Water coolers, call-in sports talk shows and message boards are filled with fans giving their perspective on where the best high school talent comes from year to year. Unless teams go head-to-head on the gridiron or elite recruits lock on at camps, the debate has no end. National recruiting analysts Ryan Wright and Clint Cosgrove try to settle which area produces the most college football talent: the Midwest or the state of Georgia.
Cosgrove’s take: There is little question that Georgia is a hotbed for talent with it consistently producing All-American and NFL players. While it may not be fair to compare an entire region to an individual state, the mere fact that we are doing so is a testament to the talent that resides in Georgia. That being said, I think it is about time the Midwest gets some respect, and I’m willing to say that the talent in the Midwest as a whole trumps that of Georgia.
When comparing the 2023 talent after the latest rankings update, the Midwest has 35 Rivals250 players and two five-star players in QB Dante Moore and OT Kadyn Proctor. While Georgia’s 19 Rivals250 players is impressive for a single state, it currently lacks a five-star player, and the Midwest has almost twice as many Rivals250 recruits.
The area that separates the Midwest players the most is that outside of the national level recruits, many of the region’s best are far from reaching their ceiling when they arrive on campus. The 2022 draft is a great example of this as the Midwest had 13 players selected in the first two rounds, with seven going in the first and six selected in the second. The most notable of the early draft picks were the No’s. 2, 3 and 12 picks in four-star Aidan Hutchison, three-star Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner and four-star Jameson Williams. While two of those top three picks were national level recruits, an eye opening two of the remaining 10 selections were two-star players and four of them had no stars at all. The upside of Midwest players is unmatched, and the latest draft is truly a testament to that.
Wright’s take: Going back to the last five recruiting classes in the Peach State, starting with quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, the state of Georgia has produced 15 five-star players and hundreds of four-star talents. The top rankings have fit with in-state players earning All-American honors working their way to first round NFL Draft status. Georgia high school gridirons are loaded with difference makers who are helping shape the landscape of football at the next levels, and the 2023 class is working to keep pace.
After the latest rankings update, Georgia has 19 players listed in the Rivals250, seven in the top-100. Two of the high achieving four-stars, safety Caleb Downs and running back Justice Haynes, are atop their position group for the country. Victor Burley, Raul Aguirre, Madden Sanker, Ethan Davis, Dee Crayton, Terrance Love, Kayden McDonald, and Stephilylan Green are slotted among the top-10 in their position group in the nation.
Georgia prep players not only feed in-state D-I schools Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, and Kennesaw State, but line classes across the country with Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Stanford, Ohio State, Arkansas, Pitt, and Miami among the many pulling players out to help win future games.