Georgia Tech and UGA lining up to battle over state’s top prospects

Paul Johnson already has two in-state prospects committed to sign with Georgia Tech next year (AJC)

Paul Johnson already has two in-state prospects committed to sign with Georgia Tech next year (AJC)

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and UGA’s Mark Richt say they expect to battle it out more this year over the state’s top prospects.

Westlake linebacker Michael Taylor is the latest homegrown talent to be recruited by the archrivals. Georgia Tech offered Taylor on Thursday; UGA extended the scholarship papers on his 17th birthday in February.

“It means a lot to get offered by both Georgia and Georgia Tech,” Taylor said. “Both are great schools. Georgia is one of the top teams in the SEC, while Georgia Tech is one of the best in the ACC. It doesn’t seem to happen a lot, when [an in-state] player gets offered by both of them.”

It’s still early in recruiting for the 2010 prospects, but at least a dozen of the state’s top names have dual offers from the rivals. Some of the headliners are M.L. King tailback Mack Brown, Booker T. Washington wide receiver Antonio Goodwin, Gainesville wide receiver Tai-ler Jones, North Gwinnett offensive lineman JaWuan James, Douglass defensive lineman Garrison Smith, South Paulding cornerback Ryan Ayers, Newnan safety Alec Ogletree, Warner Robins defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker and Buford lineman Kolton Houston.

“It’s special to have offers from both because it’s one of the greatest rivalries in college football,” Garrison Smith said. “It is just an honor to have the opportunity to play for both of those great programs. It’s not the type of thing that happens every day.”

Smith has special insight into UGA and Georgia Tech. He has yet to announce his college decision, but appears to be favoring Georgia among his 24 offers. His older brother, Greg Smith, played for Georgia Tech.

Getting an offer from Georgia Tech and UGA is very important for the in-state recruits. It cements the player’s status as being one of the nation’s top college prospects. You can expect a flood of scholarship offers from out-of-state schools to follow. Just look at the elite names above.

The state of Georgia produces around 200 Div. I prospects every year, and only a tiny percentage are offered by either UGA or Georgia Tech. Even a smaller number of recruits are heavily pursued by both. There are exceptions to the rule, but you have to be good. Very good.

“It feels like a privilege,” JaWuan James said. “Georgia Tech is great, while Georgia is a powerhouse. If you decide to stay around home to play college football, you can’t go wrong with either of them.”

Douglass DL Garrison Smith likes UGA among his 24 offers, while his older brother played for archrival Georgia Tech (AJC)

Douglass DL Garrison Smith likes UGA among his 24 offers, while his older brother played for archrival Georgia Tech (AJC)

Back to Michael Taylor: The 6-foot-1, 200-pound linebacker also has early offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and North Carolina State, and many other schools are interested. He was thrilled to get the news from Georgia Tech.

“They have great academics, and if I was to go there, I could see myself playing very soon,” he said. “It would also be a chance to stay close to home and play in front of my family in Atlanta.”

What about Georgia? “If I had to sign today, then it would be Georgia. The Bulldogs are my No. 1 choice right now. I’m just waiting until the right time to commit to a school because this is one of the biggest decisions in the last 17 years of my life.”

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  • 248 comments Add your comment

    BILLY JACK

    April 3rd, 2009
    8:18 am

    I AM GOING TO STATE A FACT THAT IS UNDISPUTED-IF GEORGIA REALLY WANTS SOMEBODY TECH HAS NO CHANCE.UGA GOES AFTER 4-5 STAR PLAYERS TECH 3 STAR.YES TECH BEAT AN UNINSPIRED GEORGIA TEAM LAST YEAR BY 3 POINTS.UGA AND TECH PEOPLE HAVE HATED EACH OTHER SINCE THE LATE 1800′S THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE.TECH BEATS GEORGIA ONCE A DECADE.TECH IS ALWAYS OBSESSED WITH GEORGIA-GEORGIA THINKS TECH IS AN EMBARRASMENT TO THE STATE.I HOPE IVE PROVED MY POINT,WHICH IS THIS-TECH MAY WIN ONCE A DECADE OR SIGN A RECRUIT THAT UGA WANTED BUT THIS WILL BE RARE.UGA HAS BEATEN TECH SO MUCH SINCE THE SERIES STARTED,NOT ONCE HAS UGA MADE A RING,SIGN OR ANYTHING ELSE-WHY?BECAUSE IT IS EXPECTED THAT WE DOMINATE THIS SERIES.TECH WAS SO SHOCKED IT WON IN 2008 THAY MADE A RING.TECHS NEXT CHANCE TO MAKE RINGS 2016.

    dap01

    April 3rd, 2009
    8:14 am

    Lane Kiffin is a joke. UT supporters join your cousin/girlfriends on a UT blog.

    UGA will get the recruits that it needs. UGA is a great institution that will have a sold out 92,000 in the stands each week, will be in the top 10 every year and will be on TV every week.

    Tech is a great place to end up too. They have 47,000 every week and they sometimes get on tv on ESPN 3.

    Yellow is a good color!

    BamaForever

    April 3rd, 2009
    8:11 am

    Thursday night games are certainly much better than losing to Alabama, Florida and Georgia Tech on a Saturday! Richt certainly is a nice man…too bad he is only average on Saturday’s, huh? Has he ever won a big game when the other team was peaking? LOL

    Dizzle

    April 3rd, 2009
    8:05 am

    Did yall hear that Lane Kiffin said that he’s through with taking his clothes off for Urban Meyer?

    Sissy Dawg

    April 3rd, 2009
    7:58 am

    Enter your comments here

    Mr. Bennett

    April 3rd, 2009
    7:37 am

    Kiffin better worry about his own state. Marlon Brown and Austin Long are going to look REEAALLLY good in red and black!

    SugarHillDawg

    April 3rd, 2009
    7:35 am

    I know it’s the paper’s job to stir the pot BUT UGA goes for 4 and 5 star recruits and Tech could never hope to land those kinda guys. Tech needs to be able to convince players that it’s cool to play on Thursday nights and lower their standards and settle for the ACC and that is a hard sale.

    Mr. Skynyrd

    April 3rd, 2009
    6:58 am

    Who’s Lane Kiffin?

    Head to head « Get The Picture

    April 3rd, 2009
    6:58 am

    [...] to pull the program’s head out of its ass on this front.  And, as Michael Carvell notes in this post, it looks like Georgia and Georgia Tech may find themselves going after more of the same recruits [...]

    UT Wild Boyz

    April 3rd, 2009
    6:13 am

    Paul Johnson looks like a Supermodel in that photo lololol. Too bad CMR didn’t get any prayers answered for Bryce Brown. Tennessee will raid your state yet again for prospects in 09. Fear Lane Kiffin. Fear him.