High achievers

Interesting suggestion buried in this story about the record number of early enrollees Georgia expects to have in this next recruiting class:

Richt, who had only two early enrollees in 2011 and three last year, really pressed the issue with this year’s class to make up for roster deficiencies.  ”If there was any year we pushed it, it was this year,” Richt said. “We’re trying to get to 10. So that was an important thing for this year’s class. But most of the time we might bring it up, ‘If you’re the kind of guy that would be excited about getting a head star, great. If not, it’s not that big a deal.’”

It was a big deal for UGA this year after whiffing on numerous targets on last year’s signing day. To make up for it, the Bulldogs targeted a lot of recruits that had strong enough academics to be able to enroll early. “They would’ve been behind if they didn’t,” Scout.com’s Chad Simmons said. “After (the small class) last year, they were really behind in numbers. It was really a good job by Georgia to go out and identify guys that had the option to graduate early … to help them catch up with (the 85-man roster limit).”

It’s reasonable to expect that early enrollees have drive and focus in spades.  After all, they’ve prepared to leave high school ahead of schedule.  What does that mean for a program when you add better academics to the mix?  I’d be curious to know if early enrollees have fewer discipline problems as a group and get on the field faster than do their mates who enroll at the usual point (as to the latter, the difference between the two is only one spring practice).  I’m sure we’d all like to think that’s the case, but these are still 17- and 18-year old kids we’re talking about here.

One thing seems certain – with about half of Richt’s largest signing class electing to enroll early, we’ll have an interesting sample size by which to judge this.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

31 responses to “High achievers

  1. Macallanlover

    A few of the EE’s are coming in from JUCOs so they have the potential to contribute quickly, potential that was proven against better competiion than the HS recruits. I really like this philosophy when we know which positions to target so long as it is used sparingly. UGA has long been behind the curve on using junior college players but Richt has used it correctly, imo.

    I heard Maimi Gino on Satellite Radio last week use the number of EEs UGA is bringing in as an attack on us. It was clear he had it confused with the oversigning issue that other schools utilize, and which UGA has taken a strong position against. I don’t expect the talking heads in CFB radio shows to know as much about UGA as we do but if you are going to go on the attack you should take the time to make sure you have all the information. I didn’t listen in the time afterwards if someone called in and straightened him out on this but hope they did. It is always a shock to people to learn how few scholarship athletes we began, and finished, the season with. I don’t recommend us ever getting in that position again but I would be willing to bet no other D1 CFB program has ever finished so high with the number disparity we had to other programs. Glad to see the plan to level the playing field unfolding so well.

  2. Cojones

    I admit naivete toward assuming that Richt and staff would not have used the academic capability of early signees as a milepost to early entrance. Why waste time on someone who you know is headed for Hargrave or GMC? It has never occurred to me that early signees could be academically crippled.

    It would be an interesting stat to peruse not only for UGA (who has low data to present over the last few years), but also other SEC teams.

    I thought we had 10 early signees, but it will take 6-7 more to constitute half the class. Assuming this occurs after Feb signup, and before Fall practice begins, who might these early qualifiers be?

  3. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Finally, after years and years, it appears CMR is getting it. Roster management is a big key to success in the SEC. Depth issues directly impacted the outcome in the SECCG this year.

    • Chi-townDawg


    • Macallanlover

      That is so unjustifyably insulting I am surprised you would even attempt it. Even those who don’t make the minimum entrance requirements can do the simple math, but to think CMR has an intent to play with less is just stupid. You can disagree with the strategy of going into a year short rather than just “fill the class” with athletes you don’t think will make an impact and make it up the next year, I can understand that opinion. Characterizing it as not “getting it” shows that you are really the one who doesn’t get it.

      A variety of circumstances led to our shortfall from: 1) not landing every prospect you felt would sign with us, 2) injuries, 3) not making it academically, 4) bad behavior and dismissal, 5) entering the NFL draft early, 6) not satisfied with playing time, and 7) tranferring for personal reasons. You can ask that we oversign in anticipation of some fallout but that isn’t the UGA policy.

      I don’t like being shorthanded anymore than you but it doesn’t justify making a statement like that. As with your position on spiking the ball in the SECCG, you seem to have a narrow focus on football, your way or the highway. I have that on serious life issues but not CFB. I like the way this program handles itself, even when the Bama way might result in better opportunities. I am personally not willing to adopt that philosophy, I prefer the stance UGA and FU have endorsed and hope to see rules legislated soon that would put everyone on equal footing. For once Conference Delany is ahead of the SEC.

      • Charles

        Good word.

      • Debby Balcer


      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Yeah, Mac, tell us all how depth issues didn’t affect the Dawgs in the 4th quarter of the SECCG. Tell us all how it is OK for CMR to not even use all the scholarships available when our main competition from the other side (Bama) oversigns like mad. With every post you show more and more that you don’t know sh!t about football, or anything else for that matter.

        • Cojones

          While Mac went further in his own editorial feelings, everything that he listed is sufficient for you to digest and possibly get a differing opinion to the old “Beat’em over the head until they all die of boredom” meme, Mayor. I generally bend to most poster’s knowledge of the game (except MM QBers), but the points that Mac made speaks for many of us who have seen the picture clearly for the shortfall of players as not being some fault of recruiting, but more of circumstance for being in that position.

          Caving in to Saban’s way has never been an answer because we are Georgia. And we don’t agree to Saban’s way. I don’t blame you for feeling that our team has been exposed to vagaries that wouldn’t exist if we culled players like sheep, but living with a higher class of mores has alway had a price. The coaches, players and fans will not perish because of differing morality values, but instead will rise above it all as proof of this class demonstrates. Considering that our class shortfalls belong in a blame game is truly not recognizing what has been going on that accounts for them.

      • Cojones

        Hear, Hear, Mac.

  4. Dawg19

    Senator, I sincerely apologize for hijacking this thread but I have a late Christmas present for everybody. Last week, I was lucky enough to get this video in my hands and finally got it uploaded to Youtube last night. It’s the full game video of the 1978 Georgia vs Georgia Tech game with Al Michaels commentating. Hope you enjoy it!

  5. Chi-townDawg

    The ability to enroll early not only helps the roster, but allows the players to also participate in a full cycle of off season conditioning/weights, which goes a long way to preparing them for college football. This, combined with spring practice and the informal practices/drills will hopefully allow some of these guys to see the field immediately. Another side benefit is that it takes these players “off the table” in terms of poaching/recruiting by other schools. I can’t help but wonder if we’d had a full roster, perhaps there would’ve been 1 or 2 more DL who could’ve helped us in the SECCG when we really needed them!

  6. adam

    It sure will be an interesting G-Day game.

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    Agree with the Mayor. We’ve been handicaping ourselves for years by not recruiting appropriate numbers. To prove the point, we need look no further than this recruiting class – we miraculously anticipate signing well over 30 players! And that’s with tougher recruiting limits than past years! I hope we’ve finally learned our lesson. All along there’s been plenty of good players out there, but we were lackadaisical when it came to filling each and every roster spot. Hey, I like the ‘feel good’ stories about giving schollys to walk-ons. But when you’re the state flagship school handing out 10 walk-on freebees in a state that sends 200 kids to D1 programs, you’ve got some serious recruiting issues on your hands, not to mention lacking simple math skills.

    More importantly, this is a great situation to be in. It will be terrific to have 16+/- recruits on campus – before signing day!! I think we’re going to finish very strong with this class. It shows that we CAN fix problems when we focus our effort and attention.

    • Macallanlover

      I don’t think any disagrees that last year was a major miss, but that is a huge exception. We didn’t just go dumb last winter, we have had most of our commitments in the bank before signing day. As I recall the difference last year was pursuing a few top names that would not announce until the last day, when they went the other way, we were left short because we do not offer more than it takes to get to 85. Add some dismissals, transfers,and guys that did not make the grades and our choice was to offer some very average players with little hope of ever contributing, or go after an extra large class in what was predicted to be a very talented graduating class. I agree with that position, we just over estimated who we would land, and who would qualify.

      It certainly isn’t indicative of the way this staff has performed in prior years so it makes no sense to imply they don’t know what they are doing all of a sudden, just a bad set of circumstances. It does look like the right decision now since we would have received very little help from the players they could have gotten at the very end, and we do look to have a very strong class coming in. I don’t think the 16 EEs is the right number though, I thought it was around 10-11 with another 25 on national signing day. I don’t know if we get that many but I do like what I see. I am not a close follower of recruiting, just going by what I have seen posted by those who know more. I wish every team nationally could sign 2-3 above the 85 limit though to allow for “slippage” though, just don’t think it is right to oversign and then have “cut” like the pros do. If someone gets 87 scholarship guys in because everyone makes it, they just adjust to the same 87-88 number for next year. That wouldn’t create much of an advantage.

      • Chi-Town Dawg

        Mac, I don’t think anyone on the board is advocating becoming like other schools that grossly oversign or intentionally run off players as part of its roster management strategy. However, we didn’t miss on a handful of top names on signing day last year and suddenly wind up 17 to 19 spots short of a full scholarship roster. This has been a problem that’s been building and compounding over the past 2-3 years. The scholarship numbers in the attached public link http://uga.rivals.com/content.asp?SID=878&CID=387116 show that we had 75 scholarship players going into the Fall camp and that includes a handful of walk-ons (Harton, Sailor, etc.), so we really only had 70 true scholarship recruits. I’m pleased that we’re bringing in a completely full class this year, which is the first step towards correcting the situation and building some depth in key areas of the team.

        • Macallanlover

          Thanks, I will not argue the numbers for prior years but I do not recall a signing class before that left us short of the schollie limit until “things” began to happen after February. You seem to be saying we this has been coming on, that is not my recollection but I cannot confirm that. I felt we always ended up 2-3 short by August for various reasons and awarded those 1 year deals to walk-ons. Last year was an abberation based on my memory, but that seeme to get worse every month.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Crayfishing now? You’re not only a dunce but a gutless dunce, too. Life must be easy for you when you are on both sides the issue. Grow a backbone and at least take a stand–even if it’s wrong (which you usually are).

            • Cojones

              You aren’t reading Mac’s well-stated position. No one is saying that we didn’t end up short last year, but rather that the reasoning that we failed to meet the numbers was understandable and not due to the staff not knowing how to recruit. Every recruiting blog around had several more players in our stable that would have met the numbers, demonstrating that the chrystal ballers were wrong as well; -and they do it for a living. We filled our numbers in the preceeding year and the attrition wasn’t evenly divided through those years, but shit happens ( i.e; a player having a gun in the car at a cop stop, etc.). That event and dismissals were not coaches’s faults. Players being suspended and putting pressure on backup players is not any coach’s fault. If we had 15 more so-so players just to fill numbers, it wouldn’t affect the backup players because they wouldn’t be good enough to take their place. Going one more level, what substitute players would we not have used if we had a bunch of 2-3 “star” valued players recruited just to meet numbers?

              And we can have a whole ‘nother blog on the subject of D “tiredness”. That isn’t borne out as the reason for the resultant of the SECCG .

              I’m here to compliment Mac’s well-placed word’s in defending Richt and staff. Lobbing grenades of blustery insult only show that your ego was tweaked, like all of our’s get from time to time. I’m not trying to resurrect the anti-/pro-Richt wars, but instead agreeing with another poster that you have lambasted.

              Our feelings should be down-revved by seeking to return to something we have in common; like in your and my case, helping to get Obama elected. There. Now we all feel better.

              Smoke’em if you got’em!

  8. Chuck

    The Honorable Blutarsky asks:
    What does that mean for a program when you add better academics to the mix? I’d be curious to know if early enrollees have fewer discipline problems as a group and get on the field faster than do their mates who enroll at the usual point (as to the latter, the difference between the two is only one spring practice). I’m sure we’d all like to think that’s the case, but these are still 17- and 18-year old kids we’re talking about here.

    I think your will see a lot of success by early enrollers, particularly at positions that can be difficult scheme-wise. Quarterback clearly is one of those positions, but the O line has to work as a group on a lot of different types of plays, and that takes practice, but it also takes a certain level of brightness and desire. Same thing can be said about linebackers.

    I am not saying that you shouldn’t recruit a 5 star athlete that also has a 2 or 3 star intellect, but I think you can do really well with 4 star athletes that are also 4 star or better intellects. It bodes well for us, IMO.

  9. Debby Balcer

    I think some of the recruiting critics are ignoring the impact of Richt’s hot seat. It negatively impacted us. Kids weren’t sure the coaching staff would be around so they went elsewhere.

  10. my personal opinion

    maybe richt read homer smith book on roster management….or was that the last chapter of his book on time management. Either way, isn’t it appropriate that the only person richt can get to agree with his time management skills happens to be dead…convenient.

  11. FYI

    FBS schools may offer 25 scholarships a year, so over a 5-year period (allowing for redshirts) a school may offer 125 scholarships to student athletes. During the last 5 years, UGA offered 108 scholarships (and some of them were to the same individual, e.g., Chris Mayes, and now John Atkins and Leonard Floyd), or 17 less than they could have offered. Coincidentally, UGA started fall camp with 68 recruited scholarship players (only 67 of them were actually eligible), or 17 below the maximum allowable of 85 by 1 July 2012. That’s 20% less recruited scholarship players than UGA was allowed. So undersigning contributed to UGA’s shortfall of players this season (and the year before that, and the year before that, etc.).

    2008-2012 Signed Letters of Intent

    1. Ole Miss: 142 (avg. 28.4/yr)
    2. Arkansas: 139 (avg. 27.8/yr)
    3. Alabama: 135 (avg. 27.0/yr)
    4. Auburn: 134 (avg. 26.8/yr)
    5. S. Carolina: 132 (avg. 26.4/yr)
    6. Miss St: 130 (avg. 26.0/yr)
    7. Kentucky: 127 (avg 25.4/yr)
    8. LSU: 125 (avg. 25.0/yr)
    9. Texas A&M: 117 (avg. 23.4/yr)
    10. Tennessee: 115 (avg. 23.0/yr)
    11. Florida, Georgia, & Missouri: 108 (avg. 21.6/yr)
    14. Vanderbilt: 107 (avg. 21.4/yr)

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Thanks for the info, FYI. Certain of our brethren on this blog are in denial on this issue. They promote the following memes: (1) There really was no shortfall in players last season; (2) If there was a shortfall it was just a one-year aberration; and (3) If there was a shortfall and it’s not a one year aberration, then it’s not the fault of the coaching staff. Poppycock, all three, particularly the last one. Who runs the program? The coaches, that’s who.

  12. Fact Check

    Were any of the following early enrollees out of high school (note: Chris Mayes on track to be a January 2013 EE after originally not qualifying and attending a JUCO)?

    UGA football scholarship signee attrition (non-graduation/non-NFL) since 2008:

    1. John Atkins – academic non-qualier (didn’t make necessary score on ACT); enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy
    2. Xavier Avery – drafted/signed by MLB Baltimore Orioles
    3. Demetre Baker – dismissed from team following a DUI arrest, enrolled at South Alabama
    4. Brent Benedict – transferred to Va Tech after dispute w/ S&C coach
    5. Isaiah Crowell – dismissed from UGA on 29 June 12 following felony arrest; transferred to Alabama St
    6. Marcus Dowtin – transferred to North Alabama
    7. Washaun Ealey – transferred to Jacksonville St
    8. Jalen Fields – failed to qualify at UGA, signed w/ Louisiana-Lafayette
    9. Leonard Floyd – academic non-qualifier (NCAA Clearinghouse flagged an online course); enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy
    10. Jakar Hamilton – transferred to South Carolina St
    11. A.J. Harmon – transferred to Alabama St
    12. Quintavious Harrow – left the team due to academic issues
    13. Dontavius Jackson – transferred from UGA to UAB following DUI
    14. Toby Jackson – failed to qualify at UGA, attended Navarro College, now at UCF
    15. Caleb King – declared academically ineligible on 8 Jul 11
    16. Jeremy Longo – medically disqualified
    17. Derrick Lott – transferred to UT-Chattanooga
    18. Jordan Love – transferred to Towson
    19. Nick Marshall – dismissed from UGA on 3 Feb 12 for a violation of team rules; enrolled at Garden City CC
    20. Chris Mayes – failed to qualify at UGA, attending Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (January 2013 early enrollee)
    21. Zach Mettenberger – dismissed from UGA following underage consumption & sexual battery charges; transferred to Butler CC then LSU
    22. Dexter Moody – released from his LOI in March 2009 for academic & behavioral issues at ECI
    23. Lonnie Outlaw – failed to qualify at UGA, attending Georgia Military College
    24. Derek Owens – reportedly transferring to Cincinnati
    25. Jonathan Owens – medically disqualified
    26. Makiri Pugh – transferred to Colorado
    27. Montez Robinson – dismissed from UGA following his third arrest in 6 months
    28. Bryce Ros – medical exemption (degenerative right big toe joint)
    29. Chris Sanders – dismissed from UGA on 3 Feb 12 for a violation of team rules, then dismissed from GMC on 25 Jul 12
    30. Sanford Seay – dismissed from UGA on 3 Feb 12 for a violation of team rules
    31. Carlton Thomas – decided to transfer on 20 Mar 12 to make more of an impact on the field
    32. Kent Turene – failed to qualify at UGA, attending Fork Union Military Academy
    33. Nick Williams – transferred to North Alabama