Monday, June 13, 2011

If Georgia Tech Starts Out Recruiting The UGA, FSU, and Alabama's of the World...I am Worried

On his daily "College Football Today" segment Wednesday, Chuck Oliver commented on how Georgia Tech fans should be worried about the offers their commits have (and who is not offering them).

I hope not to get the fan base even further down by saying the following: Georgia Tech is never going to win the month of February as the NCAA eligibility rules currently stand.

If the Yellow Jackets start signing numerous, highly ranked recruiting classes, an NCAA investigation cannot be far behind. Too many negatives exist for Tech in the recruiting world to make it feasible to recruit at a high level and be clean.

Sure, Tech has gotten a few highly rated players here and there but for the most part the Yellow Jackets have largely lost the recruiting battles over the years to other schools. A reminder that Calvin Johnson was only a 4 star recruit according to Rivals.

The reasons Tech does not fare well against other schools when gaining the pledge of top recruits are numerous.

A small fan base, entrance requirements, lack of majors to choose from, the lack of easy majors to choose from, the lack of "talent" on campus, etc.

This may be a news flash to some but the vast majority of high level BCS recruits have no desire to study something that will require much more effort than what they did in high school. Where Tech would have an advantage over BCS bowl contenders is if an elite prospect wanted to major in Engineering, but those kids aren't exactly plentiful.

If the Jackets did start consistently hauling in highly sought after recruits wanted by the big boys it would definitely raise an eye in Athens, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, and Clemson for sure.

That same question was being asked in Texas how a school like Oregon could come in and steal recruits, especially at the last minute, away from the big boys. Under Chip Kelly the Ducks have raised their average recruiting ranking from around 29 to 16.

Sure enough, Oregon has admitted to paying $25,000 to a recruiting service in Texas, an amount much higher than other schools pay for similar services. The matter is currently being investigated by the NCAA and since the Ducks have yet to produce the actual film they bought it doesn't look good.

Another non-traditional football program that saw a sudden improvement in recruiting hauls was North Carolina. Think it is simply a coincidence the Tar Heels have received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA about potential violations in the football program?

Oregon and UNC's improvement in recruiting are anomalies. Rankings rarely differ much from one coach to another within a program indicating certain schools simply sell themselves. Comparing Les Miles rankings to Nick Saban's at LSU show the Tigers were top 10 nearly every year under both. Same with Florida under Urban Meyer and Ron Zook and South Carolina under Steve Spurrier and Lou Holtz.

If you look at Chan Gailey's recruiting class from 2002-2008 on they ranked 51st, 34th, 35th, 48th, 49th, 15th, and 37th. An average of 38.4.

Compare that to the signing classes of Paul Johnson from 2009-2011 and you have 32nd, 41st, and 42nd. An average of 38.3.

Hardly any difference.

Yet when you compare Gailey's winning percentage and accomplishments to Johnson there is a difference.

History shows Tech is not going to get the elite players. Yet, they have been able to consistently beat teams who do (Clemson, North Carolina, Auburn) and have had more than expected success against teams like Miami and FSU over the last decade.

The Yellow Jackets have done it with coaching and player development. George O'Leary had to build the program into a winner from guys Georgia didn't want. He took those players to three straight wins over the Bulldogs and even with that success he still was not beating out UGA for many recruits. That lack of talent was evident when O'Leary left and a lesser coach took over.

Likewise, Johnson took Gailey's players and turned them from a seven win team to an ACC Championship. Now that many of those player have left, it is up to Johnson to coach and develop those players back into a winning team.

Nobody had heard of Gary Guyton in the Summer of 2003 except for Georgia Tech. Guyton is now starting for the New England Patriots. We just don't know how these kids will pan out when they sign on the dotted line and much less three months before their senior season in high school.

Johnson has shown he can win with someone Gailey's recruits. The next two seasons will be the ultimate determination of whether or not his coaching and player development are good enough to win at this level.

Check out this article and more of my work at Chuck

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