Both the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs have very strong 2013 recruiting classes, but what are the chances that the Bulldogs finish with the stronger class?
It would be a huge win for Mark Richt and his recruiting staff considering the powerhouse nature of Alabama, and it could be a sign of things to come for Georgia. There's no doubting that the Bulldogs have had a great year in 2012—they are one win over Alabama in the SEC title game away from playing Notre Dame in the National Championship—but college football programs and coaches aren't evaluated off just one season.
If the Bulldogs want to have something special, they'll need to be contenders for years to come, and that all depends on recruiting. Finishing with a stronger class than Alabama would be a huge win.
That said, the odds are very low that they will be able to do so.
Currently, the Crimson Tide are ranked No. 6 overall recruiting class by Rivals.com, while Georgia is ranked No. 7.
While these rankings don't necessarily point to the true strength of a recruiting class, they are a great reference point, so it's important that we start there.
Nick Saban and Alabama currently have 19 commitments for 2013, and that includes 5-star tight end O.J. Howard and 4-star athlete/running back Derrick Henry (5-star according to 247Sports). Both are considered to be elite recruits in the 2013 class.
Richt and Georgia, on the other hand, have a staggering 30 commitments lined up for 2013. Their class is also very impressive, featuring 4-star quarterback Brice Ramsey, 4-star athlete Tramel Terry and 4-star running back A.J. Turman amongst others, but it's a bit diluted.
Update: Radi Nabulsi of ESPN has let us know that Georgia's signing cap should be 36 via his Twitter account:
@e_rock12 36 by our count— Radi Nabulsi ESPN (@RadiNabulsi) December 1, 2012
Out of their 30 current commitments, 16 of them are 3-star recruits. 12 of 'Bama's 19 commitments are 4-stars and one is a 5-star.
To simplify it, Alabama's average star rating is 3.74, while Georgia's is 3.45. Breaking it down, Alabama may have fewer recruits, but their average ranking is higher. Also, while both programs are still targeting elite recruits, the Tide have a better shot to add more highly-ranked players than Georgia can, as there are a ton of highly-ranked recruits with Alabama at or near the top of their interest lists.
5-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, 5-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams, 5-star safety Vonn Bell and 4-star wide receiver (5-star according to 247Sports) Robert Foster all have high interest in Alabama, and there's a good chance that the Tide will land at least a few of those elite prospects.
While Georgia does have a shot at Tunsil and Adams, I have to like 'Bama's chances of bringing in a few more 5-star recruits into their 2013 class, especially if they go to their second straight National Championship game. Even if Georgia can land Tunsil and Adams, Alabama should finish with the higher quality of players, based on the trends of both of their classes right now.
At the very least, you have to like Saban's chances in this scenario.
Overall, Alabama projects to have the stronger class, when all is said and done. Not only is the overall quality of their class a bit higher than Georgia's right now, but the odds that they'll add more elite talent to the class are extremely high.
Realize that this isn't to bash Georgia's class, and anything is possible in recruiting, so there are no guarantees until National Signing Day.
All that said, Richt has done an incredible job, and he's setting Georgia up to be competitive for years to come. But the reality of the situation is that Alabama's class will most likely be the stronger of the two.