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Georgia holds a clear edge on the recruiting trail with Tennessee in today's matchup.

Georgia football: The recruiting tale of the tape with Tennessee and Jeremy Pruitt

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia 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 Tennessee’s work on the trail. 

Georgia hosts Tennessee on Saturday afternoon in the marquee CBS slot. The promotional wheels are spinning this thing up to be a slugfest among titans.

The recruiting resumes for each program over the last four cycles beg to differ.

Want a quick head-to-head comparison to see how much blue-chip talent matters in a big game like this one? Let’s look at last week. Georgia came into the Auburn game having signed 81 players with a 4-star ranking. The Tigers had only signed 54.

Last week’s final score: Georgia 27, Auburn 6.

Those numbers stack even higher in Georgia’s favor this week with the Vols. Tennessee has only signed 38 of those elite players. That’s a +43 edge this week for the Bulldogs, but the biggest gap here will be in the most experienced players on the field.

Those are the blue chips from the 2017 and 2018 classes. That will be the seniors, the juniors and the redshirt juniors for both teams inside Sanford Stadium this afternoon.

  • Georgia’s blue-chip signees in 2017 ad 2018: 42
  • Tennessee’s blue-chip signees in 2017 and 2018: 13

Georgia also holds a 19-3 edge in the number of 5-star signees over the last four cycles, too.

Players like that win these big SEC ballgames whether they are played in October or November. The side that has more of those and those other elite blue-chip recruits should have the advantage.

The splendid databases available at 247Sports have also produced a chart that measures the team talent composite for each team in the present — not just the elite players they have signed.

Georgia’s numbers are beefed up by 5-stars and elite players like Brenton Cox, Justin Fields, Luke Ford and Cade Mays over the years. Yet those players, along with recent NFL draft picks like Andrew Thomas and D’Andre Swift, are no longer with the program.

What do the current talent levels look like for the programs and the players who will be available for reps in Saturday’s game?

UGA stands at No. 1 nationally as the most talented team in the country. That’s with 68 prospects with a 4 or a 5-star rating currently on the roster.

The Volunteers rank No. 15 nationally with a total of 36 recruits who rated as a 4-star or a 5-star recruit currently in their program. There are six other SEC schools ahead of the Vols based on that standard, including No. 14 Auburn.

Georgia football-Georgia recruiting
All-American OT Tate Ratledge choosing UGA over his dream school Volunteers growing up was one of the more memorable recruiting battles between UGA and UT of late. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

4 more things for your back pocket for Saturday’s game 

Big gap in recruiting rankings 

Georgia’s recruiting classes have finished with an average ranking of 1.7 over those last four cycles. Tennessee finished with an average ranking of 15.3 in those classes.

That has placed the Bulldogs with an average ranking of 1.5 over the last four recruiting cycles in the SEC. The Vols have slotted in with an average recruiting finish of 7.25 in the conference since 2017.

Tennessee’s talent spike is on the OL

The most talented unit on the field for Tennessee will no doubt be its offensive line. Without question. The Vols have signed three recruits with a 5-star rating since 2017. Those guys were all for the offensive line in Trey Smith (2017), Darnell Wright (2019) and Wanya Morris (2019) for this year’s team.

Now add in 5-star Georgia transfer Cade Mays. That makes a quartet of 5-stars that will give their all for Tennessee across its offensive front against Georgia.

Georgia, on the other hand, has lost a pair of 5-stars from its O-line cupboard (Mays and NFL first-rounder Isaiah Wilson) and yet still has a trio of 5-stars for its room. Jamaree Salyer is just the only one in the starting lineup this week.

The Bulldogs can also counter that unit with its defensive front. It is one of the deepest units on the team, and it also has a pair of 5-stars and another strong core of highly-regarded players for a battle in the trenches.

The elite talent really favors the home team 

The Volunteers have signed 23 of those 38 blue-chips for their defense. The striking comparison is the lack of those elite top 150 signees for that unit. Not just recruits who hold a 4-star rating.

Tennessee has signed only nine players who rated among the nation’s top 150 recruits to play on that side of the ball.

Georgia has signed 39 blue-chip recruits just for its defense alone. When we break that figure down even further, we see that the Bulldogs signed 24 of those top 150 recruits for that unit.

  • Overall top 150 signees (UGA): 49
  • Overall top 150 signees (UT): 16

Tennesee has recruited better out-of-state of late

There are only so many elite recruits in the state of Tennessee each cycle. It is just not a populous state. That’s why every elite Volunteer team has had to recruit well out-of-state to become a national contender. That was a trademark of the best Philip Fulmer teams from that golden era of UT football.

Check out how well the Vols have recruited out-of-state of late:

  • Out-of-state blue-chip signees (2017): 2 of 5
  • Out-of-state blue-chip signees (2018): 5 of 8
  • Out-of-state blue-chip signees (2019): 10 of 13
  • Out-of-state blue-chip signees (2020): 7 of 13

The Vols have not only gotten more blue-chip recruits over the last two cycles, they’ve been able to pull them in from out-of-state, too. It also looks like the program is now turning away from the JUCO ranks for immediate plug-and-play help to fill in the gaps of its recruiting.

Tennessee had to sign three JUCO prospects to beef up its blue-chip number with its 2018 class, but that number dwindled to just one over its last two signing classes.

RELATED: Check out the recruiting tale of the tape with Auburn last week

SENTELL’S INTEL

(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)

 

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