Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 2/15/13
For fans of the Georgia Bulldogs the story remains the same. Another high school national signing day has come and gone, and more top-flight home-grown talent has left the state of Georgia than stayed there. This time the losses include the No. 1 high school football player in the country, Robert Nkemdiche, who lives less than an hour from Sanford Stadium. Nkemdiche could be the sort of high-impact defensive end that Jadeveon Clowney has become for South Carolina. But if so, he'll be doing it for Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss Rebels as the young man will travel 366 miles to Oxford, Miss rather than drive 36 miles to go to school in Athens, Ga. Nkemdiche isn't the only high-value Georgia athlete to sign with other schools. Carl Lawson, another top-flight defensive end from Milton High School in Alpharetta -- the heart of Dawg Country -- signed with Auburn, as did 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle Montravius Adams from Vienna, Georgia. The list goes on. Vonn Bell from Rossville, a five-star safety that Scout.com ranked second-best in the nation at his position, passed on Georgia, not to go to Florida or Tennessee or Alabama, but to head all the way up to Columbus, Ohio to play for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Bell wasn't the only Georgia kid Meyer lured to Columbus. Alvin Kamara, a running back from Norcross High School, which is 56 miles from the middle of the UGA campus, also signed with Ohio State. Others stayed close to home, but not close enough for Georgia fans. Four-star wide receiver Demarcus Robinson from Peach County signed with Florida; running back Tyren Jones, from Marietta, signed with Nick Saban to become the eighth running back on the 2013 roster at Alabama. Defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin from Hoschton signed with South Carolina and running back Tyshon Bell from Elberton will be a Clemson Tiger next fall. There were plenty of others. Andy Dodd, a 315-pound offensive guard from Lindale, Ga signed with LSU while wide receiver Greg Taboada of Atlanta will travel 2,400 miles to play for the Stanford Cardinal. This mass exodus would perhaps set off more alarm bells if it weren't so expected. Every year Georgia high schools produce a bumper crop of great athletes and every winter schools from outside the state whisk them away. Phillip Lutzenkirchen, the all-time leading touchdown receiving tight end for the Auburn Tigers who might have gone in the first round of this year's NFL draft if he hadn't had hip surgery after the season, went to Lassiter High School in Marietta, while the man that threw him half of those touchdown passes, Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, grew up in Newnan, Georgia. Other schools lose the occasional athlete to a conference rival, but coaches at places like Alabama and South Carolina do a masterful job of sealing their borders. Steve Spurrier brags about keeping all the best athletes within the state, and no high school athlete moves in Alabama without Nick Saban knowing about it. Whether it is a lack of emphasis from Georgia coaches or the fact that a large number of Georgia residents are transplants from other regions, the fact is that Mark Richt and his staff do not lock down the athletes within their state. As a result, other schools feel quite comfortable recruiting the best athletes they can find from within the Georgia borders. Richt and the Dawgs had a fine recruiting season -- no one has suggested otherwise -- but the ones that got away could come back to haunt them in the near future. It has happened before. In fact, it happens all the time.
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