Is Georgia catching up with Florida in producing top-tier D1 prospects?

Who is No. 1 out of Georgia and Florida in producing D1 football players? It's definitely still Florida but Georgia produced more SEC signees than Florida, 65-40. Surprised? (AP)

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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Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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167 comments Add your comment

Y Dawg

March 15th, 2012
12:13 am

Mark Richt is a great Christian man, and all Georgia kids should want to play for a man with such honor and integrity. Please Rob and Reub, stay home where people love you and play for the Dawgs. Nick Saban is like the devil

BigDawg

March 15th, 2012
12:26 am

UGA needs to close the border! Nick Satan, Gene $hitzac, Steve Inferior, Won’t Muschimp and others aren’t welcome here!

Paul in NH

March 15th, 2012
12:27 am

“Georgia had an eye-popping 65 players sign with the SEC, while only 40 from Florida headed to the SEC, according to MrSEC.com.”
—–
This has to be one of the dumbest statements ever trying to explain that GA produces more and better players than FL. Both Miami and FSU sign plenty of players from FL and some of them even manage to make it in the NFL. That’s before you add in USF, UCF, etc. There are more ex-Miami players in the NFL than from any SEC school – heck, the Pro Bowl last year had more starters from the U than from the entire SEC combined.

Michael Carvell

March 15th, 2012
12:33 am

@Paul in NH, who said GA produces more and better players than FL?

Paul in NH

March 15th, 2012
12:41 am

Perhaps the headline writer and also the Ole Ball Coach.

Dog in Nam

March 15th, 2012
12:58 am

Y Dawg, you make UGA look bad with your ridiculous comment….Big Dawg….you runnin a close second to Y Dawg…..Paul in NH, some years Georgia has more players in the NFL than Florida….Georgia puts more players in the SEC than any state….on a per capita basis, georgia blows everybody out of the water regarding NFL…DI bigtime football schools and D1 in general….anyway, what in the hell does anybody from New Hampshire know about Southern High Scool or College Football

U

March 15th, 2012
1:02 am

Spurrier dominated Georgia, alright. 2 of his 12 were actually on somebody else’s radar.

Dog in Nam

March 15th, 2012
1:06 am

Y Dawg you are making UGa look bad anf Big you are running him a close second….as to Paul in NH…what in the heck does someone from New Hampshire know about Georgia High School football and Southern high school football….Georgia some years has more players in the NFL than Florida…one year a few years back, it had the most of any state in the NFL that year….every year Georgia blows almost everyone out of the water on a per capita basis regarding bigtime D1 programs, NFL players and D! programs in general….Georgia high school football puts more players straight up in the SEC almost every year than any other state….you, sir, are clueless on these issues and you should do some research before commenting further

NH Gamecock

March 15th, 2012
1:06 am

U I am sure UGA was after the same guys for instance Elder? It was down to SC and UGA for him.

NH Gamecock

March 15th, 2012
1:07 am

Dog

I can answer that for Paul I am born and raised in SC but happen to leave the south for better work. I keep up to date with the SOuth for sports i.e. football. I will admit football is not as big as it is down SOuth. I will always where my SC hat which represent my Gamecocks.

U

March 15th, 2012
1:11 am

Yeah, Elder and Harris. Hence, “2 of 12.”

Dog in Nam

March 15th, 2012
1:16 am

Thanks NH….I understand people coming from the south to NH and elsewhere, but his comments showed his lack of knowledge about the elite level of football held in your neighboring state…it is mind boggling to see the numbers…and it is this way year in and year out….it is the large talent pool and great coaching from the class A level all the way to the top…but anyone who would be surprised that Georgia often has more players in teh NFL and in the SEC than does Florida, just doesn’t follow Georgia football and what it produces…check it out…it will surprise you….SC would be the same if it had the same historic talent base and a dynamic area like atlanta…because the top guys in SC are as good as anybody else’s top guys….same for a lot of Southern states>>>I wish the Gamecocks well

NH Gamecock

March 15th, 2012
1:18 am

NH Gamecock

March 15th, 2012
1:19 am

Well thanks Dog but I am on top of my Football high school and college….. Nothing like the SEC…..

Dog in Nam

March 15th, 2012
1:31 am

NH Gamecock…I didn’t comment about your knowledge….it is obvious you know your football in the south….I was referring to the guy you answered for- remember? not you…SC did a great job in our state this year as they do every year….very strong this year though..How many games do you see you guys losing this year?…not many, me thinks!

slydog

March 15th, 2012
1:38 am

The very headline is glaring. It is the very reason that CMR should be fired, unless, of course, you like being in the middle of the pack with your head “just” above water.

Bad Dawg

March 15th, 2012
1:49 am

I think we can all agree that the talent is here in Georgia for UGA to be a contender. The question is why are they not there? Go Dawgs!

[...] Has Georgia caught up with Florida in football recruiting? [...]

DawgVille

March 15th, 2012
5:02 am

Spurrier needs to stop stealing all the top Ga recruits—these recruits should be going to Georgia, not south carolina, which isn’t nearly as good a school. Let spurrier take the players from south carolina and stay out of ga!

jackie

March 15th, 2012
6:37 am

As long as high school/college sports are more important than education then Georgia will continue to inch closer to Florida in the number of top notch athletes and multiple felons produced by the high school/college systems.

Beast from the East

March 15th, 2012
6:44 am

DawgVille,
That’s just stupid. If that’s the case, then tell Richt he cannot sign anyone from outside the state of Georgia. How many did he sign last year from Georgia? He wouldn’t be able to field a team within 3-4 years. Newsflash….this is a free country and these young men can go to whatever school they choose. Not everyone wants to stay at home to attend school.

Tampa Gator

March 15th, 2012
6:47 am

My state is better than your state!!! Who cares?

I thought Georgia high schools have always has produced excellent college football players…..and I thought Georgia, Bama, Auburn, SC, Florida, FSU, Tennessee, etc have always aggressively recruited tha state….and all get players from the state. Suddenly, this is a big deal?????

JB

March 15th, 2012
7:22 am

Richt gets his share of peach state talent, but until he quits letting 5 or 6 of the top 10 players in state leave every year, he’ll struggle to get to a NC game. Imagine if our entire defense was made up of Jarvis Jones type talent? And don’t forget, he rejected Dawgs out of high school. We need say 16-18 of our starters to be top notch, not 8-10 of them, IMO

Durrtydogg

March 15th, 2012
7:22 am

Who cares!!!! And why does all of your articles have to mention Slurrier or Satan? No one cares. South Carolina is and will always be a bottom of the barrel school. 2 years of some success and they go all crazy! Please! We all know why they got a few players since Slurrier came along. The NCAA does too! Thats why they are being investigated. Clempsun and USCe both write checks. Without that, who in their right man would want to go to either school?? Athletics…yeah right! Academics…..dont get me started!! And dont you dare say the campuses are beautiful and the atmosphere is nice. Man please! The funniest thing about this article was your mentioning of Slurrier owning this state. Yeah, he gets the leftovers.

A Father

March 15th, 2012
8:35 am

Great article MC!

Quote: Mark Richt: ” WELL I DON’T KNOW”, what does Mark Richt know? Does anyone else realize the problem with this continuing dribble from a highly paid head coach in his home state?

ElvinBishopBand

March 15th, 2012
8:43 am

Mike C you need to get back to more bashing of Nick Saban articles it appears. “Stealing Recruits”…I like that as though the players had no choice. Hey stupid…they don’t wish to play at UGA!

Resident Georgia Fan

March 15th, 2012
8:46 am

NH Gamecock … get an education and learn to spell. Geez!!! “Where my hat?” Good God!

USC GAMEC0CK

March 15th, 2012
8:46 am

@durrtydogg = me thinks you got a self image problem…hope you get the help you need.

USC is a great school, beautiful campus, terrific city and top of the line facilities….add in Spurrier …. presto change-o…USC is pounding on the SEC Championship door.

Dawg Haus

March 15th, 2012
8:48 am

Seriously, Tampa Gator. Not news to me.

Geez

March 15th, 2012
9:02 am

Tampa Gator,

It is if you are the writer and can’t come up with legit stories.

B. Beaver

March 15th, 2012
9:08 am

So uga signs a bunch of so called top tier recruits, but they never produce. They still cannot compete on the field with Bama nor LSU. Typical all blow but no show.

RHall55

March 15th, 2012
9:11 am

C’mon CMR you should know!! The comment “I don’t know” sounds in the same line as “Well, we started recruiting earlier this year”!!! Duh!!! After losing many of top players in the state, then that practice you have started years ago!! The year (2006) UGA lost Cameron Heyward to Ohio State, Eric Berry to TN, Allen Bailey to MIA, and Morgan Burnette to Ga Tech was the start of losing major talent in the state; all NFL caliber players (UGA got Caleb King, Israel Troupe, and Rennie Curran: only one major contributor in their career @ UGA; this was based on the Top 10 players in the state!! If UGA could get the top 7 out of 10 each year, then they would have a great chance to win a NC!!! Last year, 3 out of the Top Ten!! Close the Borders!! “Win Baby Win!!”

ElvinBishopBand

March 15th, 2012
9:11 am

UGA football Big Hat and No Cattle……. but it’s a Tradition! Ruff Ruff

Alabama Fan

March 15th, 2012
9:16 am

So, who’s up for some Krystal?

Stank Wren

March 15th, 2012
9:18 am

The last 2 years Mark Richt has signed the top prospect of out South Carolina. Mark Richt owns Stever Spurrier

BILLY JACK

March 15th, 2012
9:23 am

FIRE GARNER NOW AND UGA WINS MULTIPLE NATIONAL TITLES

Flo-Ri-Duh

March 15th, 2012
9:27 am

Year after year there are teams that finish in the BCS top 10 that do not finish in the top 10 to 15 in recruiting. Two years ago when Boise State beat UGA they had 20 seniors starting and UGA had 4 seniors and 5 juniors starting. Players leaving for the NFL early has really changed the game. Experience and coaching can often beat talent. Maybe it is better to get a lot of 3 star players that will stay in school and stay out of trouble than to get 4 and 5 star players that cause problems and often turn pro early.

Real Problem

March 15th, 2012
9:28 am

Slydog, your post is dead on. If Saban or another top coach was at Georgia we would be contending for championships yearly. Sad and what is worse….the state is going to get raped of talent this year.

ckgator

March 15th, 2012
9:33 am

It was a good year for the state of Georgia… and better for UF / AL, etc. as we took our share of GA players.

Stank Wren

March 15th, 2012
9:40 am

173 D-1 prospects came out of this state and UGA can sign 25 at most (let’s not count the top talent the Dawgs pull from other states, like SC). That leaves over 150 prospects for other teams to sign. This leads to the perception that other schools “own” Georgia, which is simply not true. Does some of the top talent leave? Sure; Does this happen in every other state? Sure. Even as a Dawg fan I have to give it to Alabama but they are the exception more that the rule. Some of you need to get a clue.

Stank Wren

March 15th, 2012
9:43 am

“He also probably was a little giddy after a dominating recruiting effort in Georgia this past year”

I laughed and spit coffee all over my computer screen after reading this line. Dominating? You can’t be serious

RedandBlackDAWG

March 15th, 2012
9:53 am

What is reported by the media, I.E. Richt is on the hot seat etc, is one of the reasons UGA hasn’t been able to to always recruit as successfully in the past few years. The media always seems to find a way to put down UGA and post a lot of negative stories concerning UGA.
The second and just as important reason UGA doesn’t get every top star in Georgia is the NC. Win one of those and we will be the ones stealing this recruit and that, and getting the top talent all over. UGA does a pretty good job of getting some top talent frm other states as well. D. Henry form Florida, Marshall and Gurley from N.C.and Terry form S.C. These kids have NFL stars in their eyes from the 9th grade on, and whomever they perceive will get them to Sunday playing, is the coach they will go with. Alabama is the flavor of the month right now, but a few years ago it was Florida.
The third reason is a matter of numbers. Sure it would be nice to have Nkemdiche on the team, but to be honest, Foster is much more of a need at ILB than another DE right now. UGA is recruiting pretty well so far with 8 players signed, (1 5 star, and 7, 4 stars), so I think they will get who they need. That’s what recruiting is all about, NEEDS.
Fans place unreasonable and unattainable demands on their team, that they ummmmm, support. There are so many fair weather fans and trolls on these blogs, to the point, where 90% of what you read on the AJC blogs, is nothing but stupid comments made by people with very little knowledge about what they are talking about, much less who they are talking about. The reason most continue to blog is because they know they can get a rise out of fans loyal to UGA, and we all fall victim to it, myself included sometimes as well. I go to a pay site and get reliable information, while a lot of folks, build their opinions based on what others read on here, as their sole justification of what a team is doing, what players they are or are not getting, and such. Try expanding your sources and knowledge by doing some research and reading better and more reliable sources of information.

BILLY JACK

March 15th, 2012
9:54 am

UGA is sitting on a gold mine in football recruiting in the state of Georgia and it has been this way for decades.If Coach Richt would fire Rodney Garner today and name Bobo recruting coordinator and QB coach and hire a top offensive coordinator.Garner has not been a effective recruiter in decades and Bobo Richt and Granthem are 3 of the top recruiters in the nation..Granthem as def coordinator goes to coaching the def line which is his specialty-Olivadotti coaches inside and outside linebackers.This state has so many great high school football players UGA needs to take the top 25 or so every year and let everybody else fight for the other 100 or 150.

Just Why?

March 15th, 2012
10:01 am

Y Dawg

March 15th, 2012
12:13 am
Mark Richt is a great Christian man, and all Georgia kids should want to play for a man with such honor and integrity. Please Rob and Reub, stay home where people love you and play for the Dawgs. Nick Saban is like the devil

This is the most overused statement by UGA fans and probably the biggest lie and dumbest post as well.

1eyedJack

March 15th, 2012
10:08 am

“Saban OWNS Georgia in recruiting so why didn’t you ask HIM about the talent in this state?”

Probably because he would refuse to comment as he always does.

285exp

March 15th, 2012
10:18 am

Stank Wren,

The top recruit out of SC in 2010 was Marcus Lattimore. The top recruit out of SC in 2011 was Jadeveon Clowney. Last time I looked, both of those guys were at SC.

ElvinBishopBand

March 15th, 2012
10:26 am

@RedandBlack…one doesn’t need to read much information about UGA since your results are posted in the W’s and L’s as well as the trophy case! Empty is what you find sport. Real empty. Now you run along and read up on the results of who’s finished where and why in recruiting based on that real info your have. If my team were UGA and the results my team has achieved in the past 30 years I would do less talking. Then again go ahead go ahead and do what you do best and that is talk a great game. Truth is you sucked before 1980 with the Vince Dooley Yo-Yo years as well as after but at least you got it done once! Good Doggie……..

JB

March 15th, 2012
10:32 am

Billy Jack hit the head on the nail. 2 personnel moves in Athens would vault the Dawgs in the NC hunt almost every year. Fire Garner, Make Bobo recruiting cord., and hire ” The best money can get” OC.
Who does not see this?

RTR22

March 15th, 2012
10:34 am

Have to love these “Christain” jawaja fans calling CNS the “d” word. May wish to reference your BIBLE on judging others…….. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and child molesters yes I agree.

Roll Tide, and lets just stick to fb, leave religion alone little dawgs

claytondawg

March 15th, 2012
10:36 am

I, too, am ready for the firing of Garner and the switch of Bobo to qb coach. Nuff said.