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Georgia Tech Recruiting: Previewing Georgia in 2016

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The 2016 recruiting cycle is starting to heat up, so let's take a look at how in-state recruiting has been going so far.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

If you're new to FTRS, I wrote these posts on in state recruiting over the past 5 years, and decided to make it an annual thing. Each summer I will preview the state, then after signing day we'll do a wrap up. In this article, we'll take a look at where Georgia stands in the national recruiting picture. We'll then look at which colleges have gotten an early lead in the state. Finally, we'll take a look at which cities and high schools are loaded with recruits this year.

Georgia and the National Recruiting Picture

In my previous posts, I found that Georgia solidly stood as the 4th best state for recruiting over the past 5 years behind Florida, Texas, and California. This year was no different, but other developments across the nation have made for an interesting year. To make this list, I tallied up how many of the Rivals top 250 recruits came from each state and ranked them. Here are the top 10, along with their average numbers from 2011 to 2015.

Number of Rivals Top 250 recruits per State

Rank State Number of Top 250 Recruits 2011-2015 Average
1 California 37 31
2 Florida 35 37.8
3 Texas 35 31.8
4 Georgia 19 18.8
5 Louisiana 17 10.8
6 New Jersey 10 6
7 Tennessee 9 6.2
8 North Carolina 8 8.6
9 Ohio 8 12.4
10 Maryland 8 4.8

For the first time in a long time, Florida isn't the top state. A really good year for California, combined with a slightly down year for Florida combined to crown a new king in 2016, though I doubt this trend will continue into the future. Georgia stayed in its normal spot, sitting in 4th place, and was quite close to its average from the past 5 years. The state had been trending upwards in recent years, however, so this year represents a return to the mean. Georgia sat in its own 2nd tier behind the "Big 3" for all of 2011 to 2015, but Louisiana has started to creep into that space as well. If the trend continues, Georgia and Louisiana may be fighting over the 4th spot in the future.

Other than California, the states that had significant up years were Louisiana, New Jersey, and Maryland. The states that had the worst down years were Ohio, Virginia, and Alabama. Ohio in particular has been trending downward badly over the past few years, though Urban Meyer's out of state recruiting is helping to remedy this for Ohio State. The rest of the Big 10, which relies on Ohio for much of its talent, could suffer.

Who's Recruiting Georgia Well?

Most of the state's top talent is currently uncommitted, but it's still worth taking a look at who has a head start this year. For this list, I used the Rivals Top 50 for Georgia.

Georgia Top 50 Recruits by College

Rank College Number of Georgia Top 50 Recruits
1 georgia 5
2 Duke 3
3 Clemson 2
4 Auburn 2
5 Tennessee 2
6 Southern Cal 1
7 Mississippi 1
8 North Carolina 1
9 North Carolina State 1
10 Georgia Tech 1
11 Kentucky 1

Uncommitted 30

It's never a good thing when Duke is out-recruiting you in your own state, but it may not be quite as bad as it seems. Recruiting rankings are based on what the recruiting site thinks, not the coaches. For example. One of Duke's Top 50 recruits is RB Brittain Brown, who Tech passed over in favor of Dedrick Mills, who narrowly missed the Top 50. The coaching staff felt that Mills was the better prospect, and given his offer sheet, it seems that many other schools felt the same way. Recruiting rankings are a good measure of how well a team is recruiting, but are far from a perfect one.

Other than the Duke outlier, the rest of the rankings are roughly what one would expect at this point. Most of the prospects remain uncommitted, and georgia is currently in the lead. Clemson, Tennessee, and Auburn are also doing well. Tech's lone Top 50 commit is Buford RB Xavier Gantt, who comes in at #41 in the rankings. Gantt is projected to play AB for the Jackets. This recruiting cycle is far from over, however, and Tech is the presumed leader for #16 on this list, S Jordan Mack of Wesleyan. We'll see how much the landscape changes by the time February rolls around.

Where are Georgia's Top Recruits From?

For this section, the High Schools anc cities with 2 or more Georgia top 50 recruits are listed to get a better idea of where the recruiting battlegrounds will be this year.

Number of Recruits by High School

Rank High School Number of Georgia Top 50 Recruits
1 Archer 4
2 Woodward Academy 3
3 Peachtree Ridge 2
4 Jonesboro 2
5 Buford 2
6 Mays 2

Number of Recruits by City

Rank City Number of Georgia Top 50 Recruits
1 Suwanee 4
2 Lawrenceville 4
3 College Park 3
4 Atlanta 3
5 Jonesboro 2
6 Newnan 2
7 Buford 2

After finishing as the 6A runner up last year, Archer should be a favorite to go deep into the playoffs yet again. They return most of last year's biggest recruits, and have a whopping 4 Seniors in the Georgia Top 50. They'll be challenged by Peachtree Ridge, who has 2 top 50 recruits of its own. In the 5A classification, Mays is another 2014 runner up who may be poised to win it all this year. They're the only 5A school in the state with more than 1 senior in the Top 50.

4A is where it gets interesting. Buford aims to defend its championship after rolling through the playoffs last year, but Woodward Academy returns much of its talent after bowing out in the 2014 semifinals. Buford returns several good players, but also lost several good ones, such as GT signee David Curry. The wildcard in this classification is Jonesboro, who didn't make the playoffs last year after finishing 4-7. With 2 seniors in the 2016 top 50, it will be interesting to see if they can turn their fortunes around this year.

Academics and Talent Production

In my last recruiting article, I discussed Atlanta and which high schools produced the most talent. In the comments, Packerman requested that I do a cross-analysis of which of the top talent-producing high schools are also top academic institutions. The reason for doing this is to see which schools could be targets for future Georgia Tech pipelines. We all know how difficult it is to succeed at Tech, and these schools can provide athletes who are the most likely to succeed on the field AND in the classroom.

Methodology

For this analysis, I compiled data from Rivals on the Georgia Top 50 from 2011 to 2015. 2016 was not used because those rankings are not final. I tallied up which schools had the had the most top 50 recruits over that span and ranked them. Then, I took a look at US News and World Report's rankings for the top high schools in Georgia. The final rankings were based on the lowest combined rank. For example, if a high school produced the most talent and was the top academic school as well, their combined rank would be 2(1+1). If a school was unranked academically, 100 was added to its combined rank. It should be noted that the results for talent production are a bit different this time, as I used the Georgia Top 50 instead of the Atlanta Top 25 in order to provide a more complete picture. It should also be noted that private schools are not listed in the final rankings because I could find a good source that ranked both private and public schools side by side.

Results

First, let's take a look at the top 10 talent producers alongside the top 10 academic high schools:

Top 10 Recruiting High Schools

Rank Top Talent School City
1 Tucker Tucker
2 Stephenson Stone Mountain
3 North Gwinnett Suwanee
3 Sandy Creek Tyrone
3 Buford Buford
3 Creekside Fairburn
7 Carver Columbus
8 McEachern Powder Springs
8 Norcross Norcross
8 Martin Luther King Lithonia
8 Milton Alpharetta
8 Camden County Kingsland

Top 10 Academic High Schools

Rank Top Academic School City
1 Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Lawrenceville
2 Davidson Fine Arts Augusta
3 Columbus High School Columbus
4 Dekalb School of the Arts Avondale Estates
5 Savannah Arts Academy Savannah
6 Milton High School Apharetta
7 Walton High School Marietta
8 Northview High School Duluth
9 Johns Creek High School Johns Creek
10 Alpharetta High School Apharetta

As you can see, there isn't  a lot of overlap here. The only school to make both Top 10 lists was Milton. Many of the top academic schools don't have much of a football program at all, however, so there wasn't much room for overlap. Next, the rankings were combined to find each schools combined rank, and were then ordered from smallest combined rank to largest.

Combined Rankings

Talent Rank Academic Rank School City Combined Rank
8 6 Milton Alpharetta 14
3 14 North Gwinnett Suwanee 17
13 10 Alpharetta Alpharetta 23
19 7 Walton Marietta 26
19 16 Brookwood Snellville 35
8 30 Norcross Norcross 38
3 36 Buford Buford 39
30 19 Lassiter Marietta 49
19 42 Central Gwinnett Lawrenceville 61
30 32 Mill Creek Hoschton 62

These rankings only further enforce how important it will be to maintain a pipeline with North Gwinnett for years to come. After 2 straight years of signing players from North Gwinnett, that pipeline looks more and more possible. The budding Buford pipeline also looks like a promising, sustainable source of talent for Georgia Tech. The Jackets will have to improve their recruiting efforts in Milton, Walton, and Alpharetta in the future, but the staff has done a great job of establishing local recruiting ties, so I believe they are up to the task.

What say you Tech fans? Which schools do you want the coaches to target for recruiting? How do you see the 2016 class shaping up?