Witness Friday night, as 4-star Cario LB Walter Grant committed to the Bulldogs over Alabama and Florida State. One commitment only means so much - one prospect “can” change a program, but that’s usually not the case - but at this point Kirby and company are stringing together the top recruiting run in UGA history.
Consider: Eight of the top players in the country are committed to the Bulldogs. That’s the most the Bulldogs have ever had committed to them in modern recruiting history. UGA has a very real shot of signing ten players in the top 100 (DeAngelo Gibbs and Aubrey Solomon are still on the board, and the Bulldogs are considered very serious contenders for both).
Only 12 schools have signed ten or more Top 100 players in a single class in the .com era of recruiting - 2003 Florida, 2004 Miami, 2005 USC, 2006 USC, 2007 Florida, 2007 USC, 2010 Florida, 2013 Alabama, 2014 Alabama, 2014 Ohio State, 2015 Alabama and 2015 USC.
In the .com era of football those programs account for all but five national titles since 2001. In other words if you recruit well you have a better chance of winning it all. And if you didn’t sign a class the likes of which I described above you had better have a transitional college QB (Vince Young and Cam Newton), Nick Saban as your coach (2003 LSU) or pure luck along the way (2007 LSU).
Nonetheless, UGA isn’t there yet quite yet - Gibbs and Solomon will have to be pulled in, and the other eight will have to remain - but this is the No. 1 indicator of what the future of your program will be like.
In 2013, 30% of UGA’s class were Scout 300 prospects.
In 2014, 52% of UGA’s class were Scout 300 prospects.
In 2015, 52% of UGA’s class were Scout 300 prospects.
To be sure, championships are not guaranteed just because of recruiting.
To be sure, you can guarantee not winning a championship because of recruiting.
Both are true, and right now Georgia has had a problem because of the latter. Its looking like that won’t be a problem in the near future.
Mark Richt, who was a pretty good, but not elite recruiter, pulled in classes that were 51% full of Scout 300 players over his 15-year tenure. As it stands at this moment, Kirby’s 2017 class is 81% full of Scout 300 players. Kirby’s 2016 class was 70% full of Scout 300 players. Both of the 2018 prospects committed to the Bulldogs right now are in the Scout 300.
Why does all of this matter? If a team loses to Vanderbilt doesn’t that prove that talent doesn’t always matter? Isn’t Texas A&M more talented than Mississippi State?
You hear that a lot, but outliers are outliers for a reason. In the vast majority of games, the team with the more talented roster wins. That’s why recruiting is more important than anything in college sports. The acquisition of talent is the No. 1 thing in sports. That’s why there is a draft in the NFL, MLB and the NBA. In college football, we have recruiting… so not only must coaches evaluate talent, but they must also lure them to campus.
So far we’ve seen that Kirby and company can do both pretty well. Evaluating talent? See Brian Herrien and David Marshall, who both were under-recruited players how have had surprisingly good seasons.
Lure them to campus? Jacob Eason. End of story.
Stand by - this is about to get interesting.