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June 19, 2007
After seeing other programs sign six of the eight top 10 in-state prospects that they offered in the Class of 2007 (the Bulldogs never seriously pursued Nick Claytor or Cameron Newton), UGA is at the moment poised to sign most of the elite talent from the Peach State in the Class of 2008.
It's no secret that one of the keys to having a championship-level program in Athens is to sign the top players out of the talent-rich state. Mark Richt and his staff have done an excellent job doing that during their tenure at UGA, with the exception of last year, when they lost Eric Berry to Tennessee, Antwane Greenlee to Florida State, Morgan Burnett and Jonathan Dwyer to Georgia Tech, Allen Bailey to Miami (Fla.) and Cameron Heyward to Ohio State.
It was unheard of, really.
One look at this year's Rivals.com Georgia Top 50 shows that Richt and his staff are well on their way to re-establishing their in-state dominance. Bulldogs commitments litter the top 50 and many of the other highly-touted Georgians are leaning toward the Red and Black.
The state's top-ranked overall prospect, defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson, already has committed to UGA, so has the No. 2 overall prospect Richard Samuel. The Nos. 5 and 7 prospects, wide receiver Tavarres King and defensive end Cornelius Washington, both have already given Georgia a verbal as well. The Bulldogs also are in the thick of things for running back Dontavius Jackson and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, the Nos. 4 and 10 rated prospects in the state.
It's quite the year to have success in-state, too. The state of Georgia is loaded with top-shelf prospects. It would not be a stretch to say that as many as 85 from the state will sign with BCS Conference programs before all is said and done.
If there has been a team that has been able to compete with Georgia on the elite in-state talent, it's Clemson. The Tigers currently have a commitment from offensive guard A.J. Harmon (No. 3 overall) and are in the driver's seat for defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (No. 8 overall). It's almost like flashback to 1980s when Vince Dooley (UGA) and Danny Ford (Clemson) annually battled it out for the top Peach State talent.