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Georgia football winners and losers after 2021 early signing period
Winner: Kirby Smart recruits the state of Georgia
The goal of recruiting shouldn’t be to get the best players close to your school. It should be to get the best players wherever they are in the country.
That’s why it never made much sense to approach Kirby Smart and how he recruited the state of Georgia over the past two recruitment cycles. Georgia has certainly seen its fair share of talent leave the state. But it has also been brought into the No. 2 and No. 1 recruitment classes in the past two cycles.
That trend reversed itself in the 2021 cycle, as Georgia happened to be missing some of its out-of-state goals – Maason Smith and Donovan Edwards both chose to play for home state schools rather than the Bulldogs – but cleaned up in the state .
The Bulldogs signed seven of the top eleven Georgia state players. And if you remove Miami quarterback signer Jake Garcia, who doesn’t even go here after being transferred to the state from California to play his senior season, the Bulldogs signed seven of the top 10.
Related: Kirby Smart ‘excited’ about Brock Vandagriff, the future of the Georgia quarterback position
The 2021 recruitment course also marked the first time Georgia has signed the best prospect in the state since Kirby Smart took over. Offensive tackle Amarius Mims held that honor this year as he is the No. 7 overall recruit in the country. So that story is absolutely dead.
So when asked how this came about, Smart made it clear that the geographic location or proximity to Georgia didn’t have much to do with the Bulldogs in-state heavy class.
“I want the best football players. I want people of high character who care about the team and love UGA. If that’s a kid 15 minutes or 15 hours away, I feel very comfortable with that. “
Smart added that while Georgia was hurt by a lack of state visits, that also prevented many of the in-state children from looking at schools outside the state of Georgia.
The Bulldogs have signed another top 3 recruitment class. Last year, most of those kids came from out of state. This year more came from the state of Georgia.
The reality is that Smart and his coaching staff are quite capable of getting the best players in the country no matter where they come from.
Loser: The depth of Georgia’s corner ridge in 2021
Georgia saw only one dissolution on Wednesday. It didn’t come from a top performer, but it does happen in a critical position of need.
De’Jahn Warren, the best JUCO cornerback in the country and a four-star prospectus, went from Georgia to Jackson State.
You’re probably scratching your head why a defensive back would leave Georgia for a school that doesn’t even play at the FBS level. This is where it’s worth remembering that Deion Sanders is now the head coach at Jackson State. The Hall of Famer’s defensive back clearly has strong appeal with other defensive backs.
Georgia signed two other potential clients expected to be in the corner of college as the Bulldogs landed four-star Nyland Green and four-star Kamari Lassiter. Both prospects rated higher than Warren, but with Warren coming from the JUCO ranks, he was more ready for the college game.
Related: Georgia’s No. 3 ranked class in 2021 meets needs, more work and turnover ahead
The Bulldogs may need Green and / or Lassiter now to play early, depending on what Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell decide to do. If both choose to go pro, a very real possibility, Georgia will have some big questions about the cornerback position for the first time in a while.
It’s worth remembering that Smart is one of the best defensive back coaches in the country. And Georgia has options it can go to in the doomsday scenario, like moving Tyrique Stevenson to one of those places. There are also talented 2020 signers in Kelee Ringo and Jalen Kimber who are eager to impress.
But losing Warren certainly stung Georgia on a day where there was little drama.
Winner: Matt Luke
After Georgia signed seven offensive linemen in the 2020 recruiting cycle, Georgia did not have to attract a huge load of offensive linemen.
But offensive line coach Matt Luke made sure those limited places count. In his freshman year with Georgia, Luke signed a total of four offensive linemen. Three of them were in the top 100 overall outlook, with Mims at No. 7, Micah Morris at No. 63, and Dylan Fairchild at No. 97. All three of those offensive linemen are also from the state of Georgia.
“I am very enthusiastic about this group. They are athletic. They are a great size. They are really smart, good kids, ”said Smart. ‘All those guys, I can’t say enough about each one of them. Matt Luke is excited to bring those guys in and start coaching them. “
The fourth recruit is 3-star prospect Jared Wilson, although he shouldn’t be forgotten either. He was good enough to play for Sam Pittman, as he first committed to the program when the now Arkansas head coach was still in Georgia.
“Jared Wilson was one of the guys we focused on early on – size, width, hand size, athleticism – really good target and really hardworking,” said Smart. “He comes from a really athletic family. He’s a great boy. “
In the 247Sports recruiter rankings, Georgia’s highest assistant coach was none other than Luke. With two back-to-back strong classes, Luke will have a hard time following this up in the 2022 recruiting cycle. But it should be nice to see him try to get to the top of the list.
Loser: Non-elite teams
From a recruiting perspective, there are five elite teams: Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU, and Clemson. You may be able to throw Oklahoma in there too, though success has been largely limited to just recruits on the offensive side of the ball.
But those first five teams mentioned have dominated college football, and it almost always starts with recruiting. Those five teams have been responsible for all but one playoffs since the start of the College Football Playoff in 2014.
And all these teams distance themselves even further from the very good teams like Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame and USC.
Of the top 100 recruits in the province, 47 went to those first five schools. Alabama had 13 and Ohio State is just behind with 12. The Bulldogs and LSU both had eight, while Clemson came in six.
That means the rest of the country came in with 53 of those top 100 prospects.
The gap between the elite and the rest of college football is only widening. We see that playing on the field as Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State are routinely in the playoffs. Georgia usually lurks too. Notre Dame has figured out how to make things interesting as they have signed four top-100 recruits in this cycle and look ready to make it to the College Football Playoff for the second time in two seasons.
The College Football Playoff has fundamentally broken the sport. It has enabled the rich and powerful schools, which is Georgia, to keep their eye on the best talent as it is one of the few schools that can consistently sell that they can compete for a spot in the College Football Playoff . Until there is an expansion of the College Football Playoff, this trend of super recruiting teams will only continue. Much to the detriment of the sport.
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