Winning Helps in Recruiting

ATHENS – In his first year on the job at Tennessee, Lane Kiffin made a point to put a target on Georgia.

He called the Bulldogs his team's biggest rival, and for good reason. The Volunteers need to recruit in Georgia, and Kiffin wanted to get his regime off on the right foot. The result was a dominant win over the Bulldogs in Knoxville last month.

This week, Georgia faces another first-year coach of another SEC program that relies on the Peach State to fill a sizable portion of its roster when Auburn comes to Athens. And once again, the victor will earn bragging rights – not just among fans, but in the living rooms of recruits throughout the state.

"Winning helps recruiting," Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said. "That's the single most important factor is winning. Everybody loves a winner, and if you win, you're hot, and you're the most attractive person out there."

For the past three years, Georgia's had the edge over Auburn, but that hasn't stopped the Tigers from competing for many of the same players the Bulldogs have recruited. Twenty players on Auburn's current roster hail from Georgia, and a win for first-year coach Gene Chizik would help to boost that number in the future.

But the familiarity also breeds a bit of intensity, too, and head coach Mark Richt said his current players aren't interested in letting Auburn become the latest to earn a win over the Bulldogs, on the field or on the recruiting trail.

"Auburn being so close to our border, just about every guy that we have on our team was more than likely recruited by Auburn and has been to Auburn and has seen what they are all about," Richt said. "It's a big deal for us as a staff, it's a big deal for us as a team."

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