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Commitment of Top QB Recruit Dylan Raiola Shows Georgia CFB Dynasty Is Here to Stay

Adam Kramer

The evidence of a dynasty has been mounting.

Long before Georgia won back-to-back national championships, there was a sense that something was being constructed in Athens. In the past two years, however, the Bulldogs have escalated the conversation, pushing rival Alabama aside somewhat seamlessly along the way.

On the heels of their second national title, a 65-7 bludgeoning of TCU that still doesn't quite feel real, the word "dynasty" was attached to Kirby Smart's team with far greater frequency and ease. Now, four months later, one can't help but feel even stronger about those claims with more reinforcements on the horizon.

Dylan Raiola, the No. 1 quarterback and top overall player in the 2024 class, according to 247Sports, committed to Georgia on Monday. The 6'3", 220-pound QB has starred at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, Arizona. He chose the Bulldogs over USC, Nebraska and others.

"There's a culture and a standard that I was attracted to," Raiola said to ESPN on his decision. "The more time that went by, the stronger I felt about Georgia and ultimately led to this decision."

While Raiola's commitment to the defending national champions isn't necessarily a surprise, the decision requires proper context. His father played for Nebraska, and the connection to the school and its latest reboot under Matt Rhule felt significant.

As for USC, the allure is obvious. The Trojans are closer to home, and Caleb Williams, fresh off winning a Heisman, is likely to depart for the NFL after the coming season.

The potential pairing with head coach Lincoln Riley—coupled with easier access to the starting QB vacancy in an offensive-minded system—had plenty to offer. In this instance, it wasn't enough.

"The substance behind [Georgia's] success is the biggest factor," Raiola added. "Coach [Kirby] Smart has built this program to last, and I'm excited and honored to be a part of it. Whether it's in the classroom, on the field or in the weight room, I know I'll be pushed to be my best every day."

Raiola is the latest 5-star talent to commit to Georgia since Smart arrived in 2016. After winning eight games in his debut season, the Bulldogs have found momentum on the recruiting trail and on the field.

Without the first part, the second doesn't happen.

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The influx of talent from the start of Smart's tenure has made this run possible. And now, as Georgia moves on from QB Stetson Bennett and a slew of talented players now realizing their NFL dreams, Raiola's arrival signifies more than just the addition of another gifted player.

Like Alabama, Georgia has learned to navigate life as the nation's best football program. Beyond the now-regular yearly exodus of talent, Todd Monken, the offensive architect of the past two titles, left the Bulldogs for the Baltimore Ravens this past offseason.

The fact that Raiola is comfortable in the system Smart has created speaks volumes. It also says plenty about Smart's decision to name Mike Bobo the offensive coordinator.

Although Bobo has yet to call a play, his second stint with the program has started exceptionally well. While Raiola's commitment is to Smart and the program as a whole, his comfort with the offensive coordinator surely played a significant role.

In terms of positional competition, Raiola's is likely to face plenty of it. Carson Beck, Gunner Stockton and Brock Vandagriff were coveted high school prospects at one point, and they are currently on the Georgia roster.

All three are currently vying for the starting QB job, although time will tell if Raiola's decision could alter the depth chart long before he arrives.

If that sounds familiar, it should. This is a blueprint that Alabama helped create under Nick Saban. It's what that term, dynasty, demands.

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A loaded depth chart isn't keeping players from coming to Athens; it's creating a frenzy to join in. Competition is breeding more competition. Winning championships can have that effect.

This, more than anything, is about staying power. It's about longevity. It's about reestablishing the barometer of success and doing everything possible to repeat that success year over year with different players and a reworked staff.

Doing so is easier said than done, no matter how normal Georgia has made it look of late. The only way to maintain this pipeline is by consistent, overwhelming recruiting.

At a time when Alabama is dipping into the transfer portal to potentially fill its one glaring quarterback vacancy—a potential sign of mortality for a program that built the dynasty blueprint—Georgia is assembling star power for the future.

This isn't about 2023 or even 2024; this is about something well out of reach.

On a day when no games were played and no passes were thrown, Georgia won big. It added another 5-star player to a roster chock full of 5-star talents, and it went across the country to do so.

At a time when the offense is undergoing a massive change, the Bulldogs secured the commitment from one of the nation's most coveted players. It is easy to take this moment for granted given all the success Georgia has accumulated, but this moment feels significant.

While it won't help the efforts to win a third consecutive national title this upcoming year, Raiola's decision is, in a way, far more meaningful. It's about the future and maintaining prolonged dominance.

Although there was no need for Georgia to remind the rest of college football what it's up against, behold the latest piece of evidence that the Bulldogs won't be relinquishing their status any time soon.


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