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 mcarvell@ajc.com
  • 248 comments Add your comment

    Chief

    April 3rd, 2009
    4:14 pm

    Nathan, the dawgs have been rated in the top 10 for 6 of the last 8 years. You say we haven’t won the “big” game, thus our program is not elite. Just when in the past 8 years has tech won the “big” game?

    Nathan

    April 3rd, 2009
    4:12 pm

    Maddog, the reason they are competing for the same athletes is georgia is becoming a much better school that is actually harder to get into now than a large number of schools in the nation. The educational system and standards at georgia have risin drastically over the past 10 years thanks to Adams role at georgia as well as the HOPE scholarship keeping the brightest students in state for college instead of traveling out of state for an education. Both schools have there share of dumb athletes but overall academically they are both strong and good schools. You can’t really compare them due to the different types of degrees, engineering against mainly buisness, but Georgia has built up a much stronger academic reputation in the past 10-15 years.

    sherrie

    April 3rd, 2009
    4:10 pm

    Nathan claims that Colorado has won a champioship in the past 29 years. Does this mean tech didn’t win in 1990? That’s what I’ve always thought too.

    Nathan

    April 3rd, 2009
    4:09 pm

    If you want stats when is Georgia number 1 at the end of the year? NEVER! If Georgia wants respect win a National Championship or atleast have a shot at it at the end of the year. Georgia hasn’t had a legit shot since 1980 but wants national respect as a great program. If you want respect you have to have championships to back it up which georgia doesn’t. To be an elite program, such as USC and Florida, you have to win the big games which Georgia doesn’t. Cause Jason W. who was number 8 in the nation 3 years ago? Who cares cause they didn’t win but Florida won the national title. Who was number 7 2 years ago? Who cares LSU has the national championship? Hell who was number 5 last year? Who care Florida is national champion. I will take a national title or a shot at the national title every 10 years or every 5 years which USC and Florida look like they have the programs to do this now and I wouldn’t put it past Saban who use to own the SEC when he was at LSU. Georgia hasn’t won a championship so who cares about there top ten rankings. When mark richt gets a ring he will matter and Georgia can start to talk about being an elite program. Until then there just a good team that can’t win the big game.

    wiley

    April 3rd, 2009
    4:07 pm

    I never said Georgia has won a national title in the past 29 years. What was said was that GEORGIA HAS BEEN A CONSISTENT TOP TEN PROGRAM THE LAST 10 YEARS. F*cking idiot.

    Maddog

    April 3rd, 2009
    4:07 pm

    Will some GT fan answer my question?

    If GT ONLY recruits the “smart” athletes while UGA recruits “dumb” athletes, then why is Paul Johnson offering scholarships to so many of the same athletes as UGA?

    So much for the urban legend of “smarter” athletes at GT!

    [...] for in state talent just got tougher. If you need more proof, check out this article in the AJC. Posted in [...]

    Jason W.

    April 3rd, 2009
    4:02 pm

    Nathan, you’re right, you shouldn’t stats or “rankings” to back your argument up. Just whine and b!tch about how “unfair” it is. Loser.

    Michael

    April 3rd, 2009
    4:00 pm

    Nathan, I never called you gay. I just inferred you were a loser who sits at home on the weekends playing with himself (or herself?). But seeing as how you brought up the possibility you might be gay, it sounds like you need to have a serious talk with the man in the mirror. Does Tech have an adjunct campus in Key West or San Fran?

    Nathan

    April 3rd, 2009
    3:58 pm

    Wiley, how is focusing on the fact that Georgia has not been relevant to the national title in 29 years focus on one or two loses. The florida argument focuses on the past 20 years when georgia had 17 loses out of 20. Its funny how people think Georgia is relevant and a great team when they haven’t had a chance at a national title in 29 years. Hell Colorado has a national title since then.