The fantasy, and yes it is a fantasy, goes something like this: give me a two-star player who bleeds red and black, and you can have those five-star divas.
So cute – and naive.
Of course this argument goes back to the notion that two of Georgia’s most successful players of the early part of the Mark Richt era, Tim Jennings and Thomas Davis, were two-star recruits.
Of course, that’s leaving out the fact that recruiting services, and the digital information age, have completely changed since they were both signed at the turn of the century… the fact that they were both from the middle of nowhere also didn’t help their rating chances, either.
Fact: Georgia has signed 11 two-star prospects since 2003 – none signed after 2004, with the exception of Drew Butler (a punter), did anything anyone remembers.
Tommy Gainous, Trahern Holden, John Miller, Zander Ogletree, Lonnie Outlaw, and Quintavious Harrow – remember them?
You probably do remember some two-star players: Mikey Henderson (2003) was a good specialty player for about a season and a half; Fernando Velasco (2003) started several seasons; Nick Jones (2003) did as well. Again, Velasco and Jones were from rural locations and were linemen.
The best 2-star player for the Dawgs? Maybe Fernando Velasco - shown here with 5-star Matthew Stafford (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)
Current Augusta native Brendan Douglass is the only signed two-star prospect on the Bulldogs’ roster. He was a valuable end-the-game commodity against South Carolina. But when Georgia didn’t have four- and five-star Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley had to depend on Douglass and three-star J.J. Green as the primary ball carriers they lost two games in a row.
In a lot of way we as Americans pull for the underdog – March Madness is full of underdog stories. The movie “Rudy”, where an underdog struggles mightily to get onto the field, was such a big hit.
Total fantasy. Jarvis Jones would bitch slap Rudy, and you know it.
The other reality that’s changed is the exposure of college football recruiting – actually this is the biggest change in college football in the last ten years outside of television.
Tim Jennings didn’t get a chance to compete at the one of the dozens of .com, shoe or other camps that permeate the culture of recruiting now. Seven-on-seven competitions were basically nonexistent when Jennings was 17… he could play football all year round now.
Jennings was never a two-star player. He was a three-star prospect no one had ever seen in a time where VHS tapes were used instead of DVDs; when the .coms struggled to get pictures, let alone video of top prospects; when he didn’t have the same chance as other guys because of his location and the recruiting world he lived in at the moment he was 17 years old.
So, in other words, there is more data to collect now. More information to look at and understand. There’s less chance that a player slips through the cracks than there once was. There are fewer players college completely miss on.
Recruiting has become less about the identification of talent – you can thank the .coms for that – and more about sifting through all the data to arrive at the dozens of prospects you are actually going to recruit.
The information age has killed the romantic notion of two-star rising to power on the college gridiron. It’s a cute, but completely ridiculous fairy tale for a time that’s long passed.
You can have the players that bleed red and black – I’ll take the ones who will make them bleed.
***TALK ABOUT IT ON THE PORCH PREMIUM MESSAGE BOARD***
You should also read:
Surprise Commit for Dawgs
The Latest on Wynn
Recruiting Uncertainty Swirls
The Small Things