UGA’s McGarity not ‘caught up’ in recruiting hoopla

Greg McGarity points out that National Signing Day is just part of the process of turning things around at UGA. (Associated Press)

Greg McGarity points out that National Signing Day is just part of the process of turning things around at UGA. (Associated Press)

I’m not generally a recruitnik, but I’ll admit I’ve gotten a lot more wrapped up in the countdown to National Signing Day this year than in most seasons past.

It’s funny, because only a handful of the incoming freshmen who’ll sign with UGA Wednesday are likely to have a chance to make an immediate impact on the field this coming season. But two of the positions where that’s most likely just happen to be in areas of the game where the Dogs drastically need an upgrade — on the defensive line and in the running game.

So while I’m not one of those fans who subscribe to recruiting services and spend all year fretting or celebrating the utterances of 17- and 18-year-old kids, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mark Richt’s recruiting efforts of late and names like Isaiah Crowell and John Jenkins.

Georgia needs those guys to play right away. And beyond that, after the sorry way the 2010 season ended, Richt’s program needs some positive momentum, and until his team lines up against Boise State at the Georgia Dome, signing day is the only way to get that.

Still, like I said, this year is an exception for me. Generally, I think all the hoopla surrounding National Signing Day is a bit overdone. I’m like UGA athletic director Greg McGarity, who talked with the media, including The Gainesville Times, Monday prior to speaking to the Gainesville Rotary Club.

Asked about “all the hype” surrounding National Signing Day, McGarity said, “I’ve never really gotten caught up in it. You see all these accolades that are awarded to these young men and young women in all sports, so you really have to wait and see how that group does after Year 3 and 4. There’s a lot of things that have to happen to know if they’ve been successful in the classroom and on the field. The true test will come this fall and years down the road in football. It’s really hard to tell because some of your greatest athletes have been those that are the nonpublicized and really, really want to be at an institution and end up developing after a while. It’s kind of hard to know, but it’s the culture here in the South, but I don’t see Stanford, TCU and Boise State at the top of the food chain as far as recruiting goes. So it’s an inexact science to say the least, but something that, obviously, attracts a lot of attention.”

With Richt’s “Dream Team” recruiting campaign seemingly on a roll, McGarity did say, “We like how things have been with our coaches out on the road and we’ll see how things go this Wednesday.” But, he noted, “again, Wednesday is just a part of the process. It’s an important part of the process, but we’ll see how things go in the summer and in the spring before that. We start out the football season with two really tough games with Boise State and South Carolina.”

You’ve heard the arguments on both sides of the recruiting issue. Some folks like to point to the unheralded signees like David Pollack who didn’t sign with a bunch of stars next to their name but went on to become all-Americans. They also like to remind us that some coaches, like Ray Goff, have trouble translating recruiting success into wins on the field. Others point out that most of the time teams that recruit well beat teams that don’t recruit well, and championships tend to be won by teams that do well in the recruiting rankings.

Still, as McGarity said, it’s not an exact science. In a recent ranking of the 29 teams who have made Rivals.com’s Top 50 recruiting classes every year since 2002, the school with the highest average recruiting class rank over the period (USC with 3.7) had the second-best winning percentage. The schools with the second- and third-highest recruiting rankings (Florida with 7.0 and Georgia with 7.3), tied for seventh in winning percentage. Virginia Tech, which tied for 21st place in recruiting classes, had the sixth-best winning percentage. Richt’s string of Top 10 recruiting classes produced a string of Top 10 finishes, but no BCS title and just two SEC championships.

So this year even those of us who generally view National Signing Day skeptically are caught up in Richt’s efforts to sign a dream team, but beyond that, is too much made of the recruiting business? Once you get past the obvious five-star players, do those rankings of high school talent really mean that much?

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

92 comments Add your comment

Nick Saban

February 1st, 2011
10:44 am

Cuz

February 1st, 2011
10:45 am

The last till someone else posts Nick.

Cuz

February 1st, 2011
10:50 am

Jenkins and Crowell are definitely needed. Jenkins said he will not commit til Saturday.

KeepDreaming

February 1st, 2011
10:51 am

LETS SEE HOW IT TRANSLATES ON THE FIELD!! GOOOOO DAWGS!

Nick Saban

February 1st, 2011
10:52 am

Last in Georgia that is. Georgia players are educated better than Alabama schools. They realize oversigning is illegal or unethical. Darn it!

ncb34

February 1st, 2011
10:56 am

please.. put branden smith at reciever.
as a d. jackson for the eagles, percy harvin for UF.. etc.

Bremen Dawg

February 1st, 2011
11:00 am

The big nose tackle could be a immediate impact but the rest will have to learn the system first and could take a few years. Crowell will have to learn how to block which usually puts freshman backs on the bench.

Braddawg

February 1st, 2011
11:03 am

Good article Bill! I give us fans the feeling that there is still some fight left in CMR and those of us that really love the College Game of football need the recruiting hype to get us through to next season. Weather this class can take us to the promised land or not is irrelavant. We just need something to talk about around the water cooler. GO DAWGS!

RabidDawgFan

February 1st, 2011
11:03 am

David Pollack has proven that you don’t need a 5-star rating in order to be a great player. Jasper Sanks has proven that it’s possible to just be a flat out bust and it’s not guaranteed just because your a 5-star prospect. So has Caleb King. I don’t buy into that 5-star, 3-star, 4-star hoopla. Just get the players here that want to be here, coach them up, and work on them and let them develop into great players. That’s all there is to it.

Old Dawg

February 1st, 2011
11:03 am

There are far more cases of over-hyped players not meeting expectations than most fans recognize or accept. The way the recruiting world has turned up the volume is unfair to recruits and the big event atmosphere is a feeding frenzy, enhancing the entitlement culture.

I enjoy the games as much as anybody, but teenagers acting like royalty sickens my stomach. Sign the scholarship and see what happens in the future. In the long run, what’s more important, a great athlete or research scientist who cures diseases or develops a world-changing product?

If you’re honest with yourself, you know the answer.

Newman

February 1st, 2011
11:04 am

Living and dieing on where a 17 year old wants to play football is kind of creepy to me. Don’t call ‘em a cowboy till you seen ‘em ride!

RabidDawgFan

February 1st, 2011
11:06 am

High School isn’t college and college isn’t high school. Of course a DE can get past a LT or RT that’s what? 6′1 250? average? Put a 6′6, 6′7 320 lb tackle on him and let’s see what’s he’s made of. You see? Of course a RB can run through a hole that’s as big as the Ozone but those holes get smaller and smaller as you rise through the levels of football from high school, to college, to the NFL.

how2fish

February 1st, 2011
11:06 am

Bremen Dawg great point however there will be a lot of folks with that “play him NOW” mindset…even if he can’t block and gets our QB killed….at D-1 level its not enough to just tote the rock, you have to be able to catch and pickup blitzing LB and DB’s..we will see.

Paul H

February 1st, 2011
11:10 am

The first 2 games will tell the whole story – one way or the other.

RabidDawgFan

February 1st, 2011
11:10 am

Jenkins will be our NG from day one IMO. He’s 6′4, 340 and will instantly require 2 linemen. That will free up LBs and the rest of our defense to swarm to the ball. He’s our Cody, our Fairley, our Suh. We need him to come in and make an impact. But the difference between he and Cody is that Jenkins isn’t just fat. He can rush the passer and actually be an every down type of NG.

wreckmaniac

February 1st, 2011
11:17 am

This AD had better get into recruitin’ He has to understand that to UGA fans the one-two punch is
having a top 10 recruitin class and beating Tech. Everything else can go wrong and they will accept it.

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Jesup

February 1st, 2011
11:28 am

It Matters just think if the NFL had to rebuild every 3 to 4 years through drafting ONLY…..what draft position do YOU want to be in?

wreckmaniac

February 1st, 2011
11:29 am

Looks like FSU will have the best class. Now since FSU is the SEC-East champion after having beat South Carolina, if FSU beats FL next year they would repeat as SEC -East champions, correct ?
I mean isn’t this how fans think ?

Spike

February 1st, 2011
11:30 am

You are right, but it is fun to watch and read about in the off season. I may not be a recruitnik, but I am a UGA footballnik, so I am interested. Now I have to wait until June when the pre season football magazines come out.

No Dawgs, Milady

February 1st, 2011
11:32 am

The biggest change that CMR needs to make is to stop recruiting the low-class illiterates and thugs who he seems to think will win for him and keep his oversized paychecks coming in. People like Marcus Dowtin, A.J. Green, Washaun Ealey, Caleb King, and others too numerous to mention are not team players, they’re thug wannabes who are much closer to a gang than a team.

It’s sickening to see felons and goons like these representing the state’s flagship university.

wreckmaniac

February 1st, 2011
11:33 am

If you guys are so hot on Jenkins, why didn’t you grab Phil Taylor of Baylor who is a 6ft 4inch, 340 lb, defensive tackle or Cliff Averill of Mississippi ?

lastgrad

February 1st, 2011
11:38 am

Oops I got excited when I read the headlines about Greg McGarity. I know recruiting is a part of the college football process and is important to successful programs but I still get excited every time I see the name Greg McGarity. All the recruits in the country cannot have a more good positive impact on the UGA football program when compared to Greg McGarity being the AD at UGA. Go Dawgs! Lead on Greg!

ScoutDawg

February 1st, 2011
11:41 am

You nerds insinuate all we UGA fans care about are recruiting and beating Tech which is patently untrue. We don’t worry about those two things because we are world class at both. But for a nerd on a blog about UGA and recruiting I wonder are you the pot or the kettle?

This has always been true

February 1st, 2011
11:44 am

Back in the mid 1960s, Oklahoma had a running back named Joe Don Looney. His last name said it all.

This guy had it all ……………. he was a hulk, he had world class speed, he was fairly intelligent, ………………he had it all. His HS stats were at that time, unbelieveable and he was incomparable to even Jim Brown or OJ who was at USC or anyone else. He had all the tools to be THE GREATEST running back …………….the sports writers said so.

The guy was a flake and even though he left NCAA football at OU, he eventually resurfaced, I think with the Dallas Cowboys or maybe the KC Chiefs for 45 minutes or so.
5 star players make me think of Joe Don Looney.

7576DAWG

February 1st, 2011
11:55 am

I don’t even like to see TCU or Boise State mentioned with other teams when you talk about rankings. When these two programs recruits only average 2 stars and then end up ranked in the top ten it shows how broken the BCS really is. If TCU and Boise State played an average SEC schedule they not only would lose 3 to 5 games every year, they would never play for the SEC championship. Stanford is a little different because they play in a very competitive conference and they just got more credible by expanding so they could have a play off and a real conference champion.
Teams like TCU and Boise State will never have my respect until college football gets at least an 8 team playoff or until they schedule at least 4 to 5 credible games every year. Ohio State, South Cal, Texas, LSU ,Alabama, Georgia , Florida , Virgina Tech, Florida State, Oregon etc. I think you get my drift. Beating one hard top 15 team in a year means nothing. But beat 4 or 5 and now your TEAM deserve it because your TEAM held up over the entire year against many tough teams. But if you only beat one top 15 program and your next best team of the remaining 11 games is ranked number 90 you haven’t proven anything , I don’t care if you end up undefeated and certainly don’t deserve a BCS game.

UGA Insider

February 1st, 2011
11:57 am

Good luck tomorrow CMR and CMB. I wish you the best. I have been critical of you over the past several months but I will give credit where credit is due….. I am impressed by the class you have put together and you have won my confidence that you can turn 2012 into a MNC season. After the UCF debacle you could have packed it in but you didn’t…. and for that you have won my respect. 2010 is over and it’s time to look ahead.

McGarity's Son

February 1st, 2011
12:17 pm

7576Dawg- You can’t include UGA in that group of teams.
I do believe they would be a little more beaten up if they had tougher games week in and week out. However, TCU is a heck of a football team and their schedule will get a little tougher here soon. Big East is still weak.
Boise St. on the other hand attempted to upgrade conferences then everyone left. Not Boise’s fault,and now they have to live with it. Boise does try to schedule tougher non conference opponents though.

McGarity's Son

February 1st, 2011
12:20 pm

My point,both schools are trying. It’s alot more than just football remind you,switching conferences and all.Football has a lot to do with it though.

NC Dawg

February 1st, 2011
12:25 pm

I wonder if the first player to sign his letter of intent will put “FIRST!!!!” at the top of his letter?

Dawg_Mike

February 1st, 2011
12:32 pm

NO RED SHIRTS this year please CMR !

Athens= God's Country

February 1st, 2011
12:49 pm

Get Jenkins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DawginOH

February 1st, 2011
1:14 pm

I agree. But this recruiting class is a great way to get momentum, which this Georgia team desperately needs. Can’t wait to see some of these guys in the red and black next year. Go Dawgs!

Class of '98

February 1st, 2011
1:18 pm

Several years ago, Richt decided to offer his last available scholarship to some kid named Tim Jennings in South Carolina. The only other offer Jennings had was from South Carolina State, I think.

Four years later, Jennings was the first Bulldog named in the NFL Draft. He starts for the Chicago Bears now.

Recuiting is important, but not the be-all, end-all that some make it out to be.

Hoops Dawg

February 1st, 2011
1:23 pm

7576Dawg–You overlook the fact that teams like Boise try hard to schedule BCS opponents who shy away because they want no part of a nonconference game against a so-called ” lesser” team that is likely to spank their a$$es. Kudos to UGA for scheduling this game. The problem first became apparent about 10 years ago when Fresno state was able to schedule and beat 3 teams from BCS conferences in succession (all on the road) and rose to something like #7 in the polls. It may be true that Boise would lose 3 games or more if they played in the SEC, but mostly because of depth issues. I’ll tell you that the Boise team is as well coached as any in America, and I suspect that you’ll hear Richt and TV commentators saying the same thing as the game approaches this fall.

Dawg 39

February 1st, 2011
1:23 pm

I certainly agree that the Dawgs need Crowell & Jenkins. I also think that they will get them.
However, I do not believe that Anderson & Geathers at Nose & Ealey, King, & Malcome at RB will not be in the competition for not only playing time but for being the starter. Another spring practice & working with the weights will be beneficial for all of them.

Dawg Fud

February 1st, 2011
1:44 pm

Sic Vos Non Vobis, Mr. McGarity

Pacific Dawg

February 1st, 2011
1:44 pm

If the Dawgs whiff on NG Jenkins, then signing Vasi “Tombstone” Papului becomes a matter of survival for the Dawgs.

Da'rick

February 1st, 2011
1:51 pm

Pacific Dawg I assure you after last night the Vols and I have a “lock” on Tombstone” if you get my drift….oh Rocky Top you’ll always be….

Georgia and Florida can Agree!

February 1st, 2011
2:16 pm

I would recommend that all Georgia fans with a moral compass read the editorial on SI.com by Florida President J. Bernard Machen condemning the practice of greyshirting. It’s time to stand up to the unethical practices of other SEC institutions.

Pacific Dawg

February 1st, 2011
2:25 pm

Da’rick

The things that go in and come out of your mouth are surprising.

Eric

February 1st, 2011
2:30 pm

McGarity doesn’t impress me.

He seems detached, aloof, out of touch, especially with the football program.

He seems hypocritical to tell Richt he needs to show more passion and emotion, then he turns around and reacts to the greatest recrutiing class in the history of Georgia football like a mechanized robot.

McGarity will get ZERO credit if Richt turns the team around, and Richt will demand a MONSTER contract in 2012, wherever he’ll be coaching, thanks to his abilities as a recruiter. What Richt has done this year in recruiting, with ZERO support from McGarity, is amazing. It’ll impress AD’s around the country.

And Richt’s win record is beyond compare.

Freddie G

February 1st, 2011
2:31 pm

The AD has the proper perspective on recruiting and National signing Day. Georgia has had good recruiting classes evry year almost but they do not transfer to wins in the fall. I hope we will get Crowell and the others but, I am still not convinced of a turnaround.

ATLSportsNation

February 1st, 2011
2:34 pm

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Joey

February 1st, 2011
2:36 pm

Glad I didn’t get caught up last season in the McGarity hoopla. I told all ya’ll, “Let’s wait and see what he does with the football program in 2010″. Well, McGarity’s 1st season as AD results? Worst in Richt’s career, a abysmal disaster at 6-7. McGarity’s wise in taking a wait and see approach when it comes to leadership, glad I did with McGarity. McGarity won’t ever live up to the hoopla of his hire, obviously. He’ll likely go down as the worst in UGA history. Anybody been able to find just ONE, 1, thing McGarity actually DID in 2010 to help Richt win in 2010? Anything?

JB

February 1st, 2011
2:39 pm

Sounds like a coy AD who is real nervous about what 2011 might bring. I know he’s hoping for the best, but I assume he witnessed our/his Bowl game. Not a lot of effort from the team or coaches.
As someone on here who has been very critical of Richt ( who gonna blame, the water boy?) I’ve studied who’s coming back, who we lost, and it’s hard to get excited. A lot of newcomers will have to contribute. Our Schedule is our best friend next year, but games one and two are scary, and both possible losses. 8-4 would be great IMO

JB

February 1st, 2011
2:43 pm

Joey…..Our best hope is that McGarity sat in the Florida Gator box for 17 years as their assit. AD and heard all the snide remarks and Jokes about our efforts down there the last 17 years. He is an Alum. My hope is he wants some payback.

Rip

February 1st, 2011
2:45 pm

I’ve been really disappointed with this new AD. Many lauded his hire last year, and said he was some kind of administration superstar. Hindsight is 20/20. Bad hire. And his decisions get worse and worse, Boise for opening day instead of Lousiville, seriously? Underpaying coaches like Searels by $130,000–that out of touch? Undersigning Richt for 3 years versus 5, 6 or 7 like most other SEC coaches–that clueless? Obviously, when he invests much less than Aalabam, Auburn, Florida back into the program, you have a guy who just seems clueless with what’s going on in the SEC. Greg McGarity is the most out-of-sync AD in the SEC, by a mile.

Smith

February 1st, 2011
2:50 pm

Greg McGarity was so cheap he didn’t even have the right equipment for the football team, they were working out out of TRAILERS!!!!

UGA Fan

February 1st, 2011
2:50 pm

OK I am going to bite, All of you McGarity haters, name one thing that McGarity was suppose to do in his first year that he didn’t do to help Richt? Richt is was popular with a strong winning record. It has been a difficult position for McGarity all year and I think he has treaded lightly and made the most of the current situtation. Can you please use examples, besides not extending his contract (which shouldn’t be extended right now), that McGarity could do better? I think the best thing McGarity can do is make Richt stop being a CEO and be a football coach.