Recruiting Wars: Nick Saban vs. Mark Richt

Alabama will likely contend for yet another No. 1-ranked recruiting class (AP)

Alabama will likely contend for yet another No. 1-ranked recruiting class (AP)

Alabama’s Nick Saban and UGA’s Mark Richt haven’t competed against each other on the football field since the infamous 2008 “Blackout” game, won 40-31 by the Crimson Tide.

But the two SEC coaches go head-to-head in recruiting battles all the time, especially in the fertile grounds of the state of Georgia.

Georgia is almost like a second home to Saban.

When a reporter suggested last spring that Saban recruits the state almost as if he lives in it, the coach quickly replied “Well, I still have a home in Georgia” – a reference to the mansion he owns on Lake Burton in northeast Georgia.

Saban talked about the recruiting emphasis he puts on Georgia this week:

“What we try to do in our recruiting is do a really good job in a five-hour radius of our Tuscaloosa area,” Saban said. “We obviously want to do a great job in our own state.  It just happens that a large part of Georgia where there’s a lot of population, a lot of good football players and programs, fall into that sort of circumference.

“We do have some very good players from Georgia. They have a lot of good players from Georgia, too.  I think it speaks well of the great high school football they have in Georgia, the good programs they have, how players are developed, how important football is in that state. It’s an important part of our recruiting, that entire five-hour radius, for us.”

Last year, Saban raided Georgia for eight of the state’s elite prospects while constructing yet another No. 1-ranked national recruiting class. Saban may have gotten the best of Richt in head-to-had battles within the state, edging out his counterpart for Hillgrove High School RB Kenyan Drake. Saban also held off late charges from the Bulldogs for Cedar Grove High School OL Brandon Greene and Buford High School LB Dillion Lee – whose brother, Dallas Lee, plays OL for UGA. However, Saban was most remembered in these parts for telling Booker T. Washington High School RB Justin Taylor, who had been committed to Alabama for nearly a year, only a few weeks before signing day that he would have to accept a grayshirt offer and delay his signing until the following year due to a knee injury (Taylor ended up at Kentucky).

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Last year, Richt’s signature recruiting victory over Alabama was rallying from far, far behind – with assistance from UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham — to win over Harris County High School DE Jordan Jenkins, who was considered a longtime lean to the Crimson Tide.

This year, Saban is not doing as well in Georgia, although he may still put together another No. 1 class. He’s just getting his players elsewhere. Alabama only has two commits so far from the state – Walton High School teammates, RB Tyren Jones and QB Parker McLeod. Alabama beat out UGA for Jones, although he may still take a visit with the Bulldogs.

Early on, it appeared that Saban would have another banner year in Georgia. Alabama was considered the early frontrunner for undisputed No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche – whose mother admitted she liked the Crimson Tide the most in the beginning. Former Troup High School linebacker Reuben Foster, who is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect by Scout and Rivals, was committed to Alabama for nearly a year before switching to Auburn last summer. He may switch for a third time, and is heavily considering UGA. Pepperell High School offensive lineman Andy Dodd also flipped from Alabama to LSU.

Alabama is still in contention for Ridgeland High School DB Vonn Bell, who also has childhood favorite Tennessee and Ohio State as his three finalists.

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Yes, 2013 has been good for Richt against Saban so far. UGA beat out Alabama for Brookwood High School LB Shaun McGee, and held onto Camden County High School QB Brice Ramsey after strong overtures from Saban.

There’s at least one huge head-to-head recruiting battle left this year in the state, as Norcross High School RB Alvin Kamara has Alabama and UGA as his co-leaders.

Outside of the state lines, Alabama ripped away longtime UGA commit Derrick Henry, the 5-star RB from Yulee, Fla. And the two schools are the co-leaders for the nation’s top offensive lineman, Laremy Tunsil of Lake City, Fla. But that’s out of state, not in Georgia.

Saban vs. Richt. Not just at the Georgia Dome, but in the homes of Georgia recruits.

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132 comments Add your comment

Dawg Momma

November 27th, 2012
12:24 am

I hope parents that will read this know that Coach Richt is a good Christian man who will care for and love your son as his own child. He is outstanding football coach who has integrity and character. He is a winning coach. We may not win national championships as often as Alabama, but our coach cares about your child. He loves everyone of those boys. Coach Saban is just not a good person, and it’s easy to see. May God bless you.

Yea

November 27th, 2012
12:26 am

J-dawg

November 27th, 2012
2:01 am

Glad to hear Bama has only 2 of our guys this year. Come to Georgia! We have the most honest coach, the best college town, the most NFL players, and now a chance to win it all. What more could you ask for!?

Pj

November 27th, 2012
2:26 am

The #1 and #8 recruiting classes are pretty much the same. What matters is how they adapt to college life and how well they’re coached. Gary Patterson and Chris Peterson don’t get top 10 classes, yet they whip everybody. As long as a team is in the top 15-18 they can win it all.

Pj

November 27th, 2012
2:30 am

Uga is one D lineman and one O lineman from being set for this class. 2013 lb corps will feature Herrera, jordan J chase vasser and any number of young bucks. Geathers, garrison and Drew will be a solid D line. Secondary will be the weakness.
Offense returns everybody. So does special teams. If we can figure out how to defend the pass, ‘13 will be another huge year.

Bama Fan #2

November 27th, 2012
3:57 am

No disrespect to Mark Richt but Nick Saban can out coach and
recruit anybody in the SEC!! Vandy’s HC may give Saban a run
for the best recruiter in the future of the league!! Saban may be
a SOB but he is the best HC in college football with 3 NC’S!!
Mark Richt is a very nice man and a very good coach to!!
RTR

Blackoutanyone?

November 27th, 2012
5:18 am

We like our coach and you like your coach. Both are getting the job done and neither will lose sleep over missing on a prospect here and there. Can’t wait for Saturday… should be a great game.

Roll Tide!!

SEC

November 27th, 2012
5:41 am

Hard to argue with Bama’s 47-5 record over last 4 years. If they hadn’t lost by 1 point to Cam Newton, they’d be going for their fourth national title in a row.

SIDE JUDGE

November 27th, 2012
6:16 am

It’s sad to see when a Christian woman, like ‘DAWG MOMMA’, compromise some Christian values by passing moral and spiritual judgement on a rival coach. Comparing Coach Richt as “good” and “Christian” to Coach Saban deeming him as “not a good person” therefore inferring to the reader that he is also not a Christian is dangerous ground.

I do not believe this is the proper place for that. I also believe that his family would disagree along with friends and many players and their families.

Just Asking?

November 27th, 2012
6:28 am

Mark Richt is the winningest football coach that Georgia has had in over 100 years. UGA has been the SEC East Division Champions six times since 2002. Georgia has a stable coaching record. Mark Richt has the longest tenure of any head football coach in the SEC. He consistently has one of the best recruiting classes in the country year after year. He is undeniably one of the finest men in college coaching today. He should win out over CNS year after year in recruiting battles. He sticks by his players and recruits!

SEC

November 27th, 2012
6:28 am

In six years at Alabama he has run off two coaches at Auburn (Tommy Tuberville resigned, or something, in 2008) and helped run off three at Tennessee. Saban could even be the reason Meyer left Florida. That’s not a sure thing — who knows what Meyer was thinking in 2009, and then 2010? — but it has to be considered. Sharing a conference with Nick Saban is like sharing a steak with a lion. Only one of you wins that battle. And it’s not you.

Satellite dish

November 27th, 2012
6:37 am

Saban is so amazing he let a freshman led team come in to his stadium and beat him. A team that lost at home to UF and also to a very down, by their standards, LSU team.

Just Asking?

November 27th, 2012
6:44 am

SIDE JUDGE It’s sad to see when a commenter like you, compromises normal values by passing moral and spiritual judgement on a rival commenter. She didn’t make any of the assertions you accuse her of.

Kirby Smart - is the key

November 27th, 2012
6:46 am

Satan, I mean Saban is not a great recruiter at all. He is cold and impersonable around the kids. Kirby Smart however is a fantastic recruiter, and has been the main reason Bama routinely brings in great classes. Saban is a great talent evaluator and player developer, but Kirby is a beast in recruiting.

Just Asking

November 27th, 2012
6:50 am

My bad, I didn’t read the whole post, she pass moral and spiritual jusgement on Saban. What a moron.

Dawg Days!

November 27th, 2012
6:50 am

Coach Mark Richt is top notch and a good coach. Coach Saban is…a good coach.

uga1984

November 27th, 2012
6:52 am

When Trinton Sturdivant hurt his knee, not once, but three times (surgery required each time), did CMR abandon him – both as a player or a scholar – NO!!! I believe the scholarship remained intact.

Would Nick Saban have done the same thing? There is no question that if I had a son that wanted to play football competitively and get an education at the same time, I would recommend sending him to UGA over Alabama.

Now coaching and winning football games is an entirely different matter. There, the record speaks for itself.

SickandTired

November 27th, 2012
6:55 am

Just asking? Mark Richt sticks by his recruits? Ask the kids family from Mill Creek how he sticks by his recruits. Just asking.

SEC

November 27th, 2012
7:04 am

Alabama is a buzz saw and will have Georgia fans feeling like Romney on election night.

BobDawg

November 27th, 2012
7:19 am

A win Saturday night would go a long way towards closing the border again for us… Coaches come and Coaches go but Richt hangs in there with the best of them… 30 commits so far… we are going to be in the mix year in and year out as we always are.

Speck Trout

November 27th, 2012
7:30 am

3 days until we lay the law down in the Georgia dome…..Just remember, Speck Trout called it.
Over by the half…..
Go dawgs!

Just Asking?

November 27th, 2012
7:44 am

1. Nick Saban, Alabama (5 years)
Alma Mater: Kent State (1970-72)
Overall: 146-54-1 (16 years)

There’s not much debate about this: College football’s top coach resides in Tuscaloosa. Saban has led the Crimson Tide to two national titles and four straight seasons of at least 10 victories. Saban’s track record is impressive, going 48-16 in five years at LSU, 34-24-1 in five seasons with Michigan State and a 9-2 mark in 1990 with Toledo. Saban is certainly one of the most demanding coaches in college football, but there’s no question he knows what it takes to succeed. Saban has returned Alabama to national prominence and has brought in some of college football’s best recruiting classes over the last five seasons. As long as Saban sticks around in Tuscaloosa, expect Alabama to be ranked among the top 10 teams every preseason. And after winning two titles in five seasons, expect the Crimson Tide to only add to that total in the near future.

Brown Dog

November 27th, 2012
7:50 am

Dawg Momma,

Yeah, Nick Saban is clearly the Anti-Christ. Who else but a satanic being would force his players to attend class, graduate and meet equally high standards as a person and a player. Maybe the pope should call for a crusade. This must stop. This must stop now.

uga1984

November 27th, 2012
7:52 am

Nick Saban

1. Nick Saban, Alabama

Age: 60
2011 record: 12-1, 7-1 SEC
At Alabama (5 years): 50-12
FBS career (16 years): 141-54-1

The Nicktator has five BCS game wins under his belt, more than anyone else in the business, and his three national titles—two at Alabama in 2009 and 2011, and one at LSU in 2004—stand alone. We may be even more impressed by the Tide’s 28-4 SEC regular-season record over the past four seasons, during a run of outright superiority for the league that no conference has matched in college football history. This is an easy call for the top spot.

RedandBlackDAWG

November 27th, 2012
7:52 am

It is going to be a good game on Saturday, and it will help both schools in recruiting with the winner probably being helped a little more. UGA is still in need of a few big ole boys but I think is pretty much set for the future on defense although, lack of experience could hurt them next year. The offense is in good shape with plenty of quality reserves although, a couple of big OL, more, would not hurt at all.
UGA just has to execute well on Saturday and take what is given when the offense is on the field. I think UGA will be able to pass against Bama, but I think, without a top notch effort by the young OL, the running game will have to be patient and hopefully, wear them down a little.
UGA will have to be disciplined more on passes, and do a better job, of defending that, but they aren’t all that bad.
I don’t think we will see the team, getting wore out, during the game, and each team has enough film on the other, to pretty much know what each teams tendencies are, so it will come down to execution.
I don’t think it hurts either way if UGA is a 7 or so point under dog, as they know they are capable of staying with any team on the field if they play their game. Saban, I am sure will make sure that his team, is not over confident, so I look for a hard fought game, with the winner deserving to play for all of the marbles, in Miami. I think either team will handle Notre Dame, as they seem to die inside the red zone, and count of their defense to set up their offense with short yardage situations.

SEC

November 27th, 2012
8:04 am

Current Record at Alabama: 55-12

The Crimson Tide are the top program in college football and slick Nick is the main reason why.

Winning two BCS titles makes him the best in the game and it isn’t even that close at the moment (three total BCS titles).

He hauls in the top recruits and he coaches them into future first round NFL prospects. His domination at the line of scrimmage has inflicted so much pain on SEC opponents that they have no choice but to tap out in the fourth quarter.

Future SEC and BCS titles are on the way and it is just a matter if Saban can go from the greatest current coach to the all-time greatest since his future looks brighter than ever before.

The man is an icon and he has helped make SEC football and college football for that matter as the kings of the world.

keniboy

November 27th, 2012
8:12 am

just like i won’t let 18 – 22 year old kids determine my mood all weekend anymore i prefer to have 65 good citizens rather than a national championship. saban is a great coach, richt is a great person. pick your emphasis but i like CMR.

superiority

November 27th, 2012
8:13 am

Roll tide. Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban earns $5+ million a year and for good reason. He is the best coach in college football.

Saban has three national championships with two different teams. He is 3-0 in the big game and that says one thing—he knows how to prepare his team. Expect Saban to lead a few more teams into the National Championship in the future.

When it is all said and done, Saban will be one of the greatest coaches in college football history.

USMC DAWG

November 27th, 2012
8:22 am

As time goes on and UGA’s program has improved, I have a greater appreciation for Mark Richt and his style/system of coaching/recruiting.

In this day and age of college Football as a BIG business and football factory, it is nice to see that CMR genuinely cares for our Football players. Does CMR lack a little of the discipline that I would like to see??? YES. But if you look at the overall picture, GEOGIA IS LUCKY TO HAVE MARK RICHT. I think think this is Mark Richts time to shine and after he beats Alabama and beats Notre Dame for the BCS National Title, we will all obviously view CMR’s tenure in a whole new light.

GO DAWGS!

TIDE ROLL

November 27th, 2012
8:24 am

Saban, not Richt, lands Hepzibah’s JAMES CARPENTER and Atlanta Westlake’s CHANCE WARMACK. Together they formed the left side of Bama’s offensive line that dominated Texas for the National Title. Carpenter went on to become a 1st round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks, while Warmack, who has TWO National Title rings, is projected to be one of the top ten picks in this year’s draft, which is unheard of for an offensive lineman. If that’s not enough for Richt, he stands idly by while Saban lands yet another offensive lineman. Atlanta Cedar Grove OT and sure ’nuff stud, BRANDON GREENE. And it’s not just these kids. Last year, Atlanta Creekside’s Offensive Tackle, ROKEVIOS WATKINS, literally pushed UGA all over Sanford Stadium in Carolina’s victory over the Dawgs. And this year, Richt and Bobo are at their absolute worst. Passing on OT Shamire Devine,OG Jeremi Hall, both from Tri-Cities High, and going to Tech. The most athletic offensive guard in the State, Colquitt’s Octavious Jackson, who’s headed to Will Muschamp and the Gators, to join Norcross High’s OG Max Garcia, and GMS OT Trenton Brown. As if Muschamp needed any more help! And I can go on and on. Tenneesee’s JuJuan James, an offensive tackle from N.Gwinnett, who will go early in the draft. LSU OT Vadal Alexander, from Buford who starts for the Tiger’s as a Redshirt freshman. Why do Richt and Bobo have such an aversion to these type of athletes. They end up, like Watkins and Warmack, coming back to kick their butts. It can only be one thing, and we all know what it is. 32 damn years, and there’s your reason why.

Phillip

November 27th, 2012
8:27 am

It is amazing how many people on here personally know CoachSaban.

Phillip

November 27th, 2012
8:27 am

It is amazing how many people on here personally know Coach Saban.

Phillip

November 27th, 2012
8:27 am

It is amazing how many people on here personally know CoachSaban.

Brown Dog

November 27th, 2012
8:27 am

The good person vs. good coach has been debated between the two states before. Fifty years ago, it was Bobby Dodd vs. Bear Bryant. History shows they both found places of respect. I suspect Richt and Saban will too. It’s much more complex — and interesting –than either/or.

TIDE ROLL

November 27th, 2012
8:28 am

N. Gewinnet OT Devonte Seymour.

TIDE ROLL

November 27th, 2012
8:30 am

MLK Offensive Guard Joshua Outlaw.

superiority

November 27th, 2012
8:30 am

The Crimson Tide keep stockpiling talent, and there’s a reason that Saban in his 10 seasons as an SEC head coach has recruited and signed 19 players who’ve become first-round NFL draft choices. He was responsible for signing all nine of LSU’s first-round selections from 2004 to ‘09, and he signed 10 of Alabama’s 11 first-rounders over the past three years.

So, yes, the guy can recruit, but he also can develop. Just ask the NFL general managers and coaches who are clamoring to get Saban-coached players on their rosters.

And with more bling (as in championship rings), where would Saban rank among the greatest coaches in history?

He’d certainly be right in the middle of the conversation.

Alphare

November 27th, 2012
8:31 am

Dawg Momma,

“Coach Saban is just not a good person, and it’s easy to see”.

What kind of Momma are you? You mentioned Richt a Christian man and went on with that? Saban is reportedly active in his church, charity, community etc. Equally import, the guy is reported a democrat while being the best paid college coach in the country. If he is selfish, don’t you think he would a republican so that he can keep all his money to himself with less tax?

You are a total idiot for being anybody’s Momma.

Destin Dawg

November 27th, 2012
8:37 am

Saban is a great coach no doubt.. when I heard him speak at the Ft. Walton sports banquet.. back in 1999 ? when he was 1st year at LSU.. I told my wife he was going places in coaching… now in 2012 it’s the year of the DAWG… its not only Saban vs. Richt… but Grantham and Bo Bo are great coordinators who have grown into their roles… Go Dawgs .. its our time… Nat’l Champs THIS year !!

Red Clay Hound

November 27th, 2012
8:42 am

Someone que Tide Roll’s Tutor. It is time for another lesson.

Dawgsgone

November 27th, 2012
8:43 am

Come on TIDE TROLL. Get over your man crush on all these young football players. While it is impressive how you are able to throw all their names around< I think I would still take CMR and for that matter any SEC head coach over you when it comes to evaluating football talent. Your obsession with UGA and their offensive line has gone from observation to almost stalking. Get a life, what do you do in the off season?

TIDE ROLL

November 27th, 2012
8:43 am

What do Richt and Bobo do in the off season? Besides work on a tan, and drink cold beer? “Hey coach, if we get to the Dome, we’ll probably face Bama.” ” They’ve got a 340 lb. freak at Nose Guard named JESSE WILLIAMS, and two homocidal maniacs at inside linebacker.” ” What can we do to counter that? “I know.” “We’ll put a 5′11″ 270 lb. kid from the Weslyan School at Center, and top that off with a walk on at fullback from the same damn private school.” “That should take care of it.” Jeepers. 32 years. Is it any wonder?

dougsmugs

November 27th, 2012
8:46 am

This is the best year for Kirby Smart to take a head coaching job; Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas and more are suddenly available. Many people say he is Saban’s primary recruiting lure. Once gone, Mr. “Bubbly” Saban won’t do as well recruiting.

I still find it hard to believe anyone would commit to him the way he treated Taylor and others. But, then again, I can’t believe enough people were foolish enough to vote Obama in a second time. You just can’t fix stupid.

Destin Dawg

November 27th, 2012
8:47 am

Tide Roll does need a LIFE… rimes with WIFE ???

Destin Dawg

November 27th, 2012
8:52 am

Kirby Smart is the recruiter at Bama.. . Saban is the coach…

Alphare

November 27th, 2012
8:57 am

dougsmugs,

most of your players are blacks, whose families most likely voted Obama. According to you, they are “foolish” and “stupid”.

It’s people like who push the good black players to Saban, who is reportedly a democrat like Obama.

Yes, you are really really smart, not “foolish” and “stupid” like those black players.

SEC

November 27th, 2012
8:59 am

Saban definitely emphasizes winning the line of scrimmage. He signs lots of lineman, has tryouts in the spring, keeps the good ones and weeds out the others through dismissals, transfers and medical hardships(wink, wink). It’s a lethally effective system.

Alphare

November 27th, 2012
8:59 am

of your team.

Joey

November 27th, 2012
9:00 am

Alphare, open your eyes. You are on UGA blogs all the time – you ever see “Dawg Momma” on here.

He’s one of your fellow techies, just trying to start something. Nobody is so stupid to really think that.

willdawg66

November 27th, 2012
9:02 am

Georgia has more players in the NFL than Bama and thats a fact, look it up. So the answer to your question is already answered. Richt will get you to the NFL. Sorry Tide. You could add Alabama and Georgia Tech NFLers together and Georgia still has more.