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

    [...] Jeffrey Whitaker, Warner Robins High – Warner Robins. DT, [...]

    K-Town Dawg

    April 7th, 2009
    4:59 pm

    UGA has 2 National Titles that are recognized: 1942 and 1980

    So if your going to talk titles get your numbers straight!
    Also, if TECH fans are going to count “shared” titles, then they should count UGA’s “shared” titles in: 1927, 1946, and 1968.

    Is He Satan?

    April 5th, 2009
    12:17 pm

    Mr. Skynard fyi, this from the winning Super Bowl coach on MONTE Kiffin:


    April 4th, 2009
    10:40 pm

    Here is the truth for both sides:
    (1) UGA wishes they had another national championship to go along with the ONE they got in 1980, since that is their #1 goal.
    (2) GT wishes they could beat UGA more often, which is their #1 goal.
    (3) UGA hates the fact they lost to GT last year and thinks there is no greater embarrassment.
    (4) GT is so thankful that the streak didn’t continue and ended at 7 years,,,, that makes it extremely difficult to talk about a rivalry.
    (5) UGA wishes they weren’t completely owned by Florida.
    (6) GT wishes they could do the same.
    (7) UGA loves to brags about the # of players it puts in the NFL. God help them if they didn’t make it.
    (8) GT loves to brag about the education that their players are definitely going to need.
    (9) UGA fans are supposedly more redneck and less educated.
    (10) GT fans forget that they are talking about their neighbors and relatives.


    April 4th, 2009
    10:21 pm

    BUZZSAW…. point taken. Florida has owned UGA and UGA has owned GT. So where does that leave GT…. who are they owning?


    April 4th, 2009
    5:45 pm

    The only thing I will agree with UG[sic]A fans is the fact UT is pathetic much like its shirtless coaches. I hope UT’s athletic department goes bankrupt with their celebrity coaches.


    April 4th, 2009
    5:14 pm

    I saw Denzel McCoy play last year. He was the lone bright spot on an 0-10 Northview team.

    GA Tech Insider

    April 4th, 2009
    4:54 pm

    Oh, and before the Bulldog fans start…I know UGA shows they haven’t offered “yet”. That doesn’t mean that Denzel isn’t a quality young man or a quality player, so please, just this once, try to act like adults…