The Georgia Bulldogs have a rich history starting in 1896 with their fourth Head Coach, Glenn Warner. Better known as “Pop Warner”, he was the man who revolutionized the game we all love today and helped contribute to its popularity. The Bulldogs have had some great quarterbacks throughout their history such as double All-American Zeke Bratkowsi, Fran Tarkenton and more recently Matthew Stafford.
However, when you think of Georgia you think of a rich history of RBs and a school that has produced two Heisman trophy winning backs. Frank Sinkwich won the Heisman in 1942 before going 1st overall in the NFL Draft. Despite playing only two seasons before serving in the army and sustaining a knee injury Sinkwich won the NFL MVP honours in his second and final NFL season. Two years later Georgia great HB Charley Trippi went 1st overall in the NFL Draft. The other Heisman trophy winner and arguably greatest college football running back of all time Herschel Walker cements Georgia’s RB legacy. Players who have since graced Sanford Stadium include Rodney Hampton, Terrell Davis and more recently Todd Gurley.
While an old programme with plenty of history, Georgia has never cemented itself as a college football dynasty. When we think of dynasties its Bear Bryant’s Alabama, Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma, Pete Carroll’s USC, Florida State in the ’90s, The “U” and of course Nick Saban’s current ‘Bama programme. Could Georgia be the next College Football Dynasty?
A hot bed for football talent
Georgia as a state is a hot bed for talented football players and athletes. A list released in 2016 showed that Georgia had the 4th most NFL players behind Florida, California and Texas. Georgia came in above football breeding grounds such as Ohio, Louisiana and Alabama. Indeed some of the best to ever play the game were born and raised in Georgia – HB Jim Brown and CB/ S Mel Blount.
The Bulldogs have historically struggled recruiting and in the past two decades alone have missed out on plenty of highly recruited talent as home grown players have chosen to play at big programmes such as FSU, Clemson, Auburn and Notre Dame. A few examples of highly talented football players Georgia have seen recruited away from them in their own back yard include: Cam Newton, Eric Berry, Vic Beasley, Ronnie Brown, Devonta Freeman, Ja’Wuan James, Darius Slay, Telvin Smith, Takeo Spikes and Stephon Tuitt.
Kirby Smart’s recruiting
The foundations of any college football dynasty is a great head coach and the ability to consistently churn out Top-5 recruiting classes. Kirby Smart has studied under Nick Saban since 2004 apart from a year at Georgia as their RBs coach in 2005. Smart served as Saban’s DC at Alabama from 2008 to 2015 and won four national championships during his time in Tuscaloosa. Smart has shown off his coaching prowess since re-joining his alma mater as head coach going 8-5 in his first season before guiding Georgia to a 9-0 start in the current season. Georgia are currently 12-1 after winning their first SEC Title since 2005.
Smart’s Georgia team led by a great running back duo, strong defense and 19-year old quarterback Jake Fromm who is starting as a true freshman, will face Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield’s Oklahoma team in the Rose Bowl on January 1. While a win or loss here will not cement Georgia’s status as an up and coming dynasty – it could certainly help sway recruiting with a number of high profile players undecided about which major programme they will attend in the fall. Yet the current list of commitments must have Smart and co. licking their chops as they look set to disrupt the college football world and stake a claim as one college football’s premiere programmes.
2018 recruitment class
Kirby Smart is a ferocious and impressive recruiter – arguably one of the best in college football. Georgia’s gain with him as head coach is arguably Alabama’s loss. Other big name brands include Urban Meyer’s Ohio State, Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan, Dabo Sweeney’s Clemson, USC, Miami and now Texas A&M led by Jimbo Fisher. At the time of writing this article, Georgia has the No.1 recruiting class after the first day of early signing commitments.
Georgia currently have SIX 5-star commitments, the most of any team in the country. They have also received a commitment from dual threat quarterback Justin Fields, ESPN’s No.1 overall prospect and No.2 according to 247 Sports and Rivals. Joining Fields in Athens will be 5-star recruit and the No.1 running back prospect in the country Zamir White. Joining White and Fields on what could be a juggernaut offense is the No.1 rated guard in this years recruiting class 5-star linemen Jamaree Salyer. The Bulldogs also added 5-star tackle and the No.2 LT in this years recruiting class Cade Mays. Mays had originally committed to his home state Tennessee Volunteers but withdrew this and has instead chosen Georgia over heavy pursuit from Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama.
The Bulldogs have also received commitment from 5-star OLB Adam Anderson, yet another instate win as Smart was able to fend off competition from LSU, Alabama, Clemson and other blue chip programmes. Joining Anderson is another 5-star defensive prospective and the No.2 DE in this years recruiting Brenton Cox. Georgia also have 4-star RB James Cook, 4-star OG Trey Hill, 4-star CB Divaad Wilson and No.4 overall WR Kearis Jackson. The Bulldogs will hope for more commitments from top prospects over the coming months as Smart and his coaching staff look to pick up the pace on the recruiting trail.
A lot can change between now and National Signing Day on 7 February. While a good class will not cement Georgia’s status as the next dynasty in college football, it could be a good example of Kirby Smart flexing his recruiting muscles and showing that Georgia is a big time programme that can compete with the likes of Alabama, LSU and Auburn within the SEC alongside stealing recruits from states like Miami and the Carolina’s.
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