By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
In the 90’s it seemed like most top ranked quarterbacks wound up at any of the three major programs in Florida.
In the 2000’s USC got the lion’s share of who they wanted, with a few other programs sprinkled in.
This past decade it’s been programs like Ohio State and Clemson that have been able to basically pick and choose who they bring in under center.
As we begin the decade of the 2020’s, it looks like you can add another school to the list; Georgia.
When Kirby Smart was hired, I figured he and his staff would be able to successfully recruit top ranked defensive players and running backs. It’s how things were done at Alabama and if Smart was trying to implement a lot of the same strategies and philosophies from his former employer, it just made sense.
I had no idea he would be able to bring in the level of talent at the quarterback position he has up to this point.
On one hand I can understand the appeal; Georgia has received a lot of positive notoriety since Smart arrived, their facilities are some of the best in the country, and they play in the best conference in college football, so there’s an abundance of national exposure a quarterback can gain by playing there. Plus, I imagine the amount of talent surrounding the quarterback position has to be awfully enticing to a recruit.
On the other hand, it’s a bit perplexing how the program has been able to maintain this level of success on the recruiting trail since Smart’s arrival.
Even though Georgia’s name has become more prominent in national title talks, they still haven’t won one in almost forty years, their quarterbacks don’t have a great history (program or Kirby Smart) of NFL success, and they’re about to be on their third offensive coordinator in as many years; none of which built their reputations on developing quarterbacks.
Smart also seems to approach the quarterback position as if he’s running his own version of The Bachelor: Georgia Edition, bringing in as many players as he can to complete. (With the recent addition of JT Daniels, I believe Georgia is currently looking at having an entire basketball team full of quarterbacks on their 2021 roster.)
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with that approach whatsoever, but with the mindset of today’s recruit, the whole situation seems ripe to miss out on players because they’d rather be given the starting job as opposed to earning it.
Yet, in spite of circumstances that would give me pause before committing, it has not affected their ability to bring in the recruits they want. Of course, keeping those recruits is an entirely different story.
And look, I know these things are cyclical and not all the quarterbacks on Georgia’s roster were 5-star recruits. Still, that doesn’t change the fact Athens has become a premier destination for quarterbacks, more so than I can ever remember them being, in my lifetime.
If their luck on the qb front continues to stay in line with the rest of their recruiting there are two things I see happening:
1.Georgia will eventually end their national championship drought sooner, rather than later.
2.If Kirby Smart keeps hoarding quarterbacks like they’re Popeye’s gift certificates they are going to need a larger room to hold their quarterback meetings.