Two words… just two simple words

Forget the ups and down of the 2016 season for a minute.  Kirby Smart is about to take his first real test on upgrading the Georgia program.

It’s that time of year, with attrition beginning and some recruits beginning to sign, that these two words begin to take center stage: Roster management.

There are always two key numbers to remember, one of them hard, one soft:

The hard number: 85. That’s the NCAA limit on football players who a school can have on scholarship.

The soft number: 25. That’s the SEC signing limit per year, but it doesn’t mean a team is strictly limited to 25. Because the SEC rules allow teams to “back-count” early enrollees – if there’s room the previous year – you can go well over 25 players in one signing class. But that’s only if you under-signed in previous years and have early enrollees. Still confused? OK, think of it this way: You can sign no more than 125 players over a five-year period, and depending on the early enrollee situation, there is a limit each year, which won’t be much over 25. Still confused? That’s OK.

So where does Georgia stand?

… So as of this hour, and with the best information at our disposal, the count is Georgia being committed to 66 scholarships for returning players next year: 19 current freshmen, 5  redshirt freshmen, 19 sophomores, 3 redshirt sophomores and 20 juniors, redshirt or no. (Feel free to go through the roster yourself and check my math. I didn’t count Wilson, or Joseph Ledbetter for that matter. I also didn’t count certain walk-ons who haved play a lot, such as Blankenship, Trent Frix and Christian Payne. I did count Aaron Davis, who’s basically a starter, as well as J.R. Reed, the transfer from Tulsa who sat out this year.)

You’ll notice that 66 + 19 (the current commitments) = 85. So if Georgia wants to sign more than that, assuming the math is correct, there will have to be further attrition. And again, that’s likely to happen.

Roster management.  It was Mark Richt’s Achilles heel, the biggest shortcoming of the second half of his Georgia career.  And the consequences from it have had a ripple effect all the way into Smart’s first season, as Emerson describes.

For the first time in awhile, the 85 scholarship limit is worth watching at Georgia. It’s not been a problem in past years because of the massive attrition the program experienced from 2010-13, and the program not signing huge classes to make up for it. But when Jeremy Pruitt arrived a few years ago, teaming up with Mike Bobo and the rest of the staff, they helped prod Richt towards more robust recruiting classes, and that, combined with Smart and his staff’s push, means Georgia finally has that roster management problem that most good programs have.

In other words, Kirby’s had to play the hand he was dealt to some extent, but he’s starting to draw new cards to replenish his hand.  Can he do the things he needs to do to smooth out the ebb and flow of class numbers from year to year that marked the period from 2010 to 2015?  Well, that’s certainly something he should have a good handle on after sitting at the feet of the guru of roster management for almost a decade.

Fixing that problem for good may not cure all of Georgia football’s ills by itself, but if nothing else, at least it won’t be contributing to them anymore.  And that would be a terrific place from which to build.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

67 responses to “Two words… just two simple words

  1. Gaskilldawg

    So the team doctor is about to diagnose career ending injuries for third and fourth stringers?


    • I don’t know about that, but I expect more than a couple of kids are being told their futures might be brighter at other academic institutions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • RandallPinkFloyd

        We’ve seen 1 leave already. I would suspect a few more will follow. Plus, I would assume Chubb is gone and sounds like Sony is 50-50.


      • Gaskilldawg

        I don’t doubt that, but I was thinking about what happens when the fourth stringer says, “Coach, I like the education here at Georgia, I am doing well in my major and I would rather graduate here than play at Valdosta State.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • JCDAWG83

          I’d think the coaches would be fine with that and the player would at least know where he stood. If they truly wanted to run the player off, they could cut off his academic support (tutors, etc.) and generally make life at practice tough on him I guess. They would have to be careful with that though. The kid might be well liked and treating him bad might cause morale problems on the rest of the team.

          I’m probably naïve but I don’t see them “running a player off”. If they started doing that, word would spread pretty quickly and other teams would use it against them in recruiting and it would lead to morale problems on the team. I can see them being brutally honest with a kid and telling him he wasn’t going to see playing time and if he wanted to play, he might want to think about transferring.


  2. DawgPhan

    I guess we will see how much process we are getting for the money.

    19 players in this class doesnt cut it. Assume we are also going to get at least 3 juniors leaving or other wise post bowl pre NSD departures and probably 1-2 more in the summer.

    Can Smart get this class to 23-24 guys? It really needs to be if we want to get a top 3 class and to have 85 recruited scholarship athletes.

    We sit @ 3 today. Auburn, LSU, Clemson, FSU, and USC all have plenty of spots left in their classes.


    • If you read Seth’s piece in its entirety, the staff appears to believe it will sign somewhere in the neighborhood of 27-28 with the next class.


      • DawgPhan

        That would be amazing. Certainly goes down as a big win. Getting to that number likely means that we got some pretty big names to commit.


      • Macallanlover

        Because there are EEs among that 19 “committed”, and there will be attrition. Being aggressive in recruiting means the early signing period will be very beneficial to UGA, imo. Always good to know that what “is in the house”, will stay in the house.


  3. This is a good thing. Welcome to 2009 UGA.


  4. HVL Dawg

    Hey kid, you’d look good in a grey jersey.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Derek

    Maybe we can have one of these moments of our own:

    Wouldn’t that just be so awesome?


    • Looking at Alabama, the more of these seem to enhance the level of recruits. I think high level recruits know they can play on equal grounds vs more seniors of a team if they produce better results.


  6. Bright Idea

    If recruits read this forum Smart may not sign a soul. They will think the bloggers are smarter than the coach.


    • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

      Not my fault Kirby ran a sweep play with a 160lb wide receiver into the best linebacker in the country rather than use one of two of the top 6 all time rushing leaders in UGA history.

      Pretty sure the folks in this here message board woulda come up with something better for that play.

      granted, I was not an elite NCAA player in my college days in the early ’00s, so perhaps Chaney does know more than me.


  7. AthensHomerDawg

    Welllllll…..he does have three years. Thats what I’ve read.


  8. The two words could be oversigning and grayshirting.


  9. It really strikes me as very simple. Kids who are not going to see significant playing time get UGA’s old drug testing policy and procedures and kids who NotSo wants or expects to play get the Process/Alabama disciplinary policy. Bingo…. roster managed.


  10. W Cobb Dawg

    It’s not hard to figure who might be ejected from the roster. Just look for players who were conspicuously absent from the playing field during the season. Five OLs come to mind immediately – Madden, Allen, Baker, Hardin and Bynum. I’d assume the attrition would also include some of these players: WR Williams, TE Davis, LBs McGee, Brown, Crowder, maybe Roundtree, and perhaps a couple DBs. Seems to me its highly likely we create room to sign 27 recruits. Not such a happy holiday for those players on the cut list though.


    • DoubleDawg1318

      They aren’t just going to cut people like the NFL. And I hope they don’t do any “medical disqualifications.” Rather, I think there will be conversations about playing time and encouraging guys who won’t play here to look elsewhere. I think Wilson is already an example of this and I would expect more to come. As long as we are up front about all of this, even during recruiting then I am fine. I just don’t want to grey shirt and makes promises that we go back on at the last minute.


  11. Bigshot

    But when Jeremy Pruitt arrived a few years ago, teaming up with Mike Bobo and the rest of the staff, they helped prod Richt towards more robust recruiting classes,

    This is absolutely incredible to me. Why would a head coach have to be prodded to have more robust recruiting? CMR and Garner sat on their fat a—s and drew a paycheck to do nothing.


    • MLB2

      “and drew a paycheck to do nothing”

      Please refer me to the dominant championship dynasties from UGA history that I missed. I hope we are on the road to becoming that although I seriously doubt it. CMR wasn’t Saban but that statement is ridiculous.


  12. daphne95

    Little birdie said both Nick Chubb and Sony Michel might stay along with Bellamy and Carter.
    I don’t know about either staying. I feel its a mistake, I don’t feel very confident that the mess Georgia has on offense (from coaching to the OL) gets resolved quickly.


    • That would shock the hell out of me.


    • lakedawg

      Daphne, you and I talked to two different birdies, mine telling me the exact opposite. Not only those four , but about Four others also leaving shortly.


      • lakedawg

        My birdie completely missed the nest on these four, but was right on the others transferring. Think there will be a couple more.


    • AlphaDawg

      Selfishly I’d lvoe to see them return. But as a parent and adult; god I hope not. With whats happened recently to Lattimore, Marshall, Gurley and Chubb both would be nuts to try and return to increase their draft stock. Neither are currently 1st round talent but both will be taken before the 5th round. They need to get that NFL rookie contract clock started.


  13. watcher16

    Chubb and Michel staying! Say bye to Jwuan Briscoe, Rico McGray and Shaquery Wilson