DawgNation Invasion: Breaking down Georgia vs. Florida on the recruiting trail

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Georgia beat Florida 17-9 in 2012. What might happen this year? The recent recruiting history might provide a clue.

Editor’s note: DawgNation plans another DawgNation Invasion for the Oct. 28 game in Florida. 

Georgia will face Florida exactly one month from today in Jacksonville. The border rivalry is always intense. So are the recruiting battles. In preparation for that big-game weekend, DawgNation will produce a weekly installment taking a look at the recruits in play between the two SEC East schools. 

Ask Georgia’s sports information staff about the first time the Bulldogs faced Florida in football. They will provide an answer: 1904.

The history books at Florida somehow read differently. The Gators will claim the first meeting came in 1915 because the program didn’t compete at the varsity level until 1906.

Georgia freshman CB William Poole III was the most recent 4-star recruit the Bulldogs were able to keep away from Florida on the recruiting trail. (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

That wipes a 52-0 Bulldogs’ win in Macon, Ga., in 1904 off Florida’s ledger. That’s why both schools claim a different all-time record in the rivalry.

While that might seem inherently obtuse, that is the right filter to view all things Florida vs. Georgia on the field.

It is a hard-fought rivalry that has carried a signature nickname that no longer seems politically correct to bring up. Everyone knows it, regardless.

When it comes to Georgia versus Florida, it seems like everything is contested.

Who will win the game this year?

Florida (2-1) has struggled, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators dropped a game to Michigan but pulled out two games against SEC East rivals Kentucky and Tennessee in dramatic fashion.

That said, Georgia (4-0) is ranked inside the Top 10 and appears to be the stronger unit in all three phases of the game. The Bulldogs are one of only two teams in the nation that already has beaten two teams that were ranked in the Top 25.

What has led to that? The simple answer is to head to the recruiting trail. DawgNation has identified several key areas in which the Bulldogs have stocked up superior personnel dating back to 2014.

Georgia has had an average recruiting ranking of No. 6 nationally since that year. Florida’s average team ranking over that same span comes in at No. 13.

While the Gators have 17 commitments for 2018 and currently have the edge on Georgia for this cycle, that has not been the case over the last four recruiting classes.That’s important because all of those players now occupy the 2-deep on the depth charts.

The Bulldogs hold the edge in several categories that track how well each program has recruited since 2014: 5-stars signees on both offense and defense, 4-star signees on both offense and defense.

Georgia also has rated higher nationally in every final overall team recruiting ranking over that span.

Florida has the edge in only one area: That’s in the number of 3-star prospects signed. That’s probably not the area that either school wanted to rack up in at that.

The two schools usually wind up recruiting the same top prospects every year. Geography always seems to play a big role in that storyline.

As the weeks go by, we will take a look at some specific recruiting battles where the two SEC East rivals are going head-to-head for one of the nation’s top prospects within the 2018 or 2019 classes.

 

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