Deadspin has the YouTube of that four year old getting creamed at the Colorado State spring game:
This may force Colorado State to rethink its policy? Maybe they’re waiting for someone to break something…
For those of you looking for an honest to God trend among SEC coaches, I’ll give you one:
College football coaches, especially in the Southeastern Conference, roll the dice of enrolling early signees every winter. The coaches figure if a prospect is academically attentive enough to graduate at the end of the fall semester of his senior year, he must be ready to handle moving on to college.
The article mentions the nine (!) early enrollees at Florida, the three at MSU and notes that even the conservative Phil Fulmer has five at UT. The AJC has the complete list of the kids that elected to go to an SEC school this spring:
— High school: Jamar Taylor, RB, Lakeland, Fla.
— High school: Brent Slusher, TE/DE, Pineville, Ky.
— High school: Ahmad Black, DB, Lakeland, Fla.; Joe Haden, WR, Ft. Washington, Md.; Aaron Hernandez, TE, Bristol, Conn.; Cameron Newton, QB, Atlanta; James Pouncey, OL, Lakeland, Fla.; LaShawn Pouncey, OL, Lakeland, Fla.; Bo Williams, RB, Oakland Park, Fla.; Paul Wilson, WR, Lakeland, Fla.
— Junior college: Bryan Waggener, QB, Glendora, Calif.
— High school: Trinton Sturdivant, OL, Wadesboro, N.C.; Tanner Strickland, OL, Nashville, Ga.
— Prep school: Justin Anderson, OL, Ocilla (Hargrave Military)
— Junior college: Jarius Wynn, DL, Lincolnton; Scott Haverkamp, OL, Silver Lake, Kan.; Vince Vance, OL, Hinesville; Corey Irvin, DL, Augusta.
— Junior college: Jess Beets, OL, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; Josh Winchell, OL, Southaven, Miss.
— High school: Joseph Barksdale, DE, Detroit
Ole Miss (2)
— Junior college: Mark Jean-Louis, OL, Palm Beach, Fla.; Ashlee Palmer, DB, Compton, Calif.
Mississippi State (3)
— Junior college: Jessie Bowman, DE, Brookhaven, Miss.; Dominic Douglas, LB, Clinton, Miss.; Josh Ridell, QB, Salem, Ore.
South Carolina (6)
— High school: Stephen Garcia, QB, Tampa; Travian Robertson, DE, Laurinburg, N.C.
— Prep school: Clifton Geathers, DL, Georgetown, S.C.; Ladi Ajiboye, DE, College Park
— Junior college: Jonathan Williams, DT, Augusta; Larry Freeman, WR, Fort Meade, Fla.
— High school: Art Evans, CB, Lakeland, Fla.; Todd Campbell, WR, Franklin, Tenn.; Donald Langley, DT, Germantown, Md.; Darris Sawtell, OL, Birmingham, Mich.
NONE: Arkansas, Vanderbilt
Combine that with the aggressive approach taken by Urban Meyer with regard to freshman – “From here on out, we recruit you to play. There are no redshirts at Florida, you are here to play.” – and you’re looking at a very different way that talent will be deployed down the road.
It seems to me that for this to work, a coach either has to be a terrific judge of both talent and character, or has to bring in enough talent every year to sustain the inevitable losses that will come from a certain number of kids leaving, either because they don’t pan out, or because they’re good enough to leave for the NFL early.
Meyer clearly hopes to be in the second category. As for the first category, there’s certainly a risk of not getting it right (more than once, in the following case):
But for all the immediate encouragement from early enrollees, there’s the case of Stephen Garcia, a prized Florida prep quarterback who signed and enrolled early at South Carolina.
Garcia was suspended most of the spring after being arrested twice in a three-week period. He was arrested Feb. 17 and charged with drunkenness and failure to stop for a police officer. He was suspended by Gamecocks’ coach Steve Spurrier after the incident, then reinstated.
He was arrested a second time March 3 on charges of malicious injury to personal property after a professor reported that Garcia had used a key to scratch the man’s car. Garcia was again suspended by Spurrier, who eventually allowed him to return to spring work, but only to throw on his own.
When asked at the end of spring practice if Garcia was ready to return this summer, Spurrier replied, “Well, as long as he stays straight and we don’t have to go bail him out of the slammer. I’m not going to babysit him. He’ll either straighten up or he’ll be gone. He’s on his last chance around here.”
Mark Richt seems to fall in the middle on this. On the one hand, judging from the numbers in the list above, he’s certainly not adverse to bringing kids in early (Georgia is second only to Florida with seven, necessity being the mother of invention, I suppose). But he places a higher value on redshirting than does Meyer, at least by their public statements.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Meyer has access to a talent base that is vastly larger than that of any other school in the SEC, and with FSU and Miami currently down from their previous levels, is making hay while the sun shines. If his approach works, it’s hard to see how most of Florida’s rivals in the conference could keep up.