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Puig's long homer helps Reds beat Braves 7-6

Puig's long homer helps Reds beat Braves 7-6

Puig's long homer helps Reds beat Braves 7-6
Photo Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cincinnati Reds' Tucker Barnhart (16) celebrates with Yasiel Puig (66) after hitting a solo home run off Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kevin Gausman in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Cincinnati Reds' Yasiel Puig (66) celebrates with Jesse Winker (33) after hitting a two-run home run off Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kevin Gausman in the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Cincinnati Reds' Yasiel Puig runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kevin Gausman in the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Cincinnati Reds' Yasiel Puig watches his two-run home run in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi makes a throw in from the outfield as the Green Monster displays a third period score from the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs NHL hockey game during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Puig's long homer helps Reds beat Braves 7-6

CINCINNATI (AP) - Yasiel Puig gave his fans reason to cheer with his first home run for the Reds in Cincinnati. Now he wants a dining recommendation from them.

Puig hit a two-run homer in the first inning off the facade of the second deck in left-center field, and the Reds wasted an early lead and then rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6 Tuesday night.

Jos Peraza had his first RBIs since homering on opening day, and Tucker Barnhart homered for the Reds, who have won four of five following a four-game losing streak.

A crowd of about 50 fans, mostly teenagers, occupied seats in the right field corner and chanted "We want Puig!" before the outfielder took the field for the first inning. Many waved Puig-oriented signs, one waved a flag of Puig's native Cuba and some wore horse headgear, a reference to his "Wild Horse" nickname.

"I was surprised to see the fans in right field cheering for me," Puig said. "I want to thank them for supporting me and my teammates. I saw the horses, the Cuban flag. There must be a lot of Cuban people in Cincinnati. I have to meet some of them to find a good Cuban restaurant."

Cincinnati led 3-0 in the fifth inning, fell behind 4-3 in the sixth, then scored four runs in the bottom half.

"We had a lot of good at bats," Reds manager David Bell said.

Peraza hit a two-run double off Kevin Gausman (1-2) for a 5-4 lead, Jessie Biddle forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk to pinch-hitter Phillip Ervin and Puig hit a sacrifice fly against Wes Parsons.

Robert Stephenson (2-0) struck out two batters with a runner on third to end the sixth.

Atlanta scored on RBI doubles by Charlie Culberson against Wandy Peralta in the seventh and Dansby Swanson off Jared Hughes in the eighth. Raisel Iglesias allowed Matt Joyce's leadoff double in the ninth, then retired Ozzie Albies, Josh Donaldson and Freddie Freeman for his fifth save in six chances.

Cincinnati scored its most runs since routing Miami 14-0 on April 9. The Reds entered last in the major leagues in batting average at .197.

Joey Votto walked three times and singled in his first game after missing two games due to back tightness.

Swanson also tripled for the Braves.

Sonny Gray tied his season high with nine strikeouts but tired in the middle innings. He allowed four runs - three earned - and six hits in 5 1/3 innings as his ERA rose from 2.79 to 3.28. He is 0-3 in five starts in his first season since the Reds acquired him from the New York Yankees.

"He didn't make many mistakes," Freeman said. "It's hard to be perfect, but he was pretty much perfect until the sixth."

Gausman (1-2) gave up six runs - five earned - and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"His velocity was spiking up and down," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "That was one of those games you grind through. He gave us a chance to win."

Puig's third home run of the season went 432 feet and was his first in Cincinnati this season, and Barnhart homered leading off the fourth.

Ender Inciarte homered in the fifth and Atlanta went ahead in the sixth when Donaldson hit an RBI double and scored on a single by Freeman, who came home on Nick Markakis' sacrifice fly.


Snitker said LHP Max Fried (3-0, 1.38) will start Friday's series opener against visiting Colorado. The Reds have flipped the starts of right-handers Anthony DeSclafani (0-1, 5.59) and Luis Castillo (2-1), slotting Castillo will pitch against Atlanta on Thursday and DeSclafani at St. Louis on Friday.


Cincinnati batters had a season-high nine walks, which tied the Braves' most this season.


Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz, who hasn't pitched this season because of a right elbow bone spur, is expected to start Saturday against Colorado.

Reds: OF Matt Kemp went on the 10-day IL with a broken left rib sustained when crashing into the outfield wall at San Diego on Sunday.


Braves: RHP Mike Soroka (0-1, 1.80) is scheduled to make his first big league start on Wednesday against Cincinnati, with RHP Tanner Roark (1-0, 3.60) starting for the Reds. It will be Roark's 17th start against Atlanta, which has a .231 average against him.


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Georgia Sports News

  • The Georgia Bulldogs landed their first commitment in over a month on Tuesday, as outside linebacker prospect Chaz Chambliss announced that he would be attending the University of Georgia. Chambliss is rated as the No. 255 overall prospect in the 2021 recruiting class. He projects as a SAM outside linebacker in Georgia's defense and comes from Carrollton, Ga. Chambliss announced his commitment in a video posted to his social media pages. @KirbySmartUGA @CoachDanLanning @Dawgs247 @ChadSimmons_ @Mansell247 @CoachSimmonsFB @CoachHoon @RecruitGeorgia @jeffsentell @Carrollton_High pic.twitter.com/SuD7ifAGmo Chaz Chambliss (@ChazChambliss) May 26, 2020 Chambliss' announcement was met almost immediately with a Go Dawgs! tweet from Kirby Smart, his go-to phrase to signal a new commitment. GO DAWGS!! Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) May 26, 2020 Smart wasn't the only Georgia staffer to join in on the celebration of the news. Related: What Georgia is getting in new commit Chaz Chambliss #CommitToTheG #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/dKer8XCuYQ Coach Rod Ojong (@CoachOjong) May 26, 2020 Let's go!! #CommitToTheG #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/wcvayswTwP Charlton Warren (@CoachCwarren) May 26, 2020 With Chambliss now in the class, the Bulldogs have eight commitments in the 2021 cycle, with six of them coming from the state of Georgia. Chambliss is the fifth defensive prospect to join what should a defense-heavy class, given Georgia's need at linebacker and in the secondary. The two leaders for Georgia's 2021 recruiting class, 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff and 4-star safety David Daniel, both took the time to formally welcome Chambliss to the class as well. Vandagriff seemed to hint that the two would be roommates when attending Georgia. ROOMMATE!! Yessir brother! Welcome to the brotherhood. #GODAWGS https://t.co/wEjfh6iiX3 brock (@BrockVandagriff) May 26, 2020 Yessir congratulations @ChazChambliss welcome to the fam #GoDawgs https://t.co/BYlBeajSas David Daniel (@David_X_Dope) May 26, 2020 Those who follow the online chatter had known that Chambliss had been a target for Georgia as he received one of the apex predator graphics that a number of top recruits had gotten in recent weeks. Some of those other prospects to receive the edit include Amarius Mims, Smael Mondon, Dallas Turner, Brock Bowers, Xavian Sorey. Brock -> Brock for 6!! I could get used to that @brockbowers17 pic.twitter.com/9oe0OxAiJT brock (@BrockVandagriff) May 14, 2020 That #FloridaPipeline 75 to Athens @UnoErra @Sorey_Jr come up and with ya boy #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/VTdXlxI3RJ David Daniel (@David_X_Dope) May 15, 2020 With Chambliss now in the class, Georgia has the No. 16 recruiting class in the 2021 cycle. It should be worth noting though that some of the teams ahead of the Bulldogs in the 247Sports Composite rankings have a much higher number of commitments, such as Florida and Tennessee.Only Clemson and Ohio State have a higher ranked average recruit, as the Bulldogs have a 94.05 rating per commit And as is usually the case, Georgia fans were very excited to welcome Chambliss to the class after his decision was posted. MOOD #GoDawgs #CommitToTheG pic.twitter.com/axCT4C21hj UGA Supporters (@Support_UGA) May 26, 2020 Welcome to the family!! Go DAWGS!!! pic.twitter.com/cETYqKuBnb GO DAWGS!!!! (@UGAPlowboy) May 26, 2020 pic.twitter.com/9bpgcMmD8x Richard Thom (@HBTD1980) May 26, 2020 Andddd so it begins pic.twitter.com/KrL4yavIwa Aviation Ax (@DawgsAx) May 26, 2020 Since the NCAA instituted a dead period, preventing prospects and coaches from visiting, the Bulldogs have landed five commitments. The Bulldogs have signed a top-three recruiting class in each of the past four cycles, being the only team to do so. Georgia football 2021 recruiting commitments Brock Vandagriff, 5-star quarterback from Bogart, Ga.: No. 12 player in 247Sports Composite rankings, No. 30 player in 247Sports rankings,No. 5 in Rivals, No. 35 in ESPN, No. 2 ranked dual-threat quarterback, No. 2 ranked player from Georgia. DawgNation story on Brock Vandagriff: Why the addition of 5-star QB Brock Vandagriff could be a great sign for in-state recruiting Micah Morris, 4-star offensive tackle from Kingsland, Ga: No. 61 player in 247Sports Composite rankings, No. 32 player in 247Sports rankings, No. 41 in Rivals, No. 93 in ESPN, No. 9 offensive tackle, No. 7 player from Georgia. DawgNation story on Micah Morris:Micah Morris: Why the future criminal justice major is more than just a big get for Matt Luke David Daniel, 4-star defensive back from Woodstock, Ga.: No. 78 player in 247Sports Composite rankings, No. 126 player in 247Sports rankings, No. 96 in Rivals, No. 54 in ESPN, No. 4 ranked athlete, No. 8 ranked player from Georgia. DawgNation story on David Daniel:David Daniel: Elite DB trainer and former Bulldog Glenn Ford has an NFL parallel in mind Lovasea' Carroll, 4-star running back from Warrenton, Ga. (plays for IMG Academy): No. 118 player in 247Sports Composite rankings, No. 106 player in 247Sports rankings, No. 140 player in Rivals, No. 180 in ESPN, No. 7 ranked running back. DawgNation story on Lovasea Carroll: Why the 4.4 back sped up his timeline to choose UGA Jonathan Jefferson4-star defensive end from Douglasville, Ga.: No. 145 player in 247Sports Composite rankings, No. 176 player in 247Sports rankings, No. 177 in Rivals, No. 152 in ESPN, No. 14 ranked strongside defensive end, No. 14 player from Georgia. DawgNation story on Jonathan Jefferson: Jonathan Jefferson: 5 things to know about this week's 2021 Georgia commit Elijah Jeudy, 4-star weakside defensive end from Philadelphia, No. 171 player in 247Sports Composite rankings, No. 200 player in 247Sports rankings, No. 204 in Rivals, No. 176 in ESPN, No. 10 weakside defensive end. DawgNation story on Elijah Jeudy: The 5 things you haven't read yet about the newest Georgia commit Chaz Chambliss, 4-star outside linebacker from Carrolton, Ga: No. 255 player in 247Sports Composite rankings, Unranked in 247Sports rankings, No. 185 in Rivals, No. 222 in ESPN, No. 18 ranked outside linebacker, No. 24 player from Georgia. Marlin Dean, 3-star defensive tackle from Elberton, Ga.: No. 449 player in 247Sports Composite rankings, No. 27 DT in 247Sports rankings, No. 33 SDE in Rivals, Unranked via ESPN, No. 45 ranked player from Georgia. DawgNation story on Marlin Dean: Marlin Dean: It turns out the night UGA fell to Florida in hoops wasn't a total loss More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA HEDGES: The rival national programs between UGA and another No. 1 class Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Elite cornerback Marquise Groves-Killebrew is a 'No. 1 priority' for 2022 Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit The post What social media is saying about newest Georgia football commit Chaz Chambliss appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The lull in the recruiting cycle for Georgia's 2021 recruiting class is no more. The board for Georgia in the 2021 class is now up to eight after the commitment of in-state OLB Chaz Chambliss to the class on Tuesday morning. Chambliss, who ranks as the nation's No. 18 OLB and No. 255 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite, shared his decision to commit to Georgia in a commitment video release from his Twitter account. @KirbySmartUGA @CoachDanLanning @Dawgs247 @ChadSimmons_ @Mansell247 @CoachSimmonsFB @CoachHoon @RecruitGeorgia @jeffsentell @Carrollton_High pic.twitter.com/SuD7ifAGmo Chaz Chambliss (@ChazChambliss) May 26, 2020 Chambliss is now the second OLB prospect to join the 2021 Georgia class. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound thumper is now the program's seventh in-state recruit in the 2021 class. Pennsylvania OLB Elijah Jeudy is the lone exception. The post BREAKING: 4-star OLB Chaz Chambliss has made his college decision appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock says he has yet to decide if he'll make himself eligible for the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft. Hancock, a 6-foot-4, 213-pound right-hander from Cairo, Ga., has been projected as a top-five pick. Baseball America projected him as the No. 4 pick. 'At the end of the day you take it one day at a time, I want to take things slow,' Hancock said on a Zoom conference call with reporters on Tuesday. The Major League Baseball Draft has been widely reported as taking place on June 10-11. The first round is expected to start at 7 p.m. on June 10 and be televised by the MLB Network. 'The great thing about the Major League Baseball Draft is you can see how things play out, you don't have to declare,' Hancock said. 'There's a lot of uncertainty about where people might go and how the draft might play out. 'I don't really know what's going to happen. But whatever does happen, I'll make the best of it, and I'll make the best decision for me and my family.' Hancock, who was 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA when the season was suspended in March, said even if the season was still underway he wouldn't necessarily have a decision to announce at this point. 'At this point in our season, the only thing I'd be focusing on is pitching in Hoover (at the SEC Baseball Tournament) and getting focused on the regionals,' Hancock said. 'We had a really good group of guys. I knew in my heart this was going to be the year to break through the regionals,' Hancock said. 'We were primed to play our best baseball in May and June. We certainly had fun in the 18 games we played.' The Bulldogs were off to a 14-4 start this when the season was postponed on March 12 before ultimately being canceled on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgia was ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today at the time. It was the program's highest ranking since the 2008 team was No. 2 after advancing to the College World Series Finals. Hancock, one of the three team captains, was a Baseball America preseason All-America and on the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list. It didn't take long for Hancock to show his form, as he pitched seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts in a 9-0 win over Santa Clara on Feb. 21. In his final start before the season was suspended, Hancock matched his career high with 12 strikeouts and no walks in 7.1 innings in a combined shutout win over UMass. 'A lot of people have their opinions on me,' Hancock said. 'I love to compete, I love to win, and I love to work hard.' Hancock was just as impressive off the field while attending Georgia. Hanckock was named to the 2020 Southeastern Conference Community Service Team on Monday, an honor highlighting is community work. A member of the UGA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Hancock also took part in the annual Grady County HELP Agency, doing volunteer work to assist in providing necessities and toys to more than 500 families. The post Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock undecided on 2020 MLB Draft appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. A deeper dive into Georgia football recruiting efforts in the metro Atlanta area Since Kirby Smart took over as Georgia's head coach in December of 2015 and including the 2021 class, the state of Georgia has produced 202 blue-chip recruits, which are defined as 4 or 5-star prospects using the 247Sports Composite database. Of those recruits, 118 58 percent of them have come from nine counties that make up the metro Atlanta area, defined as the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb, Clayton, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette and Henry per the Georgia State of Tourism website. On average the metro Atlanta area produces more blue-chip recruits than the likes of Alabama, Louisiana and Ohio. Alvin Kamara, Derrick Brown and the Atlanta Falcons' 2020 first-round pick AJ Terrell all came from the area. It is one of the best recruiting areas in the country from both a high-end and volume standpoint. But in recent seasons Georgia is relying less and less on the Atlanta area to add to its recruiting haul, even as it continues to sign elite recruiting classes. In the 2019 and 2020 cycles, Georgia signed just five prospects from the area and just one of the 10 5-star prospects. Over that same time span, Clemson and Tennessee have also signed five prospects with Alabama landing six. So should Georgia be doing a better job recruiting the metro Atlanta area, or is it just too unrealistic to expect one school to dominate the area? Does Georgia need to re-prioritize how it recruits the area? The numbers show that Georgia, over Smart's tenure, has actually done the best job of any college program in terms of recruiting the area. But a handful of schools are making not insignificant strides. And there's one county in particular that Georgia has repeatedly come up short in. And it happens to be the one that produces more blue-chip recruits than any other in the Atlanta area. It's more metro Atlanta than the whole state When comparing the blue-chip recruits that come from the metro Atlanta area to that of the rest of the state, the data shows that Georgia has done a much better job recruiting the elite prospects from outside the Atlanta area as opposed to those hugging Interstate-285. Georgia has landed 21 blue-chip signees from the metro Atlanta area since Smart's first signing class in 2016. That makes up just over 20 percent of all blue-chip recruits from the area. The rest of the state of Georgia has had 84 prospects ranked as blue-chip recruits. The Bulldogs and Smart have signed or received commitments from 29 of those prospects, good for 34.5 percent of all non-Atlanta area prospects. In this cycle, the metro Atlanta recruits have also made commitments sooner than some of their counterparts. For this cycle, there are 28 total blue-chip prospects in the state. Of the 15 blue-chip prospects from the metro Atlanta area, 12 have already committed. For the rest of the state, only six of those prospects have committed. The 2021 class perhaps best illustrates how Georgia has gone about recruiting the state of Georgia in recent seasons. The Bulldogs have only one commitment from a metro Atlanta prospect, 4-star defensive lineman Jonathan Jefferson. But Georgia has commitments from three blue-chip prospects who all come from outside the metro Atlanta area, including 5-star quarterback Brock Vandagriff. That means that while Georgia has missed out on some of those elite Atlanta prospects, such as linebacker Barrett Carter and cornerback Jordan Hancock, a number of the best players in the state, such as 5-star offensive tackle Amarius Mims and 4-star wide receiver Deion Colzie, are still available for the Bulldogs to land. A closer look at Gwinett County Of the 202 blue-chip prospects Georgia has produced over the past five years, 42 have come from Gwinett County. The county produces the most blue-chips in the entire state and is one of the top talent producers in the entire country. And in Smart's time as the head coach at Georgia, he's landed just three blue-chip recruits from the area, with the last being Warren Ericson in the 2018 signing class. So when people complain about Georgia's recruiting efforts in the Atlanta area, they're most likely wondering why the Bulldogs haven't done a better job recruiting Georgia's top county. The 2021 class once again illustrates Georgia's struggles in this part of the state. The top three players in Gwinett County also double as the top three players in the metro Atlanta area. And all of them have already committed to playing outside of the state. Carter and Hancock, teammates at Suwanee, Ga.'s North Gwinnett High School committed to Clemson. Those two both play at positions of need for Georgia in this cycle. Speaking before his decision, Carter said that Georgia was a finalist in part because it was the hometown team. But Carter still ended up picking the Tigers, who are only about 30 minutes farther away. While being the local team does often gives Georgia a foot in the door, it's usually not enough on its own to convince one of the country's best prospects that it is the best place for his future. Related: What Barrett Carter's decision means for Georgia and where the Bulldogs go next in 2021 recruiting Then there's running back Cody Brown. He stars for Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga as he rushed for 1,676 yards in his junior season. While Georgia wants to take two running backs in this class, Brown committed to Tennessee earlier in May. Georgia already has one commitment in the cycle from running back Lovasea Carroll, originally from Warrenton, Ga., before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida. The Bulldogs are also well-positioned with Donovan Edwards, a running back from West Bloomfield, Mich., who is a higher rated prospect than Brown. In recent cycles Georgia has shown it has no problem looking outside of the Peach State to land top talent. The last cycle saw Georgia bring in Kendall Milton from Clovis, Calif. In the 2018 cycle, Georgia went to North Carolina for Zamir White and Miami for James Cook. The 2017 cycle saw them land D'Andre Swift from Philadelphia. Given that Georgia is RBU' and can use that brand nationally, it's probably not a coincidence that Elijah Holyfield is the only metro Atlanta running back Georgia has signed since Smart has taken over. Of the six blue-chip prospects from Gwinett in the 2021 cycle, all of them are already committed to schools other than Georgia. And each of them will play for team's Georgia will see on its 2021 schedule in Clemson, Tennessee and Florida. The 5-star level Gwinett currently doesn't have any 5-star prospects for this recruiting class, but the 2019 class saw the country produce five 5-star prospects. And all five of them elected to play their college football outside of the state. Across the rest of the metro Atlanta area though, the Bulldogs have done much better at attracting the 5-star prospects. The Bulldogs have gone into Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb and Henry counties to land a 5-star prospect. Gwinett is the only county that has produced a 5-star prospect that Smart hasn't landed at least one from dating back to the 2016 cycle. But while the Bulldogs may not have landed the likes of an Arik Gilbert or an Owen Pappoe, they've more often than not shown they can recover and land an elite prospect from outside this footprint. Pappoe, who played for Grayson High School in Gwinett County and ultimately signed with Auburn, was a key linebacker target in the 2019 cycle. After Georgia missed out on him, it pivoted and landed Nakobe Dean out of Lake Horn, Miss. Dean was actually a higher-rated prospect in the cycle and had a promising freshman season for the Bulldogs. Related: Georgia LB Nakobe Dean on path to greatness by all measures Georgia did something similar at the wide receiver spot in 2019. After seeing Jadon Haselwood de-commit and sign with Oklahoma, the Bulldogs flipped George Pickens, who went on to have a better freshman season than Haselwood. County UGA commit/signee Fulton 6 Cobb 5 Dekalb 4 Gwinett 3 Henry 2 Douglas 1 This is where Georgia's national recruiting success, especially in the past two seasons, has really helped make up for some of those misses in the metro Atlanta area. 'We might have been second or third on a national kid that was a really good player. Say a Kendall (Milton), Say a Kelee (Ringo), but we won a lot of those,' Smart said while discussing Georgia's 2020 signing class in February. 'The other part is we lost some instate battles that were really, really good players.' 'So I think the two of those merged just sort of happened at unique positions where we would've taken the in-state guy or the out of state guy. It just so happened we got the out of state guy.' The growing orange concern As Smart mentioned, Georgia has been missing out more on in-state players. So with Georgia getting more and more of its elite players from outside the Peach State, which schools are hurting the Bulldogs the most, especially inside the metro Atlanta area? The biggest one to know is the Clemson Tigers. Under Dabo Swinney the Tigers have always done well in the state, while landing the likes of Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. But in recent cycles, they've put in even more focus on the Atlanta area and it has paid off. The Tigers signed multiple Atlanta area prospects in each of the last five signing classes, including 5-star defensive end Myles Murphy and 5-star cornerback Andrew Booth in the last two cycles. And they've gotten off to a strong start in the 2021 cycle, as Clemson already has commitments from four Atlanta-area blue-chippers, including the top two overall talents in Hancock and Carter. The other team that has most recently made significant progress in Atlanta is Tennessee. The Volunteers have also landed multiple signees in each of the past two recruiting cycles, and have two commitments in the 2021 class in Brown and 4-star wide receiver Julian Nixon. As Jeremy Pruitt continues to become more established at Tennessee, it's clear it Atlanta is going to become an even bigger and more crucial part of his program. And that likely will come at the expense of Georgia, even though the Bulldogs continue to do a better job of recruiting the area than any other program. And after Alabama got shut out in the 2018 cycle, it signed six blue-chip prospects over the past two cycles. Unlike Tennessee and Clemson though it holds no 2021 commitments from one of the prospects in the area. The fact that just about every major SEC power is or needs to recruit Atlanta at a high level only makes things more difficult for Georgia. It won't be like it was for USC with the Los Angeles or Miami recruiting south Florida for those super teams of the late 1980's and early 90's. There's simply too much regional competition in metro Atlanta for Georgia to dominate it, as opposed to how LSU handles New Orleans. What you'll notice about the list above is that all but one of these teams is an SEC program, and Clemson essentially operates as one from the comfort of the ACC. Atlanta isn't just responsible for supplying the home-state Bulldogs with top recruits, it's a key part of several of the best programs in the nation's top conference. From a pure numbers standpoint, sure Georgia could do a better job of recruiting the metro Atlanta. If Smart and his staff had ignored positional need and signed just the 22 blue-chip recruits from the metro Atlanta area in the 2020 class, Georgia would've finished with the No. 4 overall recruiting class. But in doing so, the Bulldogs then probably don't get a Milton, a Ringo, a Mekhail Sherman or a Marcus Rosemy. All players who figure to be huge pieces of what Georgia continues to build in the coming seasons. Missing out on a Carter or a Gilbert at the moment should be seen a miss, given in the last two cycles those two players have played at a position of need for the Georgia program. But when the Bulldogs are able to go out land a Darnell Washington and a possibly a Smael Mondon instead, the misses in the metro Atlanta aren't a reason to question Smart's recruiting results. Georgia is still the only program in the country to sign a top-three recruiting class in each of the previous four recruiting cycles. Those first two cycles saw Georgia lean heavily on the metro Atlanta area. These last two have seen Georgia skew more nationally for those elite recruits. And while Clemson and Tennessee have picked up a few more wins in the area, they're not exactly storming the gates and raiding the area for all of the top recruits. The Bulldogs are still getting their fair share and more so than any other program. It's just that no program, not even a Georgia program that is among the national elite in the country, can be expected to dominate the metro Atlanta area from a recruiting standpoint. The area is just too deep and too vital to so many other programs for that to happen. Full list of all metro Atlanta recruits since 2016 More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Daniel Martin: Elite 2022 defensive athlete describes his 'family' feeling at UGA Georgia freshman Kelee Ringo works out with NFL All-Pro, preparing for greatness WATCH 3 things: What's next for college football return Georgia football podcast: An example of Jamie Newman hype that Kirby Smart probably likes Jamaree Salyer has been one of the big winners of Georgia's offseason Kirby Smart reveals thoughts on return, Georgia outlines voluntary workout transition plan Why aggressiveness, not athleticism, could mark the most important difference between Jamie Newman and Jake Fromm Dawgs on Twitter My Big dogs working! pic.twitter.com/0T5632Q8J1 Outlaw The Strength Coach (@outlaw_coach) May 25, 2020 Tuff https://t.co/1XJeVmuSfY Justin Shaffer (@ShafferJustin54) May 23, 2020 Sounds Before the Snap with @CoachSchuUGA #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/WQhdVvmWOu Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 24, 2020 Ernie Johnson gave us the best thing you'll see all year long #TheMatch pic.twitter.com/FKTgsmIfC4 Kevin Gray Jr. (@CTSportsRadio) May 24, 2020 Good Dawg of the Day This is Kosi. If he really concentrates, he can shoot rainbows out of his head. 13/10 magical as h*ck pic.twitter.com/Pemo8kaaml WeRateDogs (@dog_rates) May 22, 2020 The post A deep dive into Georgia football recruiting facts, figures and fallacies in metro Atlanta appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Social media has never played a bigger role in sports than it has the past 2 1/2 months with college sports sidelined on account of the coronavirus. For better and sometimes for worse, fanbases have relied heavily on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for their sports takes of late. Certainly, social media had a field day on Sunday after watching 'The Match ll' on television featuring Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. There was key insight into the Georgia football program to be found on Twitter, too. More social media buzz is schedule for Tuesday, when UGA star pitcher Emerson Hancock holds a 10 a.m. Zoom press conference to announce his future intentions with the Major League Baseball Draft approaching. On Wednesday, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity joins DawgNation at noon for the On The Beat program. The show moved from its customary 7:30 p.m. Monday slot on account of Memorial Day. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean appeared last week. The Bulldogs have a reloaded team that looks to break more records next season. RELATED: How Tom Crean plans to turn Georgia basketball into a winner Here are three social media blasts worth noting from the Memorial Day weekend: Monty speaks up and out Georgia senior Monty Rice has yet to make first-team All-SEC, and he's hardly a household name even in his home state of Alabama. But the feeling here is Rice has evolved into the leader and player Kirby Smart knew he could be two years ago when he tabbed him to step in Roquan Smith's shoes at linebacker. Rice echoed his head coach's Sugar Bowl post-game sentiments when he called out himself and teammates on Memorial Day, setting a tone that's sure to roll into workouts when UGA players return on June 8. WATCH: Kirby Smart sends stern message after Sugar Bowl win It's one thing for a coach to say it, but another when a team leader like Rice is sending the message in the locker room when the coaches aren't around. I've been on a defense that was supposed to be dominant and we weren't. Wanna know why? 1word complacency #ripshotime #lastyeardontmatter Monty Rice (@RiceMonty) May 25, 2020 It's worth noting Georgia led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense last season and ranked third in total defense and eighth in pass efficiency defense. It's also worth pointing out that it was Rice throwing a fit in the postgame of the Auburn game. While many others celebrated a 21-14 win, Rice was aggravated UGA gave up its first rushing TD of the season. WATCH: Monty Rice more evidence of invisible progress during COVID-19 break And, from the sounds of it, incoming freshmen like Kelee Ringo will see to it returning starters can't afford to get complacent. RELATED: Kelee Ringo trains with NFL star, could make sudden impact at cornerback Peyton tees off Former Tennessee standout and five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning is perhaps the greatest pitch man in football history, so he was right at home being mic'd up for 'The Match ll' golf event with Brady, Woods and Mickelson. Manning hilariously explained why he wouldn't match the signature red and black colors worn by his golf partner, Woods. 'I'm mot wearing black and red, that's Georgia Bulldog colors, I mean, I just can't do that,' Manning said. 'If you want me to get sick on the first hole I'll do it. 'I'm not gonna let Kirby Smart get a picture of me in black and red for their social media account.' #Georgia fans take note: social media matters, even Peyton conscientious of Kirby Smart https://t.co/xNX3jz8bIJ MikeGriffith32 (@MikeGriffith32) May 24, 2020 Tennessee has elevated its program image through social media throughout the offseason like no other program, trumpeting a No. 2 recruiting ranking that currently hinges more on volume than average player rating. To boot, the Vols social media account is promoting fictitious cartoon 'Coach Duggs' playing video games, celebrating the animated action as though it was real. Gametime Back where it all began Tennessee @ Toledo Starts Now -> https://t.co/MzqHRTGM0Z pic.twitter.com/2so1jP0swO Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) May 25, 2020 RELATED: Vols rewriting recruiting playbook Jake's belated farewell Celebrated Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm slipped away from the Bulldogs' program via a social media farewell on Jan. 8. RELATED: Jake Fromm drops surprising decision on Georgia, ends decorated career It seemed odd that a player so highly regarded and accomplished as Fromm would choose to bid his program and fan base farewell via a social media post rather than an in-person press conference. The personable Fromm is as celebrated a home-state hero as one will find. From his heroic Little League World Series days in Warner Robins, to his fascinating and fun character reveal as a star of the Netflix QB1 Series. Fromm, now in the role of NFL underdog quarterback as a rookie with the Buffalo Bills, took time to share his sentiments for Georgia through the school's football account on Saturday. Most everyone knew how Fromm felt about the Bulldogs, but to finally hear him acknowledge the legacy he leaves behind had to leave UGA fans feeling fulfilled Fromm shared some of his favorite memories, concluding, 'What's not to love about it? Everything, honestly . I loved every minute of it, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the entire world. 'The fans are amazing, and that's what makes Georgia football fun, the whole state of Georgia and DawgNation gets on board.' . An Experience Unlike Any Other | @FrommJake takes us back to some of his favorite memories as a Dawg #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/mYjAS6y94A Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 23, 2020 DawgNation Georgia football offseason Kirby Smart shares thoughts on June 8 return to campus Jamaree Salyer one of the big offseason winners for Georgia Rival programs looming on recruiting trail for Bulldogs Podcast: George Pickens should ease Jamie Newman transition WATCH: Jamie Newman gets offseason work with Justin Fields The post 3 Georgia football social media blasts from Monty Rice, Peyton Manning and Jake Fromm appeared first on DawgNation.