What I learned this weekend


A big win in more ways than one

After an 0-2 start, Mark Richt and Georgia have ripped off six wins in a row, including a 24-20 win over rival Florida on Saturday, which will likely silence those calling for Richt to be fired once and for all and provide much-needed stability for recruiting.

It’s not like the Dawgs lost to two terrible teams. It was Boise State and South Carolina, who are Nos. 5 and 9 in the latest BCS rankings, respectively. Now Georgia sits at 6-2 (No. 18 in the BCS rankings) and has a remaining schedule of New Mexico State, Auburn, Kentucky and Georgia Tech. UGA could win out and still has a chance to win the SEC East.

The turnaround should give the Dawgs a big boost in recruiting as Richt and his staff close out their 2012 recruiting class. They are in a fight for many elite prospects like linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes), running back Keith Marshall (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook), cornerback Yuri Wright (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) and a handful of others. They are also working some in-state recruits who have committed elsewhere or ones they find themselves trailing on.

“That was a great win,” said Blake Jackson, a tight end from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College whom Georgia is recruiting. “They showed a lot of heart and played hard for Coach Richt. I can’t wait to visit in three weeks (Kentucky game on Nov. 19). I hope they are still rolling.”

The win against the hated Gators and a good month of November should be a great shot in the arm, as Richt and Georgia look to close strong in recruiting once again.

A rocking night in Atlanta for Georgia Tech

As I was watching Georgia Tech upset Clemson on Saturday night, I kept on wondering how the heck did the Yellow Jackets lose to Virginia and Miami? I might not have been the only one. From start to finish, Bobby Dodd Stadium was hopping and there were plenty of recruits in attendance who had to take notice of the wonderful atmosphere and the way the team played in all facets of the game.

“It was actually electrifying,” said defensive end Francis Kallon, a Georgia Tech commitment from Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett. “Georgia Tech’s defense really put out Clemson’s fire.”

Yellow Jackets defensive coordinator Al Groh had a nice plan, which worked great in conjunction with Paul Johnson’s clock eating, grind-it-out offense.

“I was very impressed,” said Michael Flint, a three-star offensive guard prospect from Oxford, Ala. “It was crazy to be at the stadium at night and watch Georgia Tech take down the goal post and rush the field after the game.”

Overall, it was a great way for recruits to see the full aspect of Johnson’s Yellow Jacket program on game day.

How will Mizzou recruiting evolve in SEC?

If things finally come to fruition and Missouri joins the SEC, how might that affect or change the Tigers’ recruiting strategy and philosophy?

Missouri is not known to recruit the South. It has six players on their current roster from this area of the country -- two from Florida, two from Arkansas and one each from the states of Louisiana and North Carolina. By contrast, close to a third of Missouri’s roster is from Texas.

The Tigers would never walk away from the Lone Star State. You can bet that they are well networked and dialed into the state of Texas. But they have to take advantage of their new conference home. Being in that Southeastern Conference should allow them to reap some of their recruiting rewards.

To date they have offered scholarships to less than 10 recruits from the Southeastern region. I bet that changes pretty significantly in the coming months. There’s just too much talent in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas, etc. for them to ignore. It’s not like they have to turn their recruiting philosophy upside down and go crazy. But I would anticipate Missouri being much more active than ever before in recruiting the talent from the South.

Let’s be honest, playing in Missouri will be far for many, especially if you are from Florida or Georgia. And distance will always be an issue. But it’s now SEC country and kids that want to play in that conference will have another option, if presented that opportunity. And it may open more doors than you would think, especially in the Peach and Sunshine States, if Missouri were placed in the SEC East.

It will certainly be interesting to watch how Missouri transitions themselves in their new league and how the prospects respond in turn … if and when things come to fruition.

New legislation

This past Thursday the Division I Board of Directors approved some reforms to collegiate athletics that will certainly alter college football and recruiting. Most notably, each conference can vote to add $2,000 in "full cost-of-attendance" money to scholarship offers. Now before you start screaming and yelling that student-athletes shouldn’t be paid for play, this is really a stipend. Break it down and it’s $166 a month or almost $38.50 a week.

The one that will affect recruiting is the eligibility requirements increasing from a 2.0 GPA to 2.3 for incoming freshman and 2.5 for junior college transfers. That may not seem like a big jump but there will be plenty of prospects that will be affected. In turn, the pool of recruits will shrink with the higher grade points required.

J.T. Curtis gets win No. 500

It wasn’t just another win for J.T. Curtis, the coach at River Ridge (La.) John Curtis. It’s was win No. 500 for Curtis. Amazingly, it only took him 42 seasons to do that. He has won an incredible 23 state championships and competed for seven others. His career coaching record is 500-54-6. Only one other coach has surpassed the 500 win mark. That is John McKissick of Summerville (S.C.) High School. McKissisck’s all-time record is 592-142-3. This season John Curtis is 8-0 on the season.