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Georgia Tech Football: 2016 Recruiting Review - The State of Georgia

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Let's take a look at the teams that did the best job of recruiting the state this year.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you who are newer to the site, I do a 2-part recruiting review every year that reviews recruiting in the state of Georgia, and the composition of the Georgia Tech signing class. This year it's a bit late due to the Demetris Robertson saga, but it's here nonetheless. In this first part, we'll take a look at how the state stacked up against others this year. For previous posts, look hereherehere, and here.

Georgia vs. the Nation

In previous articles, it was proven that Georgia sits on its own as the 4th best state for recruiting in the nation. Did that hold true this year as well? Let's take a look.

State 2016 Diff. from 2011-2015 Avg
California 40 9
Texas 35 3.2
Florida 32 -5.8
Georgia 23 4.2
North Carolina 13 4.4
Louisiana 13 2.2
Ohio 11 -1.4
Mississippi 9 4.6
Michigan 8 N/A
New Jersey 6 0
Maryland 6 1.2
Pennsylvania 6 0

Georgia once again sits in its own tier, just behind the "Big 3." Coming in with 23 recruits in the Rivals 250, Georgia matched its 2015 performance, which was its best during the 2011-2015 span. Other states such as Louisiana have threatened to join Georgia in the exclusive second-tier, but none of those states came close to Georgia in 2016. On a related note, Louisiana, Ohio, and North Carolina could be consolidating into a 3rd tier based on this year's results.

On the national scale, California had a banner year producing top talent. With 40 players in the top 250, California tied Florida's 2013 record for the most Top 250 recruits to come from a single state in a given year. Mississippi also saw a huge upswing from its averages, but given its numbers from 2011-2015, this year is likely an anomaly for the Magnolia State.

There are a couple interesting things to note about Florida in 2016. It was a big down year for the Sunshine State, as both Texas and California produced more top talent for the first time in several years. Secondly, a huge proportion of Florida's top prospects hailed from the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. For those unaware, IMG Academy is a private high school that caters to top level athletes across all sports who wish to prepare for the next level. Players from within the state of Florida and across the nation flock to the academy to play on stacked teams and get the attention of college coaches. This begs the question: How much is the IMG Academy inflating Florida's numbers? If similar schools opened in other states, would Florida's numbers drop? These are interesting questions, but they belong in another article for another time.

Who's Recruiting the State?

For this section, the Rivals Top 50 in the state of Georgia were used as a reference. It is first broken down by commits in each power-5 conference, then broken down by team.

Conferences

Conference 2016 Diff. from 2011-2015 Avg
SEC 30 -3.2
ACC 15 6.2
B1G 1 -1
PAC-12 3 1.2
Big-12 0 -1.8

The SEC yet again held the lead in 2016, but it had a significant down year. On top of that, the ACC had a fantastic year! That's good news, right? Well, maybe not. As we'll see in the team breakdown, this is likely a 1-year anomaly that did not benefit Georgia Tech.

Teams

School 2016 Diff. from 2011-2015 Avg
uga 11 -1.2
Auburn 6 2.2
Duke 6 6
Tennessee 4 0.4
South Carolina 3 -1.8
UNC 3 2.6
Clemson 2 -0.2
USC 2 1.8
Ole Miss 2 0.8
Louisville 2 1.6
Cal 1 0.6
Florida 1 -0.2
Kentucky 1 0.4
UCF 1 0.2
Michigan 1 1
Vanderbilt 1 -0.2
Alabama 1 -1.8
Georgia Southern 1 0.8
Georgia Tech 1 -1.4
NC State 1 0.4

Duke? Duke. Yes, the reason for the ACC's spike this year was Duke, a team that did not recruit a single Top-50 player in the state of Georgia from 2011 to 2015. Duke was able to sign 6 players from the Georgia Top-50, while traditional powers in the state such as South Carolina and Alabama had down years. Given Duke's history in the state, there is no evidence to believe that this is any more than a one year anomaly. Until they string together a pattern of success, there isn't any need for concern. If they put up similar numbers next year, then it will be time to worry. Auburn also had a strong year, as did UNC.

Then there's Georgia Tech. The team pulled in only 1 Georgia Top-50 recruit, Xavier Gantt. It wasn't a good year for the Jackets in state, but it's important to note a few caveats. First, the player evaluations by the coaches do not always line up with those of Rivals. For example, this year Tech only had 1 spot for a B-back. It was reported that the coaches were both interested in #34 Brittain Brown and #57 Dedrick Mills. Tech elected to offer and sign Mills despite the difference in ratings. Brown ended up signing with Duke. Given their respective film, I'm inclined to side with Tech's coaches on this one, but only time will tell. On top of that, Emanuel Bridges missed the cut by a hair, coming in at #51. The Jackets also recruited better out of state this year than in-state, but that will be covered more heavily in the second article in this series. Tech was in on a couple big names as well, but was unable to close the deal.

That's about all the sugar coating I can put on Georgia Tech's in-state recruiting performance in 2016. It wasn't good, and the momentum that had been building up over the last couple of years fizzled out. The bad year didn't help, and the lack of available scholarships forced the coaches to be picky. So far in 2017, the Jackets don't have a single in-state commit, which is a concern. The 2017 class will again have a shortage of available scholarships as the team works through the pains of the abhorrent 2013 class, so patience is advised. Many of the advertised offers that have been sent out may be conditional, as the coaches don't want to bring guys in who they feel may flip or have issues with grades. With so few slots, they can't afford to miss.

What do you make of the in-state recruiting picture in 2016?