You could argue the same with Richt's arrival in Athens. It didn't hurt that Spurrier resigned, Bama was in disarray and Fulmer was wildly erratic.
In hoops, Coach Fox has a massive window of opportunity.
- Georgia Tech's in state recruiting machine is on hold with the departure of Coach Hewitt.
- Tennessee is in purgatory pending their NCAA verdict, and they just lost arguably their most successful coach in history.
- With the exception of Mike Anderson at Arkansas, the coaching in the SEC West is average at best.
And we geography on our side.
The 2012 recruiting class has overwhelming in state talent. The Rivals Top 150 for 2012 has 14 in state players as well as two more Georgia natives playing at Oak Hill in Virginia. 10 of those 16 kids are ranked in the Top 100.
As a point of comparison, these states have the following Top 150 counts:
- 14 - Texas (High Major schools in state: 4 + TCU)
12 - California (High Major schools in state: 4)
7 - Florida (High Major schools in state: 4)
5 - PA (High Major schools in state: 3)
5 - OH (High Major Schools in state: 2 + Xavier)
5 - MI (High Major Schools in State: 2)
3 - Illinois (High Major schools in state: 2)
3 - NY (High Major schools in state: 2)
2 - NJ (High Major schools in state: 2)
- 1. California - 37.1 million
2. Texas - 25.1 million
3. New York - 19.3 million
4. Florida - 18.8 million
5. Illinois - 12.8 million
6. Pennsylvania - 12.7 million
7. Ohio - 11.5 million
8. Michigan - 9.8 million
9. Georgia - 9.6 million
Some of our biggest competition for in state talent the past few years has been Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Alabama. We have invested more in facilities than those guys ($45 million in basketball over the past 5 years). Our coaching staff is at least as stable if not more so than those. And our basketball team advanced as far or further in the tourney last year.
Get them to sign on the line that is dotted.
By the way -- I'm hearing good things about our chances with Kevin Ware, the former Tennessee signee who is ranked #56 overall in the 2011 recruiting class by Rivals.com, and he's a Top 15 guy at his position (Shooting Guard). The Vols, with the SEC's encouragement, will likely end up giving him a full release the way UGA gave Mohamed Abukar a full release to sign with UF after the Harrick saga.
Additionally, our chances are decent to land Ari Stewart as a transfer from Wake. Stewart is a 6'7" 205 lb sophomore forward who averaged 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last year. He's transferring after finding life miserable on the 8-24 Demon Deacons. His points and rebounds were a little higher until things went sour in Feb. with his coach. Coming out of HS, Stewart was the #52 ranked prospect in the nation. He would have to sit out a year if he transferred.
As far as scholarships available, Georgia looks to have 1 scholarship available for 2011 signees as Connor Nolte (Jr.), former walk-on, is most likely on a year to year deal. Plus, we may get Trey and/or Travis scholarship.
If we needed an additional scholarship for 2011, we have a transfer candidate in Vincent Williams. Williams averaged 5.7 minutes in 20 games of our 33 games. Williams only played in 10 of 23 games against High Major teams plus Temple and Xavier. Kids are pretty smart. If they think you're recruiting way over them, they know what to do.
For 2012, we have scholarships from Conner, Gerald, Dustin, Trey and Travis, and that assumes no additional attrition.
The point ... the door is open. We no longer have a facilities excuse, a university commitment excuse, a rodeo excuse, or an excuse related to the tenure of our own coach vs. that of our rivals.
Now is the time to close the deal on a monster class. Separately...I hear great rumblings towards William "Shaq" Goodwin (PF Ranked #20 nationally by Rivals), Jordan Adams (SG/SF ranked #55 nationally by Rivals) and Evan Nolte (SF ranked #59 nationally by Rivals). Those guys would form the core of a very good class, but we'll need a Center and a PG, too.