Who is No. 1 out of Georgia and Florida in producing D1 football players? It's definitely still Florida but ... Georgia produced more 2012 SEC signees than Florida, 65-40. Surprised? (AP)
As we were finishing up a recent interview with Steve Spurrier, the Head Ball Coach threw out a stat for us. He caught us by surprise.
“I’ll tell you what, Georgia has overtaken the state of Florida for Division I signees now … I don’t know if you knew that or not,” Spurrier told the AJC. “Last year, there were more players that signed Division I out of Georgia than out of the state of Florida. Georgia may be the No. 1 state in the nation now for high school football.”
Coming from the former coach of the University of Florida, that was quite the compliment for the state of Georgia. It wasn’t exactly true but Spurrier meant well. He also probably was a little giddy after a dominating recruiting effort in Georgia this past year. Probably nobody recruited the state as well as both South Carolina and Alabama, with Georgians making up nearly half (12) of South Carolina’s 25-member class last month.
Here’s the stat: Florida produced nearly double the amount of football prospects than Georgia this year, with around 321 compared to 173, according to ESPN’s Kipp Adams. However, Florida has nearly double the population than Georgia, 19 million compared to 9.8 million. Then again, Florida also has seven FBS football programs, compared to only two in this state: UGA and Georgia Tech.
In fairness to Spurrier, he was onto something: What he was referring to was number of SEC signees from each state. Georgia had an eye-popping 65 players sign with the SEC, while only 40 from Florida headed to the SEC, according to MrSEC.com. That’s a very surprising stat regarding the neighboring states shipping off reinforcements to the conference which has won six BCS championships in a row.
We asked college coaches this question: Is Georgia catching up with Florida in producing top-tier football prospects?
- Ohio State’s Urban Meyer: “I noticed the Georgia talent when I first went to coach at Florida. I’m not going to say Georgia is catching Florida [with elite prospects], that’s a little subjective. That’s an evaluation thing. The thing I do know is that Georgia pays its high school coaches well, and football is real important there. I recruited Georgia pretty hard when I was at Bowling Green [in 2001-2002]. It was one of my priorities. This is actually a great story: I found out we had a flight from Toledo to Atlanta for 80 bucks. Obvisouly, we had a recruiting budget issue. Obviously, I wanted to go down to Georgia because I loved the high school football there. We signed immediately, I want to say, 4-5 kids out of the state of Georgia [for Bowling Green]. They all came and played for us. Then, in a year, they all started for us and helped turn that program around. That’s a little story. I’ve seen the quality of football has been raised and gotten better and better in the state of Georgia.”
- UGA’s Mark Richt: “Well, I don’t know. I know for years people would say Florida, Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Ohio. That was kind of what you’d say was the hotbed for recruiting. Now I think most people would throw Georgia in that mix as well.”
- FSU’s Jimbo Fisher: “That’s a great state. I don’t know if it’s caught Florida but it’s one of the top four NFL-producing states, along with Florida, California and Texas. It’s a great state. It’s very well-coached. You know, Atlanta is booming now. It’s a huge city. And, of course, it trickles into the surrounding areas and suburbs. Of course, we’re so close to so many great programs in South Georgia. When Coach [Bobby Bowden] had his heyday, he always had some very good players from Georgia.”
- Kentucky’s Joker Phillips: “I think a lot of that has to do with a lot more schools are recruiting Florida, based on the statistics on kids playing in the NFL. I know it goes back and forth, some years Georgia has a higher number and the next year Florida does. Over the years, Florida has had more guys play in the NFL, and a lot of that has to do with population also. I think that also has to do with that more schools outside of the SEC are recruiting Florida. I think Florida kids are willing to go outside the SEC – the reason being there are six other colleges in Florida that are not in the SEC. Kids are staying home to go to Florida State, some to Miami, and others to Central Florida or South Florida. But Georgia is doing well, I can tell you that. Georgia is a good football state.”
- Note: Georgia figures to be more high-profile than Florida this year, as the nation’s No. 1- and No. 2-ranked prospects are from Georgia, according to 247Sports.com, Rivals and Scout. That would be Grayson DE Robert Nkemdiche (undecided) and Troup LB Reuben Foster (committed to Alabama)
SINCE THE WEEKEND …
IT’S RAINING RECRUITING STORIES
IT’S NEVER BORING IN THE WACKY WORLD OF RECRUITING
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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