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

    Kyle

    April 3rd, 2009
    11:45 pm

    My goodness Joe Dirt 2, if you go to Athens, you would see that UGA students come from anything but confederate flags and trailers… Your language and creativity obviously didn’t come from Tech, so I’ll assume you went to a junior college and “picked” Tech as your team. You’re a disgrace to your university.

    Kyle

    April 3rd, 2009
    11:41 pm

    First of all, I’m a UGA student, and Billy Jack, you make us sound bad when you say “Nathan, what a gay name”…I would rather you not get on here, if you do not have anything of substance to say… The trite arguments get old on here such as”45-42″, “once in the past 8 years”, so on and so on…As this is a recruiting article, it has constantly been noted on the national stage that once recruits get in, their stars do not matter. In regards to Dwyer-King, I know Dwyer quite well, and it was smart of him to pick Tech. He got to immediately compete for a spot at Tech. Not that he wasn’t good enough to play at UGA, he wouldn’t have gotten a look until this year. Lastly, UGA will get better offensive recruits while Paul Johnson is Tech’s coach…The majority of offensive players with professional aspirations would be delusional to think that Tech’s offense give them a better chance to impress scouts. But fellow Georgia fans, do not be ignorant even if the counterpart is, it still doesn’t make it ok

    JP

    April 3rd, 2009
    11:37 pm

    I’ll take Atlanta anyday…Athens is a DUMP!

    Big Bee

    April 3rd, 2009
    9:27 pm

    Hey Chief, last Nov. GT won THE BIG GAME. So short is your memory.

    Big Bee

    April 3rd, 2009
    9:16 pm

    TrueDawg, you are correct. LSU spanked GT, but UGA sure as hell didn’t.

    Big Bee

    April 3rd, 2009
    9:12 pm

    Sugar Hill Dawg, seems GT didn’t need any 4-5 star recruits to come from behind and win in Athens last november. When something like that happens there are several factors to be considered. One team wants to win more than the other, One coach prepared his team(1-3 stars) better than the other coach, one coach may be the best coach, 1-2 star players may be equal or better than 4- 5 star players, BUT I say that GT was just better prepared. We will have to see what happens next Nov., but again, you can argue all day, but we won’t know who wins until after the game is played. After UGA’s Poor season(according to their fans), the biggest thing you have to crow about is extracting some measure of revenge by LSU taking GT to the woodshead for you.

    Jason

    April 3rd, 2009
    6:50 pm

    two numbers spell it all: 45-42!

    Sudheer

    April 3rd, 2009
    6:35 pm

    or senator John Blutarsky you can go to Athens and be the next Pacman Jones. How many arrest? Athens probably has the same amount of booze and drugs as atlanta, buddy

    UGA=overrated

    April 3rd, 2009
    6:32 pm

    i seem to see UGA fans saying that when 10-3 was a down season, the progam is top notch. Well, did UGA beat anyof the elite teams in the SEC. OK, they may have beaten a half decent LSU, but they lost to the two best teams, didn’t play Ole Miss, and struggled against Tennessee, south Carolina, Kentucky, Auburn, and Vandy. They failed to beat a bowl eligible nonconference team as well, unless you count Michigan sate, which was probably the weakest Big Ten team to ever play on New Years Day. When you start out as the number one team in the nation, you dont play like UGA did last year. and don’t use the injury excuse, because every other team in the country has to deal with injuries too.

    Senator John Blutarsky

    April 3rd, 2009
    6:21 pm

    Or, Sudheer, you can go back to one of the countries where men wear robes and see how much “better” it is than in Athens or Atlanta. Okay?