Last Thursday on Buck and Kincade, John asked the question, “Is the new coaching staff at UGA earning the high salaries they are being paid?” Well, going strictly off the 7-5 record UGA had this season the obvious answer is, no. But there is more to what this coaching staff is doing right now than a 7-5 record.
As I stated in an earlier blog, this staff is instilling a different culture in Athens around the football program. One of the areas they said they felt needed a change is the recruiting of the top players within the state of Georgia. With their first full recruiting class about 8 weeks away this coaching staff is doing what they said needs to be done for Georgia to take the next step. In this regard, they are definitely earning their money.
Let me preface this by saying I’m not the biggest recruiting guy although I have a lot of respect for what recruiting analyst do. Personally I’m more of a wait and see kind of guy. I don’t need to go too far back in UGA history to prove why I’m a little gun shy when it comes to getting excited over UGA’s recruiting classes. Dawgs fans all know to well how the 2013 class, ranked 11th in country, and 2014 class, ranked 8th in country, worked out. Not so well, right? To contradict myself a little, I do understand the need for recruiting and getting the higher rated guys in, because obviously your chances of winning with a class full of 5 and 4 star recruits is better than a class composed of 3’s or below.
Since the moment he arrived almost a year ago, Kirby Smart has banged the drum for recruiting being the key to success at UGA. Not just recruiting, but having the flagship university of Georgia lock down the state and stop letting the top recruits leave the state to play football elsewhere. To put it in perspective, of the Top 50 recruits in the country, 6 are from GA. That ties for 3rd most from any one state, behind Florida (10), California (7), and ties with Texas (6). Mark Richt was a good recruiter while head coach at Georgia, but one of the biggest knocks against him was letting the talent in his own backyard go elsewhere. Since 2010 here is how The Dawgs did at getting the top GA recruits to stay remain home:
2010 – 6 of Top 21
2011 – 11 of Top 25
2012 – 4 of Top 25
2013 – 7 of Top 25
2014 – 6 of Top 25
2015 – 9 of Top 25
2016 – 9 of Top 25
*All stats and rankings above came from 247sports.com
As of today, UGA has 11 verbal commits from the Top 25 recruits in the state of Georgia, with more expected to come. It’s worth noting of the listed years above 2011 was Richt’s biggest instate class and that team ended up playing in the 2012 SEC Championship! Of course, in the world of recruiting which deals with 17 and 18 year olds, we are a LONG way from Signing Day on February 1st.
This year at 7-5 is a disappointment, but you have to give Kirby and his staff a chance to get the program where they feels it needs to be to take it to the next level. Smart’s plan means keeping the top level high school talent in Georgia and getting them to the University of Georgia so the program can take that next step. His first full recruiting class is showing that he can get that talent to stay!
All stats and rankings above came from 247sports.com
– “Road Dawg” Adam Gillespie
Producer of Georgia Bulldog Roundtable