How Georgia football will see its recruiting soar after NFL Draft

Georgia defensive end Travon Walker reacts after being selected as the first overall pick to the to the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Georgia defensive end Travon Walker reacts after being selected as the first overall pick to the to the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

Georgia football won the NFL Draft, and by Monday morning, anyone who argues is afraid of what it will do for their team’s recruiting tactics.

The Dawgs were already one of the top recruiting programs in college football before the national championship and now this historic NFL Draft class, but how will their latest win help them?

Head coach Kirby Smart can sell the development to kids, sell that he has a No.1 overall pick to a guy that was underrated and breaks this record. While the NIL deals are slowly going rampant across the southeast and into the west coast, did Smart help himself by breaking this record?

Georgia football will see recruiting soar more after its historic NFL Draft class.

Smart knows that the game is slowly but surely changing. Look at what Texas A&M has going on right now and how they landed the No.1 recruiting class for the 2022 cycle. It’s not like the Aggies are on the same level as Alabama and Georgia.

The Dawgs just saw 15 drafted, Alabama had seven, and Texas A&M had four. Some may say that will change now, but will it? Head coach Jimbo Fisher hasn’t impressed, and now in our opinion, it’s make or break time — hence the No.1 class suddenly.

Can he make something happen and dethrone Alabama in the West with this class? Does he have four years to do something, or will Texas A&M boosters kick him out before then?

Fisher can do what he is because there is unlimited money surrounding Texas A&M, and their NIL initiative is one of the vastest ones. However, he can sign these classes now, but one thing he cannot do is see it correlate with the NFL Draft.

Smart just had 15 drafted — an NFL Draft record for most in one year,  a school record for that, and had five first-round picks. There isn’t much he cannot say to recruits right now that won’t impress them.

Georgia also has a NIL initiative, but it isn’t offering six and seven-figure deals off the bat. Smart is trying to keep it like it has been for years — pushing that he can get you to the NFL where the zeros multiply.

Not to mention when Travon Walker got his name called last Thursday as the No.1 overall pick — another historic moment happened. Nick Saban doesn’t have one of those. We know that because it was a storyline all weekend, that little tidbit will help Georgia continue to dominant recruiting — regardless of landing the No.1 class or just a top-3 one.

How can turning a former 5-star into the No.1 overall pick help Smart recruit or avoid key players hitting the transfer portal?

Walker wasn’t a massive playmaker until 2021, and even then, he didn’t play 60 snaps a game. His stats weren’t anything to look at compared to Aiden Hutchinson, but still, he got his name called?


As cliche as that sounds, the way Smart has shown his guys that it isn’t about winning accolades but playing together, staying disciplined, focused, and buying into his culture will get them into the league. Since he got to Athens, Smart has improved his draft classes almost every year.

That culture shows after starting with one draftee in Isaiah McKenzie during the 2017 Draft year to now 15 drafted in 2022. Not all have made it to be successful, but far more have than haven’t. Staying in the NFL is hard, and now that the other football league returned, the success can grow even more.

Walker didn’t have massive NIL deals. Georgia players had them, but none on the scale that you see at Alabama, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and the other schools.

Most of Georgia’s players who got NIL deals put that money back into the community. Nakobe Dean is a prime example of how he helped feed countless kids in Athens-Clarke County. Not all kids will be like Dean in that sense, but he too is now in the NFL.

Jordan Davis had them too, but he didn’t need them either. Smart knows football better than most coaches, and while this whole NIL situation is something new, why change something if it’s not broken?

Sure this past season helps a lot of the what-ifs that came with Smart before the national championship and record-breaking NFL Draft class, but now that those have happened — good luck convincing him otherwise.

The pattern here is Georgia is the center of attention and the topic of discussion. Current signees commented throughout the NFL Draft that who wouldn’t want to come to Georgia? Other targets mentioned Georgia in tweets too. How does that help with recruiting —  word of mouth is the best form of advertising.

Recruits that watched this past season and NFL Draft should schedule a visit to Athens as soon as possible. How does this one accolade help Georgia? Don’t kids want to play college football to make it into the NFL eventually? Georgia showed everyone it could develop and put 15 into the league, where 13 will likely have long careers.

Smart got a blessing this past weekend by seeing all 15 of those guys get drafted, but it also gave him plenty of ammo to recruit with and sell this program, so it stays at its current level.

You’re either elite or your not is one of the best Smart quotes from this past season, and it should be the team’s mantra forever.

People out there will wonder if losing 15 to the NFL Draft will cause a similar collapse to LSU in 2020, but Georgia won’t make that mistake. The Dawgs have reloaded for 2022 and now have something that can compete with NIL deals to keep the program’s future on the right track.

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After sitting on a plateau for years, Georgia football has officially evolved and elevated. Now that it has happened, the success will only continue to come the Dawgs’ way.