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

    Tech Student

    April 3rd, 2009
    1:17 pm

    Most all of you people sound like idiots.

    UGA is the better football factory and it will always be that way due to the nature of the two schools, however, Tech is getting better and seems (so far) like it is on the way up. Tech’s academics (choices of majors, toughness), and UGA’s program success, environment, and conference, will get UGA more of the 4-5 star recruits. Tech will still get mostly 3-star recruits and a few 4-star and possibly one or two 5-stars in a good year.

    UGA will usually win the recruiting battles, as they will and already have won many of these mentioned (I thought this article was retarded), but I think that with RBs and dual-threat QBs, the battle will go to GT more often, and with WRs and nfl-QBs, the battle will go to UGA. The rest of the players will more often go to UGA for the reasons stated above (history, success, SEC).

    That is how it is.

    So, when Tech wins, it is a bigger deal because of the talent gap. And how can you blame Tech fans for “bragging too much”? It is a rivalry game, no matter how little UGA fans say they think it matters. UGA fans could not stop bragging about “this game doesn’t matter” over the past 7 years (and yes, that counts as bragging). That is what a rivalry game is about – bragging rights for the next 365 days.

    To sum this up:

    GT academics >(but more narrow scope than) UGA academics, which btw, > UT
    SEC football > ACC football
    UGA football (usually) > GT football
    # of UGA 4 and 5-stars > # of GT 4 and 5-stars
    59 > 39 (series record, UGA leading)

    4 NCs > 2 NCs
    streak of 8 (long ago) > streak of 7
    45 > 42, so we are allowed to brag

    To Hell With Georgia
    Can’t wait for Thanksgiving @ the Dodd

    -Tech Student


    April 3rd, 2009
    1:10 pm

    I’m tired of hearing all this BS about the rings, here is the real story:
    As part of its CFA bowl package, Tech got a ring. They had some say into what design was on the ring, and PART of that design was the score 45-42. Bottom line: Tech got rings from the CFA bowl, not for beating UGA. AJC took this story and ran with it, implying the latter.
    Saint Richt can have all the 5 star recruits he wants, but UGA never lives up to the hype.

    RAMBLE ON!!!

    April 3rd, 2009
    1:05 pm



    April 3rd, 2009
    12:50 pm

    FACT: STILL 45-42 AND 49-10


    April 3rd, 2009
    12:45 pm

    Supersize-you want me to tell you some lies from techies today listen up-lie 1-UGA and Tech battle for the same recruits-very seldom does this happen-there is no recruiting war with tech-we battle UF-BAMA-USC for most of ours.lie 2-UGA grads are garbage men-I have never met a garbage man or a garbage man that graduated from UGA or ever heard about one.lie 3-All UGA grads work for Tech grads-Im sure this has happened but probably the other way around quite often too.lie 4-Techies talking about 409 rushing yds-I agree this is disgraceful but UGA had a monster total yds that day also on your def,you always fail to mention that.lie 5-UGA consistently underachieving-well this might have some truth if you had left out consistently we win 10 games a year and our coach is the 3rd winningest coach in div 1 the last 8 yrs with a number 2 ranking in 2007.lie 6-blog 10:33 Ole Miss is better than Georgia.This one is truly crazy we have beat Ole Miss badly the last 50 yrs and also the last time with Coach Orgeron very badly.I dont have time to go over all the lies being thay are so many but you get my point.When you techies come on a blog come with fact.


    April 3rd, 2009
    12:43 pm

    I would love to go to the Tech/UGA game this year but it’s at Tech and I’m too afraid. I might get robbed or raped down there in the big city. That’s too much for me to handle. I’ve never been in a big city before…is it scary?


    April 3rd, 2009
    12:41 pm

    Its funny to me that all the GT fans think UGA is “losing their grip on every front”. Let me remind you that GA still won 10 games last year and has averaged 10+ wins the last seven years and a top ten ranking. GT obviously dosn’t come close to those figures and never will – the support isn’t there. By the way, the more you face the triple option the easier it is to stop and recruits will be harder and harder to come by; luckily you still had Gaileys recruits last year, which for GT were pretty solid players.

    Georgia is undoubtedly one of the best programs in the SEC. Fla is a notch (or TWO) above all teams in the SEC, followed by UGA, BAMA, LSU on the second tier and UT, AUBURN, SC, OLE MISS third tier teams.


    April 3rd, 2009
    12:31 pm

    Now that you mention it, yes I recall it but I don’t follow basketball too closely. Back in college, I realized I had a problem one day when I was watching the same episode of SportsCenter for the third time in a row and at that point, I vowed to stick pretty much to just football so I wouldn’t waste so much time. I may need to make that same vow for the amount of time I’m wasting on these blogs. In any case, still sounds like a misnomer but Duke b-ball’s obviously earned the right to call their arena whatever they like.

    Supersize that order, mutt

    April 3rd, 2009
    12:15 pm

    GeoffDawg, you actually didn’t know that? Don’t you ever watch basketball games. Cameron is one helluva place to play basketball…one of the smallest basketball arenas in division 1, and yet probably the most feared and respected.


    April 3rd, 2009
    12:13 pm