Bad News Georgia Fans: The Bulldogs Aren’t As Talented As You Want Them to Be


One of the recurring themes on comments I’ve seen (on my article from yesterday as well as Chad’s article from yesterday) is the notion that “anyone with this much talent should be winning a National Championship.”

I’m not sure where that notion comes from.

Obviously, the measure of talent is somewhat arbitrary.  I don’t pretend to believe that recruiting services are fool-proof, but I do think it’s safe to say that recruiting analysts are better at measuring and ranking talent than the average fan.  After all, they’re making a living off predicting how well a high school player will perform at the collegiate level.  So unless someone sees something consistently in the form of an “eye test” that indicates Georgia has more talent than every other school in the country, using recruiting class rankings and player ratings is about as good of a measure as any.

Through that framework, Georgia isn’t the most talented team in the country.  In fact, I can make a case—based on talent—that Georgia should not be winning a national championship, because four teams in the Bulldogs’ own conference boast more theoretical talent.  Not surprisingly, those four teams also happen to be the only four teams who have won an SEC Championship more recently than Georgia.

Using data from the 247Sports Composite (which reconciles multiple recruiting services) I found that Georgia’s average recruiting class ranking over the past five years (2010-2014) is a respectable 9.0.  That would be great, except:

  • Alabama: 1.8
  • Florida: 5.8
  • LSU: 7.6
  • Auburn 8.2

 

Want to talk elite top-end talent?  Georgia has signed ten 5-star players over this time period.  Alabama as signed 19.

Georgia’s reeled in fifty 4-star athletes.  Every school in this sample pulled in at least 10% more than Georgia.

  • Auburn: 55
  • Florida: 62
  • LSU: 67
  • Alabama: 73

 

In total, Georgia has signed 106 players with a 3+ star rating over the course of this five year period.  Again, that figure is strong.  It’s just not better than:

  • Florida: 121
  • LSU: 123
  • Auburn: 124
  • Alabama: 128

 

There’s no basis, as far as recruiting is concerned, for making the argument that Georgia has “too much talent not to win a national championship,” because Georgia doesn’t even hold a decisive recruiting edge within its own division, let alone the conference.

“But,” I can already hear you saying.  “What about all those big, bad Bulldogs in the NFL.”

What about them?

Georgia has 48 players on NFL rosters according to this database.  That’s fantastic.  LSU has 56 and Alabama has 54.  Florida is right behind with 47.  Where’s the edge?

If we want to look at a more finite and recent term, Alabama has had 37 players drafted over the past five years.  LSU has had 35 drafted over the same time frame.  Georgia has had 28 players selected during that epoch.

 

If Georgia doesn’t have a talent advantage as measured by incoming talent (recruiting rankings) or out going talent (the NFL Draft), why the hell would we assume that Georgia has a talent advantage during players’ collegiate years?  That seems ludicrous to me.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

 

 

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About dudeyoucrazy

College Football Writer

Posted on December 1, 2014, in Alabama, Auburn, Blog, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, LSU, SEC, The UGA Vault. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Is my math right? How many players were signed by each college during that time frame? Alabama had 220 and UGA had 176? If so, what’s up with that(anything with oversigning or just not signing a full class at UGA)? Could be that a percentage may put things a bit closer on that statistic only? The other stats may spell the “mediocrity” fans scream of(I think it was largely defense).

    Before long, there should be a stat for “number of players kicked off the UGA team” who are in the NFL.

    There have been plenty of frustrating moments this year for a team that seemed like it could have been great. I am a, glass half full person, so I am very hopeful of what is to come. When we had Martinez and Grantham, I did not have the hope I do now.

    First post on this site. Always enjoy the reads, even though I don’t always agree. Love the passion for football you have. Go Dawgs!

    • Thanks for reading. I appreciate that you come back even though you don’t always agree!

      As for the discrepancy in total numbers, it’s not quite as cut and dry with regards to over-signing. The data with 3+ star athletes involves all athletes with a 3-, 4- or 5-star rating.

      The most accurate “total” number between Bama and Georgia is 131 total signed players for Alabama from 2010-2014 and 130 for Georgia.

      This biggest discrepancy is toward the “bottom” end of recruiting classes. Alabama has had only three players over the last five years sign with less than a 3-star rating. Georgia has had 14. A few examples:

      Collin Barber (scholarship), Joseph Ledbetter (scholarship), Nathan Theus (scholarship), Lonnie Outlaw (scholarship), and a host of walk-ons. This is where the “over-signing” gets interesting. Invited walk-ons for Georgia are reported on recruiting sites, etc. So Glenn Welch, a 2-star Center in the Class of 2013 shows up as a signee. Alabama’s invited walk-ons and even some scholarship players are forced to sit out some.

      By in large, however, it’s the 3+ star players that make up offensive and defensive rosters.

      Of the 14 sub-3-star signees with Georgia only Connor Norman (started 2 games in 2012 and 2 games in 2013 in the place of injured/suspended starters) and Collin Barber (punter) have started games. Obviously, Nathan Theus plays a lot as longsnapper, but that’s not technically a position with a “starter.”

  2. Great analysis using the stars plus Georgia doesn’t even pass the eye test on talent. Tailback is the only position that appears to be loaded. Good guys and hard workers at LBer but no studs, no gamebreaking receivers, a walkon starting in the secondary, walkons the norm at FB and undersized on both lines.

  3. How about Georgia lost to South Carolina and Georgia Tech. Compare those recruiting rankings?

  4. I suspected that each of the teams that won a Natty improved their recruiting rankings AFTER winning their first one. So for each team I calculated their 247 Composite ranking as follows – 1)average during Richt era, 2)average in the five yrs before each team’s first Natty, 3)average thereafter. (I didn’t count 2003 for LSU since it was shared with USC, so I used 2007 for its first Natty since it was undisputed).

    The respective results are: ALA (14.2/11/1.8) AUB (14.0/15/8.7) FLA (8.6/6/5) LSU (7.9/ 7.2/7) UGA (7.9). So LSU and UGA share the highest average ranking during the Richt era at 7.9. LSU (7.2) and FLA (6) had better rankings than Richt’s average BEFORE their first Natty (and remember LSU had a shared one in 2003) and all of them saw improvements versus their 1)overall and 2)five year prior winning average AFTER their first Natty, albeit LSU was modest (7.9 and 7.2 to 7.0) – but again, they had a shared Natty in 2003 which skewed them higher for their first one.

    In 2009, UGA (when they went 8-5) had a 6 average ranking in the five years prior compared to ALA’s 11 when they won their first one under Saban. So UGA is tied with LSU for the best overall average during the Richt era and had a five year period of recruiting (’05-’09) that equaled or was better than the best five year period before ANY team’s first Natty. The last five years their average ranking was 9 which is better the five years prior to ALA (11) and AUB (15) first Natty.

    So during the Richt era, he shares the best overall average recruiting record with LSU (7.9), had a five year period (’05-’09) that was as good as FLA had before their first Natty (and went 8-5 in 2009 with those classes) and has never had a recruiting class ranked lower than 12. During that period, UGA has ended the season unranked 3 times and worse than 12th four more times. In otherwords, UGA has underperformed against its WORST recruiting ranking half of the time during the Richt era.

    I like him a lot and will continue to pull for him to be successful – but his teams regularly under perform. He should have been able to squeeze out at least one Natty during his tenure with this kind of cosistent recruiting success and should be in or near the top 10 every year. If he were to do so, this data suggests his recruiting success will get even better and has a chance to match ALA who had a 11.8 average before 2009 and a 1.8 average including the last four #1’s after. Success leads to further success, mediocrity does the same.

  1. Pingback: Mark Richt vs. the Vocal Minority | Read Option(al)

  2. Pingback: Georgia Football: Average, Mediocre and All Down-Hill – Examining Mark Richt’s Legacy | DudeYouCrazy

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