Will Georgia’s recruiting championship result in a national championship?

Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The Georgia Bulldogs have won their second recruiting championship in three years, but will this result in the program finally winning a national title?

For the second time in three years, the Georgia Bulldogs have won a recruiting championship, finishing with the top class in 2020, according to 247Sports. But can they turn that into a real national championship?

Since former All-SEC defensive back Kirby Smart took over his alma mater’s football program in 2016, Georgia has never finished worse than sixth in 247Sports’ composite rankings. If we want to take out the 2016 cycle on account of him being part of Nick Saban’s staff with the Alabama Crimson Tide until after the College Football Playoff, Georgia has never finished worse than third.

Since 2017, Georgia landed the No. 3 class in 2017, the No. 1 class in 2018, the No. 2 class in 2019 and now the No. 1 class in 2020. With the in-state talent and Georgia having blue-blood status as a college football program, recruiting great players to Athens isn’t as hard as it is in some places. However, what Smart is doing is unlike anything we’ve seen before on the recruiting trail.

While he’s still learning how to be a college football head coach, only entering year five at Georgia after being a long-time defensive coach for Saban, we have seen Smart thrive in two key aspects of program-building: Recruiting and coaching up his defense.

This year, Smart added four five-star prospects in cornerback Kelee Ringo, offensive tackle Broderick Jones, defensive tackle Jalen Carter and athlete/tight end Darnell Washington. Georgia also has six early enrollees, all of whom are four-star prospects, including running back Kendall Milton, cornerback Jalen Kimber and quarterback Carson Beck.

Smart has established he can recruit.

We know he can coach defense and we know he can build a solid coaching staff around him. Being able to land former Ole Miss Rebels head coach Matt Luke to replace Sam Pittman as the offensive line coach was tremendous. Getting former Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach Todd Monken to replace James Coley was what fans were craving.

No, it’s not just players from the Peach State or the southeast who are flocking to Athens to play for Coach Smart and the Dawgs. Ringo is from Scottsdale, Arizona, Washington is from Las Vegas, Milton is from Clovis, California and Kimber is from Arlington, Texas.

Smart has the players and coaching staff to win a national title, but will he ever get it done?

Thus far in Smart’s coaching career at Georgia, he’s been very close to winning a national title but hasn’t done it yet. Georgia has won three straight SEC East crowns, playing in New Year’s Six bowls each of the last three campaigns. The last time an SEC East team three-peated, Steve Spurrier was running the Fun ‘n’ Gun offense in Gainesville with the Florida Gators.

Spurrier is a legend. What he did at Duke, Florida and later South Carolina was incredible. He’s a Hall-of-Fame player and Hall-of-Fame coach, yet, he only won one national title during his remarkable coaching career.

As long as Georgia stays in the top-five in terms of recruiting, the Dawgs will have a chance to win a national title. If you can’t recruit, you can’t win at the highest level. Even if the program dips down to only top-10, then you can find a way to convince yourself Georgia football is still in pretty good shape, just like we all tried to do with Mark Richt.

Consistently being in the mix to win division titles and play for SEC titles means Georgia is right where it needs to be. Georgia made the College Football Playoff once under Smart and was one of the first two teams out twice. For that reason, I believe one of these years, everything will break right for Georgia and it’ll win the national title for the first time since 1980.

The talent is too great not to.

What it really comes down to is if Smart can get the right quarterback playing in the right offense. This is an offensive era of college football and it’s reflected in the recent national champions. LSU, Clemson and Alabama all have game-changing quarterbacks leading explosive offenses.

We know Smart has the defense and the recruiting figured out. If Smart had a better offensive scheme, maybe Jake Fromm could have carried Georgia to the promised land one of the last few years?

Maybe Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman thrives under Monken in 2020?

Dawg Nation is very optimistic about what Newman can do in his one year with the Dawgs. However, it might end up being a player like Beck or 2021 five-star recruit Brock Vandagriff from nearby Bogart, Georgia who could be the guy that David Greene, D.J. Shockley, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Murray, Hutson Mason, Jacob Eason and Fromm couldn’t be for Georgia.

Vandagriff is one of only two 2021 commits to Georgia so far. It’s early in the 2021 cycle considering National Signing Day just wrapped on the 2020 class, but expect the Dawgs to finish again near the top with recruits wanting to play with Vandagriff.

Ultimately, only time will tell if Georgia’s latest victory on the recruiting trails will culminate in a national championship. At the least, Smart continues to build Georgia as a top-five program.

As long as Georgia maintains this status, it’s only a matter of time before Georgia wins its third national championship in school history and its first since 1980. They’re putting in the work.

Way-too-early 2020 rankings: 1-130. dark. Next

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