When the pen hits the paper: A look at Wednesday’s National Signing Day

BY — Hayden Gilbert

National signing day is Wednesday, and with its arrival comes the end of the 2024 recruiting class, one of the most highly touted in state history.

The top 100 players in the class form one of the most diverse and talented groups Georgia has seen. Each of the top 100 players in the class are top 1000 recruits, with 45 of the signees rated as 4-or-5-star recruits. Georgia has 13 top-100 national players, the most since the 2020 class and the second most since the turn of the century.

The five 5-stars are Buford’s KJ Bolden (safety), Dylan Raiola (quarterback), and Eddrick Houston (defensive lineman), along with Jefferson’s Sammy Brown and Parkview’s Mike Mathews. Mathews is the state’s highest-rated wide receiver since Jadon Haselwood in 2019. Raiola is the highest-rated quarterback since Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence in 2018, while Brown is the highest-rated linebacker since Tray Blackmon in 2005.

The skill positions are the strengths of the 2024 recruiting class where there are 11 wide receivers, nine tight ends, eight running backs, and nine quarterbacks. These positions boast 20 4-stars and two 5-stars, making up nearly half of the blue-chip recruits in the state. The lines of scrimmage also showcase a lot of high-end talent, with offensive and defensive linemen making up 23 of the top 100 players in the state, nine of which were blue-chip recruits.

A handful of schools have developed talent at an elite level, with seven teams boasting four top 100 players. Many of these schools consistently produce high-end talent and are a regular presence each year. Schools like Buford, Grayson, Mill Creek, Parkview, and Walton have a reputation for consistently producing top-tier players. Interestingly, two schools not traditionally considered 7A powers, Hiram and Woodward Academy, have also excelled, showcasing their ability to develop players at an elite level despite being smaller schools.

With the abundance of talent in Georgia, many schools put effort into recruiting the state’s top products. The in-state schools of Georgia and Georgia Tech are tied for the most players coming out of the state with eight each. Clemson was the top out-of-state school, bringing in seven recruits. North Carolina, and Central Florida are the only schools with six recruits. Central Florida may be the most surprising school to dominate recruiting in the state, with Gus Malzahn securing three 4-star recruits Grayson stars Kylan Fox (tight end) and Waltclaire Flynn Jr. (offensive lineman), and Hughes safety Jakob Gude, helping to create the top class in Central Florida history.

Syracuse, under new head coach and former UGA defensive backs coach Fran Brown, recruited the state better than ever, doubling the most recruits they have ever gotten with three: 4-star tight end Jamie Tremble, 4-star edge rusher KingJoseph Edwards, and 3-star quarterback Jakhari Williams.

Surprisingly, Malzahn’s former school Auburn struggled to recruit the Peach State, only securing two recruits: Parkview’s Jalyn Crawford (safety) and Favour Edein (offensive lineman). This is the second fewest recruits since the turn of the century for Auburn. Under its first-year head coach, Hugh Freeze, Auburn failed to win many major recruiting battles in the state, which is unexpected given Auburn’s location just across the state line.

As the class of 2024 comes to a close, so does the high school careers of many all-time greats. However, with their advancement to the college ranks, comes a new group of stars who will look to leave their mark on the GHSA and etch their names in the history books.


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