When Georgia and Florida met this past October, it was clear Jim McElwain had the superior team.
The Gators manhandled Georgia, as McElwain & Co. cruised to a third consecutive victory against the Bulldogs, 24-10.
But with Kirby Smart now running the Georgia program and recruiting at a historic rate in the state of Georgia, the balance in the rivalry could be shifting toward the Bulldogs.
Smart and Georgia have the No. 3 recruiting class for 2017, while Florida lags behind at No. 31. A big reason for the disparity in the teams’ recruiting rankings is how the schools have fared with the top talent in their respective states.
Florida and Georgia each produced three 5-star players in the 2017 recruiting cycle. Only Texas and California produced more 5-star recruits.
A deeper look at each state’s top prospects shows why Georgia is doing much better than Florida in recruiting.
As a disclaimer, we have not included any players who attend IMG Academy in the Florida list. Many of these players, including 5-star linebacker Dylan Moses and 4-star QB Kellen Mond, spent most of their lives in other states before transferring to the Florida school for their senior year of high school.
Florida’s top 20 prospects
Of the top 20 recruits in Florida, the Gators have one commitment, while Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Miami and Auburn all have more. The Gators’ highest-rated commit, Carter, is the No. 14 recruit in the state.
The good news for McElwain and the Gators is there are more undecided prospects in the top 20 in Florida than in Georgia. If the Gators can close strong on National Signing Day, they may be able to close the gap.
As for the top 20 prospects in Georgia, the Bulldogs dominate the competition. Of the top 20 recruits in the state, 12 have either signed or committed to Georgia. The Bulldogs are also very much in the running for the state’s top three uncommitted players.
Georgia also has done a better job of landing the top prospects in the state. While Florida has zero players in the top 10 of the Florida state rankings, Smart has five of the top 10. And that’s with 5-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon still available.
Georgia’s top 20 prospects
To recap, Georgia has commitments from 12 of the top 20 prospects in its state. Florida has one.
Even if Florida closes strong, it’s all but guaranteed to finish behind Georgia. This could be the third season in a row that McElwain’s team finishes outside the top 10 in the 247Sports composite rankings.
And as more and more of the players Will Muschamp recruited cycle out, and more of the Smart players cycle in, Georgia may not have too many losses in Jacksonville.
All rankings come via the 247Sports composite rankings.