Musings and observations from national recruiting analyst Ryan Wright out of a three-point stance. This week we cover season-changing games in the SEC with No. 1 Tennessee taking on No. 3 Georgia and No. 6 Alabama traveling to Baton Rouge to face No. 10 LSU. Plus, a 2023 recruiting update in the state of Georgia.
MORE THREE-POINT STANCE: Flip candidates, Syracuse, 2024 QB dominoes
CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State
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CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals100
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Tennessee vs. Georgia
Regardless of rankings, the battles between Tennessee and Georgia have been epic over the decades, with each taking turns upending seasons and championship dreams. The last time the two squads met on the field when they were both ranked in the top 10 was in 2005, a 27-14 victory in UGA’s favor. This time around, Tennessee has momentum as the nation’s best scoring offense, piling up 49.4 points per game. As for the Bulldogs, defense has been key with the country’s second-rated scoring defense holding opponents to 10.5 points per outing. Georgia took last year’s meeting 41-17, giving the Bulldogs a five-game winning streak against the Vols. This showdown is setting up as an instant classic.
On the recruiting front, whether prospects are in attendance or not, this game can have a ripple effect throughout the Southeast. Under second-year head coach Josh Heupel, Tennessee is up and coming and ready to retake their spot among the game’s best. Having already downed Alabama 52-49 this season, a win on the road against Georgia would put Tennessee back among the elite. With a win, expect recruits to follow.
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Alabama vs. LSU
Brian Kelly had his share of big games as head coach at Notre Dame, but this is different. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is arguably college football’s all-time head coach. With the two squaring off for the first time as SEC counterparts, the pairing is meaningful beyond the outcome. LSU and Alabama always contend for top recruits throughout the region, and within their given states winning means everything.
LSU ended an eight-game losing streak to the Tide during its historic 2019 season. Can Kelly do what Les Miles and Ed Orgeron had trouble doing during their time on the sidelines and beat Bama during the Saban era? A win for LSU would take Alabama out of contention for an SEC Championship berth, and assuming LSU can win out it would take Alabama out of a College Football Playoff berth for only the second time (2019) in the format’s nine-year history.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH ALABAMA FANS AT TIDEILLUSTRATED.COM
Recruiting in state of Georgia is essentially wrapped up
Not accounting for flips, college teams looking to add top players out of the Peach State are out of luck. Of the top 50 2023 players in Georgia, only four remained available Wednesday. With offensive guard DJ Chester committing Thursday morning, make that three: receiver Cayden Lee, cornerback Ethan Nation and running back Jamarion Wilcox.
The run on players over the summer months went in favor of those teams that didn’t slow play prospects. Alabama parlayed its recruiting efforts in taking three of the state’s top 10 prospects. Meanwhile, Clemson landed four in the top 15. In an oddity, Georgia only has one commit in the state’s top 40, at No. 12, offensive tackle Johnathan Hughley.
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