Still, that's the old way of thinking – a dated and flawed way to think in recruiting the class of 2014 and beyond. In many ways Georgia partisans (and no doubt its coaching staff) want it both ways.
They want the best players in the Peach State to only go to Georgia – which would be an amazing, but nearly-impossible thing to accomplish for a slew of reasons. They also want the top players in the region – like Charlotte Christian School tight end Jeb Blazevich – to pick the Bulldogs as well.
It's a pipe dream – and everyone knows it no matter if they admit it or not.
It is impossible to sign every talented player in your state. Not only is that task impossible – it's also not practical to fill out a roster of players from one state alone… even if that state is Georgia.
The difference really lies in the word used to describe the anticipation or recordkeeping of recruiting. Those expecting a recruit from Georgia to sign with Georgia will never be satisfied. Those who want a recruit from Georgia to sign with Georgia have a better grip on reality.
Coaches, for their part, have the difficult task of expecting, wanting and deciding, in some cases, the anticipation of recruiting.
It's simple, really. Those who criticize – usually the sky is falling crowd – when a player from Georgia doesn't pick Georgia, or have the Bulldogs in his top two are the same ones to welcome Blazevich, Matthew Stafford, A.J. Green, Knowshon Moreno, Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and John Theus with no hint of irony.
Remember: there are no borders in college football recruiting.
From my February 24, 2013 article White Paper: Recruiting in 2014 & Beyond: "There is no state of Georgia. In fact, there are no states at all. Borders don't exist. There is a frame of mind, but there are no borders.
For instance – ask any Georgia fan if they would trade North Carolina tandem Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley for Georgians Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake, and they would almost all say: "No, we like what we've got."
But what about Georgia natives Davis and Drake – where is the bellyaching on their behalf? It was there – you just don't remember it.
Then again, Davis and Drake are from Atlanta – not Georgia. As I pointed out in February: "What should be underlined is that players from Atlanta are not from Georgia – they are from Atlanta, which is not necessarily Georgia. This distinction is well felt in every-day recruiting, but it must be underscored."
The lessons are being learned – or at least better understood.
Still, my article makes another important argument about no borders in college football recruiting: that some areas of the country are either there for the taking, or sympathetic to Georgia for one reason or another.
Charlotte (where Blazevich is from) and the home of the player most likely to commit to the Bulldogs next – the Miami area – are both areas Georgia can win in.
Again from the February article: "The Carolinas are littered with Georgia fans. There is a strangely-high number of Georgia fans in the Charleston area – a area, like suburban Atlanta, that is faithful to the in-state schools, but not in a way that sways prospects to stay in state no matter what. Charlotte is the same way…
"Florida, particularly the Miami area, is a free-for-all. But the Bulldogs should know (and almost certainly already do know) that while the South Florida area is full of skill the likes of which is not easily found in the rest of the country, it is an area full of folks with their hands out.
The Sunshine state has always been a critical part of the Georgia recruiting process, and for the most part the program has done well there. Many Floridians dot the roster at Georgia, but Miami is an area of the state the Bulldogs should focus even more on.
When Sony Michel commits to Georgia on Friday (prediction) do me a favor – make that the day you quit complaining about in-state recruiting for a while. It doesn't mean coaches are given a pass on sloppy recruiting in Georgia or anywhere for that matter. But it will signal that the world is changing and the boarders in recruiting are fading away once and for all.
It doesn't matter where a player is from – it never has. It's just clearer today than it ever has been that focus on recruiting success in football shouldn't be judged by zip code, but rather how well commits can zip around on the gridiron.