ATLANTA - In the past two weeks, Georgia has received commitments from two four-star recruits who play offense, and have something else in common: They're from out-of-state. The Bulldog coaches have also been criss-crossing other states.
But head coach Mark Richt doesn't want to leave the impression that the first priority isn't within the borders of Georgia.
"Most of the news has probably been that we've been out-of-state, which we have," Richt said, alluding to, but not mentioning because of NCAA rules, commitments from tailback Sony Michel from Florida, and tight end Jeb Blazevich from North Carolina. But the strategy is to make sure we're really hitting Georgia hard during the time frame when the kids are actually out there practicing. Because it's an evaluation period. It's the best time to evaluate them, is during practice."
Richt said they haven't actually been targeting out-of-state recruits. He said the reason they've been outside Georgia so much lately is the high school schedule: Most Georgia spring practices are later in the year, like around now.
"It means a lot to us when our high school teams in Georgia are practicing," Richt said. "You're gonna hear a lot of us being in Georgia right now because they're practicing. I don't want to send a bad message that we're going out of state first, because it's not our priority to do that. But it just practically makes the most sense because we want to be in Georgia when our guys practice."
Georgia has five commitments for the 2014 class, three of whom are from Georgia. (Defensive tackle Dontavius Russell, safety Nick Glass and receiver Krenwick Sanders.) The Bulldogs are also heavily involved with top in-state talent such as inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan, defensive end Lorenzo Carter and tailback Nick Chubb. And the team will continue to target out-of-state talent like cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas, Texas), defensive tackle Lamont Gilliard (Fayetteville, N.C.) and defensive end Kentavius Street (Greenville, N.C.)
The five commitments is far short of where the Bulldogs were at this time last year, which is no accident, because next year's signing class will be far short of the 33 who signed this year.
The SEC signing rules will limit the Bulldogs to around 25 this year, possibly more depending on early enrollees. But a bigger factor may be Georgia's current roster: The team has just under 85 players who came to campus on scholarship, and doesn't have a very big senior class.
"Our scholarship number is pretty close to 85 right now. We know that there's only, I don't know, 12 or 13 scholarship seniors. So it could be a class of 30, but more than likely history is gonna prove that it's gonna be more 18 to ... who knows ... 20-ish?" Richt said. "It could go over 20, depending on the attrition. But right this minute we can't plan for a 35 number like that. But we have had a lot of success with some wonderful kids, and we know there's a lot of guys that are interested in Georgia.
"The big thing, it's kind of like the draft, you've gotta take care of your needs. I have all the faith in the world that we have enough guys on the board at every position of need that we're gonna get what we need."