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.