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What We Are Hearing

ATHENS - As Georgia neared signing its top recruiting class in school history last week, many inside of the program were taking a look back and assessing where the program had come and how far it still has to go under Kirby Smart.

"You know I drove down to Mobile for the Senior Bowl last month,” said one long-time insider with deep ties inside the NFL said to me. “Let me ask you this… when was the last time there was a Senior Bowl without anyone from UGA in it? Not good.”

95 former UGA players have lined up to play in the prestigious event. To answer the question, the last time Georgia didn’t send a player to the Senior Bowl was 2000, after an 8-4 1999 season.

“If you look at the guys who are draft eligible from UGA, this might be the first time in a long time that literally not one UGA player gets his named called for the Draft,” they continued. “That’s pretty bad.”

Its been 25 years since the NFL Draft ended without a Georgia player being selected. One major reason the prospects are so low this year is that Nick Chubb and Sony Michel stuck around for their final years. 

With that said, CBS Sports projects wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (No. 291 overall) and offensive linemen Greg Pyke (No. 335) as the only two players ranked in the top 400 available players in this spring’s draft. The number of actual drafted players can vary from year to year because of compensatory picks, but since 2010 there’s never been more than 260 players selected in the NFL Draft.

That means if CBS Sports’ math holds up, Georgia will go without having a player drafted for the first time since 1992. That’s a horrible indictment not only of the development of Mark Richt’s staff, but also of its recruiting over the last five cycles. 2016 was also the first time since 1990 that Georgia didn't have a player on the first or second-team Coaches’ All-SEC Team. 

We will know just how good Kirby Smart is at talent development soon. This program is still very, very young. And while the old from the program isn’t necessarily ready to be drafted by the NFL, the young is certainly primed to give UGA its deepest talent base in modern recruiting history. 

There are a slew of metrics that back that point up - here are the two most important: 

Entering the fall of 2017 (as is stands right now with no more attrition of any form) the Bulldogs will have 22 players on their 85-man scholarship roster who were once Scout Top 100 players. In addition, the Bulldogs will be deeper with talented players since our network has released a Scout 300. UGA is set to start the fall of 2017 with 57 former Scout 300 players under scholarship - that’s 67% of the team. At no time before Kirby Smart arrived in Athens has any UGA ever had a team filled with more than 46% former Scout 300 players of the team.

Read the rest of Dean Legge's What We Are Hearing on Dawg Post...


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