Ever since former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin made waves by showing up to visit recruits via helicopter, SEC coaches have followed suit.
Kirby Smart took a helicopter around the state of Georgia last year, and he was back at it again on Friday when he flew into Mill Creek High School.
— Mill Creek Recruits (@MC_Recruiting) January 27, 2017
On the surface, this is always pretty cool to see. But on a deeper level, it’s a genius recruiting tactic. Some coaches prefer to sneak in the back door with as little fanfare as possible. If a coach wants people talking about his program for days and weeks after his visit, however, he shows up in a helicopter.
There has been some talk that Georgia could be interested in Mill Creek’s All-American kicker, Brenton King. If that is indeed the reason for Smart’s visit, then it’s all the more impressive that he showed up in a helicopter.
Smart is making waves around the state in a way that Mark Richt simply didn’t in his waning years as the Bulldogs head coach. Players like Deshaun Watson, Robert Nkemdiche and Montravius Adams left the Peach State for other programs.
One of the biggest complaints about Richt’s recruiting in his final years was that he wasn’t keeping enough of the state’s premier talent at home. Smart is proving he can do just that. 13 of the top 20 prospect in the state of Georgia are currently committed to the Bulldogs.
Getting prospects to stay home isn’t just about making a scene for the big-name players, however. It’s about showing up in a helicopter at a high school with few top prospects and getting everyone in that area to talk about it for weeks to come.