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Georgia Football

NFL's Numbers Prove the Power Position the Georgia Bulldogs and Kirby Smart Hold

May 5, 2022

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ATHENS - The Georgia Bulldogs just won the national title, and are a recruiting juggernaut. But information released by the NFL on Thursday underscores the commanding position Kirby Smart and the Dawgs are in for the near future. 

29 players from the Peach State were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, including No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker. That’s just under 12% of all of the players selected. The state had the most players selected per capita in the country - at one NFL player per 369,376 people in Georgia. 

With Jacksonville selecting Walker with the No. 1 pick, the Jaguars now have +700 odds to win the AFC South next year.

Cedar Grove had the most players selected of any high school in the draft with three - Jelani Woods, DeAngelo Malone and UGA’s Justin Shaffer. Archer (Andrew Booth; Joshua Ezeudu) Cherokee (Montrell Washington; Brittain Brown) and Marist (Kyle Hamilton; John FitzPatrick) added two players each.

These results aren’t surprising to anyone that’s been around this state over the last 30 years. Georgia has always been good at producing football players. What’s happening now is that it is getting better at it - and not just exclusively because of Atlanta metro area, which is both transitory and exploding with newcomers. 

No, it’s not exclusively Atlanta, but you’d be a fool to think Atlanta doesn’t have a major hand in this. 

Consider Gwinnett County, which has been fueled by sprawl and has new high schools growing like weeds. It is the power center of Georgia football. Archer, which produced two players in this year’s draft, didn’t exist 15 years ago. Players like Alvin Kamara, Derrick Brown, David Andrews, Orlando Brown, Lorenzo Carter, Jared Cook, Cameron Heyward, Kevin Minter, Bradley Roby, Darius Slayton, C.J. Uzomah and others litter the rosters of NFL teams. 

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Gwinnett is only now coming into its own, and that’s just Gwinnett. Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb counties have, for decades, served as the starting point for NFL players from Georgia. Clayton County, too. 

That’s not to suggest other parts of the state aren’t loaded with skill. Nick Chubb isn’t from Atlanta. Neither is Trevor Lawrence or Mecole Hardman or whoever else I leave out. 

The point where is that what’s happened of late is that Georgia, the Bulldogs that is, are matching on the field what should be happening. UGA’s Dawgs are a very good reflecting of the talent advantage they have in their state. 

This isn’t to suggest that all players from the state should go to Georgia, or that the Dawgs shouldn’t go get superb players across the country. Kelee Ringo, Jordan Davis, Lewis Cine, Jalen Carter and others prove that point. 

More simply: No one robs a library; You rob banks because that’s where the money is. 

You want to coach at Georgia because that’s where the players are. Clemson and Auburn, cultish though they are, are not states. They will never be the biggest show in Georgia. Will never happen. I’m not certain either is the biggest deal in their respective state. 

Alabama has had the run of all runs in college football, but even the Tide can’t cross the border and get whoever they want. That’s even more evident with Kirby running the show in Athens. It is hard to top the Dawgs in state.  

Georgia is always going to be bigger than anything in this state that’s not the Braves. Some TV folks I’ve known a while think the Dawgs are bigger than the Braves in the state. All of that means Kirby and the Dawgs are positioned as well or better than anyone in college football. 

Kirby doesn’t have to rob the bank - just make withdraws. 

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