Georgia is primed to finish off one of the best ― if not the best ― recruiting classes in the country on National Signing Day next Wednesday.
How coach Kirby Smart was able to pull off the feat after the coach’s second season in Athens is examined in an article by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. It’s a quality look at the dynamics involved in creating a quality impression within the talent-rich Peach State and metro Atlanta area. Not surprisingly, the story reveals that Georgia’s run to an SEC title and its appearance in the National Championship Game made the Bulldogs a hot brand among talented prospects.
In the piece, coach Chris Slade of the Pace Academy in Atlanta is quoted as saying he doesn’t know if Georgia ever has enjoyed “this big of a splash” on the recruiting trail. That’s quite the praise, and you can see the quote’s full context below.
Players pick colleges for different reasons, but Georgia’s ability to put itself in the national spotlight ― alongside a program such as Clemson, which continues to pluck top prospects from the state ― has made an impact. Smart said some recruits had interest in Georgia last summer but wanted to see results in the fall. When those came, it created “a tidal wave effect to bring in some extra guys.”
“I thought the staff before, they still got some top players from the state,” Slade said. “Now because they’re winning right away, that makes a big difference. I don’t think Georgia’s ever had this big of a splash.”
There’s no doubt the Bulldogs have enjoyed that big splash in recent months in recruiting. College football’s early signing period in December turned out to be a huge moment for the program, highlighted by the signing of 5-star quarterback Justin Fields of Kennesaw, Ga.
Certainly, winning helps when trying to draw the nation’s top high school players to Athens. If Smart can deliver consistent success at Georgia in years to come, there’s no reason to think the program’s momentum will slow soon.