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.”

  • Click here and BOOKMARK the AJC’s Recruiting Coverage.
  • Do you want to talk about UGA, Georgia Tech or the state’s top prospects with AJC Recruiting Expert Michael Carvell? Click here to go to “Inside College Recruiting” forum
  • Got a recruiting item? Please send an email to
  • 248 comments Add your comment

    GT wrestle

    April 3rd, 2009
    2:46 pm

    and that wasnt a fluke remeber taht what Tech fans win Richt srated his run, hate to break it to UGA fans PJ is making a run of his own ,and its about time

    GT wrestle

    April 3rd, 2009
    2:44 pm

    after this season people will be saying whos UGA, Tech beats UGaon their way to a perfect season and the national championship. Which will greatly help with recruiting!! Paul Johnson will be 2-0 against taht school that drools


    April 3rd, 2009
    2:42 pm

    Everytime Tech has a little bit of success and their worthless fans start puffing out their underdeveloped chests and flapping their gums it ALWAYS backfires right in their acne ridden faces. Its like clockwork and without fail. They get a fluke win over UGA and then proceed to get absolutely horsewhipped in the bowl game. THAT is Georgia Tech football. Always has been. Always will be. When will you dorks ever learn? 2009 is going to be priceless. You idiots have talked enough smack to last you a lifetime. May a lifetime of blue turf bowls await you. You deserve no better. Tech fans are an absolute disgrace.

    great article Michael

    April 3rd, 2009
    2:40 pm

    You really have people talking on here, it is wonderful.
    If any 2 schools could do it I would say GT and UGA, with their current coaching staffs, could lock down the state of Georgia.
    Between GT and UGA you can get:
    1) ACC or SEC (in Alabama in state recruits only have the SEC)
    2) Bigger school in small town or smaller school in big town
    3) Great engineering and business or great journalism and business (if academics is your thing)
    4) Both schools are BCS conference
    5) Both schools have recently had a player drafted in the top 5 of the NFL draft (assuming Stafford goes in the top 5)
    6) Both have great football traditions
    7) Both have high character and proven winning coaches
    8) Both are on national TV multiple times per year

    Even with all that, coaches at AL, AU, UT, USCe, Clem, FSU, UF, Miami, are going to come in and make it difficult for GT and UGA to lock down the state.


    April 3rd, 2009
    2:26 pm


    You're All A Bunch Of Idiots

    April 3rd, 2009
    2:15 pm

    Have a great weekend!


    April 3rd, 2009
    2:13 pm



    April 3rd, 2009
    2:02 pm

    Damn Buzz, what time does the drug store open ?


    April 3rd, 2009
    1:39 pm

    You ugay fans are are morons. Is that all you worry about is how many stars a kid has or what magazine claims you to fame with a high recruiting ranking? Half of those kids are a bust? I remember when we signed donnie davis who was the #1 qb in the nation during the bill lewis days. That kid sucked! There have been plenty of busts at uga as well, and you guys have a top 5 class every year and i don’t see many top 5 finishes for you. 1 that i can find in the last 28 years in the final ap poll! It’s all about coaching leghumpers and CPJ will coach us up just fine, we don’t care how many stars they have, half your players don’t even end qualified and end of at juco or in clarke county jail! Those are FACTS! How many tech players do you see sign with us and then go juco??? Yeah, thats what i thought! At ugay, its every single year. The reason? You recruit alot of dumb kids who can’t qualify with their sat scores. Do you see us having issues with signing a kid then he drops of the face of the earth because he didn’t score well enough on his sat??? UGAY, ITS THE SAME THING YEAR AFTER YEAR.

    We have a good staff and a great coach, cpj gets in these kids faces and if you watch the games, you know what i mean. CMR has one expression and demeanor all game, CPJ is intense from play to play and I LOVE IT! We need that, and your days of dominance are over. Get used to that 2nd place finish in this state, there will be plenty more of that to come!! Some of you ugay posters have your head in the gutter. Just know that you will be the underdog this year and chasing us in the polls all year, it must be tough to be a butt sniffer these days! We have 19 starters back to your 12, our offense will be loaded and will have a much improved running game and the passing game will be adding alot of shotgun and formations that are new. Why should we fear ugay this season? Cause you butt sniffers say we should?? Man, we are going to paste you clowns all over north avenue and on national tv! I welcome your arrival to the flats next thanksgiving, but pray with that terible defense you have, that we show some mercy!!! CPJ WILL BECOME YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE BEFORE HE IS THROUGH.

    45-42 THWG

    Me thinks it's funny .....

    April 3rd, 2009
    1:24 pm

    ……how so many GA fans laud the dogs’ 7-game winning streak as if all 7 were like the 1st one, 51-7 (what time is it? 6:09, yeah 51 ‘to’ 7, good one). And how they “forget” that 3 of the 4 games prior to 2008 very easily could’ve gone in Tech’s favor. That’s with Reggie Ball and Chan Gailey!

    Then came 2008 with PJ and his high-school offense, and Tech wins!

    Now, if anyone on here that thinks PJ will EVER lose 7 in-a-row to the SAME team better stop what he/she is doing now, and get mega-rich selling what it is they are smoking. In fact, by looking at PJ’s track record as a coach, HC or OC, I’d say ANY of Tech’s COMMON opponents should get use to losing to PJ’s teams more than beating them.

    What was the temp. in Athens 11/28/2008?? High of 45, low of 42. 45-42, ha,ha,ha. Get it? Now, how’s that for clever? What will Jacket fans come up with after their 2009 victory I wonder ……