Not that anyone has said otherwise, but many eyebrows were raised on signing day when so many of the top Georgia prospects signed with out-of-state programs.
“How can Georgia let so many prospects leave the state?” people asked.
It’s a good question, but several of the misses are explainable.
Top-rated defensive end Robert Nkemdiche signed with Ole Miss, where his brother, Denzel Nkemdiche, plays linebacker. The state’s No. 2 prospect, defensive end Carl Lawson, was hardly recruited by Georgia because the staff didn’t believe he’d fit in the scheme.
Safety Vonn Bell is counted as a Georgia prospect but he actually lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., and grew up a fan of Tennessee. If anyone should count him as a miss, it’s the Vols.
Georgia certainly didn’t land every in-state prospect it pursued. Georgia lost Vienna, Ga., defensive tackle Montravius Adams to Auburn and was beaten out by Alabama for running back Alvin Kamara of Norcross, Ga.
But Georgia’s 2013 class is strong. (We wouldn’t have ranked it 4th best in the SEC if it weren’t.)
Georgia landed highly-touted Newnan, Ga., safety Tray Matthews, who enrolled in school last month and is expected to help the Bulldogs’ secondary immediately. And while missing on Kamara was disappointing, landing running back A.J. Turman from Orlando, Fla., was a nice “fallback” option.
Georgia’s class fills needs, as it should with 33 signees.
The Bulldogs were looking for help in the secondary so they signed eight defensive backs. The need at wide receiver? Georgia signed five of them, including Tramel Terry from Goose Creek, S.C.
Junior college defensive Toby Johnson was a nice late addition, assuming he comes back to play following an unfortunate knee injury he suffered in November. And no one questions the talent of Chamblee, Ga., linebacker Davin Bellamy, who switched his commitment from Florida State. Bellamy just better stay out of trouble.
This isn’t to say Georgia can ignore its top in-state talent. Of course it can’t. But talent won’t be the issue for the Bulldogs in the foreseeable future.
As for the 2014 class, Georgia has picked up three commitments. They’re all from Georgia.
Florida keeps chomping on recruiting trail
Florida’s impressive 2013 class seems to have carried over to the Gators’ 2014 recruiting efforts.
Florida received commitments last weekend from offensive linemen Travaris Dorsey from Jacksonville, Fla., and Benjamin Knox from Deland, Fla., and linebacker Christian Miller of Columbia, S.C.
Florida, which has six commitments for the 2014 class, has also received a commitment from Davidson, N.C., quarterback Will Grier, who should help bring more attention to the Gators’ class.
“I have watched him online and he can run and throw and has good height,” fellow commitment Ryeshene Bronson, a wide receiver, told Rivals.com in December. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Florida coach Will Muschamp is known for his coaching. He was one of the nation’s best defensive coordinators before he arrived in Gainesville.
But Muschamp knows he’s a better coach when he’s coaching superior talent. That’s what he’s trying to bring to Florida.
“I tell our guys when we hire my staff, I tell them, ‘If you can’t recruit then you’re not going to coach at Florida,’” Muschamp told WYGM Radio in Orlando last week.
Florida’s 2013 class received MrSEC’s top ranking in the league. Expect the Gators to battle for that title again in 2014.
Texas A&M is a buy
That’s because it has so much to sell right now.
The most obvious is Johnny Manziel, who continues to bring eye-popping exposure to Texas A&M. There’s also the chance to play for Kevin Sumlin, one of the nation’s hottest up-and-coming coaches.
Then there are the facilities. With the recent success and the growing enthusiasm, Texas A&M has decided it’s time to upgrade. And upgrade it will.
As Texas A&M’s program continues to grow and the attention surrounds Manziel and Co. in College Station, Sumlin shouldn’t have any trouble convincing prospects to check out the school.
And once you get the prospects on campus, you’ve always got a shot. Texas A&M has already received seven commitments for the 2014 class, all from inside the state of Texas.
The Aggies are just getting started.
Point guard back on the market
Basketball prospect Darius Thompson is no longer committed to Vanderbilt, but he could still land in the SEC.
Thompson told the Tennessean that a Tennessee staff member visited Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., this week after Thompson announced his decommitment from Vanderbilt.
Alabama, North Carolina State and Virginia are also in contention, according to Thompson’s father, Lonnie Thompson.
“It’s wide open right now,” he told the Tennessean. “I don’t see (Darius) going out of the South. I see him going no more than about eight hours from home.”