Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Schools Like Stanford, Notre Dame (and Not UGA) Are Georgia Tech's Biggest Recruiting Rivals

One of the most highly recruited defensive players from Georgia is leaving the state for Palo Alto.

Sound familiar? Last season Stanford plucked arguably the state's best linebacker James Vaughters and this season snagged one of the best defensive lineman Jordan Watkins.

Watkins chose Stanford over UGA in the end but it was initially thought he would be a near lock for Georgia Tech having grown up a Yellow Jacket fan. Alas, Tech does not offer Watkins desired major of Broadcast Journalism (despite having two major television outlets bordering the campus - CNN and Turner). The staff sold Watkins on internships at CNN and Turner but that was not enough in his eyes.

Last recruiting season, the Jackets lost out on other thought to be near lock when Stephon Tuitt chose Notre Dame over Georgia Tech.

Despite being in the same state UGA and Tech do not go head to head on a large number of prospects like you would see in neighboring states like Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina.

For one, the offenses are very different so you have different QBs, linemen, and running backs. The defenses are the same, but Georgia Tech's academic requirement lessens their pool as does the pull towards the hometown Bulldogs. Tech has almost zero chance of pulling a rural kid away from UGA if both are offering; their best chances are more so in the metro Atlanta area where academics tend to be higher on average.

The problem with Georgia Tech's recruiting is that schools like Stanford and Notre Dame want some of those same kids with high academics. The Cardinal and Irish have bigger national names and offer a much wider variety of majors to kids like Watkins who may not want to do Business or Engineering.

Until Georgia Tech expands its academic offerings expect more than a few kids with high academics to go out of state.

More from the AJC on Watkins' commitment
Surprise! DT Jordan Watkins commits to Stanford over UGA:

"Watkins is one of the state’s most well-rounded student-athletes. He was valedictorian of his kindergarten class and has been on the Honor Roll ever since, sporting a 3.7 GPA at Woodward."

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