Georgia Bulldogs

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 29: Johnny Jefferson #5 of the Baylor Bears carries while defended by Dominquie Green #26 and Des Lawrence #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half of the Russell Athletic Bowl game at Orlando Citrus Bowl on December 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Half of all FBS signees lived between Texas and North Carolina

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ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton provided a massive public service through his Twitter account on Tuesday, releasing a data dump of fascinating information about the signing class of 2016.

In short, Texas was the most popular breeding ground for FBS prospects, but half of all signees came from a clean sweep from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida and up to North Carolina.

The Lone Star State produced 359 players, with nearly half of those heading to Power 5 institutions. In fact, Hamilton reports, 72 of 128 FBS programs and 38 of 64 Power 5’s signed at least one player from Texas.

Florida trailed with 327 players, followed by California with 248 players and Georgia with 225. For what it’s worth, Ohio was not included in the study.

Data dump, begin!

Surgery will KO UGA LB Roquan Smith for spring

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 12:  Darrius Sims #6 of the Vanderbilt Commodores is tackled by Johnathan Abram #25, Natrez Patrick #6, and Roquan Smith #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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If Roquan Smith is to win a starting linebacking job as some project, he’ll have to do so coming from behind.

Georgia confirmed in a press release Friday that the linebacker underwent successful surgery last month to repair a damaged wrist.  As a result, Smith (pictured, No. 3) will be sideline for all of the 15 spring practice sessions that will commence next month.

The good news is that, according to UGA director of sports medicine Ron Courson, “[a] full recovery is anticipated and he [is] expected to fully participate in summer workouts.” Additionally, there should be no limitations placed on Smith’s participation in summer camp that will kick off the beginning of August.

Smith was a four-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 77 recruit overall according to Rivals.com. He was one of the highest-rated players in UGA’s class.

As a true freshman, Smith played in 12 games. He was named as one of the football program’s five Newcomers of the Year following the 2015 season.

Channeling his inner Bear, top-rated player in state of Alabama rolls with Tide

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Ben Davis‘ father is the all-time leading tackler in Alabama history.  After a bit of uncertainty and angst, the legacy is staying home.

At a much-anticipated announcement at his Gordo, Ala., high school, Ben Davis Jr. revealed that he will indeed be attending the University of Alabama.  And Davis made his revelation with a nod to the Tide’s past, donning a houndstooth hat to confirm his commitment to the legendary Bear Bryant’s former program.

In addition to Bama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Notre Dame were in the linebacker’s final five.

Not only was Davis the top-rated player in the state of Alabama, he is the No. 5 player at any position in this year’s class according to Rivals.com.

Kirby Smart keeps five-star Mecole Hardman in Georgia

Mecole Hardman
Rivals.com
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If you’re going to be successful in the SEC, you need to put a rather sturdy fence around your own state, as the old saying goes.  That’s a lesson Kirby Smart learned under Nick Saban at Alabama, and it’s one he’s taken with him to Alabama.

In a significant development for the first-year head coach, five-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. announced Wednesday morning that he is signing with Georgia and will play for Smart’s Bulldogs. Hardman is rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Georgia, which obviously is a huge get for Smart and his staff after being on the job for less than two months — especially as his old boss, along with Urban Meyer among others, had been in hot pursuit.

Hardman did add a little bit of “drama” to the proceedings as he laid out four cakes with four non-UGA pennants staked in them…

… before revealing he’d be staying home by busting through a banner in UGA gear.

While listed as Rivals.com‘s No. 2 athlete, Hardman is expected to at least begin in the secondary.

Vols flip four-star corner from ‘Canes, add four-star Ga. safety

Butch Jones
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You know how I know it’s officially National Signing Day?  We have the first use of the word “flip” in a headline.

Unfortunately for Mark Richt, he’s on the wrong end of the flip’s landing as long-time Miami commitment Tyler Byrd has decided to attend Tennessee and play his college football for Butch Jones‘ Volunteers.  The four-star cornerback had been committed to the Hurricanes since last February, the longest for any prospect in this class for The U.

Even as that commitment came under the since-fired Al Golden, the head coach’s replacement, Richt, was able to hold on to the verbal… until this past weekend.  One final visit to Rocky Top by the Naples, Fla., star a couple of days ago was enough for Byrd to alter course and commit to the Vols.

It was also enough to piss off at least a portion of Miami fans on social media.

Rivals.com rated Byrd as the No. 7 corner in the country and the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Florida.

In addition to Byrd, the Vols further bolstered their secondary with the signing of four-star Georgia safety Nigel Warrior.  Warrior, rated as No. 4 player at his position, opted for UT over Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and LSU.