Posted: 11:59 pm Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Texas A&M expands to Georgia for talent search 

By Michael Carvell

Texas A&M has made 12+ early offers to Georgia kids (AP)

Texas A&M has made 12+ early offers to Georgia kids (AP)

Texas A&M is the latest college football powerhouse trying to invade the state’s fertile recruiting grounds.

When Texas A&M visited Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A bowl, the Aggies got really smart and really aggressive on the recruiting trail with Georgia’s top high school juniors.

Texas A&M has already made nearly double the amount of early football offers to the state’s 2015 prospects (13 overall) as it did for the last two recruiting classes combined (8).

During Chick-fil-A week, Texas A&M made the smart decision to have open practices so some of the Georgia’s top 2015 prospects (who recently got offers), including Central Gwinnett High School defensive end Adonis Thomas and Carver-Columbus High School defensive end Mehki Brown, could observe the Aggies here rather than drive 12.5 hours to the Texas campus.

“I can tell you that in the first couple of years we had to get settled in with who we are and what we’re about, and then concentrate locally and try to get our program going with our current players,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin told the AJC. “Then as we started having some success, we started having some success nationally with recruiting with Kyle Allen out of Phoenix, along with going into Louisiana and getting some good players. We’ve been able to branch out a little bit.

“We have some previous relationships in Georgia, and particularly in Atlanta with (Texas A&M defensive line coach) Terry Price and myself. When I was at Oklahoma, I used to recruit in Georgia. We know a number of coaches, and we have a number of relationships. As our brand has started to expand, so has our recruiting. We opened our practices to the public, and coaches and players came.

It hit us that ‘Hey, there is some interest here in Texas A&M from the state of Georgia.’ Because of that, we’re interested in some of the prospects there because there’s a tremendous talent pool in the state of Georgia. We were able to see there was some interest during the week we were in Atlanta, so we’re going to follow that up.”

The state of Texas is the nation’s No. 1 manufacturer of D1 football, and it produces more than double the amount of Georgia, according to one study. However, Texas A&M plans to recruit Georgia’s elite prospects if there is reciprocal interest.

“We’re going to identify the guys we think we would like to have in our program, regardless of their recruiting ranking,” Sumlin said. “We’re going to see if they have any sincere interest in us, because of where we are from the distance standpoint. If they do, we are going to pursue them.”

Out of Sumlin’s three recruiting classes at Texas A&M, he has signed only one Georgia player – former Sandy Creek High School wide receiver JaQuay Williams, who picked the Aggies over UGA and South Carolina.

The rest of the Q&A with Kevin Sumlin:

  • It seems like your name has gotten thrown out some when there’s a high-profile job opening. Some of that is probably used against you in recruiting. How much negative recruiting is out there? “I don’t know. They talk about coaches either of two ways: Either you’re getting fired, or you’re moving on to another job. So, I don’t think that part affected our recruiting this year at all. When those things are out there, I can’t control what is being said. As long as it doesn’t affect our recruiting, our team, our administration or my family, I don’t need to come out every day and rebut something that is being said by a blogger or on Twitter or on ESPN. That’s all part of it. I had an opposing coach tell me something the other day, ‘Hey, it’s not negative recruiting if it’s true.’ So you know, that’s all part of it. Everybody has a lot to sell about their universities but when it comes down to it, I think every coach has made comparisons — just like when you go buy anything. To help you make the right decision, there are comparisons being made, whether it’s academics, football, or facilities. Whatever it is, sometimes some of those things can be misconstrued as negative recruiting.”
  • You’re one of only a few college football coaches who really understands the power of Twitter for the purposes of recruiting and publicizing your program. How did that happen? “We’ve been doing Twitter for a long time here. I’ve been on Twitter since I was at the University of Houston. Twitter has been a great tool for us and for me because it’s a way to get our message out to our fan base and our prospects in the manner that we want to – whether it’s highlight videos, messages, practice videos, inside stories and things like that. Because of that, it has been a great tool for our program internally. Whether it’s my own personal account or our Aggies football account, it has without a doubt been a great tool for us.”
  • What is your sales pitch for Georgia’s top prospects for 2015? “I think we’ve got a great academic reputation. I think joining the SEC has added to our exposure. We’re playing a great schedule in the SEC West in the some great venues. When our stadium is done, it’s going to be the finest football stadium in the country at 102,500. It’s a $450 million operation that is second to none. You know, the Arkansas game now has been moved to Cowboys Stadium in Dallas every ear. So you’re going to be playing in the two finest facilities in the country every year. With the schedule changing for this year, we’ll play the first game of college football on Aug. 28 at South Carolina, and then we will end up Thanksgiving weekend with LSU at home. So that’s the type of football we like to be a part of at Texas A&M. I know there are a lot of guys that want to play in those types of stadiums, and we can provide that.”

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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35 comments
JaySly
JaySly

a&m need to stay out of georgia and quit trying to steal the dog recruits---they need to get players from texas!

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

At least they arent just waiting for the ones that get kicked off UGA like Auburn, Lots of talented young men and women here in Ga. UGA has a big checkbook, they can go to Texas if they want.

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

Get ready Texas A&M. You are fixing to get demonized for having the nerve to come in and recruit Ga kids.

How dare you rob Ga of future great GA players. These mutts wont hold their own coaches responsible.  And you can count on the AJC egging them on.

whydoyoucare
whydoyoucare

Geez Carvell.  Why dont you leave Ga.  Youre more pro every out of state school than UGA or GT.  Again poor, subjective reporting.  

slydawg
slydawg

Why can't Georgia go into Texas and do the same thing? Oh Yeah, Richt doesn't like recruiting east of the Mississippi River. There is no need to establish a national brand. His words, not mine.

ScoreCheck
ScoreCheck

Without Manziel TAMU is just another Ole Miss. 

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

MoistDawg.....that solution may be ok between you and your buddies at the local pub but in the real world, it gets no traction at all and would only be a knee jerk reaction that only makes matters worse.

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

Georgia has 200 Division 1 prospects every year. There are plenty of Recruits  to go around . If getting a degree is important to the players then you would always have a top three to chose from. For me I would chose either U.G.A. or Stanford. A few years ago one of our states top players chose Stanford. From the day he committed ,even though I love Georgia I supported his decision. 

 What I can't comprehend is why a Recruit would go to Clemson, Alabama , Florida State and especially Auburn over Georgia if after College they all come back to our State and get a job. Most all the players that don't  make it to the Pro's, leave the state they graduated from and return to Georgia.. All five of the schools listed above have essentially the same curriculum. I just can't see going to another state just to return after College to live and raise a family unless of course you live in Athens , then leaving for another School makes some sense.

Georgia plays in the greatest Conference in the Nation and they have had the most stable Coaching staff in the SEC for the last 15 years. The only thing these great players did by going to another School was to give them the DEPTH they needed to win Championships. If they had gone to Georgia we would have won the Championship those schools won. Georgia has had great team the last 10 years but not the DEPTH. 

Maybe with Pruitt and his staff at Georgia and Richt learning from past Recruiting failures we can finally get the DEPTH it takes to win Championships or the hard games.

LHardingDawg
LHardingDawg

Our state is open to A&M, and Texas is open to Georgia. Get over it, in this age of internet, cell telephones, and tweeting, there are no state lines.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

A strange strategy when by all accounts, your recruiting just dominated U of Texas in your home state.  Seems it would behoove them to ride the momentum and concentrate on capitalzing on their new opportunities in one of the country's top states for HS talent.  Geographically, they also don't have the same number of top programs right on their borders that they continually need to fend off. 

SinceVince
SinceVince

Cant really blame them when you have Clemson, USCe , Bama and ole Miss snatching up top talent in the state as well. They all know Richt  and his staff is sometimes asleep at the wheel or late to the party when offering top recruits. 

Dawg350
Dawg350

Who really cares......they're guys that are always going to leave state. UGA gets some of their talent from out of state as well....so it goes both ways! UGA will have a monster class in 2015! Best believe that!

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

we need to start playing hardball with some of these traitor georgia schools.  am and other out of state schools can have our leftovers but if they poach someone we want we should cut off the school from all sports and there players coming to uga.  georgia players should be loyal to there state and realize what a privalige it is to play for us.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

Granted, I'm biased.  But I've never understood the fascination with The University of Georgia, nor do I understand why so many good players want to play there.  I'd certainly rather play for Texas A&M.

RandyHall
RandyHall

Why has Texas A&M come into the state of GA....because they know they can....they have the success of other programs like Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Stanford be successful here...while closer powerhouses like Alabama, FSU, and even regional powers like AU, FL, SC, TN, and even programs like Ole Miss, Missouri, and OK State have come into GA and get top 20 players....over the last 3 years, UGA has gotten 10 of the top 45 players in the state for an alarming 22%...in recent years, CMR has lost a lot of brand recognition of UGA w/ underperforming staff members....HOPE THIS CHANGES NOW W/ NEW STAFF MEMBERS...time to wake up Mr Friend and Mr Ball!!!!!     

Dawg350
Dawg350

Whiskey

Go drink another shot of that juice and listen to that Alabama song just one more time!

whydoyoucare
whydoyoucare

@slydawg  couldnt agree more.  Richt is plain lazy.  I know because i played at UGA. Walkon and now a physician so i know what hard work looks like and that aint Richt

Ghost13
Ghost13

@Bubbatavious Trolling  and posing . Why are you so ashamed of  being  a yellow jacket?

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

That was definitely true under Garner.  We have reason to believe that they may have turned the corner in that regard but time will tell.

RamboDawg
RamboDawg

Lovejoy High is at the top of the traitor schools in Ga

RamboDawg
RamboDawg

Lovejoy High is at the top of the traitor schools, especially when it comes to sending players to UGA

Ghost13
Ghost13

@Birminham__Jacket A and M finished in top ten once since  2000 , on the other hand  Georgias  done it  8  times, A and m  last  played in a bcs bowl (never) won a  division or  conference  championship? players in the NFL compared to Georgia.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

You're certainly entitled to your opinion and preference of university but what specifically about UGA do you think should be such a disincentive to recruits?

Ghost13
Ghost13

@RandyHall , Let's not mention the  fact  that Georgia in many instances  signed  higher  rated prospects  form other  states.The have to  sign  the best in state  is a  old worn out  argument, you sign the players that fit your  needs  and the best  players  available.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Randy

When we pick up 5* star WR Calvin Ridley then hopefully you will lay off of tony ball. Also we will pick up OL kaleb Kim and Chuma Edoga.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@GeoffDawg  

It's not the UGA is so bad.  It's just they're nothing special, at least to me.  Take the kid that flipped from SC to UGA.  Why would you do that?  SC has gone 11-2 past 3 years and finished in top 10, 3 consecutive year.  UGA?  Nope.  SC's HC has won a NC.  UGA's?  Nope.  I mean, what is so special about playing for UGA?  Unearned hype, just like Notre Dame, if you ask me.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@MikeBanning @Birminham__Jacket  


Oh, I know.  There is no debating that Johnson's system is very unattractive to recruits.  Carvell deleted my post too, stating such.  For what reasons I don't know.  Like it's some big secret....  


There is some question however, that the next coach whoever that may be would ultimately win more with a conventional offense.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Mike

You're wrong! UGA will have big Greg Pyke and Brannon K. Two absolute monsters on the o line! The o- line will not be a weakness.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

I agree with you mostly.  FB players do seem to be brought up on petty charges at a higher rate than the general student population for the same things that the majority of college kids are also doing, ie underage drinking.  I can certainly attest that I probably did that with more frequency and more publicly than your average players did and I nor anyone that I hung out with ever got into trouble with the law.

All that being said, I'm not certain that the perception of the local police is that much of a deciding factor for recruits.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

Not to mention that it's close to home for many of these recruits and gives them the opportunity to represent their home state at its flagship university.  That does mean something to many people.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

·#60-something top university in the country according to US News and World Report.

·Great variety and diversification in fields of study offered.

·9th in the country in total wins over the last ten years.

·One of the top track records in the country for producing NFL talent.

·Numerous SEC and Divisional championships over CMR’s tenure.

·Opportunity to compete against some of the country’s best teams week after week.

·By near unanimous consent, parents of players rave about the influence of CMR and state that he’s the kind of coach they want their son to play for.

·Great facilities

·Great and loyal fanbase

·One of the best college towns in America.

·If any of this doesn’t work out for you for whatever reason, then you’re free to transfer with no restrictions.

Honestly, I don’t expect you to be intimately familiar with the attractive qualities of the Georgia program but you have to admit that where there’s a pattern of smoke, there’s bound to be fire.Georgia gets good players for a multitude of reasons.

RamboDawg
RamboDawg

@mikebanning u need to get with POAD, he knows who the 6th string QB at UGA is, he is an expert in all things UGA football, but here's the funny part, he's a University of georgia tech fan.