ATHENS — When talking about game planning, Georgia defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann compared it to cooking. And as chefs will tell you, having the right ingredients can make a big difference in the outcome of a dish.

“If you go in there and you have a fully-stocked pantry, fully-stocked fridge, you have all your seasonings and spices, you can make about whatever dish you want depending on who you’re cooking for, right,” Schumann said.

Schumann and the Georgia coaching staff are excellent chefs in their own right but they make sure to have the best ingredients to work with. And in that sense, it all comes back to recruiting.

Georgia isn’t having to trade in expensive denim jackets to get the right amount of beef to get through the week. With how coaches like Schumann, Todd Hartley and others attack recruiting, Georgia has always had elite talent at its disposal.

The Bulldogs currently have the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in the 2024 recruiting cycle. They have signed a top-three recruiting class in all but one year dating back to 2017. And that one outlier class was ranked No. 4 and produced Brock Bowers, Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Amarius Mims and countless other contributors.

Point being, Georgia knows where to get the best produce, seasonings and meat. Most importantly though, the coaching staff understands how to get it as well.

“The first thing I’ll say is recruiting is a group effort. It starts with the head coach,” Hartley said. “There’s not a better recruiter in the country than Kirby Smart, I’ll tell you that. When you have Coach Smart’s influence, it’s not as hard walking into a living room when you’ve got Coach Smart behind you. The other thing is the power of the logo. When you’ve got the G on your chest and you walk into a school, you get instant credibility and instant respect. The fact that you’ve got Georgia on your shirt, you’ve got Coach Smart as your head coach, that makes the job not as hard.”

It isn’t enough to recruit well in just one year at Georgia. It’s an every-cycle process.

Consider what Schumann has done of late on the recruiting trail. In the 2023 recruiting cycle, he signed the No. 4, No. 6 and No. 7 ranked inside linebacker prospects in Raylen Wilson, CJ Allen and Troy Bowles.

Those three defenders are already on campus, doing their best to make an impact on this team. Allen was working side-by-side with Dumas-Johnson in drills on Wednesday.

To date in the 2024 recruiting cycle, Schumann has secured commitments from the No. 1 ranked inside linebacker in Justin Williams and the No. 10 linebacker in Kris Jones. And the Bulldogs are trending in the right direction for the No. 5 inside linebacker in Chris Cole, who will announce his commitment in September.

“What really made me want to sign those individuals and why I’m happy they’re here is they’re extremely competitive, extremely hard-working, they love football, they’re good people,” Schumann said of his 2023 signees. “You check those four in addition to your skillset, those are guys you want to coach. That’s exactly who they’ve been. They’ve been competitive, hard-working, love football, extremely attentive, they want to learn and they’re great people. That’s what I can tell you about them.”

Hartley has accomplished something similar. He brought in Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie in the previous cycle. Spurlin was the No. 2 ranked tight but a collarbone injury shortened his practice this spring. Luckie meanwhile was one of the stars of March and April and has quickly put himself in a place to make an impact for the Bulldogs.

In the 2024 recruiting cycle, Hartley picked up a commitment from Jaden Reddell, the No. 2 ranked tight end. He also holds a commitment from 3-star Florida tight end Colton Heinrich. Recruiting never stops at Georgia, and so the assistant coaches don’t either.

Hartley and Schumann have also had 5-star prospects de-commit from them in this cycle, as Georgia once counted by Landen Thomas and DeMarcus Riddick as commits. As it stands now, they’re headed to Florida State and Auburn, respectively.

But the two coaches understand you can’t have ill feelings toward any prospect. Relationships are too important, especially in the age of the transfer portal.

“I think the thing that we do a good job of here at Georgia is investing in relationships,” Hartley said. “I think we do a great job of getting to know them as people and not just as prospects, as players. I think that’s where we win out most times. People appreciate the genuineness that we have. We’re real. We tell them how it is. Some like it and some don’t, but most people appreciate how open we are with them.”

Georgia coaches understand the importance of recruiting in college football. For as great as they are as developers, and to be clear they are great at it, they also get that you can only get so far when you’re trying to make chicken salad out of poorly cooked chicken.

That’s why Smart stresses the importance of recruiting. Schumann and Hartley reflect that emphasis and shows in how they’ve stocked their position groups.

Glenn Schumann talks recruiting at Georgia