Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson hinted that next year’s recruiting class may be entirely comprised of prospects from the state of Georgia. Last month, the Jackets signed 14 in-state players, the largest haul since 1992.
“The state is very important,” Johnson said. “We wanted to try to make an emphasis on that, and we have. There’s a chance we may take everybody in-state this year [with our 2010 scholarships]. We may take them all from Georgia.”
Georgia Tech expects to sign between 12-15 players next year, and already has its first commitment with Collins Hill tailback Charles Perkins. “I think there’s a lot of good players in Georgia, there’s some great high school coaches, and football is important,” Johnson said. “We’re one of the two bigger in-state schools and we need to make sure that we are very thorough here.”
“Now does that mean we won’t go outside? No. But if we are going outside of the state, those guys need to be remarkably better than the guys we can find in the state. As long as we can find guys with what we need academically in the state, there is no use to bypass them for somebody else. Having said that, I think that you really, really want to also concentrate on the contiguous states that are touching Georgia. We’re just as close to some parts of South Carolina or Alabama as we are to parts of Georgia. Those states I consider to be a one little hub. What I’m talking about is that it doesn’t make sense for us to be in Ohio, Pennslyvania, or California, or Texas trying to make a living, when we have good players here.”
Meanwhile, UGA coach Mark Richt said homegrown talent has always been the No. 1 priority. The Bulldogs landed 11 players from the Peach State last month. “The state of Georgia will always be the hub of our recruiting. We’re 69-percent Georgia kids on our roster, and that’s part of the reason I took this job,” Richt said. “There are great players in this state. Every once in a while, an out-of-state player gets involved, but they have to be pretty special. We’re not going to another state to find a No. 2. We’re looking for No. 1’s there.”
“We’re fortunate to play well over the last few years where we do generate interest from outside of the state. When Matthew Stafford [from Texas] or Knowshon Moreno [New Jersey] are interested, you’ve got to recruit them. The thing about A.J. Green [South Carolina] and some kids from North Carolina, it’s not quite the state of Georgia, but it’s within striking distance. A lot of those kids are not awful far away.”
“But we absolutely love the state of Georgia. When I was at Florida State, we knew with just about every kid we got out of Georgia that he was tough, that he could compete, and that he was well coached. There’s a talent base in Georgia, and a bunch of high school coaches doing an awesome job preparing them for our type of program.”
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