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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Explaining the dip? Georgia, the draft and recruiting

Here’s a copy of the story I wrote for today’s papers. And the key sequence, or what we in the trade call the nut graphs:

During head coach Mark Richt’s first five years, the Bulldogs were 52-13, won two SEC titles and won three East Division titles.

The past five years, the Bulldogs are 42-20.

From 2002-06, the draft years that followed Rich’s first five seasons, the Bulldogs had 32 total players drafted and 15 in the top three rounds.

In the past four drafts, the Bulldogs have seen 19 players drafted and only seven in the top three rounds.

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham spent the past 11 years as an NFL assistant before coming to Athens earlier this year. He agreed there was a correlation between NFL draft choices and a college team’s success.

“I think so, yes,” Grantham said. “I think if you look and generally teams that have first-round picks, first-and-second round picks, and generally over a span of a couple years they have a lot of them, they’re probably pretty good.”

Here’s a breakdown of Bulldogs in the draft since 2002:

2010: LB Rennie Curran (3), DT Geno Atkins (4), S Reshad Jones (5), DT Kade Weston (7), DT Jeff Owens (7).
2009: QB Matt Stafford (1), RB Knowshon Moreno (1), WR Mohammed Massaoqui (2), CB Asher Allen (3), DT Corvey Irvin (3), Jarius Wynn (6).
2008: DE Marcus Howard (5), RB Thomas Brown (6), OT Chester Adams (7), K Brandon Coutu (7).
2007: DE Quentin Moses (3), DE Charles Johnson (3), TE Martrez Milner (4), T Ken Shackleford (6).
2006: CB Tim Jennings (2), TE Leonard Pope (3), G Max Jean-Gilles (4), DB Greg Blue (5), DB DeMario Minter (5), DT Kendric Golston (6), QB DJ Shockley (7).
2005: LB Thomas Davis (1), LB David Pollack (1), LB Odell Thurman (2), WR Reggie Brown (2), WR Fred Gibson (4), QB David Greene (3).
2004: TE Ben Watson (1), S Sean Jones (2), DE Robert Geathers (4), DB Bruce Thornton (4).
2003: DT Jonathan Sullivan (1), T George Foster (1), T Jono Stinchcomb (2), LB Boss Bailey (2), RB Musa Smith (3), LB Tony Gilbert (6), RB JT Wall (7).
2002: DE Charles Grant (1), LB Will Witherspoon (3), DB Terreal Bierria (4), TE Randy McMichael (4), FB Verron Haynes (5), DB Jermaine Phillips (5), , DB Tim Wansley (7), DE Josh Mallard (7).

I know the next step: Well then, it must be the recruiting. But if you go by recruiting rankings, there hasn’t been a dip, until the 2010 class.

Here’s a year-by-year breakdown of Georgia’s recruiting classes since 2006, using national rankings and star rankings. (I didn’t list every recruit, just the notable ones.)

2006: Fourth nationally.
Matt Stafford and Reshad Jones, now each in the NFL, were five-star recruits.

The four-star players that year: DB Asher Allen, OL Justin Anderson, DE Geno Atkins, DB Quintin Banks, LB Akeem Dent, LB Darius Dewberry, LB Akeem Hebron, DB Prince Miller, RB Knowshon Moreno, OL Kiante Tripp, TE NaDerris Ward, ATH Tony Wilson, DE Brandon Wood.

The three stars included FB Shaun Chapas, OL Chris Davis and OL Josh Davis, DE Demarcus Dobbs, WR Kris Durham and LB Darryl Gamble.

2007: Ninth.
The four-star recruits were OL Justin Anderson, DE Neland Ball, LB Rennie Curran, QB Logan Gray, DE Justin Houston, DE Corvey Irvin, RB Caleb King, OL Chris Little, OL Trinton Sturdivant, WR Israel Troupe, TE Aron White and DT Jarius Wynn.

OL Clint Boling was a three-star, and P Drew Butler was a two-star.

2008: Seventh
A.J. Green and Richard Samuel were the five-star recruits.

The four-stars included ATH Xavier Henry, DB Brandon Boykin, LB Marcus Dowtin, OL Cordy Glenn, OL A.J. Harmon, LB Akeem Hebron, RB Dontavious Jackson, DE Toby Jackson, WR Tavarres King, LB Christian Robinison, DT DeAngelo Tyson, DE Cornelius Washington and LB Nick Williams.

Three-stars were ATH Sanders Commings, C Ben Jones, S Bacarri Rambo, RB Carlton Thomas and K Blair Walsh.

2009: Sixth.
The lone five-star was Branden Smith.

The four-stars were WR Marlon Brown, OL Chris Burnette, TE Orson Charles, RB Washaun Ealey, LB Mike Gilliard, DT Abry Jones, OL Dallas Lee, OL Austin Long, DE Derrick Lott, TE Arthur Lynch, QB Zach Mettenberger, QB Aaron Murray, DE Montez Robinson, WR Rantavious Wooten.

2010: 15th
The four-stars were OL Brent Benedict, DE Jalen Fields, DB Jakar Hamilton, RB Ken Malcome, DE Dexter Morant, S Alec Ogletree, DT Garrison Smith, DE TJ Stripling, DT Mike Thornton.

For comparison's sake, each class between 2002-05 ranked in the Rivals top 10, with the 2002 class ranked third overall. Basically, pretty level with the most recent five years.

So there’s the data. Somewhere over the past five years, it seems there’s been a gap between recruiting and production once in college.


NCDawg said...

Mandel's mailbag this week addressed the same issue for Florida and Texas. He pointed to coaching. As Seth pointed out, the primary drop has been in defense, and we recently dropped Martinez due to a drop in defensive production. If it is coaching, then we should see an up tick in draftees in coming years, assuming Grantham knows recruiting as wells he knows X's and O's.

Chris said...

Yeah, I'm not giving up on Grantham as far as coaching. The first year has been tough, but wasn't it expected to be before the year started? I think with another Spring and Summer to coach up the players, next year should be a lot better defensively. It not, uh oh.

Anonymous said...

I put my hands up on your hips,
when I dip
you dip
we dip!

Anonymous said...

The biggest thing is the number of players leaving early and the number of kids who end up leaving the program for other reasons. Since Pollack, the studs have not stayed for their senior year. Imagine the difference last year if both Stafford and Moreno stayed. Imagine the difference this year if Moreno (yes, he left as a RS Sophmore) is on offense with AJ and Curran and Jones are on defense.

Anonymous said...

To follow up:
Players leaving early:

2010--Curran and Jones left early
2009--Stafford and Allen--1 year early; Moreno-2 years early

Recruits never playing for one reason or another:

2006--Banks, Ward, and Wilson
2007--Ball and Little
2008--Xavier Henry, D Jackson, Toby Jackson
2009--Austin Long, Mettenberger, Robinson

Billy said...

IMO, any coach making more than $1M per year should be able to take a top 20 recruiting class and turn that into a top 10 football team.

6-6 is wildly mediocre, at best.

Of course, UGA is not 6-6 yet.

Bottom line, if we're not getting top performance with top pay, at least we should get some of our money back.

Anonymous said...

Good job

PTC DAWG said...

Billy, if it was only that easy.

Pay a million, have a top 10 team.

Chillbo said...


This is awesome! Thanks so much for putting this together.

Joeski said...

There may be some slight correlation, but recruiting has always been an inexact science. You talk about the players recruited, then coached, then drafted, but think on this:

Knowshon Moreno was a 4-star recruit, as was David Greene, (I believe).
David Pollack got 3-stars.

The fact that we consistently have players drafted means that our coaches can coach: the NFL is too good at evaluating talent to consistently draft kids that require a substantial amount of coaching to reach their potentials.

No, and believe me, this is from experience: the absolute greatest factor in whether or not a kid will be successful is if he can take coaching, and that's something that is hard to determine until you're around that kid full time (since you know they're going to be on their best behavior on recruiting visits, and that their HS coaches, and everyone around them are only going to say glowing things about them).

This is all just a tempest in a teapot. Sometimes you're going to have bad years. At least, unlike Texas, we had reason to believe that we were going to be down a bit this year, with a new DC who brought a new defensive scheme. Let's beat Tech, win our bowl game, and move on to next year... speaking of which, remember the 'dream team' that's supposed to be in the pipeline for signing day?

Willb said...

I don't think it's that easy. Pay millions of dollars and always get a top ten team. I

If when you recruit a player if your plan is for them to be there for four years like others have said imagine how good Ga would be. Last year Stafford and Moreno still there. This year Moreno, Curran, Jones. Next year Aj Green, and Houston stay. last year we could of easily competed for a nat championship. This year the reins are handed over to Murray from Stafford with no gap in between. Not to mention Moreno still playing.

With all that said I'm not stupid and I know the coaching staff isn't either. They know some players will leave early. When Stafford and Green were recruited Ga knew those were NFL talents. I'm sure Moreno, and Curran kind of surprised them. Same with Justin Houston. You don't redshirt players that will only play two or three years. Redshirting Moreno was a mistake no matter how you look at it. The coaches even said he was performing in practice like he did in games.

I am not making excuses for this coaching staff. I am just saying that when a player is recruited you generally expect them to play for four years. If we would of gotten that then we are not all talking about hoping to make a bowl game. Last year we could of been special and this year we really could of used a RB like Moreno and some seasoned def players like Curran and to a lesser extint Jones. Both of these last years would of been ten win seasons in my opinion.

Again not excuses though. Players leave early all the rime and you plan for that and coach what you have but why can't we have a Tebow, Colt McCoy, Suh..... I could name countless big name college players who played four years. Why can't we ever get a single one of those?

Chris said...

Good point Joeski, anyone have any news on the dream team?

Anonymous said...

Hey Billy,

$1 million dollars a year gets you a coach that's never won a high school championship.

ChrisDawg said...

Great points willb! Do you have a blog or something? But I agree Ga has been hurt more in these last few years by early entries than ever. The coaches have recruited talent that would put us in place to not only win the SEC but national championships just the talent hasn't stayed long enough.

Look at what happened to Fla and Texas after Tebow and Mccoy left after there senior seasons! Imagine if they left early like our QB did. Hey atleast we have a great qb in Murray after our NFL qb left. Those guys haven't got crap!

Anonymous said...

You can take the recruiting rankings with a grain of salt because because they don't take into account if you are meeting positional needs.Georgia for instance ranks high the last 5 years but didn't meet their needs on the interior lines.By my count they only signed 13 4 star and no 5 star interior lineman in the last 5 years and 6 of those, almost half were the last 2 years.Two of those (Benedict,Long) suffered serious injuries causing them to miss a season before they even set foot on campus.We've been whipped on the line the past few seasons due to this lack of talent but due to signing high ranked players at other positions, our overall recruiting ranking is still high.Georgia needs more good lineman.Florida falls lately in the same boat,high recruiting ranking due to signing loads of high ranking athletes(wide receiver types) but light on the beef and it's biting them too.Missy state beat Florida by running ball like 20 something plays in a row and Florida was helpless to stop it.Recruiting rankings are good judges of base talent but not hood barometers of if the lament is spread out to all the positions to make a great team.ex.(Texas, Florida and Georgia, all bad teams in talent rich states who perennially rank high in recruiting).

Doug said...


Thanks for the info.

Who handles player evaluation during the recruiting?


Billy said...

Mike Gundy-OK State (BCS#10) makes $1,050,000

Mike Stoops-AZ (BCS#22) gets $1,025,000

Jim Harbaugh-Stanford (#6) ...$1M

Chris Peterson-Boise St. (#4)..$900K

Muckbeast said...

I think we can all agree that the last 5 years for College Football have been even dirtier than the 5 years before that.

I think we can also agree that it is highly unlikely Richt has ever been involved in paying for players or any other shady dealings.

Imagine, if you will, that we've lost 1 or 2 big recruits every year for the last 5 years because Richt isn't playing the game dirty like a lot of other programs appear to be.

Could that possibly be an explanation for a drop in talent?

Just spitballing here. I'm not saying I actually believe this, and I'm quite upset at Richt for the last 5 years. I mainly think the problem has been his excessive loyalty at hanging onto bad assistant coaches. But still, this is an interesting thing to think about.

PTC DAWG said...

Well, Billy, there's your answer. HIRE any of those Coaches, and we'll be at least #22 in the BCS and we'll save 3 Million Bucks.

I'm shocked they didn't hire you as the replacement for Evans.

PTC DAWG said...

Never mind the fact that those Coaches don't have to compete in the SEC.

Just hire one of'em.

Willb said...

iI wonder how many players are on the team now that will be drafted in the NFL? These are some players off the top of my head that I believe will eventually be drafted.
Aj Green
Justin Houston
Clint Boiling(he was a first round projected player before the season began)
Ben Jones
Akeem Dent
Brandon Boykin
Shaun Chapas(maybe not)
Blair Walsh
Orson Charles
Tavarres King
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure I'm wrong about a couple and missed some.

Some of the players that could be drafted but not sure yet:

Branden Smith(definately NFL athletic ability)

Baccari Rambo

Alec Ogletree(haven't seen enough but great physical specimen)

Deangelo Tyson(great athlete but maybe not right for the nose)

Cordy Glenn

Sanders Commings

Drew Butler

Marlon Brown(has great potential and great qb)

Aaron Murray (I still don't know what to think about him as far as the NFL goes)

This is all I can think of right now. Im sure i missed some. There are so many players at a school like Ga with potential it's hard to pick the ones that will be good. Anyone else have an opinion of who on our team has NFL caliber ability?

Joeski said...

Not that this is really germane to the UGA recruiting story, it does cover something near and dear to all our hearts...

I stumbled across this link during the blog slog I do at lunch. Needless to say, productivity was shot for the rest of the afternoon.

You guys might find it interesting too. If even an iota of it is true, there are going to be some interesting times ahead.

Anonymous said...

No question there has been a disconnect between highly recruiting classes and NFL draft production on defense. This is unquestionably a coaching issue. Van Gorder made NFL first rounders out of 3 and 4 star recruits. Martinez made 4th rounders out of five star recruits. Lets hope Grantham fares better.

I also agree that the lines, offensive line in particular, has not had a consistent influx of highly ranked offensive linemen. This has been a weakness (despite being a projected strength) for years now.

Billy said...


Enough about the SEC.
Saban, Miles and Meyer all came from outside the SEC and they only combined for 5 BCS NCs.