“No matter what my star was, I knew I had to come in and prove myself to everybody.”

I’m never been someone who’s entirely comfortable with the ease that some are willing to characterize college athletes as a class as spoiled, entitled kids who expect more than they’ve earned.  For one thing, I’ve raised three of my own, none of whom were scholarship athletes, and they certainly had their share of spoiled, entitled moments.  For another, I tend to resist pat explanations as lazy thinking.

But even with that in mind, I’m having a hard time ignoring the picture that Garrison Smith paints about last year’s defense.

… As Smith saw it, talent wasn’t the secondary’s problem. It was a sense of entitlement from young players, as well as leadership.

“When I was first here, we had guys like Brandon Boykin, and Sanders Commings. (Bacarri) Rambo and guys like that were leaders. They were able to speak up and be vocal,” Smith said. “Whereas once they left we didn’t have any more guys that were vocal like that. Everybody was so laid back. And that was one of the big things that happened last year.”

Smith declined to talk about any player specifically. But he agreed that “a couple of them” came to campus believing too much in their recruiting hype, and were able to quickly earn playing time because of the lack of returning starters.

“When you already get slotted into a position and you never played a down, and you’re already starting when you come in, you get a big head, and that’s what happened to a lot of guys,” Smith said.

A perfect storm, in other words, rather than a case of poor evaluation on the recruiting trail.

Naturally, it raises the question of whether Georgia is erring in recruiting evaluation. But Rusty Mansell, the recruiting analyst for Dawgs247.com, discounted that as the issue.

“Georgia didn’t take any chances in signing these kids. There were no red flags with them. These kids were recruited by everybody,” Mansell said. “I knew all those kids, covered every one of them. I knew them at an early age, and nothing really told me this guy is going to be an issue.”

Roster mismanagement is something that has come home to roost in all kinds of ways with this program.  That doesn’t mean Richt has to Sabanesquely oversign.  But this sure as hell looks like another sign that being a dozen short of the scholarship limit of 85 isn’t the best way to go about doing business.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to ““No matter what my star was, I knew I had to come in and prove myself to everybody.”

  1. heyberto

    I’m pretty tired about hearing how the past regime was entitled every year. Sounds like some work needs to be done on the middle classman leadership.. maybe even the guys that aren’t the high star number talents, but have strong work ethics (guys like Chrisitan Robinson). Just a thought.

  2. DawgPhan

    Imagine what a little competition could have done for those guys.

  3. Will it be next year or the year after (or ever) before the whiplash effect of undersigning will be over? You have to hope the next crop of secondary recruits that get playing time right away don’t fall into the same pattern of behavior as the last. Perhaps Pruitt can stop that from happening. I hope so.

    • Dawgfan Will

      Well, he’s got a few examples of what would happen to such recruits to point at now. ;-)

      • DawgPhan

        We have always had those examples.

        The examples dont work. Even when it is happening to them it doesnt sink in.

        JSW decided to pipe in on Twitter last night.

        “We will play and win games with people who are willing to buy in”

        You know coming from someone still looking at a suspension from a weed arrest that is interesting talk. I guess at UGA buy in mean “I’ve got $5 on it”.

        • Meaning, what – he’s incapable of learning his lesson?

          • If he = Richt, there are examples on that, such as the continued issues on the OL, on special teams, the extra time given Martinez and Van Halanger when they were becoming issues, among other things.

            • What lesson should Richt be learning re: the offensive line?

              • Not signing classes with just 2 or 3 would be a nice start. If I were an expert on fixing it Senator, I’d probably be sitting in Butts-Mehre instead of where I am right now. It was more a comment on the fact that the OL has been a repeated problem pretty much since 2002. And LT has been a problem since Trinton Sturdivant went down. At best, our OL since the Foster/Stinch group has been “not a liability”. Other years, they have been a huge issue, but I can’t recall a group I’d say was strong since 2007, if not 2002.

              • The primary point of that comment though Senator, there has been specific issues that have been harped on under Richt almost since day 1 it seems. Red zone offense, special teams coverage units, the OL, overall depth/scholarship usage, we’ve been reading about how this team has learned it’s lesson and will put in the work those other guys didn’t since the summer of 2009 after that disappointing 08 season every single summer except after 2012. There are certain things Richt does really well, but there has been other areas that no matter what we try, just can’t get right. Do you disagree with that general premise?

          • DawgPhan

            Sure he learned his lesson. Sure that he is buying in. Sure that next summer we will be staring at a list of kids in trouble and sure that guys will be telling me about buying in and how lazy those guys last year were.

  4. Gravidy

    At the risk of being considered a lazy thinker, I’m perfectly comfortable assuming highly recruited football players have an entitlement problem. Among four-five star recruits, there are more Triggas than Keith Marshalls, sadly.

  5. Athens Townie

    “That doesn’t mean Richt has to Sabanesquely oversign. But this sure as hell looks like another sign that being a dozen short of the scholarship limit of 85 isn’t the best way to go about doing business.”

    Amen.

  6. South FL Dawg

    I question the entitlement theory. For one thing, who is to say that these guys were not allowed to get away with stuff before they started playing football? I mean look, talking in class is a no-no in first grade, way before you play organized sports. And as a former teacher I’ve seen behavior problems in students who were not playing sports.

    For that matter I’ve seen kids held out by their coach, and it temporarily helps to get them back in line, but it’s like they’re living on a little bit of goodwill at a time. When it runs out, the coach holds them out again, and they go and build a little more goodwill. But it’s short lived; the pattern just keeps repeating.

  7. Russ

    Wasn’t the roster shortage like 3 classes ago? Is recruiting below numbers still an issue?

    • Olddawg 55

      Why doesn’t UGA have a “backup list” of JC or unsigned recruits who have D-1 potential and even at this date..early summer…invite them onto the roster…or reevaluate the “Preferred walkon” list and elevate those who have potential. We eventually have around 105 on the team…can’t coaches see something in some of them..a la Aaron Davis, et al??

  8. 69Dawg

    A few things have changed over the last 30 years or so that affects this behavior. The NCAA making athletic dorms a no no.was one of the first. Heck UGA built McWhorter Hall to isolate the athletes from the general population and we, the general population, were happy about it. The coaches had absolute control up to and including bed checks and curfews. Now some of the players still act up, Ole Jake Scott was in school when I was and he was as wild a man as UGA ever saw but the coaches handled it not the police and the press was not even in the equation.

    The second thing was the media changed. For years the media would not report things that the players did. Just like they would not report on JFK’s extra-curricular stuff. It was just the way it was. Now the press is being scooped by social media and they have to report it.

    The last thing that changed was society itself. There was very little hype for high school players. Herschel was the first that I can remember being super hyped on a national basis. The advent of some sports nerds making money off of recruiting ended the era of a player proving himself on the college field. Now they are dubbed “can’t miss” in the 10th grade. By the time the recruiting services get through, is it any wonder these guys expect to walk right into a position.

    Now in some areas of this great country some schools can still control the press and the local police are still jock sniffers but Athens is not that place. So when we get these guys who are above the team our dirty laundry becomes news on ESPN. It’s the way we roll, it’s the Georgia Way.