Now comes hard part for UGA’s ‘Dream Team’ — winning on field

Now comes the hard part.

The so-called Dream Team has now been signed, sealed and delivered and now coach Mark Richt is already talking about assembling another one in 2012. But that may seem like the easy part compared to the challenge that is ahead.

By consensus, the Bulldogs’ 2011 class is ranked among the top seven classes in America. They ended up ranked No. 5 by Rivals.com, No. 6 by ESPN.com and No. 7 by Scout.com. So while it was a Dream Team by virtue of labeling and certainly by landing the majority of in-state recruits it had targeted, recruiting experts determined several other programs had better years on the recruiting trail.

Opinions differ on which team had the best year. Florida State, in its second season under coach Jimbo Fisher, had its class tabbed No. 1 by ESPN and Scout. Rivals thinks Alabama had the top class. Auburn was at one time ranked No. 1 before five-star offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio reversed field and signed with the Crimson Tide. So who knows?

But here are two important things to note about high recruiting rankings: They come with high expectations and rarely translate into immediate on-field success.

Just ask Florida. The Gators’ 2010 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the nation last year by two of the three national recruiting and 15 members of that class ended up playing as true freshmen. And what did that get them? A five-loss record (8-5, 4-4 SEC). Southern Cal’s 2010 class was considered No. 1 by Rivals and the Trojans also went 8-5 in the season that followed.

In fact, mediocrity is more often the scenario that follows a great recruiting class rather than immediate excellence. LSU had the top class according to ESPN in 2009 and proceeded to go 9-4 that season. Rivals and Scout tabbed the Gators in 2007 and they responded with a 9-4 season. Miami was labeled No. 1 by ESPN in 2008 and ended up 7-6.

If any team has responded positively to being ranked No. 1 in recruiting it’s Bama. The Crimson Tide followed its No. 1 distinction by Rivals in 2010 by going 14-0 and winning the national championship. Of course, that followed 2008 when they were also tabbed No. 1 by Rivals and Scout and went 12-2 and won the West.

Also, Florida wasn’t perfect but it went 13-1 and won the national championship in 2006 after ESPN identified its recruiting class tops in the nation.

As for Georgia, with all the Dream Team talk it’s easy to forget that it has actually had many recruiting classes that were just as highly regarded this one under Richt. The Bulldogs’ 2006 class was a consensus No. 4 pick by all three services. That team went 9-4 the next season. Georgia’s 2008 class was fifth, according to ESPN and Scout, and team went 10-3 during the season. Scout tabbed them No. 4 in 2009 (ESPN and Rivals 6th) and they limped home with an 8-5 mark.

So what’s it all mean? Not that much, really.

There are so many integers that go into a football season — schedule, injuries, lucky bounces — that the infusion of new talent is just one of them. And the true measure of that talent tends to come two to three years later.

Here’s the data so you can form your own conclusions:

NO. 1-RANKED RECRUITING CLASSES (last 5 years)

Year—–ESPN (record)——Rivals (record)——Scout (record)

2010——-Florida (8-5)———–USC (8-5)————Florida (8-5)

2009——-LSU (9-4)————Alabama(14-0)——–Ohio St. (11-2)

2008——-Miami (7-6)———-Alabama (12-2)——–Alabama (12-2)

2007——-USC (11-2)———–Florida (9-4)———–Florida (9-4)

2006——-USC (11-2)———–Florida (13-1)———-USC (11-2)

UGA RECRUITING CLASSES (last 5 years)

Year (record)——ESPN—–Rivals—–Scout

2010 (6-7) ————12th——15th——-21st

2009 (8-5)————-6th——–6th——-4th

2008 (10-3)————5th——–7th——-5th

2007 (11-2)————13th——-9th——-17th

2006 (9-4)————-4th——–4th——–4th

Other stories:

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog

221 comments Add your comment

State

February 7th, 2011
6:06 pm

first- looks like UGA 2011class is a heck of class in decades

How2fish

February 7th, 2011
6:16 pm

Good article Chip, its a lot more than just getting stars…keeping them in school, dodging the injuries, having them prove they were a 4 or 5 star to start with etc…this is just a first step it will take 2-3 years to really get a good gauge on just what we have with this class…Go Dogs !

jack bull

February 7th, 2011
6:19 pm

that may be the under statement of the year thus far, chip…

bigtime

February 7th, 2011
6:26 pm

Great job Chip! The Crimson Nation appreciates the love for once . Roll Tide

WIN WITH RICHT

February 7th, 2011
6:29 pm

While great recruiting classes don’t guarantee championships, odds are better for 4 or 5 star players being successful than lower ranked players. I would rather have a high ranked class like Georgia has than a class like Vanderbilt, Duke, or Miss State.

The Watergirl

February 7th, 2011
6:29 pm

This is UGA’s best class of all time (excluding Herschal’s class) simply for the fact of we are coming off a 6-7 year! In past years we have landed some big time recruits but they have always been specialty players, this class we stocked up on great players for positions we had to fill. Only time will tell how well this class was, but it is a great starting point to putting fences up around the state and developing a winning tradition again for the decade to come

cattle dawg

February 7th, 2011
6:29 pm

How many line men were redshirted last year?

Sweer Home Alabama

February 7th, 2011
6:29 pm

Mutts anytime anyplace we will be glad to put another spanking on you.You are the sorriest coached team in the SEC with all that talent you are a bonafide joke.

Have another Blackout friends we will be glad to put another 50 on you.

Its great to be Bama fan tonite.number one recruiting class in USA and the best coached.IT aint fair.\

As always ROLL TIDE ROLL…………………………….

The Watergirl

February 7th, 2011
6:32 pm

Hey jackass Sweet Home,
if you were a true Alabama fan u would know u didnt score 50 and in case you forget UA was the laughing stock of the SEC for 15 yrs

collegeballfan

February 7th, 2011
6:36 pm

The 2009 class is slightly higher rated than this years class.

2009————-6th——–6th——-4th = 16

2011…..5th…6th…7th = 18

We tend to forget that we are talking about the ratings of High School players.

After they become College players they may be all busts.

For UGA the classic example is 5 Star running back Richard Samuel, now a back-up linebacker in college.

And so it goes.

WIN WITH RICHT

February 7th, 2011
6:42 pm

A lot of people were down on CMR about 7 or 8 weeks ago. Georgia had just finished a losing season and had not had a recruit give a verbal in 4 months. They were calling his Dream Team a pipe dream. But, CMR really turned it around and delivered a top 5 recruiting class. So, the Dream Team is not only about a big infusion of talent, but a big positive first step on the way back to the success that UGA and CMR enjoyed from 2002 to 2007. It has given the program and the fans a huge positive lift and hope for next year.

Worm

February 7th, 2011
6:44 pm

Chip, the difference in this class is we picked up guys at our most needed positions..Crowell-TB, Jenkins-NT, and Jarvis and Samuels are “new” recruits..also, some of those DB’s will play early.

Worm

February 7th, 2011
6:47 pm

Also, the 1998 class put 11 guys in the pros-Gonna’ be hard to top that one.

Big Dawg in Cumming

February 7th, 2011
6:55 pm

These scouting services don’t include the JC guys in the class. Jenkins is probably the best guy we signed for immediate help and he didn’t even count. We may not win MNC but this class will make an immediate impact. The last couple of years it’s been the small things. Special teams, turnovers, untimely penalties, missed tackle here, dropped pass there. It usually the basics that win football games. GATA!
RTR-What’s the question most AL football players ask the year after college? You want fries with that?

LakeDawg

February 7th, 2011
6:57 pm

Don’t care about the rankings. This is UGA’s best class in about 15 years. If you rank in the top ten, you have all the talent that you need ( unless some team lands a rare difference maker such as Herschel, which is truly rare.) Differentiating between top ten classes is just guess work. Once you get in the top ten you have the talent. At that point its all about coaching em up.

Terry

February 7th, 2011
6:58 pm

Chip, Florida lost their Offensive and Defensive Head Coaches. Plus, they never found a QB to replace Tebow, I don’t care how how good you recruit, that is alot to over come. And I’m no Florida Fan.

He Hate Gator

February 7th, 2011
6:58 pm

tim

February 7th, 2011
6:59 pm

bigguy

February 7th, 2011
7:03 pm

I saw Crowell play at Calhoun and he was probably the biggest disappointment I have ever watch play a football game. He’d rip his helmet off and take himself out of the game when he was tackled for no gain, which was pretty often.

Paddy

February 7th, 2011
7:05 pm

The truth comes down to the lowest common denominator. Put recruiting classes and their rank aside for a minute. Every year a SEC coach is judged on his won/ lose record! The goal of any program and that includes the fan , is, a way better than avg season and a top flight bowl game. CMR must provide those things like he did in his first few years. Sit back this spring and summer and watch what he and his coaches do to atain these goals. Cool your jets and enjoy the 2011 season. He has mega talent, it is time to show the college football fans that UGA is the real deal. If not, we will be looking for a new coach in Dec. 2011. I think he can do it. I hope I am right!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bart Burnett and Chip Towers, Georgia Sports Now. Georgia Sports Now said: Recruiting: Now comes hard part for UGA’s ‘Dream Team’ — winning on field http://bit.ly/eBL1iW #UGA [...]

D A DoubleU G

February 7th, 2011
7:10 pm

Here is where there is a problem dubbing this class the “Dream Team”…..

A recruiting class doesn’t have full impact on a program until 2 or 3 years after arrival. So tge first time UGA has a hiccup next season (which every realist Dawg fan knows we will have), the media and Techie dirks will be salivating uncontrollably to ask “what happened to that “Dream Team??”

The pursuasive branding of this class showed immediate results in landing the signees. But people need to be patient in getting the on field results this class will one day be capable of producing. 2011 won’t be that year.

Let’s break for recess on tge discussion of the “Dream Team”, and reconvene here after the 2012 season to discuss how good it truly is.

Thanks.

Dawg Lover

February 7th, 2011
7:18 pm

Great points and a great article. In addition to the highly heraled incoming freshmen. Let us not forget Jarvis Jones on coming online and Richard Samuels for the defense.

TampaGator

February 7th, 2011
7:26 pm

Chip…..

The 2010 Gator class will have a major impact this year…for the Gators. Three names to really watch out for:

- Ronald Powell at DE in the 4-3 and at OLB in the 3-4.
- Chris Martin at MLB, 6′4 and 260 and very fast.
- Sharriff Floyd, perhaps the best freshman DL in the SEC last year

….and there are plenty more….and they will receive better coaching from the position assistants this year….and the head coach will be more involved in that too.

….from what I am already hearing….Driskell is very good…and will push Brantley for the starting job….or make him a lot better….with Charlie Weis teaching both of them.

Also….Brissett sent in his LOI today….another big time QB to push both Brantley and Driskell.

Gators aren’t going anywhere….and the 2010 class is!

Dawgs own bama

February 7th, 2011
7:30 pm

In case you forgot bama fans we’ve won 3 out of the last 4 meetings against ya!

NCAA Critic

February 7th, 2011
7:30 pm

Recruiting is exciting, but it is like getting set up on a date with a beautiful girl. She might turn out to be the girl of your dreams, or she might turn out to be the most annoying girl that you’ve ever met.

Now, can anyone make some lucid suggestions on what differences we’ll see from Coach Richt that will turn next year into a great season for the Dogs? I don’t mean what you would like to see (i.e., a power running game), but what differences that might actually occur.

TampaGator

February 7th, 2011
7:31 pm

Also…..

As it was with the great 2010 recruiting class for the Gators….I would expect it to be a big time learning year for most of the top level Dawg recruits…and they will have bigger impacts in year two, three, and four….when they are stronger, bigger, faster….and most importantly….smarter.

….I think Jenkins will have the biggest impact this year…but he has a lot to learn too.

….Drew….similar to the very talented Ronald Powell who finally learned how to play at a high level all the time by the end of last year…the SEC isn’t high school….and neither are the players you are lining up against. Not too many freshman come in and change the game as freshmen. Ask Murray. He may change it this year, though.

Lester Miles

February 7th, 2011
7:35 pm

Bigguy How many games did you watch Crowell play. Your only blog is to repeat the same story about one game. He played many games in which he dominated them. Don’t be so negative about the one game,, Deion Sanders had many bad games (Couldn’t tackle) but somehow he was voted into he HOF, Explain that. Wait until he plays at UGA and then comment if he is a disappointment. Eat some gumbo and Have a great day.

icallbs

February 7th, 2011
7:36 pm

The UGA recruiting class is extraordinary if for nothing else, the circumstances under which it was assembled. True, it is unlikely more than two or at most three of these players will even have a shot at making an immediate impact but there were some really positive things that did happen (and some that did not happen) that could make UGA a much better team next year. First, I am surprised that practically nothing has been said about the three starters that considered going into the draft but did not. That is huge. Then, both or either Jarvis Jones or Richard Samuels could be a really pleasant surprise. Jenkins, who for mysterious reasons does not count as a recruit will start and could be an all-SEC nose guard.

The coaching changes can’t hurt and the coaches know what the expectations are – there is no more room for error or excuses. It is time to produce. I think the sense of urgency is already showing positive results.

A competent AD that is committed to the success of the football program that is not in three feet over his head is an incredible positive that came out of an embarrassing debacle for the school.

So, while this years recruiting class is not going to make UGA’s year, help from just one or two of these guys added to the rest of the potential positives may, just may, make for a better year in the win-loss column than most expect.

Jim

February 7th, 2011
7:36 pm

Wow, last time Richt had a team ranked ths high was 2006, we know what happened in 2007 (finished #2).

Richt certainly knows what to do with talent, Richt has finished in the top 10 20 out of the last 25 seasons, and top 10 2 out of last 4 seasons, 8 out of last 10 seasons top 25.

Bring Back Wally Butts

February 7th, 2011
7:43 pm

@Terry,

BTW – UF did have a replacement for Tebow. His name was Cam Newton.

Jim

February 7th, 2011
7:44 pm

Turning raw talent into wins is Richt’s specialty.

Richt’s ranked #5 in winning percentage, so he can get it done. That’s why these top guns came to Georgia, they know Richt has a top 5 record at turning raw talent into wins.

dap01

February 7th, 2011
7:47 pm

I don’t even know if UGA and CMR should wake up tomorrow. The sky is falling. No team in the history of the NCAA has ever rebounded. No team has ever had an off year and still had a life that was worth living.

Perhaps if the recruiting class had been terrible, the job would have been easier. But that would not make a good story.

bigtime

February 7th, 2011
7:48 pm

@Dawgs own bama …… Bama owns championshipS….. Congrats on winning 3 out of the last four against us though for whatever that’s worth to ya bro. Roll Tide

2Dawgs

February 7th, 2011
7:51 pm

Teach them how to stay out of jail!!!

DawginOH

February 7th, 2011
7:54 pm

CMR knows what’s at stake and I have confidence that he’ll get this program back on the right track. Go Dawgs!!

richtfan

February 7th, 2011
7:55 pm

Chip,

Any good journalist knows that “its” is the possessive while “it’s” is a contraction for “it is”.

fyi

kb

February 7th, 2011
7:57 pm

@bigtime, Granted we haven’t won the national championship, but we have more SEC championships over the past Ten than bama, and we do trail you by a vast margin in NCAA penalties and probations.

RomeDawg

February 7th, 2011
7:59 pm

Chip,

I like the article and the material, however, you left out one key cog to winning the BCS championship. You have to have LADY LUCK! Mr. College Football wrote a great article in the fall titled, “What’s wrong with Georgia? Nothing?” and in it he points out the huge part luck plays into playing for the MNC. For me, it was an eye opener and really makes you realize regardless who is suited up for you, without Ol’ Lady Luck…you’re screwed!

I do expect good things from this recruiting class. We have some great “character” guys and that will make a BIG difference.

Columbus

February 7th, 2011
7:59 pm

UGA will be very strong in 2010 with their returning starters along with Crowell and Jenkins. The lines will be strong and experienced, linebackers are adding Jarvis Jones, the corners look good with Boykin and smith, Rambo at safety, TE’s are strong, kicking game will be awesome, QB should even be better as a sophomore. Wide receives MUST step up or we throw to Crowell and the tigh ends and use the receivers to go deep and make room for them. UGA is in great shape for 2011, better than Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee. South Carolina is the team to beat in the East with Arkansas, LSU and maybe Miss St. in the west. They might need another year though before they are contenders. But in 2011 it should be a battle between South Carolina and UGA. Beat them head to head in ATHENS and UGA will be in GREAT shape to go to the SEC championship against a STRONG Arkansas team.

Jim

February 7th, 2011
7:59 pm

Chip-

Have you been following Richt’s career? 96 wins in 10 seasons. 14 top 5 finishes in a row at FSU.

Are you seriously questioning if Richt can turn raw talent into W’s?

Sorry, I find that amusing.

mcdavidastro

February 7th, 2011
8:02 pm

Great recruiting class can’t fix bad coaching. Next year will be a bad year and if thee is 2012 dream team, it won’t be Richt’s. Good news, there will be great talent for the next head coach. Hold your breath, it’s not going to be pretty in 2011.

Dogs Smell

February 7th, 2011
8:05 pm

What I find amusing are uga fans. Year after year they think they have a dream deam. 2011 will not look much different 2010 except they wont beat Tennessee either.

kb

February 7th, 2011
8:05 pm

Can someone from bama please confirm that only 11 players from signing class 2008 of 32 were on the bama roster in 2010. They signed 32 that year, Cody moved on so thats 20 transfers,placements that didnt return or medical hardships.

Fan

February 7th, 2011
8:09 pm

Romedawg, 6-7???? Lady Luck???? What a joke, blind ugag homer.

Fan

February 7th, 2011
8:10 pm

Key cog left out……COACHING!

south

February 7th, 2011
8:11 pm

Tampa Gator – well said….these kids have to get in there and hit the weights, get much stronger. The ones deemed “ready” to play right away will have a rude awakeing in the first couple of games.

This is a great class for sure, but some of you idiots who want all of these kids to come in and start in the Dome should be prepared for another 6-7 season if that happens. I would realistically expect 2 or 3 to seriously contend for starting jobs, and about 12 who might make any signifigant contribution.

Dr. Phil

February 7th, 2011
8:11 pm

Richt’s pandering to Crowell was worthy of Lane Kiffin. Is there anything Richt won’t do to get a recruit? This behavior will backfire on Richt, either through criminal behavior off the field or through sloppy, entitled behavior on the field. Since Richt is studying football during the off season, he should do a little reading on how Vince Lombardy turned the miserable Packers into champions

RichmondDawg

February 7th, 2011
8:13 pm

Now that the recruiting season has wound down, I’d like to thank Chip for doing a great job season. Congratulations Chip, you are the best reporter on UGA football at this paper. Take a couple of weeks to get reintroduced to your family and enjoy the frosty beverage of your choice. or two.

Bo

February 7th, 2011
8:15 pm

UNC had 13 playyers invited to the NFL scouting combine, far more than any other team. Too bad the hungry agents, plus bad decisions on part of talented players decimated the Heels. Unlike other teams where players may have gotten benefits to come to a school, and therefore the school benefited, UNC players were lured away, and UNC lost out as they sat players for most, and in some cases, all of the season.