by Tom VanharenESPN staff writerMay 15, 2023, 12:54 pm ETRead 4 minutes

Barkley, Smart discuss Georgia culture behind success

Charles Barkley and Kirby Smart joined The Paul Finebaum Show to explain how the tradition grew behind the Bulldogs’ back-to-back national championships.

The No. 1 prospect in the 2024 recruiting class, quarterback Dylan Raiola, b. Georgia Monday.

Raiola is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound signal caller from Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the son of former NFL offensive lineman Dominic Raiola, and chose Georgia over USC and Nebraska.

“There’s a culture and a standard that attracted me,” Raiola told ESPN.

This is Riola’s second commitment to Ohio State in May 2022 over his alma mater, Nebraska, as well as Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Notre Dame, Oregon and USC, among others. At the time, he was a priority for Buckeyes coach Ryan Day and his staff, but Raiola decommitted from the Buckeyes on December 17, 2022.

When Raiola quit, his father told ESPN that Dylan won’t be making an announcement anytime soon and wants to take his time with his next decision. He took visits to Nebraska, USC and Georgia. The Trojans visited once, but Georgia was always in the picture.

“I learned a lot from my first experience. This time I took my time and I was never rushed or pushed to do things,” Raiola said. “I was able to talk to my family, pastors, and counselors. The calmness allowed me to be quiet, patient, and let God guide me.

“I appreciate all the coaches who invested in getting to know me and my family.”

As a junior, Raiola threw for 2,435 yards, 22 touchdowns and five interceptions. He threw for 3,341 yards, 32 touchdowns and five interceptions in his sophomore campaign and has 11 touchdowns over the past two years.

Ohio State filled the spot by recruiting ESPN 300 quarterback Air Noland, at No. 47, but neither Nebraska nor USC added a quarterback to their 2024 class. The Trojans signed the No. 1 quarterback in the 2023 cycle in Malakia Nelson, so it’s not scary for Lincoln Riley and his staff to add a quarterback in 2024 unless it’s someone of Raiola’s caliber.

Nebraska added Georgia Tech quarterback transfer Jeff Sims last offseason, but may still be looking to add another signal caller this cycle, either from a high school prospect or a late-season transfer.

For Georgia, the Dawgs did not sign a quarterback in 2023, but added ESPN 300 recruit Gunner Stockton in 2022. So far, Stockton has been on the roster with Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff, but Beck has been at the top since Raiola arrived. on campus and both Beck and Vandagriff will be juniors.

“The Georgia program is not dependent on one person or one position,” Raiola said. “I am committed to growing and developing as a person and as a student athlete. I am excited to work with Coach (Mike) Bobo and Coach Vanguard.”

“It’s really special how this comes full circle when coach Bobo Uncle Matthew[Stafford]brought it up during his time at Georgia.”

Adding a prospect like Raiola was critical to the future success of Georgia’s offense, and he shouldn’t come in and start right away. But given his ability, he tries to push the other three quarterbacks and see the field as quickly as possible.

With his commitment, Georgia now has nine ESPN 300 commitments, including two five-stars in Raiola and cornerback Ellis Robinson IV. Prior to the announcement, the Dawgs held the No. 1 overall seed and pushed their lead behind only Ohio State and Michigan.

“Ingredients are the biggest factor behind Georgia’s success,” Raiola said. “Coach (Kirby) Smart has built this program for the long haul and I’m happy and honored to be a part of it. In the classroom, on the field or in the weight room, I know to push him. Be my best every day.”

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