The state of Georgia has consistently been a hotbed for football recruiting.
According to Rivals Recruiting, Georgia has ranked fourth overall in the last 10 years as a producer of football recruiting talent. It ranks right up there with the states of Texas, Florida and California in the category of top-tier producing states.
However, not every in-state talent wants to play for their in-state school. It may be the lure of the big city, the scenery or just the excitement of leaving the state for the first time. It may be the constant pressure and expectation that these players will automatically play for their in-state school that drives them away.
The University of Georgia has done well in recruiting top football players from within its borders. However, one can only imagine if a few other players would have chosen UGA as their college to play "between the hedges."
Eric Berry, the fourth-ranked overall recruit in 2007 (according to ESPN), chose SEC rival Tennessee over UGA even though he was from Fairburn, GA. UGA, with an explosive offense with the talents of Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and A. J. Green, was a solid defense away from putting it all together.
Eric Berry certainly could have played a pivotal role in a remarkable defense. Georgia native Cam Newton, recruited by UGA as a tight end at the time, could have filled Matthew Stafford's void as a much-needed quarterback. Newton may have been the missing link in 2010 when Aaron Murray, as a redshirt freshman, was trying to establish himself as a new quarterback in the SEC.
Da'Rick Rogers, the 30th overall recruit in 2010 (according to ESPN), is from Calhoun, Georgia. Rogers was a "solid" commitment to UGA for nearly a year and flipped to the University of Tennessee on signing day. UGA could have used Rogers' talent last year as three out of their top four receivers were freshmen or redshirt freshmen.
The No. 1 recruit in the nation this year hails from Loganville, GA. It should be presumed that the University of Georgia would be a lock for this marquee talent.
On June 14, 2012 Robert Nkemdiche verbally committed to the University of Clemson. This left many people wondering how UGA could miss out on a player almost as highly touted as a running back in 1980 from Wrightsville, GA?
This common bond of in-state talent makes people wonder "What if?" But then again, fortunately for UGA, Matthew Stafford (from Texas), A. J. Green (from South Carolina), Knowshon Moreno (from New Jersey) and Aaron Murray (from Florida) can relate.