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What Makes Georgia's Todd Hartley An Ace Recruiter?

January 13, 2021

There’s a reason why Kirby Smart hired former Miami assistant Todd Hartley to come back to Georgia two years ago.

Not only does he know how to develop tight ends, but he knows how to recruit. At Miami, Hartley coached and developed David Njoku, a former first-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2017 NFL Draft. Hartley then signed four-star Brevin Jordan‍, the top-ranked TE prospect in the 2018 class.

In January of 2019, the Gray, Georgia native got an offer to come back to Athens and couldn’t pass it up. He helped finish the 2019 recruiting class strong for the Bulldogs as he signed three-star Brett Seither‍ on Signing Day. 

Hartley knew he had to sign an impact TE for the Bulldogs in the 2020 class, and he went all in on 5-star Darnell Washington‍ from Las Vegas. Hartley put Georgia in such a good spot for Washington that Dawg Post flew out to watch him play in September of 2019. When Dawg Post asked Washington about his relationship with Georgia’s new assistant, his entire face lit up.

“Tight ends coach (Todd) Hartley is recruiting me hard and he knows how to recruit tight ends. He showed me how he used the tight ends at Miami and showed me some different drills during my visit. He showed me how they’re going to use the tight ends and I’ll see that during the Notre Dame game.”

Hartley would eventually sign the five-star and proved why he was hired by Smart in the first place. Washington’s high school coach and close mentor, David Hill, broke down why Washington and his family felt so comfortable under Hartley and the Georgia staff.

“He (Hartley) cares and wears his heart on his sleeves”, Hill told Dawg Post. “He’s a great guy and his family is great too. He’s a genuine person that you would like even if sports weren’t in the equation. He’s a great teacher and does a great job developing talent. I spoke with former players during Darnell’s recruitment and they echoed same thing.”

You won’t hear anyone say a bad word about Georgia’s assistant. He’s a family man and knows how to develop a relationship with his top targets.

After signing Washington in the 2020 class, Hartley went back out to the west coast and signed four-star Brock Bowers‍ out of Napa, California. Dawg Post reached out to Brock’s mother DeAnna to get an idea of how Todd Hartley won over Brock and the Bowers family.

“Coach Hartley truly has Brock’s best interests at heart,” DeAnna Bowers told Dawg Post.  “I believe that he cares about Brock as a person outside of football and will help him develop as a young man. Coach Hartley was also totally supportive of Brock and his wishes for his senior year. There wasn’t one ounce of pressure other than solid common sense advice. He gave Brock space to think his options through and helped him throughout the whole process. We appreciated that tremendously as parents. I feel very secure that my kid will be mentored and coached by a truly good person.”

Not every college football coach is “genuine”. A lot of them don’t “care” about their players. Many have a “win at all cost” attitude, and for some of them, it works. But that’s not how Hartley does it. 

The former UGA graduate assistant has climbed the coaching ladder over the last few years and is now in a position to go out and recruit whoever he wants. The best TE talent in America is at his fingertips every recruiting cycle. Whether you’re in Las Vegas, Napa, or in Cumming, Georgia, if Todd Hartley wants you, he’s going to give it his absolute best to sign you. And just about every time, Todd Hartley is going to get his guy.

On a staff full on ace recruiters, Todd Hartley has proved, and will continue to prove, that not only is he one of Georgia’s best recruiters, but he might be one of the best recruiters across the country.

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