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3-year totals show Georgia’s lapping its division like Alabama never has

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In the Southeast, it’s Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, and then it’s everybody else.

NCAA Football: Florida at Georgia Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

From a recruiting perspective, Georgia is the Alabama of the SEC East. There is no competition. The Tide are quantifiably the only team in the Dawgs’ recruiting zip code, this year reclaiming the No. 1 ranking as the only team capable of topping UGA.

Georgia’s 2018 class was the first to unseat the Tide as No. 1 overall for the first time in seven years. The Tide rebounded to get the No. 1 class, but the Dawgs are No. 2. We know what Alabama’s doing is sustainable. It’s pretty clear that what Georgia’s doing is too.

But building a roster that’s Tide-level also means something else: they’re wrecking shop comparative to all of their direct rivals. And Georgia’s doing just that.

Because not even Alabama had this good of a three-year stretch relative to its division.

Georgia’s five-star lead over the rest of the East is 15-4 since Smart has gotten it rolling. This type of recruiting dominance is slightly different from Alabama when you compare the Tide to the SEC West. Alabama never lapped its division this way. Bama’s best three-year stretch since Texas A&M joined the league was from 2013-2015 when they signed 18 five stars. The rest of the West signed 24. That obviously includes teams like LSU and Auburn.

Alabama has dominated the West on the field even though the West has at least kept within range as far as recruiting goes with those strong recruiters. But what do you think the Dawgs are gonna do with their advantage?

Georgia’s just vacuuming up Dudes year after year compared to its division and we’ve thrown in a couple direct rivals (Georgia Tech and Auburn) just to show that.

Blue-chip counts of Georgia vs. rivals (SEC East and otherwise)

School Three-year blue-chip count 2017 2018 2019
School Three-year blue-chip count 2017 2018 2019
Alabama 64 24 15 25
Auburn 40 11 15 14
Florida 41 11 13 17
Georgia 62 20 22 20
Georgia Tech 4 1 2 1
Kentucky 11 5 3 3
Missouri 4 1 0 3
South Carolina 21 6 9 6
Tennessee 24 5 8 11
Vanderbilt 3 0 3 0

And if you’re wondering, here were Georgia’s tallies for the four years before Smart had his first non-transitional recruiting class.

2016: 14
2015: 14
2014: 13
2013: 15

Smart’s added an entire extra class’ worth of blue-chips over the course of the last three years to what was already strong recruiting. That’s a whole extra group of top athletes who won’t be playing for teams trying to beat Georgia.

While Alabama has signed an average of 19.8 blue chip recruits per year since 2012, there’s at least competition in the division with LSU (15.6) and Auburn (13.5). The next closest East team in blue-chips per year is Florida with 13.7, and that’s only because of the Gators’ strong 2019 haul. The next closest behind UF is Tennessee with eight.

Beating your rivals’ asses on the recruiting trail and on the field is how you stay around as a head coach. It is vitally important to have this feather in your cap.

Domination goes deeper than just counting the stars.

This isn’t like Notre Dame dominating USC in a recruiting battle, two far-flung national powers. Most of these teams are within a five-hour drive of Athens and play Georgia every year, like when Georgia swiped five-star WR George Pickens away from ancient rival Auburn on Signing Day 2019.

This is a huge gut punch for Auburn for numerous reasons. First, Pickens is a monster. He is a Day 1 impact player that has NFL first-round potential. He’s been almost unstoppable the past two years and is arguably the best wide receiver prospect in the class.

Second, Auburn was on the verge of landing the top-ranked player in the state of Alabama (per 247 Composite) for the first time since Nick Saban came to town. Sure that doesn’t REALLY matter in the grand scheme of things but following a 7-5 season, it would have been some impressive pub for the program to land two of the top three players in the state.

It remains wild that Georgia is pulling this off. It’s just tough for any program to go from “pretty good” on the field or the recruiting trail to “elite.” Ditto about trying to Saban-ify your program. Just ask Florida and Tennessee.

But it’s Georgia’s world. The rest of their rivals just have to live with it, or beat ‘em at their own game.