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


    April 3rd, 2009
    4:46 pm

    Nathan is too busy thumbing through the Redbook (or is it Sears Roebuck?) trying to find W.O.M. for later.


    April 3rd, 2009
    4:44 pm

    Alabama is an elite program based on the history of the program. its the same reason Notre Dame is able to get top recruits, the history of the program. Incase you forgot Huh? Alabama is only 1 national title behind Notre Dame for the most all time in college football. You want to be an elite program build a strong history and such as Alabama has. Alabama was down for a while but the thing is with Saban its only a matter of time until they reach the Bear Bryant standards again of consistently winning. The 6-6 year happened to be a coaches first year and if you forgot Georgia who was suppose to be amazing barely one on a last second miracle. If you want to knock alabama why did Georgia barely beat a bad team? The whole key is to be considered a great program you have to win championships. Bowden and FSU were not great until he got a national championship and would not be considered great if he hadn’t gotten it. The same goes with Mack Brown at texas. Wins are good but championships are what matters and what people remember. If finishing in the top 5 14 straight year, which georgia top 10’s in 6 of 8 years is not close to, wouldn’t make you great without a championship why is georgia great. Insult me all you want but the sad thing is we all know at the end of the day georgia is not an elite program and won’t be considered elite until there is a National Championship trophy in the case.

    John Rocker

    April 3rd, 2009
    4:40 pm

    Hey Nathan, step in the batters box with me on the mound. Let’s see how elite you are! What the F have you ever won Mofo! I got a fastball that will probably make your stain your panties. Let’s see what you got hoss! Let’s see it!!!!


    April 3rd, 2009
    4:34 pm

    If one SEC West title in 9 years makes Alabama elite then Georgia is elite too. In typical Techie fashion, this Nathan clown seems to be working on double standards. Nevermind that one year ago Alabama was coming off a 6-6 season, they are elite because Nathan said so.

    I’m telling you people, its just like talking to a brick frickin’ wall. You’re wasting your time.


    April 3rd, 2009
    4:33 pm

    this guy “nathan” sounds like a major league douche.


    April 3rd, 2009
    4:32 pm

    Nathan is probably busy with his grape juice and graham crackers. I hear that’s what all “special” people eat before their nap.


    April 3rd, 2009
    4:30 pm

    Honestly I do not argue that Chief. The whole thing I have with Georgia is that tope tens don’t make you an elite program. Hell Florida State had 14 years in the top 5 and Bobby Bowden and FSU were not considered elite until they got a national championship.
    Maddog, i responded earlier but the post didn’t come up. The reason UGA and Tech are competing for the same athletes is that academically UGA is not an easy school to get into. Over the past 10-15 years with the help of President Adams and the hope scholarship the academic requirements at UGA have increased as the states brightest have stayed in state to receive free tuition. Both schools are developing strong academic standards. You can’t compare tech and UGA academically because of the different degrees they provide. Buisness and Engineering are two very different fields but both schools are building strong reputations in there fields. That is why they both compete for the same athletes.


    April 3rd, 2009
    4:23 pm

    Nathan, at least we agree that tech isn’t an elite program. In fact, strip away the dawg and tech bias from the both of us and we’d probably have a lot more in common than we do differences.


    April 3rd, 2009
    4:20 pm

    Ease up a little bit there, Sherrie. Nathan is probably deep in thought about how to respond to the post you sent at 4:10.


    April 3rd, 2009
    4:19 pm

    Just to point out Chief I never said tech was in the elite programs. I stated that the elite were programs like Alabama, Florida, and USC. Tech is not an elite program and has not been since Bobby Dodd retired.