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January 8, 2011

In Desperate Need of a SUPER Class

A losing year, a coach on the hot seat...  Perhaps the only thing that can somewhat calm what looks to be a turbulent and distressing off-season is for the Bulldogs' staff to put together a top-notch recruiting class. 

With that being said, Troup's Quan Bray and Griffin's Xzavier Dickson - two highly-recruited players from the state and ones the Bulldogs really wanted and needed to land - recently committed to Auburn and Alabama, respectively.

It is the opinion of many (especially a local sports-talk radio host ad nauseam) that in order for Georgia's football program to get back to where it should be, the Bulldogs must start doing a better job of in-state recruiting.

I don't spend much time examining college football recruiting and only have little interest in it.  However, I do know that there is a correlation for major college programs between where their recruiting classes rank and where their teams on the field eventually wind up in the final polls.  In addition, I'm fully aware that Georgia's recruiting has slipped the last couple years and there is undoubtedly no time like the present for a first-rate incoming class...and there are plenty of first-rate players in the state of Georgia.

The best of the best high school football talent in Georgia, or at least the top 11 in the opinion of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is the AJC's Super 11

Beginning in 1985 and chosen every summer prior to the Super players' senior seasons, the Super 11, according to the AJC "...is one of the most elite teams in the nation, considering Georgia’s status as one of the top states for high school football" and is selected "through nominations and feedback from high school and colleges coaches, along with [the AJC's] own selection committee." 

I went back and tallied what school every Super 11 player initially signed with, starting in 1985 through the 2009 class.  That's a total of 27 Super 11s (the AJC selected two Super 11 teams in 2000 and 2001 - one from Metro Atlanta and another 11 from the rest of the state) and nearly 300 players.

A select few of these players, like Quincy Carter (Georgia Tech) and Georgia's Nate Hybl and Daniel Cobb would never play a down for the team they initially signed with but found some success elsewhere.  Some Super 11 members signed with community or junior colleges, played basketball instead, or did not (or could not) sign with any school.

After scanning over more than two dozen sets of Super 11s, where each player signed, and recognizing the reputation of UGA's recruiting class for each year, it's my opinion that the more Super 11 players signed by Georgia for a certain year, the better the Bulldogs' recruiting class was, on the whole, that particular year.  That certainly makes sense...

Of the first AJC Super 11 in 1985, three players would sign with UGA: Winder-Barrow's Hiawatha Berry (who would become a fine player at Georgia - one of the few Bulldogs in history to record 100+ tackles and rush for 100+ yards in a career), Wilcox County's Alfred Rawls (who would rush for 128 yards and lead his team to victory against Georgia while playing for Kentucky in 1988), and R.E. Lee's Rob Wainwright (a Bulldog reserve on both the offensive and defensive line in 1987-1988).

Nearly a quarter-century later, the Super 11 of 2009 saw four players eventually sign with Georgia: Koulton Houston (Buford), Alec Ogletree (Newnan), Garrison Smith (Douglass-Atlanta), and T.J. Stripling (SW DeKalb). 

From 1985-2009, the fewest of the 11 the Bulldogs ever signed was only one from 1992's class (Mike Bobo - Thomasville) and 2004 (Darius Dewberry - Peach County).  The most was seven players on three occasions: 1986, 1997, and 2002.

During the 25-year period, UGA signed a total of 106 Super 11 players - that's an average of almost exactly four (3.93) per set of 11.  Nearly 90 percent (260) of all Super players would sign with a BCS-conference school and, of those, the Bulldogs signed 40.8 percent of them.  

Besides Georgia's 106, here are the other programs that signed at least 10 Super players from 1985-2009 - as expected, they're the usual suspects:

27- Georgia Tech
22- Auburn
16- Tennessee
15- Florida State
11- Clemson

So, that leads me to ask, is signing an average of four of the best 11 players in the state sufficient?  What about the fact the Bulldogs land more than 40 percent of those who sign with major programs or that the next closest signer - Georgia Tech - signed only about one-quarter of what UGA did?

I have no clue.  Like I said, I know little about this subject.

What I do know is that there is some perception that UGA's in-state football recruiting has been on the decline in recent years.  In looking at only the state's top 11 players - and, again, according to merely a newspaper - that hasn't necessarily been the case.  In fact, Georgia's average of four Super 11 signees per year has been a trend since the start.

Here's a breakdown of the average number of Super 11 signees for each head coach.  For Coach Dooley, only his final three seasons (1986-1988) could be measured while, for Coach Richt, I split his regime in half:

4.00 - Dooley
3.71 - Goff
4.20 - Donnan
3.71 - Richt's first five years
4.20 - Richt's last five years

I also thought it would be interesting to see which high school teams have had the most Super 11 players...

Including the recent 2010 class, there have been 308 Super 11 players from 148 different Georgia high schools.  With Dunwoody High leading the pack, these schools have had at least five:

8- Dunwoody
7- LaGrange, Parkview, Tucker
6- Griffin, McEachern, Peach County, SW DeKalb, Washington County 
5- Carrollton, Clarke Central, Thomas Co. Central, Thomasville

Regarding the recent 2010 Super 11 class, it appears Georgia has two commitments thus far, five have committed to others schools (two to Auburn, including Griffin's Dickson, two to Tennessee, and one to Stanford), and four are undecided (including the pictured Isaiah Crowell of Carver-Columbus).

Let's hope of the undecideds, UGA can sign the majority, if not all, of them...for the sake of this year's recruiting class and for a comforting and optimistic off-season.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Patrick,'
Really enjoyed this post--very interested. Keep up great work w/ blog-definitely one of UGA best on the 'net.

As a long-time Athens resident and CCHS graduate, I'd be really interested in knowing the 5 Super 11 players from Clarke Central if it's not too much trouble. If you get a chance--thanx!

BuLLdawg said...

Today is Monday January 10, 2011.

The Final AP Poll will be out this time tomorrow.

Perhaps it would be best to have waited until tomorrow to do all this work ? What do you think ?

With 85 Scholarships each school gets, narrowing a study down to just 11 football players and that not even for just 1 school - but, 11 football players across all schools seems quite limited in study area.

The most respected rankings are Scout.com and Rivals. Certainly both of them are fairly close to each other. An average of those 2 certainly provides a general acceptance of that which is considered on the kids coming in.

No slam on Phil Steele. I find his magazine is all that I ever need to purchase any more on the new season, each Spring when he releases it. I have not heard him quoted ever before anywhere as to recruiting rankings. Didn't you say Phil Steele uses Rivals and Scout.com for his rankings ? Some of these other rankings of recruits are widely weird. Lemming comes to mind and he is just unusual in his rankings. Again, stick to Rivals and Scout.com.

They are what is quoted. Now, to do recruiting rankings, you need to absolutely understand them to analyze them.

The way to check recruiting is to see where the recruits are ranked at their position nationally.

5-Star, 4-Star, Top 100 Lemming Ranking nationally, all of that is just so much bunk.

If Mark Richt has 1 recruit or 2 ranked about # 11 at their position in the nation - the recruiting for Mark Richt sucks. If he has then behind that 1 or those 2, maybe 10 more who are in the teens nationally at their position, then, this is a really strong recruiting class. If he has a few more in the nation considered about # 30 at their position and a few more about # 40 at their position - this would be a great recruiting class.

If - instead - after 2 years of being # 60 in the nation in won / lost for all of 2009 and now for all of 2010, after a poor recruiting class in 2010; and you look it up and he has 2 players about # 11 at their position nationally, and none behind that until you get to about # 50 and some as far back as # 268 at their position in the nation - then, we have a

SERIOUS ISSUE in recruiting

as reported to us all a couple weeks ago, by HERSCHEL WALKER.

We got us a great football player every school and every coach in America wanted yesterday.

There are 85 Scholarships and unfortunately, we haven't had enough of those and have had way too many who haven't done a thing except for get arrested / suspended once there for Mark Richt such as Caleb Darnell King.

If you do an analysis after the last 3 years and us # 23 in won / loss over the last five (5) years, and find that Mark Richt is recruiting, you are a DISNEYdawgs.com poster and have done a flawed not timely analysis.

If you look at Rivals and Scout.com and they rank the kid # 268 at his position in the nation, what are the chances he will be the 1st Round NFL Draft Pick ?

Zero.

If you look at Rivals and Scout.com and they rank the kid # 1 at his position in the nation, what are the chances that you look at him and say - well, you know Caleb King if he could stay out of jail and could pass classes instead of flunking out, he has talent - he just lacks heart

or is NOT motivated by Mark Richt and his "coaching staff" who have recruited these guys here to fall on their collective faces.

We are NOT recruiting well. That clear enough ?

Thanks for all your hard work. We are not recruiting well.

Patrick Garbin said...

Anon,
No problem... Here's the five from Central:

1986- John Kasay, K (Georgia)
1988- Adrian Jarrell, RB (Notre Dame)
1991- Scott Freeney, LB (Syracuse)
1991- Lamont Johnson, DB (Tenn.-Chatt.)
1998- Damien Gary, WR (Georgia)

Patrick Garbin said...

BuLLdawg,
Again, my post was nothing more than an analysis of UGA's signing of the top 11 players in the state, according to one newspaper. I appreciate your detailed and informative input...
--
Patrick

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