ATHENS — Kirby Smart got everything he wanted from Georgia fans and Athens in terms of a spectacular recruiting setting last Saturday.
The Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 on the field of play this season and No. 6 in the 2020 class recruiting rankings, per 247Sports.
But the Sanford Stadium environment during the 23-17 win over Notre Dame and national CBS audience surely provide a boost.
Smart said all of his assistant coaches went out on the recruiting trail Thursday night. They were headed mostly to destinations outside of Georgia.
“This is an opportunity, because you have an extra day of travel, to go maybe somewhere further away,” Smart said on his radio show on Thursday. “Because we don’t have a game, you don’t have to get back as fast.”
The Bulldogs have a bye on Saturday. Georgia next plays at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 at Tennessee.
Smart pointed out the Bulldogs’ coaches recruit heavily in-state during home game weekends “all the time.”
The value of marquee home games cannot be overstated where recruiting is concerned. The opportunity to showcase the campus, the facilities and spend time with players is everything.
“It was very impressive, a lot of those guys had never been in an environment like that,” Smart said on his radio show on Thursday night.
“To throw the night game on top of Notre Dame, on top of a top 10 matchup, on top of the light show, it was special from a recruiting standpoint. A lot of people were able to enjoy that.”
Smart took note the game ranked as the most-watched of the season and the highest rated on CBS in September since 2013.
“I think the fact you’re on a national stage and you’re playing Notre Dame where you get viewers from all over the country, they’ve got a pretty widespread fanbase,” Smart said.
“You draw a lot of attention that might impact some kid that’s a 12, 13, 14-year old good football player, that says ‘I’d love to play there and be a part of that.’ You never know how that’s going to impact. You just know that it’s a positive reflection of your university and that’ s important.”
Smart said he didn’t get home after the Notre Dame game until after 1:30 a.m. Smart and his staff returned for Sunday breakfast with the recruits at 8:30 a.m. Players on official visits spend part of Sundays with coaches and on campus.
“You recover on the back end,” Smart said of his lack of sleep, though his scratchy cough this week provided evidence he’s still not all the way back.
“Obviously, the off-week came at a very good point from a recruiting standpoint.”
The Bulldogs have 16 verbal commitments at this point, 12 from outside of the state of Georgia.