Georgia-Florida rivalry intensifies on recruiting trail

Georgia coach Mark Richt and Florida coach Urban Meyer have been asked a lot about the impact of this week’s game on recruiting. I, for one, am not sure the outcome has much of a bearing on that.

How else can you explain Georgia’s recent success in the Sunshine State? The Bulldogs have infamously lost 16 of the last 19 in the series with Florida, including 49-10 last year. Yet they were able to pluck a pair of five-star recruits (according to Scout.com) in quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles and a four-star recruit in wide receiver Rantavious Wooten, right out from under the Gators’ noses.  Florida offered each of them, so it’s not like they were simply unwanted by the defending national champions.

Same thing this year. Georgia currently has commitments from seven players out of Florida:  OT Brent Benedict, Jacksonville; LB Demetre Baker, Orange Park; DE B.J. Butler, Kissimmee; DB Marc Deas, Kissimmee; DB Derek Owens, Jacksonville; DB Nickell Robey, Frostproof; LB Deon Rogers, Port Saint Lucie.  The Gators themselves have only 12.

A few of those prospects might have been passed over by Florida, which has seen its recruiting base go truly national by winning BCS titles in two of the last three years. But four of the Bulldogs’ south-of-border commitments are four-star rated prospects that the Gators continue to pursue.

You’ll also note that three of those players are from the greater Jacksonville area. Meyer did.

“We lost a few prospects in this early period that has made people jump,” said Meyer, who recruited Benedict, Baker and Owens. “We love Jacksonville and it has been good to the Gators.”

Located less than an hour from the state line, Jacksonville has also been good to the Bulldogs. Starters Shaun Chapas (fullback) and Bryan Evans (safety) are both from the area.

Then again, Jacksonville has been good to any team that could get players out of there. The city produced 20 BCS signees in the Class of 2008, according to ESPN recruiting expert JC Shurburtt, including Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker, Florida State running back Jermaine Thomas and Boston College running back Montel Harris. It also produced the guy who currently plays quarterback for the Gators.

“The talent base is outstanding,” Richt said. “The bottom line is we’re gonna recruit the state of Georgia and every state that touches our state.”

Of course, it works both ways. The Gators have benefited greatly from their recruitment of the state of Georgia. Right now their defensive line is chocked full of Peach State talent. Defensive tackles Lawrence Marsh (Augusta) and Omar Hunter (Buford), and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (Stone Mountain) are all starters who went to high school within two hours of Athens.

In all, Florida has eight Georgians on its roster, seven of whom will definitely play on Saturday. As many as five might start. Conversely, Georgia has 11 Floridians, five of whom will likely start Saturday and at least nine of whom will play.

“It is very intense,” Meyer said of the recruiting rivalry with Georgia. “They get their share, we get our share.”

Here’s the bottom line: Georgia and Florida are going to go head-to-head on the best players in their respective states. Where those players end up has as much to do with opportunity and circumstance as it does where they were born and raised.

It would appear it has very little to do with who wins this game.

Georgia’s Floridians (11)

DT Geno Atkins, Pembroke Pines

FB Shaun Chapas, St. Augustine

TE Orson Charles, Tampa

FS Bryan Evans, Jacksonville

DE Jeremy Longo, Ft. Lauderdale

WR Michael Moore, Ft. Lauderdale

QB Aaron Murray, Tampa

DT Jeff Owens, Sunrise

RB Carlton Thomas, Frostproof

PK Blair Walsh, Boca Raton

WR Rantavious Wooten, Belle Glades

Florida’s Georgians (8)

DE Jermaine Cunningham, Stone Mountain

P Chas Henry, Dallas

OG Maurice Hurt, Milledgeville

DT Omar Hunter, Buford

DT Lawrence Marsh, Augusta

TE Josh Postell, Atlanta

FB T.J. Pridemore, Gainesville

WR Justin Williams, Folkston

72 comments Add your comment

RedKneckerson

October 29th, 2009
5:42 am

Itty Bitty Wayne

October 29th, 2009
5:44 am

Anyone heard my new rap song? You’ll be hearing it soon at colleges across America.

benadawg

October 29th, 2009
5:45 am

If georgia can win maybe we can keep all the current commitments, Go Dawgs!!!!!

NebraskaDawg

October 29th, 2009
6:05 am

The difference is that Meyer’s players get better while Richt’s players get worse.

Jeff2u

October 29th, 2009
6:23 am

dawes

October 29th, 2009
6:33 am

nebraskadawg coach richt is a better coach than coach meyer coach ritch had class coach meyer don,t have class he don.t know what class is

Boogers

October 29th, 2009
6:38 am

Gaytors eat them

YoMama

October 29th, 2009
6:58 am

Hey NebraskaDork, UGA has 38 players on NFL rosters to UF’s 31. Apparently the NFL thinks Richt does just fine coaching up his players.

BAMA FAN #2

October 29th, 2009
7:31 am

Does Georgia and Florida ever play in a all star high school game against each other? Alabama and
Mississippi play in Mobile every year and it is fun to see how they do against each other! RTR

Billy Goat

October 29th, 2009
7:33 am

Yo Mama, He said “Meyer’s” players get better-well this is only Meyer’s 5th season so your current # of NFL statistics don’t hold water in trying to argue his point. The proof is there in that Meyer’s players do live up to their billing and as a team actually win something other than So You Think You Can Dance titles.

Reality

October 29th, 2009
7:36 am

Well, one arrest this week for Thug-U. One and counting….

Dooley

October 29th, 2009
7:41 am

Hey Bamafan #2, we used to play florida in an all-star game. i think it stopped in the mid 90,s. I played in 91 and it was amazing.

Elliot Garcia

October 29th, 2009
7:46 am

My prayers go out to Benedict for a speedy recovery.

YoMama

October 29th, 2009
7:57 am

Billy Goat: look, UF and UGA both prepare players well for the NFL — in most positions. But a (smart) QB or RB prospect would do well to avoid UF, as well as Texas Tech and other schoold that run gimmicky offfenses. Tebow is/was a better college QB than Stafford. In your parlance, Tebow is living up to his billing. But he was a projected 4th round draft choice last year (making it a heck of a lot easier to decide to return for his fourth year) while Stafford went #1 overall. Same with RBs: UGA runs a pro-style offense in which NFL scouts can judge pro potential (Moreno was the first RB taken in the draft last year!) vs. UF’s spread — not quite as goofy as a Georgia Tech or Texas Tech offense, but not very suitable to display a QB’s or RB’s talents to an NFL scout.

Atlanta_Tiger_Fan

October 29th, 2009
8:03 am

What rivalary…….Florida is going to kill UGA!!!

Atlanta_Tiger_Fan

October 29th, 2009
8:05 am

dawes

October 29th, 2009
6:33 am

nebraskadawg coach richt is a better coach than coach meyer coach ritch had class coach meyer don,t have class he don.t know what class is
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Hey clueless, it takes a whole lot more than class to win football games!!! Coach Meyer can run circles around Richt.

Urban Meyer

October 29th, 2009
8:10 am

I am highly distressed and dismayed that Georgia would permit a player to play in this game who was caught operating a motor vehicle without a license. This is a serious offense against the public safety and should be treated as such. It only goes to further illustrate the moral decay of the University of Georgia, its players, students, faculty, coaching staff, fans, maintenance crews and mascot. Fortunately, the University of Florida is not plagued with this sort of behavior. By the way, I’m expecting a big game out of Janoris Jenkins this week.

DawgFan

October 29th, 2009
8:32 am

Let’s go Dawgs! You have an opportunity to ruin the Gayturds season this week. I agree it’s not much of a rivalry these days and no one in the country thinks it can be done, so prove the experts wrong and get the W!

Billy Goat

October 29th, 2009
8:52 am

YoMamma-
#1 it’s dumb to try and talk smack about the NFL in a college football rivalry discussion

#2 That “gimmicky” offense sure has produced a hell of a lot more results than Richt’s “pro-style” hasn’t it. AND the majority of college football is adapting to something similar.

#3 Urban Meyer also had a #1 top pick NFL QB who busted out. Just as it’s too early to tell me or anyone else what Tim Tebow will do in the NFL it’s WAY too early to tell that Matt Stafford won’t be a bust in the NFL himself.

#4 Meyer won’t run the same offense he is now when Tebow leaves. He has ALWAYS adapted his offense to fit what his personel and talent fit. (See Chris Leak) and if you’re a running back and you’re good enough you will get enough chance to prove yourself and make it to the NFL. Since Meyer has been at UF he’s yet to have an NFL caliber RB. Demps and Rainey are the first 2 he’s recruited himself. Time will tell if they will be Warrick Dunn type NFL RB’s.

#5 the same thing you are saying about his offense not preparing or displaying a QB or RB’s talents were being said this time last year about his Wide Recievers. Well so far this season he has 3 Recievers who are having BIG impacts for their teams in the NFL. Andre Caldwell, Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin.

Lastly—>Stop being so jealous and arguing off assumptive innuendo and hope your team finally can do something on the field vs. UF so you won’t have to resort to such petty and pathetic smack talk.

GT

October 29th, 2009
9:02 am

There is no rivalry between UGA and UF because UF owns UGA. Look at the record over the last 20 years. What a joke!

YoMama

October 29th, 2009
9:09 am

Urban Meyer: boy, what heightened sensitilities (”distressed,” “dismayed”). On June 9, 2009 the Gainesville Sun documented 21 Gator arrests during the first four years under Coach Meyer. Lots of batteries, disorderly conducts, several possessions of illegal substances, even a driving with a suspended license! Wow, I’m shocked too! Speaking of Janoris Jenkins, he may the list at #21 for resisting arrest. Now what were you saying about moral decay??

jeff

October 29th, 2009
9:12 am

hey GT, you’re a dumb idiot. look at the rivalry all time! get your facts in the right perspective.

YoMama

October 29th, 2009
9:26 am

Billy Goat: some legit points. It’s good to joust with UF fans (excluding, of course, idiots like Urban Meyer) who can marshal facts and craft informed opinions. Fortunately, most UF fans are class acts, unlike UT’s irredemable redecks or GT’s pathetic nerds. Thanks for the feeback.

General Feeling

October 29th, 2009
9:33 am

Why has Florida never developed a real running game with RBs under Meyer?

Paul The Vol

October 29th, 2009
10:05 am

It really bugs me when people refer to Florida’s offense as the “spread”. Virtually everybody, including “pro style” offenses, runs a spread formation (4 and 5 wide) that seeks to isolate playmakers on inferior defensive players or open up interior running lanes. Florida runs a spread option, which is an option based offense with greater emphasis on the passing game than the more traditional option offense such as what Tech runs. Neither offense is a gimmick and both are sound, proven approaches.

Teams being beaten by Florida and Tech are not getting beat by gimmicks, but rather by combinations of superior talent, execution and coaching. But there are plenty of other teams that run option based offenses that are struggling because they don’t do some things as well as those two. My feeling is that if you want to beat them then go out and get the players and coaches to do so.

GT

October 29th, 2009
10:21 am

Hey Jeff, you want a fact? Since 1990 UF leads the series 16-3. I’s call that complete domination. The rivalry is dead! You may resume your crying…

Billy Goat

October 29th, 2009
10:23 am

Yo Mama, you do realize that in the same time Meyer has been at UF that UGA has had MORE player arrest than the Gators have? Neither is anything to be proud of but i would stay away from throwing stones in glass houses.

Most of UF’s arrest came in the offseason leading up to the 2007 season and in fact UGA has had more player run-ins with the law than Uf in the past 2 years.

I will say though it’s dumb for a Gator or anyone to talk smack about something as petty as getting in trouble for what Vince Vance did a few days ago. At least he wasn’t as dumb as our player to get in trouble for Driving with a suspended liscense 3 times.

Urban Meyer

October 29th, 2009
10:26 am

YoMama: Please look up the word sarcasm.

jason

October 29th, 2009
10:29 am

As for UF not producing NFL players because of the “Gimmick”offense they run, You will see in the next few years a QB that will be NFL bound. While true on the fact of the RBs, both Demps and Rainey seem to be a ‘lil small. If Moody could learn to hold on to the DAMN ball, he would have 1st rounder written all over him. WRs are WRs, no matter what offense they are in. Harvin is proving that in the NFL right now. If you have the hands and the speed, the oppurtunity is there. Size really is not a factor at that position anymore. If you look at the OL, UF puts OL in the NFL also. For the “Gimmick” offense UF runs, they are physical up front in the run game. Just look at the yards Tebow racks up. As for Tebow, who knows what he will do once he enters the NFL and gets a good coach who can work on his fundementals. The only reason I don’t see him being an established starter at QB in the NFL is because I have yet to see him throw a tight spiral. Seems the harder he throws the more wobbily the pass. All this from a UGA fan who has alot of respect for Meyer and his program.

You can say that while UGA puts players in the NFL, they are getting there on talent alone. It is not coaching or being prepared by the the coaching staff. Hard to believe CMR is preparing all these guys on his own. The reason I say this is I have heard nothing but critical post about his entire staff. How everyone needs to be replaced. Now, if that is how the majority feels, then what doest that say about CMR, himself?

jason

October 29th, 2009
10:31 am

Billy Goat, agree. At least UGA’s 2 offenses this year are only traffic violations. Thank goodness no assaults or alcohol realted offenses. I don’t think either school has anything to brag about on that topic.

Ohio State fan

October 29th, 2009
10:48 am

It seems silly to argue that teams produce the most NFL-caliber talent based on coaching alone. You could have an all star coaching staff to include Carroll, Saban, Meyer, Stoops, Brown, Richt, Paterno, Bowden and anyone else you’d like to toss in there – if the kid can’t run or isn’t big and strong enough, the NFL is a pipe dream.

I don’t understand why college football fans fall back to the ‘well my team produces more NFL talent than your team does’ mantra – WHO CARES? I want my team to win on Saturdays, pure and simple. And every once in a while beat someone that’s not Minnesota or Indiana . . .

BIG BEE

October 29th, 2009
10:56 am

Hey Dawgs, don’t throw in the towel. GT broke the spell last year and probably will continue this year. Those gators put theit britches on the same way UGA does, one leg at the time. It is above the neck that counts, and I am not talking about players here, this is a coaching situation.

Painful Truth

October 29th, 2009
11:12 am

Yomama – name one pro prospect on GA’s current roster and i don’t mean free agents.

BJohnDawg

October 29th, 2009
11:18 am

Gino Atkins and the Jeff Owens…both highly rated by pro scouts…painful truth..

southsideDAWG

October 29th, 2009
11:28 am

AJ Green, Gino Atkins, Jeff Owens, Rennie Curran

GT u talk about UF owning us well look at the last 20 years against GT UGA OWNS GT

Dawg Fud

October 29th, 2009
11:35 am

Bryan Evans has not been good for the Bulddogs. You are nuts to mention him.

Dawg Fud

October 29th, 2009
11:39 am

Losing Cunningham and Hunter to the Gators really hurt.

But it’s not as if Martinez would have coached them up anyway. They are better off under Charlie Strong and they know it.

#1DAWGFAN

October 29th, 2009
12:07 pm

Hey Urban Meyer can you tell me when having the wrong state drivers license became such a bad crime? And don’t go there with no crime at UF, what about the guy who had embezzled all the money from NASA and ity case you only watch news about UGA he was a professor at UF so I’ll take my minor traffic citation over your embezzlement from NASA professor !!!!!

Flo-Ri-Duh!

October 29th, 2009
12:19 pm

Like Spurrier, TeaBlow will ride the bench in the NFL for two or three years and then go in to coaching. He is not NFL starting QB material and will be drafted in the late 2nd to 3rd round. To compare him to Herschel Walker based on talent is a joke but I will say he compares with Walker on desire. Tebow has a great desire to win – he is an overachiever.

Ron Recruitment

October 29th, 2009
12:25 pm

Florida is killing Georgia right now on the recruiting trail. Don’t get me wrong UGA has a top 5 class so far but Florida has out-classed them again. Just look at the ESPN top 150 – Gators already have #’s 7,11,16,21,25,30 in the top 50 alone. 20 of the top 50 are uncommited but over half of them have Florida on their last couple of schools list.

#1DAWGFAN

October 29th, 2009
12:26 pm

Hey Urban Meyer here is another crime fro one of your great Professors,!!!!!!!
Florida Professor Charged With Operating Global Terror Organization
Feb.20, 2003
University of Florida Prof. Samim Anghaie, Wife, Accused of Swindling NASA Cash
Feb.26, 2009
UF professor arrested on drug charge
Jan. 18, 2009Article: University professor in Florida arrested for having human body parts in house
Aug 28, 2002
And you talk about MORAL decay !!!!! LMAO

#1DAWGFAN

October 29th, 2009
12:27 pm

Oh and you can check my stories out by going to Google !!!!!! LMAO

#1DAWGFAN

October 29th, 2009
12:31 pm

And when you google University of Georgia Proffesors arrested you get NOTHING<NOTTA !!!!!!

Billy Goat

October 29th, 2009
1:04 pm

Didn’t know Urban Meyer recruited or coached professor’s at UF?

UF still tops UGA in academic rankings however if you want to start talking about professors however.

Dont worry dawgs you can still brag about your gymnastics team if you want. Theyve actually had your back in that department and actually done something.

Chuck Uga

October 29th, 2009
1:05 pm

Now you’ve done it. You’ve alerted Laney Kiffin to an area Georgia and Florida both recruit. He is sending out a fleet of helicopters to try and switch some of these UGA/UF commitments.

ReptilesRule

October 29th, 2009
1:06 pm

Paul The Vol…I’m speechless!! You really are Paul The Vol, aren’t you??

Reality Check

October 29th, 2009
1:06 pm

If you want to be in the hunt for National Titles, play at Florida.
If you want to struggle to be second or third in the SEC East, play at Georgia.

CatsFly

October 29th, 2009
1:21 pm

Why is it with the unrequited egos of SEC fans?

thom

October 29th, 2009
1:30 pm

GO COACH RICHT – GO DAWGS – LOVE YA ALL THE WAY! http://www.wedgeorgia.com

r

October 29th, 2009
2:07 pm

tech fans why are yall talking trash about uga vs fla when UGA HAS OWNED tech for the past 20 years, oh wait, the past 100 years my bad.