! Damn him for trying to take players away from Saban, who has been taking players away from everyone else for years! Damn him for doing his job!


    • sniffer

      ee, you speak truth. I ran across a friend of my wife’s comments on FB the other day and several (Bama grads/fans) agreed that we deserved to lose the CFP CHP after Kirby took a picture of the recruiting board on his way out. The vitriol, condescension and entitlement was as thick as Lester Maddox’s glasses. Fuck them, all but one (I’m married to one)(Bama grad, that is). I will bide my time and unleash fury on them, one and all, when appropriate. Funny thing, though. They know their days are numbered and now they know Kirby ain’t coming back to TTown…

      Liked by 1 person

    • The 984

      I don’t believe he had pictures of the recruiting board. Articles at the time stated that, in order to prevent anything like that, the Bama coaching staff didn’t discuss any recruiting or leave any materials out while Kirby was in the room. They would plan for the upcoming Playoffs then, when it came time to discuss recruiting, Kirby would leave the room.

      The picture allegations are total bunk.


      • Macallanlover

        All the whining is bunk, the pictures are just funny. They think Kirby didn’t know the targets at Bama? I mean he only led their recruiting efforts for 9 years, think he didn’t know who they wanted/needed, or what they thought of them? Pretty dumb to hand your hat on that excuse, just laugh in their face.

        Now “dirty recruiting” is a misunderstood term. I you point out that UGA had not won an SEC in a dozen years, that is fair. If you point our that Saban will be 70 years old by the time they graduate, that is fair. If you point our that Ole Miss is under a bowl ban, that is fair. If you want to say the depth chart at your school looks more favorable to them and they will have a chance to compete for playing time, that is fine. They know if the other schools have 10 experienced players at their position. Fair, and all common knowledge.

        What is dirty recruiting is making things up that is isn’t true, and they have no public proof of what is being said. To say someone is going to be investigated by the NCAA when it hasn’t been confirmed, or a coach is going to be fired, when it is just speculation or rumor, etc., is dirty. These kids know the rumors as well as we do, but no school should act like they inside knowledge when they don’t is wrong.

        Bottom line, fact are OK to use, made up and invented speculation is dirty. In sales, I never found it beneficial to bring up my competitors, just stick to what you can deliver and control. Let the buyer assign value to the competitor and ask what their capabilities are, no need to use them to help get the decision you want. UGA will be the one getting more dirty recruiting after the past two years of successfully getting the top studs, and Bama will again be the one throwing dirt, just like Pruitt has done for them the last two years, and Kirby before him.


  2. V

    If you’ve listened to the Finebaum Show in the past couple of days, you’ll hear a lot chatter about how how they now look down on Smart because he supposedly took a picture of Bama’s recruiting board before he left. He’s bad now. That pic is the only reason all these Georgia kids decided to go to Georgia. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cojones

    It was noticed by others as well as his salary seems to have leveled off. Could this be the end of the bag man? Due to a culture change or perhaps , instead of distributing late money, he just kept it for himself?


  4. jill

    Seems like all that talk of moving Auburn to the SEC East has suddenly subsided. I guess their easiest path to ATL is through the West now that the recruiting machine is rolling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Randy Adams

      I never understood that ‘cry’ from the Tiger fan base. Georgia has beaten them 2 out of 3 times since 2005. In short, they struggle against Georgia and Alabama and they play them both every year regardless of the division they are in. So what is the difference? 🙂 And now with the coaching changes in the East and the job CM is doing at South Carolina; they would be wiser to stay in the West.


  5. Bright Idea

    Garner has been lazy for a long time but even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. Oh, wait, that’s not Garner is it?


  6. UGA'97

    Bama fans need to pipe down, they now have 2 Natties without having won the SEC West or SEC Champ game, but I can see the wisdom in their fans:
    Us beating Auburn during the regular season removes Bama’s easy path to the CFP. Who knew!



    Just look at the OL…D, JD….nice to see..


  8. Gaskilldawg

    Let me get this straight. Smart’s success this year wad because the knew the names of the kids on the 2016 recruiting board…..whose names he put on the recruiting board in 2015 when Bama was putting names on its 2016 recruiting board.

    Geniuses over there on the west side of the Chattahooche.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Kirby is putting up one helluva fight for the in-state recruits he targets. It has a heavy influence on all the surrounding schools that need to poach a few top Georgia kids to maintain a high talent base. While bama and aubie are feeling some effects, it’s devastating to utk and gtu. If not for Trevor Lawrence, clemmons wouldn’t have much to show for GA recruiting. FSU, scu and fu also are feeling the effects.

    In the past UGA might land Salyer or Hill or Ericson. With out of state schools nabbing one or two. Kirby spoiled the fun by keeping all 3. Same goes for Anderson, Walker and Reese. Kirby doesn’t let any top target slip away.


  10. Hillbilly Dawg

    It is becoming more evident that Kirby was the power behind the throne over in Lord Sabans realm. The only thing that remains is for Kirby to slay the beast.


    • The Old Jeffster

      “The only thing that remains is for Kirby to slay the beast.”

      That is truly the next step in Kirby’s version of “the process”. Measuring future upward progress of the program literally depends on this eventuality.


  11. Randy Adams

    Yup… Even if it’s true (pic of the recruiting board) that would have been from January of 16. Alabama had the best class of their history last year that this year’s UGA class is compared to. A year old recruiting board isn’t effective. And if they think Georgia is the only one’s pointing out Saban’s age then they are sorely mistaken. What they are really upset about is that they are being challenged by another SEC school who is implementing a program that looks very much liker their own; but with a stronger instate recruiting base and with a coach that is 24 years younger than their’s. This mindset of entitlement is being shaken to the core and they don’t like it…


    • In the dark corner of a 5 stars living room, Kirby pulls a hopeful prospect close and whispers “Hey kid, I have something to show you…only the best recruits can see it. The last coach that set his eyes on it, let’s just say, it was a gruesome sight. His face melted like the Nazi in that Indiana Jones movie, but never mind, you probably never heard of the movie– or the orange clad coach who melted into the motivational trashcan.”

      Kirby reached into the secret pocket of his UGA fleece jacked and pulled out his phone. A series of frantic swipes and taps ensues, then Kirby slowly–dramatically– pans the phone toward the recruit. A hushed silence fills the room as the astonished 5 star takes in the Bama recruiting board picture.

      “I couldn’t remember a single kid I recruited while I was over there” growled Kirby in a hushed voice “but I snapped this”

      The 5 star looked at the phone, then back at his anxious parents. “That’s it!” The excited recruit exclaimed “I was going to Bama until I saw this picture! Only a genius can t take a photo of the recruiting board. You must be someone worth playing for.”

      “Thanks for your commitment kid. Now lets keep this hush hush. The last think I want is for Bama fans to find out and call up Feinbaum about it.”


      • Randy Adams

        Exactly… That what’s the difference was – a year later, he pulled out a picture of a recruiting board from late 2015 and that’s why the 2017 5stars came to Georgia instead of Alabama


  12. Randy Adams

    Exactly… That what’s the difference was – a year later, he pulled out a
    picture of a recruiting board from late 2015 and that’s why the 2017 5stars came to Georgia instead of Alabama