MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Since college football's signing day in 2007, the state of Georgia has produced 53 top-100 recruits as ranked by Rivals.com.
Since that signing day, which was the first for West Virginia after a full year of flaunting its Sugar Bowl victory against Georgia, 21 of the players have become Bulldogs.
Forty-six have gone to school in the SEC or ACC while just one has gone to the Big 12.
The Mountaineers are looking to change all of that by digging in and recruiting Georgia with new assistant coaches Lonnie Galloway and Tony Gibson. In only a matter of days between being hired late in January and signing day Feb. 2, they managed to convince two of their three Georgia players to sign with WVU while getting a good look at upcoming classes.
"I think we carry a good name down there and we can be even more successful," said safeties coach Tony Gibson, who was a WVU assistant from 2001-07. "Any time we go to Georgia and start recruiting kids, we say, 'Who's your team? You like Georgia? Well, we beat them in 2006 in their backyard.' We throw that out there at them, among other things."
The Mountaineers have had four Georgia players since 2007, but not much luck with all of them. Two signed and never made it to campus. One didn't play before leaving the team. And one was Bruce Irvin, who floated from the streets of Stone Mountain, Ga., to a California junior college before starring for WVU.
Yet Gibson signed Georgia Military College's Mario Alford and Brandon Golson in the 2013 class and coaches expect Alford to be a factor at receiver and Golson at linebacker in their first season. Former running backs coach Robert Gillespie recruited safety Jeremy Tyler from Martin Luther King High, in Lithonia, Ga.
Rivals.com lists 10 Georgia players in its top 100 for the 2014 class. The Mountaineers are believed to have offered a handful of Georgia prospects, but none in the top 100.
"The other thing to look at for these 2014 kids we're recruiting right now is that our first game is in the Georgia Dome," Gibson said.
"We can tell them, 'We're coming to your town and you can play Alabama right off the bat.' "
Gibson and Galloway will only work Georgia as a secondary area. Galloway, who will oversee operations there, said the Mountaineers will recruit 15 to 20 players within a two-hour drive from the Atlanta airport.