Recruiting mavens weigh in on Tech, UGA and recruiting itself

Josh Harvey-Clemons Lowndes: With whom will he sign? (AJC photo by Phil Skinner)

Josh Harvey-Clemons of Lowndes: With whom will he sign? (AJC photo by Phil Skinner)

If you follow college football, you cannot ignore recruiting. Even if you think it’s overblown, attention must be paid. As Jamie Newberg, the ESPN recruiting analyst, said Monday: “Those stars [rankings for each recruit] do mean something. You just have look at the national champions the last 10 years to know that.”

Then this: “But then you look at a guy like [Virginia Tech's] Frank Beamer — he’s never in the Top 10 [of recruiting rankings] but he gets the guys who does what he wants … Paul Johnson has done a good job in that way, too.”

Paul Johnson, as we know, coaches Georgia Tech, and Tech is often seen as an afterthought on National Signing Day. The SEC schools load up on five-star guys and the Jackets make do with lesser lights, and when you look at the rankings — and we all do — Tech is never in the Top 10. But here’s Newberg on this Tech class,  rated the nation’s 57th-best by Scout.com: “This is a typical Tech year … They find a way to get it done.”

Newberg mentioned two Tech commitments — and here we stipulate that commitments aren’t binding until somebody signs something; Wednesday is National Signing Day — to buttress the point: Francis Kallon, a defensive lineman from Central Gwinnett who committed to Tech before ever playing an organized game, and Travin Henry, a receiver from Cook County who committed Sunday night.

“Kallon is one of the best stories I’ve ever known,” Newberg said. “And I watched tape of Henry last night, and I thought, ‘Holy smoke! Where did they find this guy?’ He’s big. He can be another Stephen Hill or Demaryius Thomas.”

Georgia, as we also know, is rather different: The Bulldogs do pursue the big names, and if there’s any consensus on this class it’s that it’s good on big names. Georgia has garnered promises from the top players in Florida (offensive lineman John Theus) and North Carolina (running back Keith Marshall) but has, as of this writing, only 16 commitments. Which could, suggested Chad Simmons of Scout, be the reason for the disparity in the Bulldogs’ ranking.

Both Scout and Rivals.com have Georgia 21st nationally. ESPN tabs the Bulldogs fifth. “I’m not exactly sure how ESPN goes about it,” said Simmons, “but one thing that could put Georgia down is that they have only 16 commitments. Miami has 32, Alabama has 27, South Carolina has 25. It’s strictly a numbers game on the top end.”

According to Tom Luginbill, the former Tech quarterback who is ESPN’s national recruiting director, numbers are the least of it. “The difference between us and everybody else is that we don’t look at it as a mathematical equation,” Luginbill said. “We dissect the current rosters of the teams — where they’re devoid of talent, what they need to do to address needs and have they done it? … Our way doesn’t allow us to fall back on a numerical head count.”

In ESPN’s considered opinion, Georgia has filled needs nicely. Luginbill mentioned defensive tackles John Atkins of Thomson and Jonathan Taylor of Millen as fits “in the zero technique [meaning nose tackle]” for Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense. And the addition of Marshall and Todd Gurley should offer depth at tailback, a position at which Georgia ran thin in 2011.

Ran thin? Despite the presence of Isaiah Crowell, the crown jewel of last season’s banner class? Well, yes. Crowell had one of the strangest rookie years in the history of humankind — he was named the SEC’s top freshman, but his absences, due to suspension and injury, left Bulldog fans wanting much more.

Said Simmons of Marshall and Gurley: “These two guys are high school All-Americans. They’re going to push [Crowell] to make him better. I don’t think he maybe he worked as hard as he should have. Marshall is the No. 1 running back in the country — he has the same type of notoriety as Isaiah, the same type of offers.”

The widespread belief is that Georgia could still spring some Signing Day surprises. “It’s a good class right now, but they have to add some pieces,” said Simmons, and he mentioned linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons of Lowndes and offensive lineman Avery Young of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., both of whom are uncommitted.

Said Newberg: “It leads to a very intriguing Signing Day for Georgia.”

You’ll recall that Georgia’s class of 2011 was so loaded it was christened the Dream Team, and many of those heralded signees have yet to make a splash. Is another banner crop needed so soon? Yes, Newberg said. “The SEC is so competitive you can’t afford a down year. Alabama is recruiting at such an unbelievably high level, you’ve got to at least stay with them.”

If you follow college football, you must take heed of recruiting, and for that reason Signing Day is the single biggest date on the college football calendar. But I’m guessing you knew that already. I’m guessing you’ll stay tuned.

By Mark Bradley

246 comments Add your comment

Taylor King

January 30th, 2012
5:46 pm

lets hope that Travin is more Demaryious than Hill

tvradioguy

January 30th, 2012
5:46 pm

Taylor King

January 30th, 2012
5:46 pm

and first…wow …yay to me.

Taylor King

January 30th, 2012
5:47 pm

Wheres my s/o Bradley?

Mightydawg

January 30th, 2012
5:49 pm

That was 2 minutes of my life that I will never get back. This is perhaps the least informative article that I have ever read. Please let me summarize the story–it is important for colleges to meet their needs on signing day.

jerry

January 30th, 2012
5:54 pm

UGA stay with Alabama in recruiting? Surely that was said tongue in cheek.

Bamaman

January 30th, 2012
5:56 pm

Bradley you are like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Richt is getting beaten AGAIN in recruiting. Is it really that hard to understand why his record has been so mediocre? 4 of your best players in the state are going to Alabama this year. That’s not an issue?

Angry Tech Nerd

January 30th, 2012
5:56 pm

Can’t wait for those Mars Hill-type players to develop in CPJ’s triple DERP option scheme.

Rick James

January 30th, 2012
6:04 pm

I wonder if those top four players in the state would have given more consideration to Georgia if Kirby Smart had not told recruits that Mark Richt was going to lose his job..

KB

January 30th, 2012
6:06 pm

Bamaman, wake up dude, 180 kids will sign from this state, Georgia is filling its needs nicely, How many starters from the state of Georgia did bama have last year?( 2 )They had 2 recruits from the state in 2011, You should worry more about Saban and his roster management practices and less about UGA.

Dawg in Sewer

January 30th, 2012
6:07 pm

WE`s got the precious. Crowell is these mans. We gets whaever bamer doesn`t wants. Thenses we losses to alls the daddies. Ruff, Ruffes.

Jay Hilliard

January 30th, 2012
6:07 pm

I believe teams that change coaches have an advantage in recruiting for the first 5 years. Young kids love the next best thing. Saban therefore has that advantage on Richt. The Dawgs are doing fine in recruiting. You can’t keep every kid in the state and we are consistently getting some of the best from other states. Go Dawgs!

jadams

January 30th, 2012
6:09 pm

Tech has to land Tomlinson but they wont

UGA will finish strong.

January 30th, 2012
6:13 pm

UGA will flip a prospect or 2, and add a few bigtime studs to finish solid again in this yrs recruiting class.

LHarding Dawg

January 30th, 2012
6:13 pm

The four going to Alabama were ineligible for Georgia, they could’nt make the grade. Good luck to them over at Bama.

Mark Bradley

January 30th, 2012
6:14 pm

Kudos to Taylor King.

Birdhair

January 30th, 2012
6:16 pm

Why does it seem like we are so far behind in the recruiting process year? We should be first, or close to it, in recruiting guys in our backyard. Especially guys like Jaquay Williams #1 WR in state.

Nobis

January 30th, 2012
6:24 pm

What about a basketball blog? I am sure that will really drive up the hits.

VolsRule

January 30th, 2012
6:26 pm

Bama is on the top of the mountain – and they are simply feeding the beast at this point.
LSU is almost there with them – just at a higher level when the play in sync.

For the EAST:
Could have 3 teams with 6-2 SEC RECORD in 2012:

UGA needs to capitalize now – FLorida might be working out kinks, but is loaded! – better beat them now. USCe at Columbia – could Gamecocks win 3 in a row over UGA. Murray seems to freak at times in the big games, Prediction – will lose to FL and USCe – 6-2 SEC.

USCe – I think, along with Florida – the team to beat in the SEC East. If they beat UGA – then the SEC East will be decided on a head to head against FL – and USCe last game against ARK. USCe should beat ARK this year. Both FL & USCe play LSU.

Florida – Gators are loaded – should come down to LSU, UGA, USCe.

Vols? Well, that humble pie is pretty sour – but will finish 3-4 or 4-4 in SEC play. Predict Losses to AL, USC, FL, UGA – hope to upset one of these teams – UGA the most likely candidate – but UGA will have to choke big time. Other games are MS ST. MO, VDY KY. Dooley’s first two recruiting classes impressive – this year is really good. 2013 is the year when Vol fans should be concerned about how we stack up against USC, FL and UGA

At any rate – I really like Mark Richt – a class act. I think he represents UGA really well. This coming from a fan totally embarrassed by Kiffin. I do hope he can lead UGA to a national title one day. However, not sure what is lacking but UGA does not seem to have the fire it had in Richt’s early years – and something is lacking at UGA – whether it is punting the ball to the Badger in the LSU game – instead of quartering the field – they find ways to beat themselves by a lack of strategy, execution or just giving the dang game away (see USCe).

Good luck next year – but in 2013 – fear the VOL!

LakeDawg

January 30th, 2012
6:35 pm

UGA filled needs at RB, which was nice. However, if they don’t pull at least one of the big stud OL they have targeted, they will have failed on this recruiting season. OL is their biggest need and the top three OL in Georgia went to our SEC rivals. Getting Clemons and Williams would be nice, but Young and Greene are MUCH more important. Another note is UGA got challenged in the state by Bama last year for the first time. Richt held them off last year and signed the “dream team.” Bama came right back this year and cherry picked a few blue chippers, including at positions of need for UGA. Not a good sign. Next year the two top players in the nation are from Georgia and both are committed to Bama. Richt is working hard to flip them, but if he doesn’t, UGA will have become a second tier program in their own state.

KB

January 30th, 2012
6:35 pm

IMHO , I like Gurley and Marshall over the in state backs Bama signed, Theus better than Greene, Richt signed the kicker he wanted from Fla, Atkins and Taylor over Dakota Ball, Richt signed the TE he wanted from Georgia didn’t offer the kid bama signed,(TE isn’t a huge need for this class) really the only Kids bamas signed that Georgia really wanted are Lee and Green.UGA offered Drake but Marshall and Gurley are more highly regarded.The only Rome thats burning will be Jay Rome burning up SEC secondaries next year. (Rome, Mitchelll, Crowell,Drew all players Bama wanted)

Destin Dawg

January 30th, 2012
6:36 pm

I think we’ll get Josh and Avery Young.. maybe one or two more 4* stars… go dawgs.. Birdhair we have a couple silent Commits !!

Buckingham Palaze

January 30th, 2012
6:37 pm

Got to get back in the final top 10 ranking a few times in a row, before recruiting really picks up like it has for Saban. He’s been consistently good. He’s earned it.

Boise and South Carolina have done well without a top 10 recruiting class, and Boise & Johnson at Tech focuses on execution instead of complexity.

If you run a simple scheme like Boise ot Tech, and out-execute everybody else, you don’t need 4 or 5 stars.

Bamaman

January 30th, 2012
6:40 pm

Thank you uga fans! If you guys didn’t have such a laid back attitude (can’t sign them all,etc) and actually hired a coach that could recruit worth a flip, we might be in trouble. Let’s see – 4 of your top 12 players this year. Then for 2013 Reuben Foster and R. Nkemdiche is reportedly about to commit as well. That would only be the top 2 in Georgia and maybe the #1 recruit in the country, but it’s no big deal. You can’t get them all, right? Richt is a fine man, etc, etc, etc. Can’t wait until he gets that extension and Bradley can write another long puff piece about how uga is better off locking him in for 5-6 more years. I think I can speak for all Bama fans that we couldn’t agree more.

Keep it up uga – the Gator Bowl is calling you…

Vance Duly

January 30th, 2012
6:41 pm

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN WHO CAN BLOCK, please….!!!! We’re not doing well enough in this category for 2012, and we only appear to be in the running for one more (Avery Young) Barring some true surprises, we may only get 20 signees at most. We have good quality, but not enough quantity considering our existing lack of roster depth. ……..GO DAWGS (please)!

Destin Dawg

January 30th, 2012
6:42 pm

we need a new O.C… how about Houston Nutt or Chris Hatcher ??

Saban Rules

January 30th, 2012
6:43 pm

Thank you uga fans! If you guys didn’t have such a laid back attitude (can’t sign them all,etc) and actually hired a coach that could recruit worth a flip, we might be in trouble. Let’s see – 4 of your top 12 players this year. Then for 2013 Reuben Foster and R. Nkemdiche is reportedly about to commit as well. That would only be the top 2 in Georgia and maybe the #1 recruit in the country, but it’s no big deal. You can’t get them all, right? Richt is a fine man, etc, etc, etc. Can’t wait until he gets that extension and Bradley can write another long puff piece about how uga is better off locking him in for 5-6 more years. I think I can speak for all Bama fans that we couldn’t agree more.

Keep it up uga – the Gator Bowl is calling you…

BIGDAWG38

January 30th, 2012
6:43 pm

Come on Josh & Avery!!! We need you!!! Make this the 2nd Dream Team!!! GO DAWGS!!!

Spank that Doggie and Call PETA

January 30th, 2012
6:43 pm

LakeDawg

January 30th, 2012
6:35 pm
UGA filled needs at RB, which was nice. However, if they don’t pull at least one of the big stud OL they have targeted, they will have failed on this recruiting season. OL is their biggest need and the top three OL in Georgia went to our SEC rivals. Getting Clemons and Williams would be nice, but Young and Greene are MUCH more important. Another note is UGA got challenged in the state by Bama last year for the first time. Richt held them off last year and signed the “dream team.” Bama came right back this year and cherry picked a few blue chippers, including at positions of need for UGA. Not a good sign. Next year the two top players in the nation are from Georgia and both are committed to Bama. Richt is working hard to flip them, but if he doesn’t, UGA will have become a second tier program in their own state.

Lake Dawg….you finally get it. Nice post! Games are won in the trenches and there is no doubt UGA has the skill people, but their front guys are not currently SEC material across the board. There are good individual linemen, but not as a whole.

blazer

January 30th, 2012
6:48 pm

I second that Taylor King!

Birdhair

January 30th, 2012
6:50 pm

I’ve been too caught up sun tanning, going to church, and adjusting my mic in front of the tv..But, seriously… why not pick up some three star guys who would love to be a dawg and work extremely hard? Scary that we have so many openings. Has Rodney been stuck at the golden corral? sure looks like it…

Big Crimson 75

January 30th, 2012
6:54 pm

over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-singing over-signing over-signing over-singing

Spank that Doggie and Call PETA

January 30th, 2012
6:54 pm

Winning championships, & playing at 330 on saturdays bring more value to your program.

Big Albany Dawg

January 30th, 2012
6:54 pm

Mark, good article. Seems like you’re staying tuned as well?

RTR22

January 30th, 2012
6:56 pm

A state with so much high school talent, Ga has to flip kids on NSD???? I hope you guys keep CR for a long time, and CS will retire from Alabama when he is good and ready. 16 committs the end of January….. College fb is a year round proposition lol.

Big Crimson 75

January 30th, 2012
6:57 pm

Right now, Coach Saben is over-signing somewhere – somehow – someway.
It’s happening!! Do something about it Puppy’s!! Turn him in before it’s too late.
Save college football. Stop the devil. Stop him!!!!!
For the love of college football……………………………………………………over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing over-signing…………………………………

DawgFan

January 30th, 2012
7:00 pm

Bama fans are turds

Big Crimson 75

January 30th, 2012
7:00 pm

BTW, on a serious note — Jaboo Winston is headed for Stanford!!!!
Goooooooood insider info // reliable source // same source that gave me the Dyer to ARK ST transfer I posted on the ajc 2 weeks ago!!

Big Crimson 75

January 30th, 2012
7:00 pm

excuse me * 2 weeks before the ajc reported it!!

LakeDawg

January 30th, 2012
7:05 pm

Lake Dawg….you finally get it. Nice post! Games are won in the trenches and there is no doubt UGA has the skill people, but their front guys are not currently SEC material across the board. There are good individual linemen, but not as a whole.
————————————————————————————————————————————–

I’ve always gotten it. Now, you may have me confused with Lakedawg…lowercase g. He’s a loser. Otherwise, your post is spot on. You give me the big uglies and I can win championships with 3 star skill guys. Richt has always loaded up with skills guys and neglected O-linemen. Its happening again. Thank God for Grantham. At least he’s out there in the trenches bringing home the bacon on D.

ole dawg

January 30th, 2012
7:08 pm

Big Crimson, it is so sad that you uphold a parctice and make fun of kids like Justin Taylor. Saban’s crappy practices hurt real families and real young men. .. and you think it is funny. All of that and he still does not have a winning record against Coach Richt. As I say, I’ll take character over characters any day!

LakeDawg

January 30th, 2012
7:10 pm

I meant lower case “d”

Mike

January 30th, 2012
7:13 pm

@Big Crimson – lol hilarious.

You can’t keep up with Bama unless you want to oversign or somehow manage to get 27 commits even though they are capped at 25 LOL

I like what ESPN is doing with their ranking. If you look at Rivals and Scout, number of recruits does matter. The only way a team with only 16 commits will rise in the rankings is if it was like USC under Carrol and nearly half of those are 5 stars with the rest being 4 stars.

UGA has had a solid recruiting class this year. If they close with a couple more good signings, it will be great. Hopefully the new OL and the new RBs can get the running game going, cause you know Bobo will be running up the gut LOL

Silly Goose

January 30th, 2012
7:16 pm

Oh my goodness, the suspense is just KILLING me!! Never taken a college course? Check. Never taken a snap on a college field? Check. Never played at college speed? Check. Never lived away from home? Check. Never played against lots of talent? Check. And on and on. And still we get all excited about potential. Everybody: go take a Xanax and relax. We won’t know the outcome of this crap-shoot until two to three years down the road and most of the names you are worrying about now will STILL be no-names.

crimson turd

January 30th, 2012
7:21 pm

Lower admission standards and over signing gets a program really good players. Not to mention providing the starts with late model tricked out Chevy Tahoe’s. Richardson, drives a 2007 tricked out Tahoe valued at about $25K while being a unemployed father of two kids.

Nick Saban is dirty as it gets. But no one calls him on it because of the ESPN contract. Head shot time to clean up the stinch.

Buckingham Palaze

January 30th, 2012
7:22 pm

Mark,

Best article on recruiting I’ve read this year. Nice job.

Mark Cuban used to search in other countries for top talent. PJ at Tech is doing the same now. Smart.

I have wondered how rivals, scout, and espn could vary in the way they ranked recruting classes, one says #6, one says #21. Hard to imagine UGA as a non top 10 class this year. I don’t take Scout and Rivals evaluation of UGA at not even top 20 seriously. They’re losing cred there. Theus, Marshall, and Gurley alone are prizes. Add in a top ranked kicker and punter. Theus and Marshall are both considered a top 10 player in the nation. We got 2 of them.

Last year’s team was called the dream team, it finished #12 on ESPN. This team is currently #6. That’s pretty amazing, better than last year?

Scout ranking by position:
Marshall, #1 rb, 5 stars
theus #2 OT, 5 stars
Hicks, #3 Fullback
Jenkins, #5 DE, 5 stars
mORGAN, #7 KICKER
Taylor, #9 dt
Gurley, #13 RB, 4 stars
fLOYD, 4 STAR de

That’s a terrific class right now.

Nobis

January 30th, 2012
7:26 pm

If Football Saturdays in the South are Ford Tough like Richt says, then I guess he should be driving a Lil Smart Car and not a Truck.

Spank that Doggie and Call PETA

January 30th, 2012
7:28 pm

Alabama football team leads SEC in Academic Honor Roll placements

per SECSPORTS.COM

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