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

    Maddog

    April 3rd, 2009
    3:30 pm

    This does seem to be a repeat story, but here’s what I don’t understand – a lot of GT fans spout off about how they get the “smart” athletes and UGA gets the dumb ones. If that’s the case, then why is Tech offering scholarships to so many of the same players as UGA? Either the athletes are getting smarter (Georgia’s public school’s performance doesn’t seem to reflect that), or many GT fans just lost their argument about recruiting smart athletes. You can’t have it both ways. Which is it?

    Huh?

    April 3rd, 2009
    3:26 pm

    Nathan, Alabama hasn’t even won the SEC in 10 years you dolt, let alone a national title. Maybe when you know what the hell you are talking about people will stop laughing at your stupid opinions. Thanks.

    Huh?

    April 3rd, 2009
    3:24 pm

    “Elite running backs will favor GT.”

    Disagree. Elite running backs will not go to a school where they will be viewed as a “system” back. Georgia Tech will rack up massive amounts of rushing yards under Paul Johnson. You will never hear me deny that. But it won’t be because they’ve got a Knowshon Moreno (played for UGA if I recall correctly) or a Chris Wells back there toting the rock. It will be because of the system. Elite running backs will choose to play for traditional offenses where they can showcase their skills, not be a cog in some archaic option scheme. If CPJ could get elite players he wouldn’t even run the triple option. This is why GT will always be very limited in what it can achieve and continue to terrorize its ignorant fan base. I can’t say that I won’t enjoy it.

    wow

    April 3rd, 2009
    3:20 pm

    Kurt thats probably the most intelligent post I have seen on here yet. Its funny how stupid both sides get in this argument. If people want to compare programs compare who wins on the field. Tech is talking this year cause they won and I am sure whenever Georgia wins again they will do the exact same. Both sides bashing each other for the same ole $hit.

    Nathan

    April 3rd, 2009
    3:15 pm

    Its funny Georgia fans claim that they are competing with the likes of UF, Alabama, and USC for recruits when in all honesty UGA is not even on par with those programs. USC has more national titles in the past 6 years than Georgia has in its entire history as a football program. Alabama, lets just say Georgia you got raped by them this year and at your rate it will be another 500 years before you can catch them in national titles. If you really want to compete with UF you should try beating them more than 3 out of the past 20 years. Its funny that Georgia fans believe they are relevant on the national scene when honestly by the time they play Tech every year they are already out of the National picture cause they can’t beat there biggest rivals.
    For those who point out that Tech only won by 3 this year who cares. Its still a W and counts just as much as if they blew Georgia out. I will take a win by 3 over a loss by 3 any day of the week. oh and incase the Georgia fans forgot UGA started the season as the number 1 team in the nation and oh thats right barely finished in the top 10 in the nation because they lost three games including to Tech. That top ten ranking should be bs as well considering there are teams with 1 and 2 losses still behind Georgia in the national rankings. Georgia fans when you actually can claim you compete for the national championship every year like Florida, Alabama, and USC then maybe people will consider you relevant.

    Jim

    April 3rd, 2009
    3:10 pm

    Paul Johnson was a brilliant hire for Tech because he gets more out of his talent than just about anybody. At Navy he was 10-2….NAVY of all places, 3 seasons after they went 1-11. Then there’s last year…he took a team picked to finish near the bottom of the ACC into Athens and beat Georgia without a single senior starter on offense.

    WePeeYellow2

    April 3rd, 2009
    3:03 pm

    GT wrestle? With what the English language, Viagra bottles, Rogaine containers? It’s called S-P-E-L-L C-H-E-C-K, use it nerd.

    NerdLuv

    April 3rd, 2009
    3:03 pm

    GT wrestle? With what the English language, Viagra bottles, Rogaine containers? It’s called S-P-E-L-L C-H-E-C-K, use it nerd.

    Reality Check...

    April 3rd, 2009
    2:56 pm

    Tech fans just because you say, doesn’t make it true. Even after two pages Tech fans need a reality check..

    Kurt

    April 3rd, 2009
    2:54 pm

    Elite wide receivers will favor UGA. Elite running backs will favor GT. Pocket passers will favor UGA. Running QBs will favor GT. Defensive players will favor a school based on some other factor.

    Very simple. These blogs always turn into bickering.