Posted: 11:57 pm Monday, February 10th, 2014

Which out-of-state schools are most successful in poaching Georgia talent? 

By Michael Carvell

Which out-of-state college has done the best job of recruiting the state of Georgia’s elite prospects over the last five years?

Which one is doing the best at luring the biggest fish (the 5-stars) away?

We did an inexact science project.

Without Georgia talent, Saban wouldn't be able to hoist the crystal (AP)

Without Georgia talent, Saban wouldn’t be able to hoist the crystal (AP)

To determine “elite prospects,” we took the state’s top 15 overall prospects over the last five years from the composite rankings, which combine the ratings from ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247sports. We stopped at 15 rather than 20 or 25 because the top 15 seemed to have the most across-the-board offers each year.

Here are some observations:

  • Not surprisingly, Auburn and Alabama were the top out-of-state invaders, luring 12 and 10 signees, respectively, out of Georgia’s top 75 overall the past five years. Nick Saban has had Georgia boys carry him to his crystal balls. Third place was a little bit of a surprise with South Carolina with six, including four this year. The Gamecocks fought off UGA and Alabama for Bryson Allen-Williams.
  • The SEC owns the state’s “elite prospects,” with the conference grabbing 80-percent with 60 of 75, including Tennessee (5), Florida (3), Ole Miss (1) and LSU (1). Is anyone surprised by this?
  • Some people complain about UGA losing too much in-state talent but is it fair? The Bulldogs got 22 out 75. Looking at the Big Picture, is that enough or not? Ironically, UGA got ridiculed for its  “Dream Team” campaign in 2011 but that was its most successful year in landing top homegrown talent with seven out of the top 15. Why has UGA shied away from using that concept every year? If James Franklin can tell kids that he was going to compete for a national championship (or even an SEC Championship) at Vanderbilt – and have them believe it, why doesn’t UGA and Georgia Tech both do the same? Why not?
  • The ACC has some work to do in Georgia, and maybe FSU’s national championship will get things moving in that direction. Clemson was the ACC’s top school with four, including three from this year. The rest of the ACC comprised of Miami (2) and FSU (1). There were none from Georgia Tech.
  • Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is slowly but surely making in-roads in Georgia. The Buckeyes are a legitimate recruiting threat to the SEC with three signees in the last two years. Their proudest moments were luring away Raekwon McMillan from Alabama, UGA and Florida, and beating Tennessee in a head-to-head battle for Vonn Bell.
  • Notre Dame is hit-or-miss with grabbing three signees, including Stephon Tuitt. You know how everybody rags on the recruiting services about Russell Wilson or every NFL player who wasn’t ranked high enough? They got it right with Tuitt, ranking him as the state’s No. 3 recruit in 2011. It was the college scouts (with the exception of Notre Dame and Georgia Tech) who vastly missed the boat on Tuitt. Meanwhile, USC has barely registered a pulse in Georgia after securing Markeith Ambles, who was ranked as a 5-star by in 2010.
Urban Meyer is emerging recruiting threat in Georgia (AP)

Urban Meyer is emerging as a recruiting threat in Georgia (AP)

Finally, the headliners – the 5-stars. Georgia has produced 16 players who have been ranked as 5-stars over the past five years (they are denoted by an asterisk) by one of the four recruiting services. There’s a perception that UGA struggles with 5-stars after not getting any consideration from Robert Nkemdiche (state’s first-ever national No. 1) but the numbers may suggest otherwise. The Bulldogs have landed more than 40-percent of the 5-stars (7 out of 16), and came so close to reaching double digits with Da’Rick Rogers, Montravious Adams, and Ja’Waun James. Tennessee, Auburn and Ohio State have gotten two 5-stars each, while Clemson has one.

Top 15 in Georgia’s Class of 2014

  1. *Norcross DE Lorenzo Carter (UGA)
  2. *Liberty County LB Raekwon McMillan (Ohio State)
  3. *Cedartown RB Nick Chubb (UGA)
  4. *Gainesville QB DeShaun Watson (Clemson)
  5. Brooks County DB Malkom Parrish (UGA)
  6. Cedar Grove LB Bryson Allen-Williams (South Carolina)
  7. North Gwinnett DE Dante Sawyer (South Carolina)
  8. St. Pius DB Nick Ruffin (Auburn)
  9. Camden County DB Kalvaraz Bessent (Auburn)
  10. Carrollton DT Dontavius Russell (Auburn)
  11. Buford LB Korie Rogers (Clemson)
  12. M.L. King DB Wesley Green (South Carolina)
  13. Sandy Creek WR Demarre Kitt (Clemson)
  14. Locust Grove DB Cortez McDowell (Tennessee)
  15. Walton DB DJ Smith (South Carolina)

Top 15 in Georgia’s Class of 2013

  1. *Grayson DE Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss)
  2. *Dooly County DT Montravius Adams (Auburn)
  3. *Milton DE Carl Lawson (Auburn)
  4. *Ridgeland DB Vonn Bell (Ohio State)
  5. Norcross RB Alvin Kamara (Alabama)
  6. Walton RB Tyren Jones (Alabama)
  7. Peach County WR Demarcus Robinson (Florida)
  8. Newnan DB Tray Matthews (UGA)
  9. Mill Creek DT Kelsey Griffin (South Carolina)
  10. Camden County QB Brice Ramsey (UGA)
  11. Central Gwinnett LB Trey Johnson (Ohio State)
  12. ELCA DE Isaac Rochell (Notre Dame)
  13. Sandy Creek DB Shaq Wiggins (UGA)
  14. Alpharetta QB Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee)
  15. Elbert County RB Tyshon Dye (Clemson)

Top 15 in Georgia’s Class of 2012

  1. *Lowndes OLB Josh Harvey-Clemons (UGA)
  2. *Harris County DE Jordan Jenkins (UGA)
  3. Stephenson RB Mike Davis (South Carolina)
  4. Jenkins County DT Jonathan Taylor (UGA)
  5. St. Pius DB Geno Smith (Alabama)
  6. Stone Mountain LB Markuss Eligwe (Florida State)
  7. Callaway TE Ricky Parks (Auburn)
  8. Sandy Creek WR JaQuay Williams (Auburn)
  9. Buford LB Dillon Lee (Alabama)
  10. Cedar Grove OL Brandon Greene (Alabama)
  11. Hillgrove RB Kenyan Drake (Alabama)
  12. Dodge County LB Leonard Floyd (UGA)
  13. Stephenson LB Raphael Kirby (Miami)
  14. Creekside DB Joshua Holsey (Auburn)
  15. Buford OL Vadal Alexander (LSU)

Top 15 in Georgia’s Class of 2011

  1. *Carver-Columbus RB Isaiah Crowell (UGA)
  2. *Thomas County Central DE Ray Drew (UGA)
  3. Monroe Area DE Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame)
  4. Valdosta WR Malcolm Mitchell (UGA)
  5. Griffin DT Xzavier Dickson (Alabama)
  6. Grady CB Damian Swann (UGA)
  7. Valdosta TE Jay Rome (UGA)
  8. Tucker LB James Vaughters (Stanford)
  9. Troup County ATH Quan Bray (Auburn)
  10. Carver-Columbus DT Gabe Wright (Auburn)
  11. Gainesville DE AJ Johnson (Tennessee)
  12. Griffin DB Corey Moore (UGA)
  13. Cook County LB Shannon Brown (Alabama)
  14. Wilcox County QB Nick Marshall (UGA)
  15. Harris County DT LaMichael Fanning (Alabama)

Top 15 in Georgia’s Class of 2010

  1. *Calhoun WR Da’Rick Rogers (Tennessee)
  2. *Newnan DB Alec Ogletree (UGA)
  3. *North Gwinnett OL Ja’Waun James (Tennessee)
  4. *Henry County WR Markeith Ambles (USC)
  5. SW DeKalb DE TJ Stripling (UGA)
  6. ML King RB Mack Brown (Florida)
  7. Gainesville WR TJ Jones (Notre Dame)
  8. Norcross DE Adrian Hubbard (Alabama)
  9. Douglass DT Garrison Smith (UGA)
  10. Warner Robins DT Jeffrey Whitaker (Auburn)
  11. SW DeKalb RB Ken Malcome (UGA)
  12. Loganville RB Storm Johnson (Miami)
  13. Washington WR Antonio Goodwin (Auburn)
  14. Westlake LB Michael Taylor (Florida)
  15. Buford OL Kolton Houston (UGA)

Note: The top 15 is from the composite rankings, and * denotes a 5-star recruit.




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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

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No Tech signees are on these lists but Tech  has bought in Calvin Johnson, Damarius Thomas, Morgan Burnett and several others who are currently in the NFL.  Tech is doing fine .   The point of this story is that UGA is underperforming in its own back yard because UGA can't win the big one.  


It's comforting to know that there are sufficient apostrophes and hyphens in American English to satisfy the narcissistic-naming contests


It has to be very frustrating for UGA fans to sign all this talent and still come up short all the time.  The reason Tech is coming up short is that today's recruits know if they are good they are gone after 3 years. School means very little to them . It's the "conference" and that's new to college football. Go anywhere as long as it's in the SEC where the best players are so the NFL can find you. That of course is BS. If your good the NFL will find you. Just look at Kapernick ,Wilson, Brady, and Rodgers.


And how many top talent recruits did UGA sign from outside Georgia? MANY......They more than make up for any losses at home with gains from out of state. They still stack the roster with majority of Georgia players.

Cannot sign them all. So quit freaking out.


Georgia Tech is just an average athletic program! Until the institution decides to WANT to better instead of hopping to find a miracle coach to get lucky and win a NC. Tech needs to figure out if sports is important or not. All of us Tech fans deserve better than what has taken place. CPJ and CBG are not the right coaches to lead the programs but Tech isn't helping them by any means.


UGA needs to better than 3 out of the top 15!!!


Face it, Georgia - and particularly metro Atlanta - has been a transient state since forever. Parents and high school coaches that have come to Georgia to live and work, but who, understandably, have loyalties elsewhere...or at least, not to the State of Georgia, and thus not to UGA. I mean, when have you ever heard of a top recruit - like the kid from E-town, KY, who turned down Alabama to go to UK - say he wanted to stay at home and play for his 'home' state? Certainly not here. That's clearly a big part of the story...then there's the part that whenever these same parents and kids read some of the, ad-nauseum, complaints from the nattering naybobs, you have to think that they are saying -'Why in hell would we want to go there? All their fans do is bi$$h about how sorry their coaches are.' Anybody here identify with that?


"Folks just do not know how short of a leash Richt is on, and people who think Grantham's departure and the resignation of Lakatos were just happenstance are kidding themselves. These shakeups happened directly after McGarity's meeting with the Elite Hartman Fund donors who went in and demanded that the football program get fixed, period."

I would love to believe that, but I don't think any changes are forthcoming.  Seen a new Special Teams coach yet?


Anyone notice that GaTech got NONE of the top 15 for the last 5 years.  Not surprising that they cannot compete.  Put that with PJs ridiculous offense and you get seven wins a year (as long as you have at least 7 weak sisters on your schedule.   I remember when Tech had a pipeline to south Georgia and north Florida but no more.  Now they have a pipeline to where ever 2 and 3 star players have no place else to go in Division 1.


Are you saying that Georgia football players would rather go with a school that has won a National Championship in the last 30 years, rather than go to UGA?  Where they probably will not win a national championship in the near future?  Hard to believe.


All other states recruit Georgia heavy! The state of Georgia in in the top 5 states with the most blue chip recruits. Georgia and Georgia Tech can only sign a small portion of these recruits. That means that kids with have to sign out of state in order to play a division I schools.


You could walk from Auburn to the Georgia State Line.  That geographical fact has always led to a large number of Georgia kids attending Auburn and that leads to athletes being more likely to consider Auburn as well. 


@96JB, I hear what you are saying, and is my point exactly. Richt has ALWAYS put his favoritism and promises to players over the team, my point is I really do think he knows he can't do it this time. Folks just do not know how short of a leash Richt is on, and people who think Grantham's departure and the resignation of Lakatos were just happenstance are kidding themselves. These shakeups happened directly after McGarity's meeting with the Elite Hartman Fund donors who went in and demanded that the football program get fixed, period. The public will not be told the truth about these matters, it is as if Obama is in charge up there, but believe me, the money folks have put their foot down. Charlestondawg, I am not saying Mason is bad. What I am saying is that even without much playing time, his access to four years as the backup, with the opportunity to lead one team in several spring games, and having started some games and finishing others, he just has not progressed as well as he should. He can't really do a whole lot about his arm strength, and MUCH emphasis in UGA's offense relies on a good vertical passing game that will be non-existent with Mason as the starter. Don't get me wrong, he will be afforded EVERY opportunity to be the #1 guy, and Ramsey will be fighting an uphill battle, but Ramsey is so good that the visual divide between him and Mason will be off the charts, Murray did not say it in so many words, but he said it.


Wow a lot of talent. I feel most of the guys have no interest in playing at uga. I could be wrong.

Garner don't hurt uga, the players he has at auburn now didn't show much interest in uga.


Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, and my guess is that 90+% of those who will respond will argue that I'm a raving fool and/or just making excuses, the fact that the GA Board of Regents REFUSES to allow GA Tech to expand the number of Majors beyond their such restrictive/handful few, which automatically disuades several prospects which may actually qualify to get into Tech in the first place (remember, GA Tech is the most difficult D1 program in the Country to get into; even harder than Stanford, Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame, etc), that very few of the so-called "elite" in-state players even consider the Jackets in the first place.

Now couple this Board of Regents "issue" with the fact that they have decided to actually EXPAND UGA's already massive number of majors, to INCLUDE majors GA Tech offers, like engineering whereas they REFUSED to allow GA Tech to expand their majors to include something that might seem "easier" on paper that UGA currently offers. This DOUBLE STANDARD now provides those few "elite" recruits who might be interested in Tech's majors, and could pass the "Hill," the opportunity to also go to UGA whereas they may have chosen to go to Tech, or another University that offered an engineering program in the past, just because of the major.

This blatent favoritism by the Board of Regents has come to be because it has been saturated by UGA graduates, and they have made it their personal goal to do everything in their power to better UGA athletics and hold GA Tech back. I would normally expect some journalist to do a expose on this type of "cronyism," however, everyone seems to be more concerned about catering to the UGA fans rather than the truth, so they pander to their fans instead.

So much for journalistic integrity.


23 Mark Richt Wins over AP Poll Top 25 for that season :

01. beat # 4 vols 2001 at their checkerboard end zones

02. beat # 4 South Carolina 2013

03. beat # 6 LSU for The SEC Championship 2005 at Georgia Dome

04. beat # 9 Florida 2012 in JAX

05. beat # 9 Auburn at their house 2006

06. beat # 11 AP Poll Alabama 2002 at their house

07. beat # 13 Georgie tek AP Poll 2009 at your house

08. beat # 13 Florida 2007 at JAX

09. beat # 14 Auburn their house 2002

10. beat # 14 LSU 2013

11. beat # 15 Auburn 2007

12. beat # 15 vols 2003 at their house

13. beat # 16 LSU 2004

14. beat # 17 Wisconsin January 2005

15. beat # 19 Virginia Tech 2006 Bowl Game

16. beat # 19 Hawai'i January 2008 BCS Bowl

17. beat # 21 FSU BCS Bowl Game January 2003

18. beat # 22 Clemson at their house 2003

19. beat # 22 Vanderbilt 2008

20. beat # 23 Vanderbilt 2012

21. beat # 24 Michigan State January 1, 2009

22. beat # 25 Nebraska January 1, 2013

23. beat # 25 Purdue January 2004 Bowl Game

23 Mark Richt Wins over AP Poll Top 25 for that season :

That is just not true that Mark Richt beats the pansies and loses to the others, not true that UGA is underperforming in its own back yard because UGA can't win the big one, not true that Mark Richt wins when he can just out Talent his opponent but not so much when he faces equal talent or smarter coach, nor that he beats only the bad teams in the conference and loses to the good teams – now, is it ?

wreckmaniac February 12, 2014

“The point of this story is that UGA is underperforming in its own back yard because UGA can't win the big one.”

"Richt wins when he can just out Talent his opponent but not so much when he faces equal talent or smarter coach." POAD2013

Posted by GTBob at4:23 p.m. Feb. 10, 2014

“He would beat up on the bad teams in the conference and lose to the good teams. Just like he does now.”

DawgNole October 16th, 2012 10:38 pm

“I said if UGA didn’t beat Missouri it likely would be another year of beating the pansies and losing to the others. Halfway through the season, we’ve beaten the pansies and lost to one of the two others.”

Those players you name were not recruited in the current 5-year period, which is what Michael Carvell is studying.  In fact, none you listed either were recruited by Paul Johnson.  Mark Richt has had 79 NFL Draft Picks 2001-2013, while Georgie tek has had 19 same timeframe.  Mark Richt is # 5 nationally in most wins 2001-2013, while Georgie tek is not doing fine same timeframe, are they at # 33 in most wins ?


Hunk, your theory is true that the nfl will find a player no matter where they play. But instead of using wilson, brady, and rodgers who all went to major schools (much exposure), you could have used players like Phil Simms, Jerry Rice, and many, many others who went to very small schools to strengthen your argument further.

But these kids also want to compete for championships while in college, so the majority play in the SEC.

The demographics just bare out the south region of the U.S. has the majority of the quality high school players. Many of those kids then go to college close to home (SEC schools). Check out the census to see how the south has grown.

It's not rocket science.

And the perception of more high quality players playing in the SEC has become reality. So kids flock to their schools.

This is not a knock on other schools or conferences. It is what it is.


@CrazedDawg Mark Richt's current issues of being # 22 in wins after 2007 have nothing to do with his recruiting.


@DirtyDawg Nabob here, and I would hope that potential recruits and especially their parents have better ways of spending their time than reading the eloquent comments often posted at


@DirtyDawg The kids in South Georgia are bolting also. Schools recruit Georgia hard because they are plentiful and gettable. In say Alabama and Louisiana it's a tough sell to get a kid to leave.



You sound like you think Michael Carvell is saying something other than 43% of what any of the top 4 recruiting services consider the 16 elite players in-state for 5 years chose Mark Richt and 30% of all the 75 top recruits here in-state based upon the largest number of scholarship offers for 5 years chose Mark Richt ?


I can believe that for Lakatos with the putrid state of our secondary.  For Grantham, there were just to many compelling reasons for him to leave town on his own.



GT has not had a pipeline to anywhere since Dodd retired. They have won only 53% off their football games in the last 47 years.  And Johnson winning 60% of his games is ahead of the usual GT season of .500 ball, despite or maybe because of, his "ridiculous offense".

That said, I will help you out.  Here is a listing of the top 100 technology schools in the world.  Note that GT is not in the top 10.  They only came in at number 11. Obviously the result of Johnson's high school offense.


@ronaldtallon  There is a good reason why GT is trying to broaden their recruiting. There is no where in the country where GT has a worse reputation than in the state of Georgia. That top 15 number will never change. Every coach we have had eventually figured that out.


@ronaldtallon Well done, ronaldtallon !  A+

And, their pipeline to their 2 point whatever average stars avg 2.19 GPA when the school brags including them their avg GPA is 3.9.  And, avg 315 points lower on SAT scores.  And, graduate 40% to 53% every year in the Official NCAA Federal Graduation Rate.

This on top of their 7-win seasons.



I think he, Michael Carvell, is saying exactly the opposite, saying that Mark Richt has 22 of 75 over 5 years for 30% all the most desired recruits in-state as defined by number of scholarship offers, and 7 of 16 over 5 years for 43% of the elite of those according to any of his top 4 recruiting services.



"The state of Georgia in in the top 5 states with the most blue chip recruits. Georgia and Georgia Tech can only sign a small portion of these recruits."

Georgie tek can only sign a small portion of these recruits in this study, huh ?

Zero percent in this study, none, nada in 5 years' time.

Of 75, zero.

UGA on the other hand has 30% of the Top 75 and 43 percent of the elite 16.

One could not possibly lump together Georgie tek and Mark Richt.

"Georgia and Georgia Tech can only sign a small portion of these recruits."   ??????



You know damn well CMR puts the players on the field that HE(CMR) believes will give UGA the best chance of winning. To proclaim otherwise is to tell the world that you are one of, if not the biggest F O O L S of A L L T I M E.

To suggest that CMR would jeopardize his and his assistants jobs by playing "favorites"  falls somewhere between total ignorance and Fullblown, Batsh_ _ Crazy!!!!!!!!!


The players he has at Auburn didn't show much interest in UGA because UGA never contacted them.  While Garner was the recruiting coordinator!  The guy became a joke his last few years at Georgia.


@JacketMan You are a raving fool and just making excuses. Actually tech chose what it wanted to be and fans just need to live with it when it comes to football.


I also find it doubtful that regardless of their alma mater, they would allow college sports rivalries to dictate their decisions in shaping and guiding Georgia’s secondary education system.It’s also good for the overall economy of the state by making it more likely that educated people with various fields of expertise will stay closer to home and not clump together in the metro area.


The Board of Regents has bigger issues to deal with than worrying about the competitive state of tech football.I’m somewhat familiar with the push to offer engineering courses at other schools but if you can look at it from a different perspective, you might realize that the point is to open up those opportunities to potential students across the state that might not otherwise have the financial ability or desire to go to tech.It would also create a diversity in opinion on who is allowed to pursue technical degrees of this nature and remove the monopoly power your administration currently enjoys.

Now, with regards to forbidding tech to expand the scope of their majors, I couldn’t say.I suppose their vision is to keep you primarily a technical institution and expand selection at the other university system of Georgia colleges and universities.

MichaelCarvell moderator

@JacketMan  Sorry the Board of Regents is not part of my coverage area, but I will certainly pass this onto our Education reporters because pretty much everything that I have seen you post is accurate


@JacketMan "very few of the so-called "elite" in-state players even consider the Jackets in the first place."

You are right on that, as we can all see that "very few" is zero.


"GA Tech is the most difficult D1 program in the Country to get into"

Hogwash.  You brag of your 3.9 avg GPA and yet football team is 2.19.  You brag of your SAT yet football team is 315 points lower.  You are # 36 best college according to latest 2014 US News and World Report, not # 1 Princeton or Harvard.  In fact, at # 60, we are closer to you than you to them.


@HotDawg @Hunk

Well, yeah I think it is a knock on the other conferences, comparatively, that more high quality players continue to play in The SEC every year still.  And, it has been this way for a long time.

But, what Hunk also said is that  "It has to be very frustrating for UGA fans to sign all this talent and still come up short all the time.  The reason Tech is coming up short is that today's recruits know if they are good they are gone after 3 years."

Excuse me Hunk ?  Has to be frustrating for UGA that Mark Richt has beat 23 teams making the AP Poll Top 25 but still comes up short all the Mark Richt era ?  He is # 5 in wins 2001-2013, and you compare that to Georgie tek who is # 33 in wins same timeframe.  As for your excuse for Georgie tek that recruits who are good know they are gone in 3 years, that is as weak as your argument that somehow you've not begun to make the point about that The SEC gets more of the top talent.

Sure we do.  And, comparing Mark Richt's results with Georgie tek's over the same timeframe, leaves no one with the conclusion that the difference is all the result of the fact that the recruits know they are gone in 3 years if they 're good.  It is a direct result of the fact, you don't recruit well at # 52 average recruit rankings 2001-2013, to Mark Richt # 9.



Which explains why you're in here too, writing eloquent comments about none of the points anyone else is talking about.



LSU certainly keeps them in-state compared to our ability to go there and get them.  And, Alabama and Auburn do a better job of keeping their recruits there than just we do here because Georgie tek is not a player in all this with no Major Bowl win since 1957, with # 34 in most wins since 1957, and with being on NCAA Probation all of 2014 and seemingly for the entire Mark Richt era.


@GeoffDawg Georgia didn't contact them because they could no academically qualify for Georgia so they went to Auburn.


@TheOldGuy Tech has made attempts to expand in the past and got shot down every time.