Georgia going head-to-head with Bama for best-of-best in state

For decades, Georgia has been a state raided from all sides for its rich football talent. Auburn, Clemson, Florida, FSU and Tennessee traditionally have gotten some of their best players out of the Peach State. And the Georgia Bulldogs, as the state university’s team, were most often the competition at the middle of the fray.

But there’s a new opponent with which UGA is trading licks this year. And it’s a tough time to be going toe-to-toe with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The defending national champions have been on a three-year roll under coach Nick Saban. And unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Tide has identified Georgia has its new No. 1 recruiting market outside of Alabama.

“It just happened over the last couple of years, since Saban has been Alabama’s head coach,” said Chad Simmons, South recruiting manager for FoxSports.com and Scout.com. “It’s didn’t happen under Mike Shula or Dennis Franchione or Mike DuBose. But Alabama under Saban has made it very clear they’re going to recruit the elite players in Georgia and try to beat Georgia head-to-head for them.”

Just run your finger down the list of uncommitted AJC Super 11 players and you’ll find the head-to-head battles going on between Georgia and Alabama.

The first and most notable is for Carver-Columbus tailback Isaiah Crowell, a five-star prospect considered among the top two or three running backs in America. Crowell, who grew up a Bulldogs’ fan, recently identified Alabama as his leader. Georgia, long thought to be the favorite, is now No. 2.

It’s mostly a Georgia-Alabama scrum for Damian Swann, an AJC Super 11 defensive back from Atlanta’s Grady High. That’s pretty much the case for defensive end Xzavier Dickson of Griffin, who is also still hearing from Auburn and Florida. Defensive end Ray Drew of Thomas County Central and tight end Jay Rome of Valdosta are trying to decide between Georgia and Alabama and a couple other schools.

Meanwhile, elite recruits such as Malcolm Mitchell of Valdosta, Xzavier Ward of Colquitt County and LaMichael Fanning of Harris County all have Alabama and Georgia among their finalists.

And it’s not a fluke.

Saban identified Greater Atlanta and it’s population base of 5.5 million soon after taking over at Alabama in 2007. The Crimson Tide quickly signed on to play in the inaugural Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome in 2008 to play Clemson. Then it came back in 2009 and played Virginia Tech.

“Obviously, it’s been made very clear Georgia is an important recruiting area for Alabama,” Simmons said. “And they have the staff to do it. [Defensive coordinator] Kirby Smart coached at Georgia and played at Georgia and he knows the state as well as anybody. And Burton Burns, their running backs coach [and associate head coach] recruited Atlanta and Georgia for Clemson before he came to Alabama. So they know their way around the state and have established relationships with the high school coaches.”

With 16 commitments to date, the foundation of Georgia’s 2011 recruiting class has already been established. But if the Bulldogs want to accomplish their stated goal attracting a “Dream Team” of in-state recruits to Athens, they’re going to have to win the majority of head-to-head battles with the defending national champions.

That was a difficult task even before Georgia got off to a slow start. But the Bulldogs remain the team to beat on their home turf.

“I think Georgia has a very good chance on each one of these guys,” Simmons said. “It depends on how they rebound the rest of the year and if their staff stays intact. That’s probably the biggest thing with these kids. They want to know who they’re going to be playing for. I think you can be pretty certain Alabama’s staff is going to stay intact. Will Georgia’s? That might depend on how they do the rest of the way.”

277 comments Add your comment

Finley Dawg

October 20th, 2010
11:38 am

what are the odds of the Dawgs winning this weekend? If so, think they’ll cover?

Hyder Boyz' c/o 96'

October 20th, 2010
11:42 am

JUST SAY NO!!!!!!

October 20th, 2010
11:43 am

Want to play as a freshman come to UGA. Want to win a SEC or National Championship go to Bama

Dawg House

October 20th, 2010
11:44 am

What a compliment to the State of Georgia in general, that Alabama, as well as allother SEC schools, are DYING to dip their recruiting straw into our pool.

There are those that act like UGA does a bad job recruiting all of them. But my god, if we recruited all of them, we would be labeled like BAMA and LSU having to Grey-Shirt some players. No thanks!!

Glory, glory to ole’ Georgia!!!!

Big Bad Bruce

October 20th, 2010
11:45 am

http://pricezack.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/the-bcs-who-will-raise-the-crystal-ball/ this is a great article about college football and is a very interesting read. must check it out if you are a college football fan

Sanford Drive

October 20th, 2010
11:46 am

With every Dallas Cowboy loss, we are one step closer to seeing Nick Saban in a Cowboy polo.

Don’t think he’d EVER leave Bama?? I think LSU (and Miami Dolphin) fans would beg to differ…….

Dawggie

October 20th, 2010
11:48 am

How do Josh Nesbit (aka “God” to Tech fans) and Aaron Murray stack up head to head???

Josh Nesbitt:
33-83 (39.8 percent), 591 yards 2 INT, 6 TDs passing
145 attempts for 764 yards, 8 TDs rushing
1,355 total yards, 14 total touchdowns

Aaron Murray:
112-181 (61.9 percent), 1,653 yards, 3 INT, 12 TDs passing
51 attempts for 158 net yards, 4 TDs rushing
1,811 total yards, 16 total touchdowns

Interesting, to say the least!! We have a DAMN good one in Athens ladies and gentlemen!!!

Matthews Dawg

October 20th, 2010
11:54 am

I can live (just barely) if an in-state kid goes to another Georgia school. But, I truly hate it when they go out of state. But, I realize we won’t get them all, but we MUST keep in-state elite! I’m sure we will hear from others who know the state of recruiting in GA. Lowndes25, anything to say to this or is Crowell unchanged from your knowledge? Wow, we all do beat a dead horse don’t we? Go Dawgs

Worm

October 20th, 2010
11:56 am

Kirby is a hell of a recruiter!

Low Tide Low

October 20th, 2010
11:56 am

I honestly think the early success of Aaron Murray should be used as a recruiting tool. This young kid is going to grow, and possibly be one of the greatest UGA QBs ever. Recruits should want to come and be a part of that.

Who is Bama’s quarterback next year? I firmly believe the RB duo of Richardson and Ingram will both go pro after this year. There is a GREAT possibility Nick Saban will either be in Dallas with the Cowboys or Ann Arbor, taking on a new challenge.

The Dawgs, though early season distractions and bumps in the road…. are a very good team in progress! Recruits have to see that.

GO DAWGS!!!!

Dawgy Style

October 20th, 2010
11:57 am

IMO, recruit kids that want to play for UGA, not these prima donnas. Half of these guys will end up back-ups anyways, especially at Bama. If you recruit kids who love UGA, then we might perform better b/t the hedges.

BTW, Saban isn’t leaving for Dallas. Wasn’t that rumor started on an AJC blog? Saban and Jerry Jones = dissaster

Jerry

October 20th, 2010
12:01 pm

Not really.

Georgia has 35 guys in the NFL right now, Alabama has 25.

That’s really all that matters to the best players, they want to play on Sundays.

SG4BAMA

October 20th, 2010
12:10 pm

Hey Low…..Ingram may very well go pro this year, but if you knew the rules you would know that Richardson cannot. TR is a true soph, and you have to be 3 years removed from HS to enter the NFL. Bama’s next QB will be either AJ McCarron or P. Simms both highly recruited players.
Crowell would be a perfect fit at Bama…..

TXDawg

October 20th, 2010
12:11 pm

UF recruit suspended for year
Published: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.

A day after reaffirming his commitment to Florida, A.C. Leonard’s senior season is over.

The FHSAA confirmed Wednesday morning that the Jacksonville University Christian tight end has been suspended for the rest of the season due to an on-field altercation with a player during Jacksonville University Christian’s 24-14 loss to Jacksonville Episcopal on Oct. 15.

According to documents obtained by The Sun from the FHSAA, Leonard committed his second act of unsportsmanlike conduct when he “took a swing” at a player on Episcopal High’s team last Friday while the two players were being separated on the field.

Leonard was previously ejected from an earlier game due to a Level 1 infraction, but was not suspended because of an appeal. This latest was his second infraction of the year, and was categorized as a Level 2, meaning his suspension will carry a maximum penalty of six weeks, according to the document.

Bylaw, Article 9.1.2.1 of the FHSAA handbook states that because of his suspension Leonard will not be allowed on University Christian’s bench, inside the team box or on the field wearing any portion of the team uniform during games.

Because Leonard’s infraction was classified as a Level 2 offense, according to Policy 30.2.2.2 of the handbook, a minimum financial penalty of $250 will be assessed to University Christian.

Leonard has been no stranger to finding his name in the news recently.

Shortly after unofficially visiting Florida for its 33-29 loss to LSU, he decommitted from UF, saying he didn’t feel the school was the right place for him.

Monday, Leonard changed his mind and recommitted to UF. He also said that he’d be shutting down the recruiting process.

Rivals.com rates Leonard as a four-star prospect and the nation’s fourth-best tight end.

that guy

October 20th, 2010
12:11 pm

How can one claim that Alabama’s staff will be intact during these kid’s college careers when the head coach does not stay at jobs longer than five years and will lie (at two other jobs) about whether he plans to be there?

ryan

October 20th, 2010
12:13 pm

I think Richt’s job is safe and if we put a good showing at UK that will seal the deal we are starting to mold together and that will help move the recruiting process .

SG4BAMA

October 20th, 2010
12:13 pm

Might as well face it….Saban is not going anywhere! Dream on!

Low Tide Low

October 20th, 2010
12:13 pm

I thought Richardson was a Red Shirt. Nevermind then.

Bama fans, talk all you want about how Crowell would be a “perfect fit” riding the bench next year. It still doesn’t change the fact that he has UGA stickers on his car…….

Just sayin’……

Low Tide Low

October 20th, 2010
12:16 pm

Keep telling yourselves Saban is loyal Bama Jammers……..

Then go talk to LSU about how they felt he would be loyal after lifting a crystal football in the air…….

You are only different in YOUR minds. Everybody else HATES Bama…… it’s true.

glacialspeed

October 20th, 2010
12:17 pm

Dear Georgia,

We drink your milkshake.

Love,
Bama

SG4BAMA

October 20th, 2010
12:18 pm

Crowell wont ride the bench anywhere he goes. I live in Columbus, and he may have UGA stickers on his car, but they can be removed and replaced with better ones. Sometimes you have to think with your head and not your heart. Kids grow up liking particular schools but end up going elsewhere all the time…..

Just sayin…..

SG4BAMA

October 20th, 2010
12:21 pm

REALLY…..EVERYONE hates Bama???? Hmmmmm……how do you explain then why all these kids from Georgia are considering Bama then….hmmmmm???? The only ones who HATE Bama are those the can’t compete with them.

alpharettabetta

October 20th, 2010
12:22 pm

@SG4BAMA How is Simms doing? Any word on who has developed more between the two? Appreciate it.

SG4BAMA

October 20th, 2010
12:24 pm

Right now it sounds like AJ will be the starter next year…..BUT…Simms is good, and could change those plans. We won’t get to see alot of Simms until next A-Day game though.

ryan

October 20th, 2010
12:25 pm

Hey don’t forget Crowell has a strong relationship with Richt and he has a close friend in Jarvis Jones its going to come down to were he feels comfortable the most .

GoldenDawg

October 20th, 2010
12:27 pm

SG4BAMA How many ships do you guys have left? Seems to me Bama has an unlimited supply? Word was Saban left LSU because he thought he was caught by the NCAA. Bama gets caught again I think they get the same as SMU.

SG4BAMA

October 20th, 2010
12:27 pm

I agree Ryan, thats why I never said he was Bama bound……but you cannot count them out of the race just because he has UGA stickers on his car. I hope he does come to Bama, but it would not surprise me if he doesn’t either.

ROLL TIDE

October 20th, 2010
12:30 pm

Why do all the Georgia fans want Nick Saban gone? I think this article explains it all. He is plucking athletes right and left out of the state of Georgia. UGA will never beat Alabama head to head on the recruiting trail So keep dreaming. Saban is not going anywhere. ROLL TIDE!!!!

SG4BAMA

October 20th, 2010
12:34 pm

Geezzzz….you guy’s come up with more dawg poop! Strange that has NEVER been mentioned ANYWHERE before! If you all think Saban is the only coach to ever deny leaving a school only do so….( see Tubberville’s exit from Ole Miss….) you are wildly mistaken. If CNS decided to go to UGA to replace MR….you would be elated. OK OK….go ahead and claim you wouldn’t, only because you know it will not happen. As far as the ships go….well I will leave that to Admiral Saban.

Low Tide Low

October 20th, 2010
12:36 pm

A gentle reminder that UGA is 3-1 in the last 4 meetings against UGA.

ryan

October 20th, 2010
12:37 pm

Its sounds like that gets under your skin Saban will always be a target i am not saying he will leave but his phone will ringing a lot .

Low Tide Low

October 20th, 2010
12:38 pm

I think we should all take a moment to ,look at Bama’s year to year record, and who they lost to, from 2000-2007.

This should remind Bamer Jammers that they are not the ELITE team they think they always have been. You are riding a helluva class of kids, and winning. But Saban WILL leave soon, and it’s all going to come crashing down. I just hope you refrain from tearing down the Saban statue you were so quick to erect.

Low Tide Low

October 20th, 2010
12:41 pm

Don’t you Bammer Jammers have a newspaper in, oh, Birmingham to read anyway??

It’s obvious you know the State of Alabama sucks, and you opted to move to the promise land. Georgia on your minds baby!!!!

robodawg

October 20th, 2010
12:43 pm

Build some momentum as we close this season, keep the staff intact (that is, the staff has to perform good enough to stay intact), and we should have a good recruiting year. You can’t get em all.

We do have immediate needs to address. So that is worrying. We can’t fall behind the talent being stockpiled by Bama and Florida (and Auburn and Tennessee) if we want to get back to the top of the SEC. One less than stellar recruiting year is okay, but a few in a row spells trouble down the road.

Bama not impressive

October 20th, 2010
12:43 pm

Watched game sat nite against Ole Miss,not really impresed with what I saw from Bama.May sound crazy because ti was against Tenn and Vansy but UGA is playing just as good or better than the Bammer red-necks,so who knows where these recruits end up at.

SouthSide Dawg

October 20th, 2010
12:47 pm

Crowell will be Dawg next spring.

Low Tide Low

October 20th, 2010
12:48 pm

How many Bammer Jammer fans does it take to change a lightbulb?

100. Only 1 to change it, and 99 to tell you how good the old one was.

college is forever

October 20th, 2010
12:48 pm

http://www.collegelunchboxes.com It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog. The fans will never forget you.

SG4BAMA

October 20th, 2010
12:49 pm

Why stop at 2000….How Many SEC titles does Ga have….not as many as Bama….how many NC does Ga have….Not as many as Bama no matter how you count them…How many games has Ga won….No where near as many as Bama….How many Bowls has Ga been to….not as many as Bama…how many times has Ga been to the SECCG…..not as many as Bama……get my point…Ga is second tier to Bama in every catagory.

How are those BLACK jersey’s working for you……just remember..ALABAMA Power has the answer to a Ga BLACKOUT

Gerald

October 20th, 2010
12:51 pm

Low Tide Low:

Why do you want Crowell to go to UGA? I am serious. Richt recruits several 4 and 5 star RBs every year, and of those only Knowshon Moreno has panned out. If it happens a couple of times, you can blame the players. If it happens 4 or 5 times, you can blame bad luck. But when it has happened dozens of times over ten years, it is obviously the coaching staff. It is one thing to blame Caleb King, Washaun Ealey, Richard Samuel and so forth for the past couple of years and to recall that Kregg Lumpkin was looking really good until he tore up his knee, but aside from Knowshon Moreno, UGA’s inability to have even a consistently AVERAGE rushing attack has lasted FOR YEARS. (Just like the bad OL play, the penalties, the fumbles, the off-the-field troubles, the blowout losses, and the failures against top 5 teams.)

Wide receiver: more of the same. UGA brings in a ton of 4 and 5 star prospects at WR and TE, and only an A.J. Green actually develops every now and then. (Then again, Green was a star from day one because of his ability and high school coaching.) Occasionally you will see a Reggie Brown or Mohammed Massoquai have a big senior year, but that’s it. I just don’t know why any of you think that THE NEXT 5 star tailback is going to make a difference when the last 8 or 9 didn’t.

Instead of rooting for Crowell, Bulldog fans need to root for UGA to hire the coaches at schools like Auburn, Alabama, LSU and Tennessee that actually run the football. It’s the coaching. Look at Houston Nutt. He’s at Arkansas one year, and they have 3 future starting NFL tailbacks in Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis. He’s at Ole Miss another year, and he makes Dexter McCluster into a star. Contrast that with Tommy Bowden (an FSU product like Richt) who had James Davis and C.J. Spiller all those years and instead threw the ball 40 times a game. I remember ESPN’s sideline reporter asking Bowden why he didn’t give Spiller the ball against Alabama during that 2008 debacle, Bowden losing his temper, and resigning not long after. But Bowden leaves, and Spiller becomes a Heisman Trophy candidate and top 10 draft pick.

It’s coaching, period. Until UGA gets quality people at offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, UGA won’t have a good running game year in and year out no matter who you recruit. Richt, Bobo and Searels could have Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and John Riggins in the backfield and UGA would still average less than 100 yards rushing in SEC games. Then again, Richt would probably move guys like Walker and Jackson to middle linebacker and make Riggins one of his many extremely talented TEs that rarely gets to catch a pass.

secbama

October 20th, 2010
12:54 pm

Crowell to Bama and will spell Richardson getting 12-15 touches per game next season. Richardson will win Heisman in 2011 then hand baton off to Crowell.

Crowell wins Heisman as Sophmore like Ingram did getting 20 touches and averaging 175 yds per game. Barry Sanders, Jr. spells him as true freshman getting 12-15 touches per game.

Ingram #1 RB selected in 2011 NFL draft. Richardson #1 RB selected in 2012 draft. Crowell #1 RB selected in 2015 draft. Sanders, Jr. #1 RB selected in 2016 draft.

You follow the pattern, get my drift, see the light? ROLL TIDE!

ryan

October 20th, 2010
12:57 pm

You Bama fans should not get over confidant remember Dee Hart .

dawgfacedboy

October 20th, 2010
12:58 pm

Sanford Dr- Gruden is the leading candidate to take the Dallas job. Saban would be a fool to leave Bama anytime soon.

dawgster

October 20th, 2010
1:02 pm

TXdawg…good posts…i’m sure Coach Richt or our coaching staff will be blamed for this young mans situation, even though he is a gator committment…i’ll be interested in seeing how the media covers this…you want see much info around here on it..thats what i have been saying for a while if you do the research you will find things like this, unfortunately way too often at many schools…if this had been a young man that we were recruiting or had a committment from the comments would have been, the dawgs recruit another thug…by no means am i calling this young man that, i don’t know anything about him, but just wanted to point out that the coaches, Richt, Meyer, Saban, whomever, can’t control these kind of things….go dawgs..

YoungDawg

October 20th, 2010
1:04 pm

Being a Cowboys fan as well I don’t see Jerry going after Sabin. If there’s a lockout then he may not make a change. If there’s a Labor agreement then he may go get a big name coach. BUT will want to keep the current schemes in place because the team is built for then. He feels like changing voices might be needed not changing the offensive & defensive systems. That’s part of why he brought in Wade. So my guesses are: Bill Chower, Brian Billick or John Fox. I’d LOVE to see him go get John Gruden but because he’d change the O its less likely. However he wanted stick with the 3-4 when he hired Wade so he might be open to changing the O but leaving the D about the same. Having typed all that part of my logic for Jerry not going after Sabin is his lack of success with the Dolphins & the $ it would take. Now thinking about it, he probably wants another shot in the NFL, the Cowboys have the talnet to win SB’s but need the right leader. Plus Nick runs a similar d & would tweek the O to be a little more run focused Hmmmm on second thought that just might be a possibility. If that happens Kirby is promoted at Bama then he or Sabin try to get Grantham from UGA, Hmmmm. As a Dawgs fan first not sure I like that. As a Cowboys fan it SOUNDS good on paper. Still don’t see it happening I think Nick is a Bama till the NCAA comes calling, or he has health probs.

Vick=Dog killing thug

October 20th, 2010
1:05 pm

Gerald my boy, you are so full of baloney. Thanks for the laugh..

True DAWG fan

October 20th, 2010
1:07 pm

Just wondering why BAMA fans always end up on Ga. blogs? You guys get a renta coach from another school who is notorious for playing dirty and breaking rules.But when you guys were down and we beat you 3 out of the last 4 meeting you were so quiet,Saban will bolt he always does and then when you guys return to earth it’ll be the same silence again.You guys have a great team with a Ga. boy running your defense,just remember the grass isn’t always greener on the other side,when your 2 headed monster in the backfield is gone and your QB leaves times will get hard it’s called rebuilding.So while we are struggling and you are talking,we will bounce back,and this DAWG will hunt! So show some humility b/c you will remember this and you will eat crow. We will run our state,you need to worry about yours….just saying…GO DAWGS! and good luck to your team the rest of the way,I give credit where its due and you guys have earned it.

SG4BAMA

October 20th, 2010
1:07 pm

Alabama leads the all-time series, 36-25-4College Football Data Warehouse: Georgia vs. Alabama

TXDawg (The Real TXDawg)

October 20th, 2010
1:12 pm

I suspect Crowell will still end up at UGA.
Also, One of the biggest things to sell is the loyalty to the home state. The kids in this generation are all about representing where they’re from and if recruiters play that angle it helps.

JUST SAY NO!!!!!!

October 20th, 2010
1:13 pm

TX Dawg,

This guy sounds like a perfect recruit for UGA