Compare and contrast two recruiting stories from Georgia’s Tyler Simmons:
When Simmons was around 8 years old, he was at Georgia Tech for a one-day youth camp. It was a short drive from where his family lived in Powder Springs. Now 18, he remembers approaching Paul Johnson, who had just been hired, and telling the Yellow Jackets’ head coach that he’d be back one day…
After Simmons’ recruiting heated up, another school to offer him was Georgia Tech. Simmons found himself in Johnson’s office.
“I told you I’d be back,” Simmons said.
Johnson didn’t remember the conversation.
Alabama’s lead recruiter was Kirby Smart.
Then the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator, Smart approached Simmons at last year’s state track meet. He showed him his phone, which had a video from the previous year’s track meet.
“This is how much I believed in you: I’ve been wanting you since Day 1. I recorded this,” Smart said, according to Simmons’ father.
Smart and Williams took pictures with Simmons, sent them back to Alabama coach Nick Saban, and invited him to Alabama’s first summer camp.
“Basically, Kirby was the one who wanted him the most,” Leah Simmons said. “That stood out.”
I’m not saying it’s fair to hold Paul Johnson to a standard of remembering what every kid at a camp said to him a decade ago – although if you told me Nick Saban had a support staffer who catalogued that for him, it wouldn’t exactly shock me – but a little more warmth or enthusiasm might help leave a better impression.
Maybe Tech’s rousing success on the recruiting trail can’t all be chalked up to the triple option.