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