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Georgia coach Kirby Smart is 4-2

Examining Georgia football in-state recruiting effort after resurgent 2021 performance

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Georgia football 2021 recruiting bounces back with in-state recruiting effort

In the 2020 recruiting cycle, Georgia landed just three of the top 25 players in the state of Georgia.

Following the commitment of Smael Mondon to Georgia on Wednesday, the Bulldogs already have commitments from eight of the top 25 prospects from Georgia.

Related: Georgia football lands commitment from 5-star LB Smael Mondon

That 2020 class for Georgia finished with a total of eight in-state signees out of 25. The current Georgia class has 19 commitments at the moment, with 10 coming from the state of Georgia.

The Bulldogs also have a nearly identical average recruit ranking of .9295 in 2020 to .9294 in 2021. The biggest difference between the two classes, other than having more top-end talent from the home state, is that Georgia’s 2020 class finished first in the country. Georgia’s 2021 recruiting class sits in fifth, with Alabama, Ohio State, LSU and Oregon all having superior classes in this cycle.

Georgia still has room and time to add players to the 2021 recruiting class before the start of the early signing period, though barring a massive finish it seems unlikely that they’ll reach the heights of the No. 1 recruiting class.

Especially when you take into account that the NCAA has now extended the dead period until April 15 of 2021. That means no recruiting visits for prospects and no trips to high schools for coaches.

“It seems like a year since we have seen a recruit. It hasn’t been that long, but it just seems like forever,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said.

By the April 15 date, it will have been over a year between seeing prospects, as the last time Georgia had prospects at the football facility was January 31 of 2020. So it was quite some time ago.

Due to the absence of those visits, Smart cautioned against some big fireworks as has been the case in past years for Georgia.

“When you are coming into their home, it creates doubt,” Smart said. “This is virtual recruiting, so most of these kids have decided what they are doing. It’s probably going to be anticlimactic. It’s going to be in terms of whether they sign or don’t sign, not who they are signing with.”

It is curious that Georgia has done better recruiting the state of Georgia than it has in past years with the lack of visits no doubt playing a factor. Even beyond already having more in-state commitments than either the 2020 or 2019 class, Georgia most importantly cleaned up with the top talent this year.

As per the latest rankings update, there are three 5-star prospects for Georgia in the 2021 class. That would be offensive tackle Amarius Mims, quarterback Brock Vandagriff and Mondon. This is the first time Smart has landed not just the top-three players from the state of Georgia, it’s also the first time that Smart has landed the top player in the state, as Mims is rated as the No. 6 overall player in the country.

Perhaps even more impressive is that it’s the first time since 2003 that the Georgia program landed the top-three players in the state. For a state as talent-rich as Georgia, which neighboring powers such as Alabama, Clemson, Auburn and Tennessee have drawn from over the years, that’s an impressive accomplishment for the Bulldogs. That’s something that Ohio State, LSU and Alabama have done consistently over the years.

But as we’ve noted in this space before, it is not something that can be replicated every year. Even as Georgia drew more from out-of-state prospects, the Bulldogs still recruited heavily some of the best players in the state. It’s just the likes of Arik Gilbert, Miles Murphy and Kyle Hamilton elected to play elsewhere.

Related: A deep dive into Georgia football recruiting facts, figures and fallacies in metro Atlanta

Smart stressed the importance of recruiting the state of Georgia every season and given the inability to impress out-of-state recruits this cycle, it made it all the more crucial to land the likes of Vandagriff, Mims and Mondon.

The Bulldogs still have a chance to add another elite uncommitted player in the state in 4-star cornerback Nyland Green. He’d fill a pretty big need at cornerback and is considering the likes of Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson. A commitment from Green would give Georgia six of the top-10 players from the state, a significant upgrade from what the Bulldogs did in the 2020 cycle in Georgia.

That would match what Smart did in 2018 when he also landed six of the top-10 players in the state. That class ended up being the No. 1 ranked class in the country, as it was headlined by the likes of Justin Fields and Brenton Cox.

Those two names were two of the four in-state 5-star players Georgia signed that year. And neither of them currently play for the Bulldogs. That does help somewhat explain why things have gone off the rails for Georgia in the manner that they have for the Bulldogs this year.

That in part exemplifies the modern state of recruiting. It’s one thing to just bring in top-talent, whether it comes from far or nearby. Georgia this year due to circumstances of 2020 is leaning on more of that local talent. And to ensure a strong future, Georgia will need to do a better job developing and maintaining that talent.

Smael Mondon explains his commitment to Georgia football

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