For the second time in his career, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2024 – Dylan Raiola – has announced where he intends to play college football.
This time choose File University of GeorgiaAnd even a casual fan can tell you why.
UGA is the best college football program in the country. This, of course, is not new. Georgia has been an outstanding program for nearly a decade and has performed above . 500 in most years since the dawn of the 21st century.
But lately, no one has won like UGA has. In an era of football defined by upheaval – the advent of the transfer gate, instant transfer eligibility for the first time, the emergence and constant evolution of name, image and likeness laws, and changing membership in four of the Power 5 leagues – Georgia has become a model of sustained excellence.
Just last week, when I ranked the Bulldogs No. 1 in my post-spring football rankingsrecognized Georgia as the only program to repeat as back-to-back national title winners without being named a quarterback in the first round of the tournament. NFL Draft. It is a program that was built not because of the talents of quarterbacks, but in spite of them.
With Raiola committed, the Dawgs would have their seventh five-star team in school history. But no one has ever led UGA to a national title. no Justin Fieldsno Jacob Easonno Aaron Murrayno Matthew Staffordnot DJ Shockley.
Now, a third-year quarterback Brooke Vandagriff That could change in seven months. But he should get four years of quarterbacking Carson Beck Until he wins the job, Beck appears as offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will choose to lead his offense in the first year.
Unless Vandagriff wins the job at camp, takes over due to injury, or comes off the bench in the second half of the national title game to beat, say, AlabamaRaiola will be the next guy who has a chance to meet the expectations that come with being a 5-star: winning a national title.
Many thought Fields would be that guy, and he looked the part too. With Raiola’s size and enormous arm and mobility, the comparison is apt. But will Raiola do more for UGA than Fields did?
Absolutely. At UGA, Fields passed for just 328 yards, rushed for 266 more, and scored eight TDs in 2018. But Raiola’s real measuring stick is what Fields did after moving to Ohio State. In 2019 with the Buckeyes, Fields passed for 3,273 yards – 11.4 yards per attempt – rushed for 484 and accounted for 51 total TDs on their way to Big ten Title and appearance of the CFP.
In 2020, he played a significant role in playing Big Ten football simply during COVID, then led his program to the national title game with just eight games played that season. He is also undefeated against Michigan.
That’s the bar — two CFP appearances in two years, recognition as a Heisman Finalist, a national title appearance, and at least one 3,200-yard long, 450-yard rushing, 50-plus TD season. Given Raiola’s ability, these numbers should come in handy.
All of this, of course, should upset Ohio State fans. After all, Kirby Smart built UGA around continuity and defensive dominance, not great quarterback play. However, Raiola chose it over Ohio State.
He reneged on his commitment after the Buckeyes lost to UGA in the Peach Bowl, a CFP semifinal, on a missed field goal. Buckeye fans may see his decision similarly to how it is Oklahoma City Thunder Watch the fans Kevin Durant Jump on the ship to join Golden State After the Thunder lost to the Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference Finals.
The Buckeyes may find themselves relieved that Raiola didn’t end up up USC, where he made multiple hits and where his friend and five-star tight end Duce Robinson ended up. After beginning his high school career at Chandler (Arizona) High School, he moved on to join Robinson at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, the alma mater of the former five-star quarterback. Spencer Rattler.
But the lure of playing quarterback Lincoln Riley wasn’t enough for Raiola either. Riley, after all, has never won a national championship.
Do you know who has it? Stetson Bennett. In fact, Bennett won two titles with the Bulldogs, became a living legend in the state of Georgia and was just a fourth-round pick in the NFL Draft.
This is the tape, and Georgia fans are satisfied with it. Imagine it: Being happy being a five-star quarterback would be as good as a quarterback who walked his feet and had to play junior college ball just to make the team.
It’s a funny sport, college football.
RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and host of the podcast “The number one college football show.Follow him on Twitter at @tweet And Subscribe to “The Number One College Football Show” on YouTube.
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