ESPN: Tech is the second-worst at keeping in-state talent

Jonathan Dwyer: One of the exceptions who proves the rule. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Jonathan Dwyer: One of the exceptions who proves the rule. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

One of the charms about ESPN is that the Worldwide Leader has enough correspondents to satisfy every viewpoint. Just yesterday, ESPN recruiting correspondent Jamie Newberg was lauding Georgia Tech for its success in finding prospects of lesser portfolio. But now comes LaRue Cook of ESPN the Magazine to serve as the bad cop.

Georgia Tech, Cook writes, is the nation’s second-worst program at attracting high-end in-state players. (Only Arizona keeps Tech from being No. 1.) Cook’s rationale: Over the past five years, the Jackets have landed only two of the 74 Georgia recruits ranked in ESPN’s top 150.

Wait. It gets worse.

Neither of the two — Jonathan Dwyer and Morgan Burnett — was landed by Paul Johnson and staff. Those two were signed by Chan Gailey, who last coached Tech in 2007. Only one Tech signee under Johnson, Cook writes, has cracked the ESPN 150, and that was Vad Lee of North Carolina.

More from Cook (link requires registration): “Over the last five years, Alabama and Auburn have combined for 10 blue-chip preps out of the Peach State, while Florida and Florida State have combined to sign nine.”

As has been noted a time or two in this space and others, Tech under Johnson hasn’t been shopping at the same ritzy store as do the big SEC programs — so we can’t say Cook’s findings are a shock. Still, there’s something about seeing the chilling number (2-for-74) that drives the point home. Thank goodness for Arizona, huh?

By Mark Bradley

746 comments Add your comment

ChopAttack

January 31st, 2012
10:26 am

It’s an uphill climb for Tech.

Not Disappointed

January 31st, 2012
10:29 am

Some one throw us a life line! :(

Rob

January 31st, 2012
10:29 am

Agree that it’s not good, but anyone who blames this on CPJ is fooling themselves. Gailey had one decent top-heavy recruiting class. Take that class away and all of CPJ’s classes have been better than Gailey’s.

Anon1

January 31st, 2012
10:33 am

What a stupid stat. This is for kids who are given “stars” by espn. Since Ga has the largest talent pool, that alone would increase the loses for both Tech and UGA. Since Florida has more major college football teams, fewer players leave the state.
Mark should also understand that you can compile stats to show whatever conclusion you want.

chijacket

January 31st, 2012
10:33 am

Is this really journalism? you paste a link to another writer to blast Johnson. wow, if I delivered crap like you do in my job, I wouldn’t have a job. ridiculous.

Coach Paul Johnson

January 31st, 2012
10:34 am

Somebody oughta punch you in the face Mark!

Anon1

January 31st, 2012
10:35 am

Just look at the fact that 74 of the top 150 are from Georgia. The other 76 come from the other 49 states.

Big Crimson 75

January 31st, 2012
10:36 am

Whose the worst?

Anon1

January 31st, 2012
10:37 am

Disregard that last post, but I would like the stats by states as to how many from each state over the past 5 years.

Big Crimson 75

January 31st, 2012
10:37 am

oh…’Zona. Not good company.

OkieDawg

January 31st, 2012
10:38 am

Ouch, reality really hurts when read in print. We all know the myriad reasons that Tech doesn’t get top talent.

Nom Nom Nom Chucks....Taylor or Norris

January 31st, 2012
10:38 am

“Is this really journalism? you paste a link to another writer to blast Johnson. wow, if I delivered crap like you do in my job, I wouldn’t have a job. ridiculous.”

i guess capatilization and run on sentences are a integral part of your job, you do them well, I mean really well dude, yeah awesome, refridgerator.

Kudos MB.

Remarkable

January 31st, 2012
10:38 am

Don’t blame Ga. Tech, it’s the fault of the ACC. They are not a powerful football league. Players want to play for the schools that play the top level football that UGA, Bama, and others play.

GTBob

January 31st, 2012
10:39 am

You mean we aren’t beating out Alabama, Auburn, UGA, FSU, Florida, South Carolina, and Miami for the big named recruits? I for one am shocked.

Rob

January 31st, 2012
10:39 am

@Remarkable…

Since when does UGA play “top level football”?

GT is a 4th rate high school team

January 31st, 2012
10:40 am

Most GA high school athletes do not like to go to college to play like high school kids again. They like to move on to better things.

Anon1

January 31st, 2012
10:40 am

So if Miss only had 2 in the top 150 over 5 years and both left to other states for college, what does that say? Or if they kept 1 in state that gives them a 50% average.

billyBobjacket

January 31st, 2012
10:41 am

I guess you can see how this actually does show up on the field…one good recruiting class in five years, and one decent season in five years. Great recruiting classes may not always result in great seasons, but consistently poor/mediocre classes usually do show up with similar results on the field. The CPJ experiment I fear has reached the point of diminishing returns. If you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards, because the competition is always evolving and improving. If you think you are so smart that you don’t need to change/adjust, then history indicates that you will be left behind only as a footnote.

Joshua Barlowe

January 31st, 2012
10:41 am

Tech recruits actually have to be able to read and write. Makes a big difference.

Remarkable

January 31st, 2012
10:41 am

Anon1
Just look at the fact that 74 of the top 150 are from Georgia. The other 76 come from the other 49 states.

That’s 150 players each year. That’s 74 out of 750. Still a good number though!

BigTimeTechFan

January 31st, 2012
10:42 am

That’s dumb

I don’t think coach Johnson recruits players based on ESPN rankings.
What if Tech brings in a real good player from Georgia that ESPN does not have in their top 150, say Omoregie Uzzi from Chamblee, GA, who turned out to be an All-American as a JR.

George Stein

January 31st, 2012
10:42 am

Other schools on the list: Stanford, Auburn, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Michigan.

In-state recruiting seems to be a fairly overrated aspect of recruiting.

GTBob

January 31st, 2012
10:42 am

Don’t blame Ga. Tech, it’s the fault of the ACC.

There are 3 ACC teams in the top 10 in this years class. There is a lot more holding GT back in recruiting then being in the ACC.

Remarkable

January 31st, 2012
10:43 am

Rob
They played in the SEC Championship game. Where did Ga. Tech play?

jacket49

January 31st, 2012
10:44 am

@Anon1 the post said a 5year period. that would 750 not 150

Rob

January 31st, 2012
10:45 am

Remarkable
UGA was the fourth best team in their conference this year and got blown out in Atlanta. That’s not big time.

OkieDawg

January 31st, 2012
10:46 am

GTBob, again, please learn to use the word “than”. It really makes my head explode.

George Stein

January 31st, 2012
10:47 am

Also noted in the article is that UCLA signed 12 of the 73 California players over the past five years that made the ESPNU 150. How’s that working out for them?

BigTimeTechFan

January 31st, 2012
10:47 am

Julian Burnett was one of the best players in the state, yet ESPN did not have him in their top 150. He signed with Tech.

Mark Bradley

January 31st, 2012
10:47 am

BigTimeTechFan is correct in that Johnson looks at players differently. Jamie Newberg noted yesterday that Tech is more apt to sign someone classified as “athlete” because if that player doesn’t pan out at quarterback he could be moved to another position.

dawg tired

January 31st, 2012
10:48 am

The best players from GA want to play on Sundays.

Mark Bradley

January 31st, 2012
10:49 am

That said, I’d be lying if I said Mr. Cook’s article doesn’t play into a point I’ve made a dozen times: Tech needs to recruit better. It doesn’t have to get all or even most of the big names in Georgia, but it should get some — shouldn’t it?

SimpleDawg

January 31st, 2012
10:49 am

Most of those recruits couldn’t stay in school at Tech…..no point signing someone who will be gone before they can be developed.

Rob

January 31st, 2012
10:50 am

dawg tired,
Then it wouldn’t make sense to go to UGA and be under-utilized and wasted. That’s why UGA hasn’t been able to keep up with the big boys despite their top recruiting classes year after year. Recruits are starting to realize that it’s not worth playing for UGA’s poor coaching staff in a boring city.

Mark Bradley

January 31st, 2012
10:50 am

Morgan Burnett plays on Sundays. Demaryius Thomas plays on Sundays. Derrick Morgan plays on Sundays. Calvin Johnson plays on Sundays.

Just sayin’.

George Stein

January 31st, 2012
10:50 am

The real reason Johnson’s classes don’t rank highly, BTTF, is that his system is based on getting players that have high availability. For example, the offensive linemen he requires aren’t 6′7, 330 lbs, but those are the highly rated guys. Further, the a-backs he recruits are also highly available, which means they are less likely to stand out.

As for the defense, all I can do is hope that Groh’s boys get it figured out this season. Unfortunately, hope isn’t much of a strategy.

Just Asking

January 31st, 2012
10:51 am

Mark Bradley: Are there any other examples? One or two still don’t make up for all the ones they have missed out on. Every team signs an ATHLETE or two.

GTBob

January 31st, 2012
10:51 am

GTBob, again, please learn to use the word “than”. It really makes my head explode.

Nope. I intentionally try to misuse it now. You have made it a new game for me which I appreciate.

billyBobjacket

January 31st, 2012
10:51 am

Rob, belittling UGA’s level of success and competition does NOT help Tech. Isn’t it better to admit that they are pretty darn good most years, since they beat us most years? When they win, and we say they suck, then we are saying we suck more.

Rob

January 31st, 2012
10:54 am

billyBob,
Just doing a public service by attempting to help our less-educated friends when they attempt to make baseless arguments. Don’t like seeing people make fools of themselves. It’s not healthy.

GTBob

January 31st, 2012
10:54 am

Mark, what would you do to improve recruiting at GT just curiously? It’s pretty easy to just tell a team they need to recruit better, the hard part would be to actually come up with a way to do it.

CT_Jacket

January 31st, 2012
10:55 am

Peter Keating of ESPN wrote, “New research shows that the connection between landing top preps and winning games is shockingly weak.” This was based on the Winthrop Intelligence research. Look at the some of the other teams on Cook’s list; Stanford, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Auburn.

From Keating, “Bottom line: Some coaches are better than others at identifying talented players suited for their systems and molding their skills, whatever the star system says.”

Star rankings don’t mean diddly. Look at Texas, Miami and Florida State.

Technically Correct

January 31st, 2012
10:56 am

As Mark Twain once wrote, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

BigTimeTechFan

January 31st, 2012
10:56 am

@Mark Bradley

You are correct, “Johnson looks at players differently”
If most Schools ran CPJ offense, Justin Thomas would have been the no 1 or 2 rated QB in the nation. Any recruiting analyst would tell you he a 5 star / top 150 commit for Tech’s offense.

Also a player like Jabari Hunt-Days was awesome HS player, went to camps with ESPN top 150 type players and was MVP of the camps, He went to Tech but was not ESPN 150.

Rob

January 31st, 2012
10:56 am

@CT_Jacket
You missed a pretty easy (in state) example

Birmingham Jacket

January 31st, 2012
10:57 am

I went there and can tell you what it is.

It’s the damn egg-head geek administration that doesn’t give a crap about football… combined with a hillbilly coach running a stupid offense no big time player is interested in.

Time to clean house and move on.

Terry Bowden would make a fine choice. Would probably cheat and get us (more) probation, but a few good years of whipping UGA is better than none.

Bryan G.

January 31st, 2012
10:57 am

Mark -

Sure those guys play on Sundays, but for someone like Dwyer, playing for CPJ hurt his draft status. If he had put up the same numbers at UGA that he did at Tech, he’d have gone first or second round.

If I were a big-time WR or RB with NFL dreams, it wouldn’t make sense to go to Tech.

George Stein

January 31st, 2012
10:57 am

Good point, GTBob. That’s what I’ve been saying for a long time now. Basically, it’s easy to see a problem, but it’s harder to suggest solutions.

BigTimeTechFan

January 31st, 2012
10:58 am

@George Stein

Agree 100%, see my comment on J Thomas above

Upstate Jacket

January 31st, 2012
10:58 am

I would love for our recruiting classes to be better and I hope Dalvin picks us tomorrow, but it is an uphill climb at Tech. With the landscape of college football and the $$$$ programs with low academic standards, i don’t see that changing.
I will say one thing about CPJ’s staff: they seem to be getting better at evaluating talent. It seems like trolls on this blog always laugh and mock the commitments we get because their other offers were from smaller schools(Crawford, Adams, Kallon, Grondnonke sp?). However, a few months later they are being offered by Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and/or Miami, and all of a sudden they are some of our top recruits.