football Edit

Florida vs. Georgia: How players were ranked; storylines

Kyle Trask scrambles in last year's Florida-Georgia contest.
Kyle Trask scrambles in last year's Florida-Georgia contest. (AP Images)

It used to be called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but that moniker is no longer used. And in the age of COVID-19, there won’t be nearly as many people in Jacksonville to watch the Florida-Georgia showdown in person on Saturday afternoon.

But the Bulldogs and Gators will face off again this weekend in a rivalry that has lived up to the billing over the last 12 matchups. The series is tied at six wins apiece during that time, with Georgia winning the past three games.

If star rankings translate to wins, then Georgia should be victorious again. Here’s a breakdown of each team by ranking and some storylines centered around that heading into the matchup.


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The Bulldogs have won three-straight team recruiting titles at Rivals and that means they’ve had to sign lots and lots of five-stars during that stretch. That’s exactly what Georgia did as it has 15 five-stars currently on the roster in quarterback JT Daniels, running backs Zamir White, Kendall Milton and James Cook, receivers George Pickens and Demetris Robertson, tight end Darnell Washington, offensive linemen Tate Ratledge, Broderick Jones, Clay Webb and Jamaree Salyer, defensive end Adam Anderson, linebacker Nolan Smith and defensive backs Tyson Campbell and Kelee Ringo.

Florida has just six, with four of them as transfers in Brenton Cox from Georgia, Trevon Grimes from Ohio State, Justin Shorter from Penn State and Lorenzo Lingard from Miami. The two other five-stars on the roster came in the 2020 recruiting cycle in DL Gervon Dexter and LB Derek Wingo, two big in-state wins for coach Dan Mullen and his staff.

Farrell’s take: This speaks to the level of talent that Georgia is bringing in and some average recruiting years for the Gators under Jim McElwain. Florida should be recruiting more five-star talent and it has been doing so, to an extent, under Mullen. However, Georgia has the deeper roster, for sure.



The four-star battle is close, with Georgia getting the slight edge over Florida, 50-44, and both teams have some players who could have made an argument for that coveted fifth star. Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean, who finished as the first prospect outside of five-star status in the 2019 rankings, leads the Bulldogs in tackles. Richard LeCounte, Azeez Ojulari and Lewis Cine are also loading up on stats as well.

For Florida, some three-stars like Ventrell Miller and Shawn Davis have especially stood out early this season, but the Gators also have players like Kaiir Elam sticking out on defense, and Kyle Pitts could be the best tight end in the country.

Farrell’s take: Again a Georgia advantage, but this is close and it speaks to the great talent on both rosters. The key? Mullen gets more out of his three-stars, historically, and is better at coaching players up.



Being ranked as a three-star has a certain negative connotation for some, but it’s certainly not a bad ranking and many recruits outplay that ranking. That’s the case for Florida and Georgia as well.

Linebacker Monty Rice, second on Georgia in tackles, and standout defensive back Eric Stokes were both three-star prospects. For the Gators, speedster Kadarius Toney, who is second on the team with 22 catches for 297 yards and six touchdowns, was a mid-level three-star athlete. Davis, Miller and DB Donovan Stiner are a couple of others who have also outplayed their rankings.

Farrell’s take: This is how it rolls sometimes as guys could emerge more in college and work out some of the kinks in their game. Rice and Stokes are great examples, but the best example is Toney, who went from raw athlete to elite receiver.



Kyle Trask was a two-star prospect. Looking at his play for Florida now that ranking looks ridiculous, but let’s remember he never even threw for 800 yards in one season as a high school quarterback. His only other offer was from Houston Baptist. In the bigger scheme of things, Trask’s super-success was incredibly hard to predict, but he’s playing like an elite quarterback now and he’s coached by one of the best in the business.

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett was a two-star out of high school who went to Georgia, then left for junior college, where he was also a two-star, only to return to Athens and win the starting job. Try to predict that story and give an accurate ranking. After a hot start, Bennett has definitely leveled off in recent weeks. He is now completing just over 58 percent of his passes for 1,089 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

Farrell’s take: There was no way on earth to rank either of these guys higher, and anyone who did was doing so for a particular fan base. Trask was a high school backup and Bennett was small and threw a ton of picks. Trask has emerged and is clearly legit, but Bennett looks like a two-star to me, and he has been forced into action.