“Geography’s not undefeated, but it’s pretty close.”

It is well past time to recognize the level of wealth of high school talent produced in the state of Georgia.  There are four states in 2019 that have each generated at least ten percent of the 382 blue-chip recruits (rated four or five stars on the 247Sports Composite).  Three are the usual suspects — California, Texas and Florida.  The fourth, with a smaller population base than the traditional giants, is Georgia.

The story is similar over the last seven recruiting classes.  Which helps to explain something:

It’s not a coincidence that Kirby Smart’s signed only top-five classes since making his way to Athens after 2015. Florida, Texas, and California used to be the interchangeable top three recruiting states. But now Georgia’s in that group, and much closer to those three than any others in blue-chip count.

Blame it on Richt, blame it on a lack of institutional support for Richt, in any event it’s clear Georgia was leaving money on the table when it came to recruiting before Smart’s hire.  Add that to Paul Johnson’s outright recruiting malpractice and it’s no wonder there were schools making a better living coming into Georgia to sign kids.

58 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

58 responses to ““Geography’s not undefeated, but it’s pretty close.”

  1. ugafidelis

    Mark Richt had lost control before he got here.

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  2. Fech screwed the pooch with Fish Fry. As the quality of high school players locally went up, they had a coach who wanted to play ball in the style of Dodd. Now they have to pay for it.

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  3. sniffer

    blame it on a lack of institutional support for Richt

    I’m genuinely interested here. How did BM not support Richt in a way that hurt recruiting? I understand how he hurt his own efforts. Can’t connect the dots to McG or the AA board.

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  4. Derek

    The difference in my view is that it’s kind of easy to finish 6th-8th in recruiting every year when you’re at UGA. It’s really hard to finish top 3 every year no matter where you are. CKS knows that’s the difference between competing for championships every year rather than every once and a while, and he’s willing to put in the effort.

    Another issue that’s plagued us is recruiting big time skilled guys and ignoring/failing at one side of the LOS or the other. It’s taken longer than I’d hoped, but I think we’re finally getting to the point where we can impose our will on most of the schedule.

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  5. Greg

    Alabama, Auburn, FSU, Florida, Clemson, Tennessee, SC and etc….all sitting there. Just hate it when some mention that we only have one instate school to compete with…not a true picture. Recruiting is tougher than some think at UGA

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    • Uglydawg

      True, Greg..but those schools also recruit their own states and the Sunshine State cranks out a lot of players and they’re all recruiting there too. Alabama produces as do the Carolina’s. Kirby has shown he’ll go anywhere to get a kid he needs.
      Actually, the whole Southeastern USA is fertile ground for recruiting.
      It was beautiful when Kirby signed the best player out of Tennessee a couple of years ago. Louisiana, Alabama,Mississippi, Michigan, even the Northeast are all giving up players to CKS and UGA.

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      • Greg

        Don’t think anyone could have a legitimate complaint about Kirby’s recruiting….never have seen it this good before. It’s that some of these writers see what the state of Georgia produces and then say we only have one instate school to compete with.

        Shit, in reality….it’s probably as tough as the state of Texas with all their instate schools. Nonetheless, Kirby is doing a better than anyone before him imo…so far.

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        • Macallanlover

          Dead on, Greg. While ugly’s comment about the entire southeast being fertile ground, there is no doubt someone saying UGA has “the” high ground due to in-state geography completely misses that crossing the state border isn’t an obstacle that slows down any competing program. Edge in some cases for sure but we are geographically disadvantaged when it comes to just as many blue chippers from Georgia. Depending on who/where we are discussing, the following schools may be a shorter drive from a recruit’s HS: FSU, FU, Auburn, Bama, TN, Vandy, GT, SC, and a few cases, even Clemson. Writers making that statement simply haven’t done their homework. It is true we are not geographically disadvantaged compared to many other programs, but it is a rare instance where GT is even a factor in the discussion, but often one of the schools I mentioned.

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          • Yurdle

            All those people in other states trying to take our croots! Let’s build a wall and make Clemson, Bama, FSU, Auburn, Florida, and sakerlina pay for it.

            (I’m not trying to get all playpen)

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            • Tony Barnfart

              “And who’s gonna pay for the wall ?!”

              [“DABBBB___OHHHHH ! “]

              “That’s right, Dabo’s gonna pay for the wall. Lotsa money, that guy. Good guy too…I just want him to be fair. He hasn’t been fair.”

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  6. Bright Idea

    I’m now wondering how long it will be before HS coaches and recruits are criticizing Kirby for recruiting nationwide when there’s so much talent in the state. We used to think that Richt needed to close the border and now Kirby ignores the border. I’m all for it but we’ll hear that complaint sooner or later.

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    • Normaltown Mike

      I’ve wondered the same thing. The “he don’t ‘cruit Georgia” cry will go up mighty quick with the people that stay perennially pissed off.

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    • sniffer

      Only if the program plateaus. Championships will quiet most critics. And SEC championships should be the benchmark. Anything beyond is a premium worthy of large bonuses.

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  7. David K

    I don’t think it helped that Richt publicly outed and suspended kids caught smoking weed for the first 2-3 games every year either.

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    • Oh, I didn’t know he had a choice about that. The things you learn in the comments section…

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      • David K

        If he didn’t have a choice then why did it stop when Kirby came in? You think these kids just all stopped smoking weed after Kirby had a tough talk with them?

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        • It’s official school policy. Do the math.

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          • David K

            You’re splitting hairs. Of course if they get caught they have a policy that requires them to be suspended. If that means that Kirby manages it in a way that doesn’t get kids caught, so be it. Whatever the case, something changed, and it’s not that they’re all not getting high anymore. If you think Kirby’s going to let half a dozen starters miss the first few games of the season every year when none of the competition shoots themselves in the foot that way you’re nuts.

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            • Jesus, do I have to spell it out for you? MICHAEL ADAMS IS NO LONGER THE PRESIDENT OF UGA.

              Wrap yourself in whatever explanation makes you feel better, though. We’re done here.

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              • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

                Exactly, and 100% this. I think we can all surmise that Richt didn’t want his team tested every week. And yet it happened.

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          • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

            When Richt was coach here, the team took a pee test every Thursday i think it was. That was a UGA AD policy. That is not the same policy that exists at UGA today under Kirby.

            If anyone has ever read me, you know I was all in on Richt until I was all in on Kirby. Richt never had the opportunity to succeed the way Kirby does.

            It’s night and day the difference between institutional support.

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  8. Atticus

    BS Richt wasn’t supported. He didn’t demand it. I am no McGarity fan but Kirby got what he wanted because he understood how to get it done. Richt lost his job because he was a good coach at a great institution in a great state for talent and he didn’t stay on top of the roster and he hired bad assistants. Please for our sanity let’s end the Richt Kirby comparisons!

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    • Kirby got what he wanted because GMcG knew his neck was in the noose if hiring an unproven coordinator proved to be the wrong decision. He could at least say he gave Kirby everything he could.

      Kirby used that leverage to the hilt.

      Given, when the AD showed up, the liquor barons were ready for change, only giving limited financial support made it easy to keep him from being successful.

      One thing to say about Richt is that he could have used his leverage from early in his tenure to get the things he wanted. By the time those wants were needs, he had pissed away all of his political capital.

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  9. Bigshot

    Kirby-effort/Richt-no effort. Why didn’t Richt demand support. Kirby does. The difference is one is driven, the other was nonchalant.

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    • Yurdle

      Maybe, but I think not. A guy paying his own money for his assistants doesn’t seem to lack for drive and “want to.” But CFB changed under his feet, and he didn’t keep up. A coach’s leverage in 2012 is unimaginably greater than it was in 2002, for example, and that trend has only continued. Sometimes it takes a new guy to realize that there are while new levers to pull—and Smart learned from the guy who gets leverage better than anybody else.

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      • Derek

        Some of that depends on what time period you’re talking about.

        I think by the time we get to 2005 or so the program goes on coast thinking we’ll catch lighting in a bottle like Mack Brown did and Saban and Meyer flipped the script and we look around in 2009 and we have AJ and literally nothing else.

        I do give him credit for turning that ship around. Near impossible to do. Can’t think of a high profile program that’s gone from where we were to the doorstep. We were bad. Real bad. And then we got real damn close. And then knees started exploding and defensive depth took another dip and qb talent dried up all of a sudden.

        However, I’m not sure that under the best circumstances is CMR recruiting top 3 classes every year and I don’t know that he thinks he needed to. He certainly didn’t make some of the compromises you need to. Like “blue shirting” and “processing” and “internal discipline.”

        I think that you’re chance of getting through 15 games and carrying the trophy away is about nil if you aren’t and you damn sure can’t be in the discussion every year without top 3 classes nationally.

        We haven’t been as cut throat as Bama (who is?) but we’re no longer reading quotes about in state talent getting love from some other suitor before us. Shouldn’t be a big deal but in the mind of a 15 or 16 year old it’s everything.

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        • Richt wanted an IPF for years. Richt wanted more support staff for years. Richt wanted a bigger recruiting budget for years.

          This isn’t a binary choice. Georgia underperformed on the recruiting front for more than one reason.

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          • Derek

            I agree to the extent that once he figured it out, he couldn’t get the cooperation. Maybe some wanted him to fail. I don’t know.

            I don’t think he can blame others for the condition the program was in in 2009 and 2010 though.

            After that I thought he did a really good job with what he had to work with.

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      • FlyingPeakDawg

        I think Kirby, training under Saban, does know how to push harder and values some of the investment in facilities and support more than Richt did (based on CMR’s own comments from time to time), but what many omit is that in the last 4 -5 years Richt was swimming uphill against his own administration which forced him to make decisions based on what could be done, not what SHOULD be done. Those that want to blame him for a lack of leadership on that issue don’t accept that his only leverage was to leave UGA for another school…something he clearly did not want to even contemplate given his loyalties. I’m fine with Smart > Richt on building the program arguments, but l still love what CMR brought to UGA and created around our Pro Style offense and recruiting of QB’s and RB’s. Kirby’s building on that, rather than having to recreate it. Like it or not, our success these past two seasons is still based on a foundation left in place by CMR.

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  10. PTC DAWG

    Your last paragraph opening sentence is dead on. Glad that dude is out of Athens.

    Still wonder why folks try to make excuses for him. Yeah, blame the AD for Richt having less than 70 on scholarship. No way that was Richts fault.

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    • Plenty of culpability to go around.

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      • Atticus

        So you are saying it was McGarity and the lack of institutional support that caused Richt to have 15 scholarship spots open in 2012? Are you telling me that Greg McGarity is the reason why Mark Richt hired bad assistants? Is the reason reason we had such mediocre offensive lines compared to where we are now is because the faculty and administration didn’t support Richt correctly?Are you saying that the administration and the president werent all in so that’s the reason why Richt didn’t recruit Deshaun Watson properly and signed Hutson Mason, Ramsey and Park and wasnt recruiting Fromm? I agree Kirby had more leverage and Richt did a very good job for several years but there was one person responsible for the above and that was Coach Richt. Bottom line. And it showed up again in Miami.

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        • It’s like you haven’t been reading this blog, this post in particular or my comments.

          Short version: no, I’m not saying any of that.

          Go find someone else to straw man.

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        • 4th and Kirby

          We get it. You hate CMR for whatever other reason he chafes you besides the ones you’ve listed. It’s amazing how the Richtophobes can’t acknowledge what CMR brought to and accomplished in Athens. I’m all in on CKS now because he’s our coach. Just like I was all in on CMR and CJD. There’s more to your CMR disgust than his management.

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          • Atticus

            Neither one of you read my posts then. I said Richt was a very good coach. He did some amazing things to bring the program back. He was a very good coach. Where I have a problem is when people say he couldn’t be successful or win a championship because he didn’t have the full support of the administration. He didn’t. I agree. Balance. Read my words. Senator my apology if that is not what you were saying. But where I have a problem is people saying he could’ve been successful if he had gotten full support. My point was laid out, 3 reasons he was fired none were due to the lack of support. He hired poor assistants, he recruited 3 QBs in a row that were not SEC caliber especially Ramsey and Park and he didn’t stay on top of the numbers. That’s it. As always I will move on.

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            • I’m not saying whether Richt would have been more successful with full support from McGarity. What I am saying is that their relationship grew increasingly dysfunctional and that’s no way to manage a football program. Add to that a lack of accountability (for both head coach and AD) that is part and parcel of the Georgia Way and it shouldn’t be particularly hard to see how Georgia football underperformed during the period from McGarity’s hire through Richt’s dismissal.

              Nobody deserves a pass.

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          • Bigshot

            I am all in for any UGA Coach. After CMR’s wife was diagnosed with cancer things changed. I can understand that, after all there are some things more important than football. What I do blame him for is staying on and taking the University’s money. He should have resigned.

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        • Mayor

          Wait a minute! Don’t badmouth Hutson Mason! He’s a DGD who won almost all the games he started and 2 of his losses can be traced back directly to back coaching decisions that cost UGA the win.

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  11. 4th and Kirby

    Not saying this is a thing, just throwing it out there. But at Alabama, Saban controls virtually everything that happens in Tuscaloosa. Everything. Troublesome players are virtually unheard of. And that certainly isn’t because they didn’t have troublesome players. And the players you did hear about….Tuscaloosa squashed the story. Remember the Alabama drug dealing TE that was busted but never charged? https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/alabama-football/alabama-te-caught-marijuana-cash-charged/

    Probably not. As soon as the story hit, it disappeared. The entire state of Alabama is crooked when it comes to football. Probably worse than the state of Texas in the ’80’s. We all know a story on Auburn. In my opinion, if you want to know what kind of person a player was in college, look at how they act after they leave college. What if CMR wouldn’t do what “needed to be done” in Athens to win. I don’t recall hearing a single word about the Athens PD or the Clarke CSD arresting players for helmets or bar fights or whatever the last 3 years. Is it because we’ve magically recruited better athletes that never get in trouble? Or is because Kirby learned a few things on city control from the master?

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  12. Mayor

    Mark Richt’s problem was not using all his available scholarships. He actually recruited well, just didn’t field a complete team.

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