We’re justifiably excited that Georgia landed three five-star recruits in the 2016 class, but to keep things in perspective, consider that over the last four seasons, according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings, Alabama averaged at least three five-stars per class.
Category Archives: Georgia Football
I’ve got a question for those of you bitching that Kirby Smart staying at Alabama to coach through the national title game cost Georgia on the recruiting trail with its 2016 class.
If you believe that had Smart spent the time chasing recruits for his new team instead of coaching his old one, he would have signed two or three more Dawgs, aren’t you implying that the 2017 class, which will be his focus for the next twelve months, should be significantly better?
Bonus question: if so, logically, doesn’t that justify Smart’s decision to leave a few spots open now to use next year?
In the short run, instead of pondering how it matches up with Richt’s work, perhaps we should be looking at how it’s matching up with Jim McElwain’s.
I mentioned it in the comments today, but it bears repeating in a post. Smart, in yesterday’s presser, made it clear that Georgia’s 2016 recruiting isn’t done. The Dawgs are still in the hunt for Savannah’s Demetris Robertson and also extended an offer this week to an offensive lineman at Rhode Island who will be a graduate transfer in a couple of months. (It’s easy to overlook that, but Jacob Eason hasn’t.)
Just another reason not to flip out about the size of this class – yet, anyway.
There may have been some subtle changes to how Georgia did its first signing day under Smart. But the final result – for now, pending one more big target – was about the same as it usually was under Mark Richt.
“Today, for me – for you guys it may be about stars and rankings – to me about it’s about new Bulldogs new members of the family,” Smart said.
For those who do care: Georgia ended the day ranked seventh nationally and fourth in the SEC in the 247Sports Composite, which takes into account the ratings of the four major recruiting outlets. That will change if five-star athlete Demetris Robertson, who remains uncommitted, signs up later.
Either way, there are a couple contexts in which to look at Smart’s first class.
Compared to almost any other first-year coach, it was an unusually strong class. Last year Florida finished 22nd nationally in Jim McElwain’s first year. Nick Saban’s first class at Alabama was 10th.
The caveat: Georgia was already on the way to a strong class when Richt was fired. It was ranked third nationally on the day he was fired. Smart ended up holding on to most of it – 11 of the 20 signees committed under Richt – and on Wednesday he signed defensive back-receiver Mecole Hardman, a five-star who was leaning heavily to Georgia before Richt’s firing.
First of all, he’s right to give Richt some credit there. The old staff did lay the groundwork for much of this class, which isn’t to say that Smart and company didn’t have to do a lot of work to preserve their efforts, and that’s something we should appreciate.
But I was sort of curious about his “the more things change” point, so I decided to take a look at the 247Sports Composite to see where this year’s bunch sits in comparison to where all of Richt’s classes finished. Here’s what I found:
YEAR RANK SIZE AVG.
2016 7 20 91.48
2015 5 30 89.73
2014 8 21 90.97
2013 12 34 88.51
2012 8 19 91.23
2011 6 26 90.03
2010 11 28 83.54
2009 5 21 91.43
2008 7 25 89.84
2007 9 24 87.69
2006 3 26 90.57
2005 6 17 90.64
2004 7 21 88.54
2003 9 24 86.15
2002 9 30 86.48
2001 10 27 74.16
(First thought: sure looks like there’s been some grade inflation over the years, doesn’t it?)
More than superficially, there’s some justification for Seth’s point. But there are a couple of nits to pick with it, too. There’s an interesting correlation between class size and average recruit rankings: Richt’s larger classes tended to have the lowest averages, which would indicate a certain amount of slot filling going on. Sometimes that paid off spectacularly, as it did with his first class, and sometimes, as in 2013, it blew up in his face.
But what I can’t help but notice more than anything here is that in his first shot, with less than two months on the job, Smart’s average ranking betters every one of Richt’s fifteen and his national ranking ties for sixth best out of those sixteen years of classes. I don’t see how you can’t be at least a little impressed by the results there.
Yes, the trick now is following up – keeping them in school, making them SEC-caliber players and finishing the next recruiting cycle even more strongly. But as beginnings go, I’ll take it.
It’s gonna be a long day in Athens.
Not that there’s a damned thing wrong with that.