We’re comparing everything else between Georgia and Georgia Tech this week so we might as well compare recruiting, as hard as that can be.
As everyone knows, these two schools — and especially their fans — are bitter rivals. But while they go head-to-head every year on the gridiron, they don’t go head-to-head on a ton of prospects.
Part of that has to do with the schools’ academic curricula and part of it has to do with Tech coach Paul Johnson’s spread option offense. The run-oriented Yellow Jackets’ scheme is just so different from Georgia’s pro-style setup that they don’t recruit a lot of the same players on that side of the ball. More and more, however, they appear to be going after the same defensive prospects.
Of the 12 recruits committed to Georgia Tech’s 2010 class — all of them from the state of Georgia, by the way — the Bulldogs offered five of them. Of those all but one is expected to play defense: DB Ryan Ayers, DB B.J. Bostic, DB Jake Skole, DB Isaiah Johnson and OL Morgan Bailey. Just a few years ago, you’ll recall, they were in a major tug-of-war over Tech safety Morgan Burnett, whose brother Cap Burnett played for the Dogs.
Of course, there have been plenty of offensive prospects fought over, too. In fact, some of the biggest stars for the ACC Coastal champions were recruited hard by the Bulldogs, including quarterback Josh Nesbitt, wide receiver Stephen Hill and All-America running back Jonathan Dwyer.
Fans of both schools assumed that Georgia chose running back Caleb King over Dwyer when the two were coming out of Metro Atlanta high schools in 2007. Coach Mark Richt adamantly denied that was the case this week. He said the Bulldogs wanted them both.
“We tried like mad to get Jonathan Dwyer,” Richt said of the 2008 ACC Player of the Year. “We thought he was one of the finest backs in the state and in the country and a very fine young man. I didn’t know he was going to grow into such the big ‘hoss’ that he is now. I thought he was a good-sized back, but I didn’t think he’d get up to the 235-240 range and still keep his speed and power. But we tried like mad to get him.”
Neither coach believes the actual outcome of the game has a significant bearing on their schools’ recruiting abilities from year to year.
“I think there are a lot of other factors involved,” Johnson said. “Do [recruits] want to see the programs comparable? Sure. But there are a lot of contrasts between Georgia and Georgia Tech, far more than who wins the game. The location, majors that are offered, prestige of certain programs, there’s a lot of factors that go into it.”
If the recruits grew up in this state, their upbringing often can be the most important factor.
Said Richt: “I think there are probably some men who grow up wanting to be a Dawg and some guys grow up wanting to be a Yellow Jacket. I think that’s part of it. Then there are going to be guys on the fence.”
As far as comparing their current recruiting classes, that’s really apples and oranges. For starters, Georgia currently has 18 commitments and will sign from 22 to 24 in February. Tech will have a much smaller class. It has only 12 commitments and may not sign more than 13 or 14 on national signing day.
Nevertheless, here’s what the two classes look side-by-side using the ratings and rankings of Rivals.com and Scout.com as a measure:
That’s their rankings not mine, folks. Now have at it.