One reason for Steve Spurrier’s success at South Carolina has been his ability to keep many of the best players in the state home to play for the Gamecocks.
The past four “Mr. Football” winners in the Palmetto State are on the Gamecocks roster, but Georgia has a commitment from arguably the best player in the state in the 2013 class.
Goose Creek wide receiver Tramel Terry is the top-rated player in the state by Scout.com and ranks No. 130 nationally.
Georgia only has two scholarship players on its roster from South Carolina: nose guard Kwame Geathers and outside linebacker Dexter Morant.
“Any time you’ve got your in-state schools doing well, it’s going to be tougher to get kids out,” Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said. “They’ve got both programs (Clemson included) doing well. You still go in if there’s a kid that you like that fits what you’re looking for, you go after him and see. If the kid has got some interest, you never know. It may be a situation where he wants to leave the state like an A.J. Green.”
Former defensive ends coach Jon Fabris recruited the state for the Bulldogs when it signed the likes of receiver Green, defensive end Marcus Howard, defensive lineman Robert Geathers, cornerback Prince Miller and safety CJ Byrd.
Georgia has switched up its recruiting responsibilities recently in South Carolina.
Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti, who already was recruiting theAugusta area on the South Carolina border, will recruit the state. Tight ends coach John Lilly had worked there.
“If a national kid is there, a position coach will go over there,” Garner said. “It’s a very important state like all the states that border that the state of Georgia. We’re going to put some time in.”
Spurrier said back in 2008: “What we need to do is do a better job of keeping our in-state players here and to do that we need to win consistently a little better than we’ve done.”
He’s landed the last four “Mr. Football” winners Stephen Gilmore, Marcus Lattimore, Jadeveon Clowney and Shaq Roland.
“Once he hit one, he hit like two or three in a row,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “That really made a statement that they’re going to do a good job of keeping their best players in the state. We’ve had a chance to snag a few pretty good ones over the years. South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, states that touch our state.”
The last Georgia player that won “Mr. Football” in South Carolinawas Miller in 2005. Green didn’t win it in 2007. The award went to Blythewood quarterback Richard Mounce, who played two seasons of baseball at Clemson and transferred to Charleston Southern to play football. He started three games last year but chose to give up his final season of eligibility.
Five of the 35 former Georgia players on NFL rosters on opening weekend are from South Carolina.
That includes Green and Jennings. Green was the AFC offensive player of the month for September and Jennings the NFC defensive player of the month. The others are Robert Geathers, Ben Watson and Richard Seymour.
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