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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.


Anonymous said...

Seth, I think most GA fans love this kinda stuff. GREAT job putting it together.

Now that you got all that information and data, why not sink your teeth into explaining what those numbers may mean? Sort of a drop off to the article with the last paragraph and conclusion. Let's have some fun talking about this...

Although I think recruiting plays a huge role into the success a college football program has on the field, I think we've had more misses on those recruits we've got the last few years. You could also point to the fact that during UGA's best years, we've had some tremendous players blossom and enjoyed more success on the field, hence more NFL players getting drafted (that applying to players earlier in Mark Richts career).

This year, GA is in VERY good shape with a lot of unsigned 5 star recruits. We may put together our best class ever. So we'll see if you're right in the following years.

Anonymous said...

The gap between recruiting and production is called COACHING.

Anonymous said...

It's all cyclical. The state of Georgia just has not produced much superstar talent in the last 5 years. Lots of good players, not many All-Americans.

Anonymous said...

I saw several of these players in high school, and during their senior years, they were anything but a 4 star player. I've not been shocked by their lack of performance in college, because I actually saw them in person.