Georgia Football: Does Mark Richt Do Enough In-State Recruiting?

Brian JonesContributor IMay 6, 2014

Apr 12, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt shown on the field during the first half of the Georgia Spring Game at Sanford Stadium. Red defeated Black 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Anybody who follows college football recruiting knows how great a talent pool the state of Georgia is.

Many great players from Georgia went on to have great college careers and go on to be great NFL players like Hines Ward, Champ Bailey, Garrison Hearst, Mo Lewis and Geno Atkins.

What do all these players have in common? They all wore the red and black in college, which is why it’s always important for Mark Richt to recruit in-state to the best of his ability.

But does he do a good job of it?

When it comes to signing more players from Georgia than any other state, Richt does a tremendous job. But does he consistently get the best recruits in the state?

Back in 2009, the Bulldogs signed Dallas Lee, Washaun Ealey, Branden Smith and Shaun Williams. Smith was the No. 1-rated player in the state, according to 247 Sports. But the Bulldogs missed out on Greg Reid and Donavan Tate, and both players were ranked in the top 10 by 247 Sports.

In 2010, the Bulldogs landed Alec Ogletree, Garrison Smith, Mike Thornton and Kolton Houston. But that was also the year the Bulldogs struck out on top-10 players Da’Rick Rogers, Ja’Wuan James and Mack Brown.

Dec 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Alec Ogletree (9) tackles Alabama Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon (4) during the third quarter of the 2012 SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome.  Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

2011 was the “Dream Team” recruiting class, and that was where the Bulldogs got Ray Drew, Malcolm Mitchell, Sterling Bailey, Chris Conley, Justin Scott-Wesley, Jay Rome and No. 1-ranked player Isaiah Crowell, who was kicked off the team in 2012. They did miss out on a few top players, but this was a year the Bulldogs were able to get some really good in-state recruits.

Josh Harvey-Clemons, Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins led the 2012 in-state recruits, and all three players were ranked in the top 15. But Mike Davis, Geno Smith, Dillon Lee and Brandon Gee were also top players in Georgia and decided to go to places like Auburn and Alabama.

Last year was not a great year for the Bulldogs when it came to in-state recruiting. The only top-10 player they got was Tray Matthews. They missed out Carl Lawson, Tyren Jones, Alvin Kamara and Robert Nkemdiche, who was ranked as the No. 1 player in the country.

Georgia in-State Recruits Since 2009
YearNumber of RecruitsNumber of Recruits From Georgia
247 Sports

Over the last five years, Richt has gotten some good players from the state of Georgia. And when he has a signing class, at least more than half are from the Peach State. But when looking back at some of the recruits they missed on, it’s hard not to imagine what would the Bulldogs would have been liked if they did sign Lawson last year or Davis in 2012.

So the answer to the question about Richt doing enough in-state recruiting is yes. But Richt needs to do a better job getting the best in-state recruits each year because that will make them a much stronger recruiting class, and it will lead to more top recruits signing with the Bulldogs in the future.


All recruiting rankings are courtesy of 247Sports.