Zamir White-Bryan Bresee-Georgia recruiting-Clemson recruiting
Zamir White (left) and Bryan Bresee (right) will play key roles for their teams tonight. They also seriously looked at signing with the opposing team tonight back when they were recruits.
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Georgia football: What does the recruiting tale of the tape say with Dabo Swinney and Clemson?

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. Want a read on which team in Charlotte has recruited better over the last few years? That’s what this offering is about.

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Clemson and Georgia will line up tonight in a Top 5 matchup in Charlotte. That’s what the polls say.

That’s what any ranking of the top recruiting programs in the nation over the last three years would reflect, too.

There are only about 5-6 teams in the country these days that enter a season with a real shot at a national championship. The Bulldogs and Tigers are clearly in that mix.

A good reason why comes from the wins they both stack up on the recruiting trail. Those happen first. The wins on prime-time television come 1-2 years after 5-star wins on the trail.

That’s a subjective opinion, but there are ample factoids to support it. Looking at the last four recruiting cycles, we can point to these two teams signing 22 players which wound up ranked among the nation’s top 20 prospects.

Georgia signed 12 of those elite athletes. Clemson counters with 10 of its own. That’s 22 out of the possible 80 players across those four years.

Both programs have signed the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect at least once in the last four years. Clemson has accomplished that feat twice.

Clemson has signed three players which rated among the nation’s top five recruits in their class. There have also been five instances in which the Tigers signed a top 10 recruit.

In comparison, Georgia has signed a pair of top-five recruits (OLB Nolan Smith, CB Kelee Ringo) and five future Bulldogs which ranked among the nation’s top 10 prospects.

The symmetry holds true here. Georgia and Clemson have signed 10 of the 40 players which ranked among the nation’s top 10 prospects over the last four years. These two programs somehow combine to gobble up a quarter of the nation’s top recruits each year.

That means these two programs battle head-to-head for a lot of All-Americans. Let’s look at how each of these teams finished in the 247Sports Composite recruiting rankings since 2018.

  • 2018: Clemson 7th; Georgia 1st
  • 2019: Clemson 10th; Georgia 2nd
  • 2020: Clemson 3rd; Georgia 1st
  • 2021: Clemson 5th; Georgia 4th

Clemson lurks a little lower in those rankings than their recruiting classes actually stack up. That’s because the Tigers do not sign a full class of recruits every cycle. They process very few recruits and don’t have room to sign 25 prospects in each class.

Clemson has averaged just 20 signees per cycle dating back to 2017.

That doesn’t mean that Dabo Swinney’s program could not sign everyone it wanted in all of those years. Or at least most of those guys.

The Tigers also offer far fewer players than the Bulldogs. They wait until the summer before the junior year before they extend almost all of those offers. It is rare to see Clemson offer players any earlier than that.

According to the database maintained by 247Sports, the perennial ACC champions have offered an average of 113 prospects per year since 2018. That includes just 72 in the 2021 cycle.

The Bulldogs follow a more traditional model that is in use by other power programs like Alabama. Georgia has offered an average of 275 prospects per cycle across those same four seasons.

Those are two different approaches. Each is working quite well in its own right.

Check out the roll call of how many 5-stars, top 50, top 100 and top 150 recruits each program has signed since 2018. Those players will be and large be the difference makers on Saturday night.

Roster recruiting comparison

(2018-2021 classes)

  • 5-stars: Clemson 10: Georgia 16
  • Top 50 signees: Clemson 15; Georgia 23
  • Top 100 signees: Clemson 22; Georgia 33
  • Top 150 signees: Clemson 33, Georgia 42

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How has Georgia fared head-to-head with Clemson

DawgNation took a good look at the last four cycles this week. What we were hoping to gauge is how each team has done when going head-to-head for prospects.

Clemson signed 30 players over the last four cycles that Georgia was recruiting hard for. That “hard” designation was used to identify a recruiting battle in which the Bulldogs were seen or listed by the recruit as one of their top schools.

On the other side of that, we tracked 20 UGA signees that had Clemson among their top schools, too. There are a few of those battles that really stand out heading into tonight’s game.

We’ve collected a grouping of five players from each roster that would be considering a major recruiting “win” for each program going head-to-head with one another, among other schools, over the last four years.

5 Notable recruiting wins for UGA vs. Clemson

  • 5-star Georgia OLB Nolan Smith (No. 1 overall prospect in 2019)
  • 5-star North Carolina RB Zamir White (No. 9 overall in 2018)
  • 5-star Georgia OL Jamaree Salyer (No. 10 overall in 2018)
  • 5-star Georgia DT Travon Walker (No. 22 overall in 2019)
  • 5-star Florida DT Jalen Carter (No. 18 overall in 2020)

Smith was coveted by both, along with every other team in the country. Clemson came after Smith hard in his first season at IMG Academy after his transfer from Calvary Day in Savannah. Smith befriended 5-star senior Xavier Thomas from the 2018 class. It was a notable push by the Tigers. Alabama was also in the mix for Smith, but he opted to stay home and represent his home state on Saturdays.

White, the former No. 1 RB in the nation, was targeted early in his prep career by the Tigers. They were hoping to pair up the nation’s No. 1 QB recruit (Trevor Lawrence) with the nation’s No. 1 RB recruit who grew up in the Carolinas. The Tigers also targeted Salyer in that same cycle. He was rated as the nation’s No. 1 guard and they hoped to sign him after missing out of future All-American and first-round draft pick Andrew Thomas in the 2017 class.

The Tigers also went after Walker hard in the 2019 class. Carter is interesting because he also had the TIgers in his final three when he committed during his junior year in May of 2019.

5 Notable wins for Clemson vs. UGA

  • 5-star Maryland DT Bryan Bresee (No. 1 overall prospect in 2020)
  • 5-star Georgia DE Myles Murphy (No. 7 overall prospect in 2020)
  • 5-star North Carolina DE KJ Henry (No. 14 overall prospect in 2018)
  • 5-star Georgia CB Andrew Booth (No. 23 overall prospect in 2019)
  • 5-star North Carolina LB Trenton Simpson (No. 26 overall prospect in 2020)

Some of those names on that Clemson list will really sting those who follow Georgia football recruiting on a daily basis.

Georgia was in it very big for Bresee in 2020. He’s still very close with several Bulldogs, including Tate Ratledge, Nolan Smith and Travon Walker.

Booth and Murphy hit close to home because they were in-state 5-star recruits that Georgia really wanted to add to their program. If all three of those names were in the red and black tonight, the oddsmakers in Vegas would have shifted the line on tonight’s contest considerably.

It can be said that no team save Alabama has recruited as well as Georgia over the last four years. But it goes to show that Kirby Smart and company can’t sign everyone it wants. Not even the homegrown prospects.

Clemson has made a habit of going into the state of Georgia and snagging a name right at the top of the UGA board. That started with 5-star QB Trevor Lawrence in 2018. It continued to Booth in 2019, Murphy in 2020 and then to 5-star LB Barrett Carter in 2021.

Those names can all contribute heavily to any potential Clemson victory against the Bulldogs.

These teams recruit so well and play in so many high-stakes games in December that a recruiting win of that stature is certainly going to be a factor when these two teams do finally meet up on the field.

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All-American LB Jalon Walker was a major eye-opening win for Georgia in a head-to-head battle with Clemson in the current recruiting cycle.
Courtesy photo, Dawgnation

Do the recruiting wins favor one side of the ball?

Has Georgia recruited better on defense? Has Clemson’s high-profile offense stocked its depth charts with more playmakers to spotlight on that side of the ball?

That’s another element to take a look at here.

Top 150 overall prospects signed by each school

(2018-2021)

  • QB: Clemson: 2; Georgia 2
  • RB: Clemson 2, Georgia 3
  • OT: Clemson 4, Georgia 3
  • OG: Clemson 4, Georgia 6
  • WR: Clemson 5, Georgia 4
  • C: Clemson 0, Georgia 1
  • TE: Clemson 1, Georgia 3
  • DE: Clemson 4, Georgia 1
  • DT: Clemson 5, Georgia 3
  • ILB: Clemson 2, Georgia 6
  • OLB: Clemson 1, Georgia 4
  • CB: Clemson 7, Georgia 7
  • S: Clemson 1, Georgia 3

That all points to an interesting conclusion to draw here. Clemson, the team with the expected offensive edge at least in terms of scheme and reputation, has 20 players on its defense which ranked among the nation’s top 150 prospects coming out of high school. That’s two more of those All-American types that they found for the offense.

Georgia’s splits tally up to 22 and 24 for its offense and defensive depth carts, respectively.

This isn’t a precise comparison on the amount of talent for each team. Bear in mind that players like Georgia’s Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt on both sides were rated outside the nation’s top 150 prospects as high school seniors. Clemson certainly has an abundance of those 3-stars to the NFL stories of its own.

Yet this isn’t a narrative focused on looking at development here.

It is a reflection of how well each team has reeled in the nation’s top prospects over the last few years. The strength of the data is show here to measure which team by and large should have the most elite talent in certain areas.

That said, the recruiting evaluation will differ from staff to staff. Yet we do see here how well each team has been able to go in and repeatedly win battles for the guys that they want which the rest of the country also wants, too.

While we are at it, we will also take a quick glance at the 2022 recruiting classes and note that the Bulldogs are currently No. 3 in the nation on the 247Sports Team Composite rankings. Clemson slots in at No. 11.

The trends are alive in well at this time. The Bulldogs have 16 commits at this time. Clemson has 12.

The Bulldogs hold a pair of impressive head-to-head recruiting wins against Clemson with the decisions made by 5-star ATH and Under Armour All-American LB Jalon Walker. Walker surprised many when he chose the Bulldogs over Clemson back in March.

We also must note that the Tigers have a trio of head-to-head wins against Georgia (and other schools) with a trio of commitments from IMG Academy in Florida. Clemson picked up the commitments of CB Daylen Everette (No. 35 overall), S Keon Sabb (No. 79) and OLB Jihaad Campbell (No. 83) over the summer.

The Bulldogs pursued that trio heavily and hosted them all on official visits back in June.

SENTELL’S INTEL

(check on the recent recruiting reads on DawgNation.com)

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