football Edit

Georgia vs. The Field: How Bulldogs will fare with in-state stars

Amarius Mims
Amarius Mims (Rivals.com)

Since Kirby Smart took over as head coach at Georgia in 2015, the Bulldogs have finished with the No. 9, No. 3, No. 1, No. 1 and No. 1 recruiting classes in the country. Georgia is on a three-year run of top classes, and Smart and his staff are off to a great start with the 2021 class.

This class may be a little different than the last few, though.

Georgia’s brand is as big as ever. It is pulling elite talent from all over the country and not focusing as much on its home state. That may be changing in 2021.

In 2020, Georgia signed 25 players and, after a few very late additions, eight of those were in-state prospects. In 2019, the class was 24 strong, and only six came from the Peach State, with one being a junior college signee. In 2018, 14 of the 26 signees came from the home state, and this class could come closer to that number when all is said and done.

There is no doubt Smart and his staff are targeting more in-state prospects in 2021, and when Georgia pursues top prospects, especially those not too far from Athens, the Bulldogs tend to win a lot more than they lose on the recruiting trail.

So far, in 2021, Georgia has four verbal commits, and Brock Vandagriff (five-star quarterback), David Daniel (four-star safety), Jonathan Jefferson (four-star defensive lineman) and Marlin Dean (four-star defensive lineman) all play high school football in the state of Georgia.

Who else could Georgia add to this class in its home state? We take a look at the top-10 in-state uncommitted prospects and, based on what we have gathered to this point, take Georgia or the field.

RELATED: Five-star OL Amarius Mims continues to trim list

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

The scoop: Mims recently cut his list to 10, but are 10 programs really in play here? Mims has plenty of options, and he could sign with any of the 10 teams on his list, but as we have said for years, follow the visits. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and LSU are very much involved with Clemson up there too. Georgia has been the favorite to land the No. 1 offensive tackle and nothing has changed.

The play: Georgia

The scoop: Many feel like Georgia is the team to beat here, and there is no doubt Carter is a priority for Georgia, but there are too many other teams in play to go with Georgia at this time. Auburn, Clemson and Ohio State are three programs right there with Georgia, and you cannot rule out Alabama either.

The play: The Field

The scoop: Ferguson had Georgia on top early, then Alabama may have held the lead, but since Matt Luke arrived in Athens, the Bulldogs may have taken back control of this race. Florida State and LSU are in this too, but this one is shaping up to be a battle between the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs. We feel good about the in-state program at this time.

The play: Georgia

The scoop: Brown grew up a big Georgia fan and he loves the running back history between the hedges and his connection with Dell McGee, but there are plenty of other suitors in this race. It is too early to place money on the Bulldogs in this one with programs like Auburn, Ohio State and Tennessee very much in play.

The play: The Field

The scoop: Cozie attends school at Athens Academy, just a few miles from Georgia’s campus, so not only is he an in-state target, but truly a local target, and one very high on the Bulldogs' list of wide receivers. He was committed to Notre Dame not that long ago, but he never lost contact with Georgia and he visited more than once while committed to the Irish. This one is trending Georgia’s way.

The play: Georgia

The scoop: Mondon is still a long way from making a decision, and he is likely going to take five official visits and let the process play out, but Georgia making him a priority early, hosting him on campus more than any other school, and the connection he has with Glenn Schumaan has the Bulldogs as the team to beat. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee and many others are in play, but Georgia is in a good spot.

The play: Georgia

The scoop: Most that follow recruiting know that Morris was set to commit right before Christmas to honor his father on his birthday, but with all the coaching changes, he decided to hold off. One coach that left was Georgia’s former offensive line coach Sam Pittman, who took the head coaching job at Arkansas. Could that move be what caused Morris to hold off? We may know eventually, but most think it was.

Morris just trimmed his list to five: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, and South Carolina. Alabama was the childhood favorite, South Carolina was the first to offer, and Florida and Florida State are very much in this, but the connection with the home-state program may be too much to overcome.

The play: Georgia

The scoop: Georgia offered early, and the Bulldogs are still on Thomas’ list, but he is clearly leaning another direction at this time. He is in the most contact with schools like Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State and Virginia Tech.

The play: The Field

The scoop: Georgia has picked things up with Wiggins, and the Bulldogs are in a better spot today than they were a month ago, but they are still behind others. Charlton Warren was working to get Wiggins on campus before visits were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, so who knows when the four-star athlete will return to Athens.

It is clear that Georgia likes him, but the field is too strong here to go with the in-state school. Programs like Clemson, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Oregon and Tennessee are all highly thought of by Wiggins.

The play: The Field

The scoop: Green has yet to make his first cut, and with over 40 offers, he has plenty of options. Auburn is thought to be a true contender. South Carolina has made a very strong impression. Florida State, Tennessee and others are going to be in this race for much longer as well, but Georgia is very close to home, and when you look at the combination of Green wanting to be close to his family and his connection with players and coaches in Athens, it is hard to bet against the Bulldogs.

The play: Georgia