Many were questioning Georgia head coach Kirby Smart’s play-calling decision when his team lost to Vanderbilt this past weekend. While fans may be critical of the first-year Bulldogs coach’s lack of on-the-field success so far with a 4-3 record, Smart may be excelling in one area better than other rookie coaches.
In power rankings created by ESPN’s Jeremy Crabtree, Smart is listed as the best first-year coach in terms of recruiting.
Crabtree cites Smart’s ability to attract in-state recruits as one of his best skills.
“Georgia has always recruited well, but in the final few years under Mark Richt, the Bulldogs simply allowed too many of their top local prospects get away to rival SEC schools,” Crabtree writes. “Changing that was priority No. 1 for Smart on the recruiting trail, and his emphasis on local talent has paid off.”
Two other SEC first-year coaches rank among the Top 10 on Crabtree’s power rankings.
South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp is at No. 4, with Crabtree writing that he “is doing a very good job of rebuilding his defense through recruiting wins.”
Missouri’s Barry Odom is at No. 10 on the list. Crabtree cites that Odom has been able to acquire recruits from states they had moved away from when Gary Pinkel was coach and that “if Odom can continue to mix in the old with the new, then has to be a lot of hope for more recruiting success for the Tigers.”