Georgia and Georgia Tech will battle it out on the field on Saturday, but the two archrivals rarely go head-to-head in the recruiting world.
The state of Georgia is one of the top manufacturers of college talent in the nation, producing around 175-185 prospects that sign with FBS schools (formerly NCAA Div. I-A) on an annual basis.
Both Georgia and Georgia Tech tap into the local talent pool, focusing heavily on homegrown kids for their recruiting classes. However, it has been very rare for the archrivals go head-to-head on a Georgia kid in recent years. In fact, it’s unlikely that Georgia and Georgia Tech will be the two finalists on any prospect from the state’s 2012 crop — although that could always change before February’s signing day.
High-profile battles over homegrown recruits are an annual tradition in bordering states with Auburn-Alabama, South Carolina-Clemson and – this year – Vanderbilt-Tennessee.
“We’ve gone after some of the same kids over the years,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I’m not sure why there’s not more this year, or really not more every year. But it was the same type of situation when I was at Florida State. People thought we’d go more head-to-head with Miami over the kids in Florida, but there really wasn’t as much crossover as you would think.
“Maybe with Georgia and Georgia Tech, just like with Florida State and Miami, the young men are just looking for different things in a college, whether it’s the campus atmosphere, type of education, football stuff or whatever.”
What about Georgia Tech? “Every kid is different and every kid is looking for a different thing,” said Andy McCollum, the team’s recruiting coordinator. “If you have a kid from Georgia who is very serious about getting a great education and fits in with what we do at Georgia Tech, we’re going to be one of the finalists. The competition could be Georgia, or somebody else in the ACC and SEC. You have everybody in the nation coming into to the state recruit kids.”
“In the state of Georgia, Georgia and Georgia Tech are the two big schools. We’re going to compete for a lot of kids. There may be some that Georgia is not on, and there may some we’re not on, for whatever reasons. Then you have everybody else in the country coming in and trying to recruit. The competition for kids in the state of Georgia is big.”
According to the Rivals.com database, Georgia and Georgia Tech both offered only 19 of the same homegrown prospects – four selected the Bulldogs and one picked the Yellow Jackets, while the other 12 committed to out-of-state schools or remain undecided. Out of the five pledged to Georgia or Georgia Tech, none listed the archrival as the runner-up.
“I think the biggest reason is just the systems they run,” explained Chad Simmons, Scout.com’s National Recruiting Analyst. “There may be a little bit different requirements academically but I think it’s mostly the systems they run, more specifically the offenses. They are not going to recruit too many of the same type of offensive linemen. Georgia has more of a power running game with play-action and wants guys 6-5 and 320. Georgia Tech wants guys more mobile and more agile that can pull with the option and get to the second level to block. Georgia Tech is also going after that one big wide receiver every year who can be the next ‘Bee Bee’ [Demaryius Thomas] or Stephen Hill and be a premiere ‘go-to’ guy.
“Now on defense, with Al Groh [Georgia Tech’s defensive coordinator] running a 3-4 like Georgia, I do think there will be more head-to-head recruiting down the road.”
Said 247Sports.com’s Rusty Mansell, “It’s not as much Georgia vs. Georgia Tech as it is fighting other schools to keep them out of their state. Offensively, it’s pretty obvious that Georgia and Georgia Tech recruit different types of prospects to fit their systems … but on defense, I think you’ll see more head-to-head battles in the future because they both run the 3-4.”
Georgia Tech has 11 commitments for 2012, including six from the state of Georgia. The Yellow Jackets could sign as many as 10 more. The top local commitments are 4-star defensive end Francis Kallon of Central Gwinnett High School and defensive tackle Pat Gamble of Central of Carrollton.
“You take Pat Gamble; he had an offer from Georgia,” Mansell said. “I saw him against Troup County, and he probably didn’t get as much publicity as he should have this year. And with Francis, Georgia still recruited and evaluated him until recently … he’s as hot as any prospect in the state. After what he has done after only one year of football, I think he’s going to be special … I’m a big fan of Micheal Summers, [athlete recruited to play WR] out of Statesboro. He’s 6-1, maybe 190 pounds and can run. I think Georgia Tech has done a good job of filling their needs this year.”
UGA has 15 commitments, including 11 from within the state. They could sign as many as 10 more. UGA’s top commitment is from Florida, 5-star OL John Theus of Jacksonville.
“I think both Georgia and Georgia Tech have done well so far; I think it will pick up in a good way for both teams,” Simmons said. “After Georgia’s 0-2 start, they’ve won 9 in a row, which is only going to help with recruiting. Georgia Tech is 8-3. They’ve had a few hiccups but they also beat Clemson. I think both schools could close strong.”
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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