Georgia football: The recruiting tale of the tape with Arkansas and Sam Pittman
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry takes a look at how well Georgia has recruited over the last four cycles and compares that to Arkansas on the trail.
When looking at Georgia at Arkansas this week, there are two numbers that pop out. Those two can frame where both programs have been, where they are now, and where they should be headed in 2020.
Those numbers are 60 and 1,065. Both will slant heavily to the side of the guys in the retro red pants on Saturday.
The 60 signifies the gap in the number of 4 and 5-star recruits (per the 247Sports Composite) signed by the two SEC schools over the last four recruiting cycles. Georgia has signed 81 of those blue-chip talents compared to 21 for the Razorbacks.
The disparity reflects both the past and present.
That 1,065 number is the other number that shows the obvious gulf between the two programs. When the two teams meet on Saturday, the occasion will mark the 1,065th day since Arkansas defeated a Southeastern Conference opponent.
As a means of comparison, the Bulldogs have played for the Southeastern Conference championship three times during that span. Georgia won one of those and actually played for the national championship during that long 1,065-day stretch for Arkansas fans.
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Georgia’s recruiting classes have finished with an average ranking of 1.7 over those last four cycles. Arkansas finished with an average ranking of 31.3 in those classes.
The irony here is that number for Arkansas is actually pretty high given that 0-16 record in conference play over the last two seasons.
It has been 122 days since the last time Georgia brought a 5-star prospect into the program. That was the arrival of JT Daniels via a transfer from USC. Arkansas has not signed a 5-star prospect since the class of 2016.
That was when 5-star homegrown DE McTelvin Agim signed on February 3, 2016. It has been a span of another 1,698 days since that 5-star signing day for the Razorbacks.
The Bulldogs have signed 20 total prospects with a 5-star rating since Agim became a Razorback.
It all starts upfront, right?
That will really be the biggest area where Georgia will have a decided talent advantage. While taking a deeper look at those 21 blue-chip (4 or 5-star rankings) prospects Arkansas did sign over the last four cycles, we found a clear trend toward the skill and secondary positions.
Of those 21 blue-chip signees, we see that 15 of those ‘Hawgs were signed to play either cornerback (4), quarterback (2), safety (2) or to play the wide receiver (6) position.
How have they done upfront? Not good. Even giving Arkansas the benefit of the doubt by adding a pair of 4-star tight ends to their signee numbers for the trenches, too. Aside from that, the Razorbacks signed one ILB, one SDE, and one WDE that carried a 4-star recruiting ranking to play on the line of scrimmage.
That leaves 2020 signee Marcus Henderson as the only 4-star recruit for the offensive line over the last four cycles in Arkansas. Flipping the number will be a major undertaking for Pittman and well-respected first-year line coach Brad Davis for the program.
Georgia has signed 32 players to man the trenches during that span, including a Pittman-heavy haul of 15 offensive line prospects. That number doesn’t even take into account two likely starters in RT Owen Condon and a legit All-SEC candidate in DT Jordan Davis. Those two Bulldogs were mere 3-star recruits.
That’s a factoid to keep in mind on Saturday during all those short-yardage and goal-to-go situations.
There’s a misnomer out there that Pittman’s Midas touch with recruiting is the chief reason why he was lured from Kirby Smart’s program. He was a beloved former assistant, but he’s just not there to bring a swift upgrade to its roster through recruiting.
That wasn’t really the problem.
Pittman is among the top 10 recruiters in the country. His ability to relate to and establish a genuine recruiting relationship with young men and their families is rare. Especially in today’s world.
But that won-loss record for the Razorbacks over the last four seasons wasn’t because of suspect recruiting classes. At least not in terms of being able to win at least a couple of SEC games every season.
Here’s where Arkansas has finished in recruiting on the 247Sports Team Composite ratings over the last 11 years.
- 2020: 23rd
- 2019: 30th
- 2018: 23rd
- 2017: 45th
- 2016: 23ed
- 2015: 22nd
- 2014: 29th
- 2013: 23rd
- 2012: 27th
- 2011: 21st
- 2010: 41st
Pittman will have to remedy the on-field product through greater player development and game day coaching. Not just talent acquisition and evaluation.
As stated before, the ‘Hawgs could have won a few more SEC games the way they had been recruiting nationally. The glaring stat we found here was mentioned in the previous section. Arkansas simply had not been building from the inside-out in terms of bringing in top-notch players.
The Razorbacks need to get better players up front on both sides of the ball. That’s just to be able to tread water in the rugged SEC West.
Maybe Pittman and his strong staff of elite recruiters can spark the Razorbacks to a top 15-20 national ranking every cycle in the future. That’s certainly possible.
The other glaring issue is making sure each Arkansas class has more elite talent.
When taking a look at each program over the last six cycles, the highest-rated Razorback in each class is simply not one of the top players in the country. The lack of those truly elite players has proved costly over the last few years in the SEC.
Pittman and his staff have to win more in December and February in order to win more in the fall.
(247Sports Composite ratings)
- Arkansas: Nation’s No. 157 overall prospect
- Georgia: Nation’s No. 5 overall prospect
Arkansas has lost 25 of its last 26 games in conference play. There were seven contests during that time span where the outcome was decided by less than 10 points, including five losses by less than a touchdown over the last two seasons.
Big players. Big plays. Big games. That’s the oft-repeated mantra in football.
It has helped Georgia win 20 more times in SEC play than the Razorbacks have the last three seasons.
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)
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