Recruiting critical to Bulldogs’ success

Everyone knows about Coach Kirby Smart’s success on the football field as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. But that’s only half of what we see.

“50% of Kirby Smart’s job is recruiting and evaluating players,” said Claude Felton, senior associate athletic director at the University of Georgia.

After winning the national championship in January, the number of amazingly talented players who want to come to Georgia has increased dramatically. Although the increased talent pool has given Smart lots of options, in some ways it has made the process more difficult.

“Only so many positions are available,” Felton said, adding that coaches have to take into account ensuring that all positions are filled on the field.

Another factor to consider is there may be several qualified recruits available, but the team cannot exceed the number of scholarships that are allowed, which adds another complication to the recruiting process.

“You have so many scholarships that you are allowed to give out,” Felton said.

For all NCAA Division I FBS schools, that number is 85. 

Even after considering the number of scholarships and position needs, Felton said there are other factors Coach Smart has to consider, which includes the player’s stats, football history, academics and other things.

The defending national champions Georgia Bulldogs lost some key position players to the NFL, including overall first pick edge rusher Travon Walker, 13th pick defensive lineman Jordan Davis, 22nd pick linebacker Quay Walker, 28th pick defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt and 32nd pick safety Lewis Cine. But Georgia fans should feel confident that Coach Smart’s recruiting will help fill those gaps.

We lost some good players, Felton said. “But that doesn’t mean that the players coming up on the team won’t be as good as the players who left.”

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