As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Rivals ranked Georgia’s 2015 class as sixth-best nationally. That’s in keeping with the Bulldogs’ accustomed finish, which — again using Rivals’ ratings — has averaged a national finish of 7.5 since 2002, the year of Mark Richt’s first full crop.
The best Georgia has done over that span was its No. 3 group of 2002; the worst was the class of 2010, rated No. 15. Before Christmas, Rivals had this group ranked No. 3 behind Alabama (but of course) and Southern Cal; the past six weeks have seen some slippage, if indeed such a thing exists in adjudging something as slippery as the athletic prospects of teenagers. Still, sixth-best in the land, third-best in the SEC — there’s nothing at all wrong with that.
As we know, Georgia rarely disappoints on the first Wednesday in February. The Bulldogs have, over Richt’s tenure, recruited well enough to have won SEC championships and national titles. It has taken two of the former, the most recent in 2005; it has managed none of the latter. Until that part changes, the narrative of Georgia football will remain status quo — a very good program but not quite a great one.
Some have labeled Georgia a serial underachiever, but the ratings over the past four seasons wouldn’t bear that out. The recruiting classes from 2011 through 2014 finished, per Rivals, fifth, 12th, 12th and seventh. If we add those together, we get 36. If we divide by four, we get nine. And where did the 2014 Bulldogs finish in the Associated Press poll? Ninth.
So sometimes recruiting rankings do reflect future performance. Other times they don’t. Take the team that finished eighth in last season’s AP poll. Its average recruiting ranking for the past four seasons was 57.5. That team was Georgia Tech. (Nick Bromberg of Yahoo! Sports has a handy breakdown of the past five years.)
Oh, and a word about Rivals: I use it because I consider it the most reliable service that, for historical and comparative purposes, dates back the longest. But others swear by other services. As of Tuesday night, ESPN Recruiting ranked Georgia No. 5; Scout had Georgia No. 4, and 247Sports had Georgia No. 7.