This is just what you want to be doing coming down the home stretch.

What’s the old line in politics? When you’re having to explain yourself, you’re losing.

Seth Emerson provides the transcript.

A day after Toneil Carter’s very public de-commitment, which his family said was the result of Georgia pulling the scholarship offer, head coach Kirby Smart was given a chance to respond.

There are limits to what Smart could say, as NCAA rules prevent coaches from commenting about recruits until they’ve signed. Still, Smart was asked to respond to the Houston tailback’s family saying that UGA pulled the offer, and the Smart didn’t tell them that himself.

Smart did not address the second point. He implied that the first one was incorrect.

“First of all, I’m not allowed to talk about that situation at all. But I will say that my philosophy, our philosophy has always been we’re not going to drop kids in recruiting. OK?” Smart said. “We may defer enrollment. We may say that you may enroll at a later date. But we are not going to drop kids in recruiting. OK? That’s not what – again, I can’t comment on this situation, I can comment on philosophically how we feel and how conversations happen. But I can’t comment on his specific situation.”

Smart was asked if deferring enrollment could entail grayshirting – when a player sits out the season and then enrolls in January. Smart said he meant deferring from early enrolling to coming in the summer…

Now, as Seth goes on to remind us, Carter was willing to abandon his decision to enroll early.  [ed. note:  see comments; I may be misinterpreting the meaning of “midyear’.] Since he’s not at Georgia, either what Carter’s brother said was untrue, or Smart isn’t telling the whole story.  “He said, he said” isn’t the kind of recruiting narrative you want circulating now.

As to who is telling the more complete tale here, I have no idea.  But I will say this:  nothing stopped Kirby Smart from personally relaying his philosophy to Carter and Carter’s family — or making at least an oblique reference today to having made that sort of personal effort to do so.

Somebody had a complete change of heart on Toneil Carter enrolling at Georgia in a very short time.  I leave it to you and Occam’s Razor to decide which of the two sides was more motivated to switch.

**************************************************************************

UPDATE:  More from Carter’s high school coach.

After graduating from Langham Creek High School in Houston Friday, Carter was notified Saturday that his standing with Georgia might be in trouble. By Sunday, Georgia made it known to Carter there wouldn’t be room in this year’s recruiting class for him. He announced his decommitment Monday, stating there were issues with numbers and the fact there were problems with enrolling early.

But Carter’s high school head coach at Langham Creek, Todd Thompson, said Georgia made it known the four-star running back wasn’t welcome anymore in this year’s class.

Um… that’s an awkward timetable there.  Graduation on Friday and no room at the inn on Sunday.  I can understand why the family didn’t want to take any chances, assuming there were even chances to take at that point.

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79 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

79 responses to “This is just what you want to be doing coming down the home stretch.

  1. “We told them Toneil was willing to come there and just be there as a midyear and learn their style and learn their playbook and everything,”

    To me that says – we don’t care about playing time… but he’s enrolling in January. And I don’t blame the kid – he graduated early and worked hard to do so. But I haven’t seen anywhere that says he was willing to wait until the summer.

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  2. Byron Carter said. “We told them Toneil was willing to come there and just be there as a midyear and learn their style and learn their playbook and everything.”

    I read that as he wanted to enroll early and not in June.

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      • Jack Klompus

        Everything Joe and Derek have said is what I’ve read into it as well. No where did it say, he’ll stay in school and enroll in June. We’ll never know and the kid ended up at Texas not at Arkansas St.

        This feels like the media making something out of not too much here. Seems we don’t have the EE numbers and Toneil was the bottom of the list for EEs, especially with Sony and Nick coming back.

        If Kirby wanted to “Process” him then I can’t imagine he would have gone to his house and stopped him from visiting UT.

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        • Again, read the quote HVL cited. The family wasn’t sure there was a spot for him if he showed up in August.

          And Kirby’s not exactly discouraging that sort of thinking when he says this:

          “Yeah that’s the plan, is to be close to 85,” Smart said. “Certainly to put a pin-point on an exact number, I can’t really do that, because we’re still waiting on two guys (Aaron Davis and Dominick Sanders) to make decisions on whether they’re coming back or not. Academic casualties could occur between now and then. So I wouldn’t say that you ever have an exact number until fall camp.”

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          • Jack Klompus

            Where did the quote come from? I’m not discounting it, just hadn’t read that.

            I’m actually not sure why I’m arguing this point (or what point I am arguing) because I do think, as you mentioned yesterday, there is a new way of recruiting, among other things, in Athens. I would be more concerned about this situation if we were hanging kids out to dry and completely hosing them. With the guys coming back, it was going to be Toneil or someone else (like the Captain)

            These are high class problems.

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            • The quote is in the linked piece.

              I agree with your sentiment. It’s not that my panties are in a wad over the approach changing – anything that tends to reduce Georgia Way hypocrisy is a good development in my book – it’s that this strikes me as having been messier than it had to be. Like I said, if Kirby’s having to defend himself, he’s already losing on the recruiting trail. Nothing that can’t be overcome, though.

              Add it to the list of things we hope he gets better at with experience.

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              • This is why Saban just bellows and intimidates the local press in Bama. Instead of getting into “he said, he said” situations, he just blows a gasket and says “Aight” fifty times, then throws a Coke bottle at an intern. Then the story is about his pissy attitude and not about how he recruits (or un-recruits).

                Liked by 1 person

                • Chi-town Dawg

                  Anyone who’s ever watched a non-edited press conference knows how annoying those guys can be, asking the same dumbass question 10 different times. However, Saban can get away with the stone walling and intimidation tactics because he’s won so many national championships and is revered in Alabama. Hopefully, someday Kirby will be in a similar position, but that’s definitely not the case right now.

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              • HVL Dawg

                It’s amazing what fans’ school loyalty combined with love for football justifies how 17 year olds are treated.

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                • HVL Dawg

                  Mumbo just pawn in game of life.

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                • Roger Wilco

                  You are correct.. it’s just being lemmings.. they fall in line and try to excuse however a 17 year old is treated. The bottom line Carter did everything he was asked and then was told 2 weeks before that they didn’t have a spot for him and he had no offer. Carter was dropped. It looks bad regardless of the spin some want to put on it. I am happy that Carter had Texas as his alternate. They got themselves a good one.

                  Also those who say this is what bama does that’s BS. Alabama doesn’t drop top ranked RBs. What Alabama does is they run off guys to make room for players like Carter. Remember when they took 4 rbs in one cycle? People seem to confuse what Bama does and doesn’t do again to justify Kirby.

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              • I think it’s getting more press largely because it isn’t the Georgia Way everyone was used to. Once this becomes the new norm things like this will barely get a mention.

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          • True but why is everyone discounting the fact that if we were doing what Saban does they’d have assured the Carter family a spot in August because Brandon Douglas would have a back injury to be determined and Tae Crowder would have suddenly become enamored with Statesboro?

            I have my antennae up for the saban BS that I’ve railed against for 10 years. IT JUST DID NOT HAPPEN HERE!

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            • I’m not discounting it for the reason you suggest, because I think Smart decided in the past few days he wanted to cut ties with Carter.

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              • Sounds like a whole lot of speculation. While you’re at it speculate as to why CKS decided that he’d keep Brendon and Tae but kick Carter to the curb all of a sudden?

                If we get an EE running back or another EE commit, then I’ll bite but even then Carter could have shown up in June. That’s far from a greyshirt where you’re supposed to spend your first fall at home.

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              • Will (The Other One)

                If it turns out Cam Akers has UGA a lot higher on his list than the projections things will get really interesting. But my gut feeling is they want some more defensive players this year, and maybe got a silent commit from a big 2018 RB.

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          • sectionzalum

            at the end of the clip, kirby defined 3 types of “deferred enrollment,” and the 3rd was grashirting. hold that head high, coach. saying we don’t drop a kid is clearly a matter of semantics.

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  3. HVL Dawg

    Here’s your money quote:

    “….. they weren’t even sure about August. We weren’t going to wait on UGA to get their mind right, or get their numbers right.”

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  4. Puffdawg

    Both of the above comments nailed it.

    UGA told him we still want him, but he’d have to come in June. But the kid wanted to be an early enrollee or nothing. It seems pretty clear to me that is the case. If that is in fact the case, then I can’t blame either side, although if that’s the case, I believe it to be in poor taste for the recruit to be airing public grievances. NOBODY expected Chubb and Michele to hang around, so if that changed our ability to accept him as early enrollee, how can you blame Kirby and Co. I seriously doubt we just magically pulled his offer altogether after Kirby flew out there a couple weeks ago.

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    • I assume “Both of the above comments” doesn’t include HVL’s.

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      • Puffdawg

        It did not. I was typing my comment before his was there. That said…

        “They weren’t even sure about August” does not exactly equate to “we no longer have a spot for you.” It probably just means “we’re just not sure right now about how many spots we’re gonna have now that two unexpected returnees are returning so maybe you want to make other plans if you don’t want to wait on us to figure it out.” I totally respect both sides on this. UGA just isn’t AS sure of the numbers now as they were before the Chubb Sony decisions. And Toneil doesn’t want to wait. I understand and don’t blame either side. We needed Toneil before. We had room before. We still need him. But we may not have room. Toneil doesn’t necessarily need us. It was his right to move on. It’s not like we’re dumping him for some better hotshot recruit. Guys already on the team wanted to stay. That changed things. What’s the story here?

        We need to subscribe to Kirby’s mantra of “being comfortable being uncomfortable” if we are gonna keep trying to marry the Georgia Way and the Process. We’re in a new era. Balancing the roster mgmt act will be a big part of it if you want to have a full roster.

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    • Jack Klompus

      Based on the family’s willingness to talk (which isn’t a bad thing), there probably would have been mention of scholarship being pulled.

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  5. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    As others have said, mid-year in recruiting typically means enroll for spring semester, which T Carter apparently requires of the school he attends.

    If Smart offered June enrollment over January due to Chubb/Michel decisions, then Carter decided to interpret the situation as having had his scholarship pulled.

    If June was TBD per a quote in the comments, then Carter’s scholarship was pulled barring some attrition in current roster or commitments, which makes this exactly as it seems.

    Either way, Smart looks like a punk for not speaking with them directly about this either by phone or video chat.

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    • Puffdawg

      I would agree with everything here, especially not reaching out personally, which Bluto mentioned above.

      As for the TBD part, I think that’s the hard part we’re all going to have to accept. This is the new. If you bitched about Richt’s roster mgmt (this comment is directed at you Snoop), then you’re going to have to accept this type of practice. And this is even a mild case, because if we pulled his offer, it’s in favor of guys already on the team who are huge contributors, not another flavor of the month HS recruit because we thought we could do better. Big difference in my opinion.

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      • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

        When did I bitch about Richt’s roster management? Other than 2012, he generally had highly rated classes, with broad talent, and too few OL commitments and a roster within a handful of 85. He overreacted in 2013’s class, which is why our team looks as it does today. He was not aggressive enough in making sure we had a full complement of scholarship players, but that is different than cutting deadwood in order to oversign available slots.

        if you think I’m chilidawg, you are greatly mistaken. I was Team Richt until he was fired. I’m now Team Smart. I still maintain consistency in that I want these athletes treated with respect. They are NOT employees, they are student athletes. Any comparison to corporate life is null and void until they start getting paid, which is not exactly something I’m certain we want.

        The king is dead, long live the king.

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        • Puffdawg

          Ah, shit my man. I meant to say “this is not directed at you.”

          Sorry about that. My comments were really meant for the whole. Specificly those who bitched about Richt’s roster mgmt. practices, which probably rightfully was most everybody. You nailed it in your comments.

          I agree with your sentiments, and like you even better after your response, particularly “Team Richt until… Team Smart.” Nailed my stance on the whole thing.

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  6. Jack Klompus

    Thanks for the Occam’s Razor lesson- had never heard of that. I’m not certain which way it slices in this matter.

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  7. Ben

    Let’s say what this really is: Smart and Company screwed up. You’ve got a 4 star kid coming to campus from Texas (!), and then you call him and say, “Sorry, there’s no space” when your marquee guys decided they want another year. If he and his staff didn’t have the pulse of that situation down before assuring Carter there would be space for him, they missed that one, too.

    If he wins next year, all will be forgiven. If Carter becomes a premier RB at Texas, we’ll have a million “what ifs.” And if Smart and Co don’t win, it won’t be cause Carter didn’t come; it’ll be because they couldn’t get the job done when they had the chance.

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  8. RCBRick

    Wait, so what is Smart saying about grey shirting there? When asked directly if that’s what he was talking about, his first word was ‘no’, and then at the end he seemed to say ‘yeah, sometimes’. So….yes, that’s a tool in his pocket?

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  9. A) The kid’s consolation prize is longing to be a RB at Texas. It’s not as if he’s landing at Savannah St.

    B) I’d rather suffer through 3 days of bad press for being aggressive with our roster than have Laramy Tunsil and Montravious Adams leave us on signing day and then we play with less than a full 85.

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    • Not sure I agree with the comment. If we made the kid a committable offer to enroll early, took actions that persuaded him not to visit Texas, and then went back on the offer during the dead period, shame on us. This is exactly the reason there should be either an early signing period or you can sign a binding LOI at any time.

      What was the previous staff supposed to do in the 2 situations you mention? Get a commitment from a 3-star kid and then tell him on signing day, sorry we’re yanking your offer because a 5-star All-American decided to sign with us. I don’t like that one bit.

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      • No one said this was a pretty business. You want to advocate for early signing? Hey, I’m all for it. But until then, this is how the game is played.

        Sony and Nick did something unforeseen and it jacked up the numbers.

        I don’t disagree that Kirby has handled it poorly. But I can’t seem to recall any glowing accolades the program used to get for undersigning.

        No one likes Charlie Brown when he starts to fight back, and a whole bunch of guys in the media likes it better when UGA knew it’s place and didn’t try to play the game the way the big boys do.

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        • Kirby decided he didn’t need 6 tailbacks on scholarship (I guess 7 including Douglas), and one of the committed tailbacks was going to get the ax. Carter got it because Kirby couldn’t lose Swift’s WR cousin as well. That’s all well and good. As I said, stuff happens. My problem is that the head coach didn’t handle it like a leader should have. Sometimes you have to admit privately and/or publicly that you were wrong and own it.

          By the way, I don’t want us on self-imposed probation due to undersigning either.

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  10. PTC DAWG

    Sounds like both parties have moved on to me…other than a few reporters bored right before Christmas.

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  11. A lot of good comments here as usual … $#!+ happens in recruiting is what this comes down to. A committed kid decides late to go elsewhere for whatever reason. A coach has to pull back an offer. The twist here is that you have to tell a committed kid that he can’t do what he planned to do … in this case, enroll early. The really bad part about this is that said coach sent his assistant to have the difficult conversation with the player and his family and said the boss isn’t available.

    A lot of lessons to be learned here for one head football coach …

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  12. What I heard???

    Smart said…”I ain’t got time for this shit.”

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  13. Bigshot

    As the old saying goes, “no one likes to see how the sausage is made”

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  14. The other Doug

    Carter appears to have been recruited as on the bubble to make the class. It appears Smart has room to take him as an EE, so I’m guessing he isn’t willing to commit a spot on the 85 man roster yet. The family probably is worried that they will still be on the bubble in August, and wanted to get a firm commitment from UGA. Kirby can’t/won’t do it.

    The ethics come down to whether Kirby told the kid where he stood months ago or sprung it on him.

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  15. Greg McGarity, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics

    Get your Hartman Fund money in so we can keep doing stuff like this. I won’t even get into the fact that we have a TON of people making 6 figures that we need to pay. And I’m not just talking about coaches and support staff either.

    This kid is lucky we let him piggyback off our brand for as long as we did! His family and his coach sound like a good fit for the Society of the Miserable.

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  16. Will Trane

    It is the “arena” and the “process”.
    Life is messy.
    Numbers don’t lie.
    What we have here is a failure to communicate.
    So would the “recruit” have backed out of UGA before signing even if he had maintained his “verbal commitment”…and at the last second decided to play at Texas and close to home. What would Seth, Bill, Jeff, and etc said then. For sure there would have been an story, more than likely, bitching about Smart.
    How many running backs do you need in your package and a set number re scholarships.
    What is sometimes referred to Ghost Writers, “as the pattern is full”. But let’s make a bunch out of the situation. That is what “we” do in the culture of UGA football. Always has been like this, and for many they want it to stay that way.
    Move on! Smart is limited in what he can say about the recruiting. What is known is the numbers once Chubb and Michel decided to stay. That is the real upside here for Smart. Normally this had not been the situation at UGA under CMR’s process and arena.
    How many 4 or 5 stars are sitting in high school rising senior classes? Legions.

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  17. 69Dawg

    Be careful what you wish for. We wanted Alabama and we’ve got Alabama. We’ll see how Alabama without the National Championships works out. The shot above about the two late losses to Ole Miss was funny given that unless the NCAA changes their rules we can still lose guys. These “verbal commitments” are worthless and are why nobody should GAS what a 17/18 year old says. This is also why we better have better coaching than was exhibited this year just in case we don’t “Finish the Drill” in recruiting.

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  18. Bulldog Joe

    No one is going to tell Nick and Sony they can’t come back and no one expects the transition from The Georgia Way to The Process will take place without stubbing a Toneil or two along the way.

    I’m happy he found a home with a team not on our schedule.

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    • Dog in Fla

      The Georgia Way meets The Process is like K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the ’70s when Captain & Toneil didn’t sing Love Will Keep Us Together

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  19. HVL Dawg

    … stubbing a Toneil…

    Good one. I raise my glass of Woodford in your direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Raleighwood Dawg

    It’s impossible to know what was and what wasn’t said between UGA and Toneil. Whatever the case, though, I see no reason why Kirby couldn’t or wouldn’t participate in delivering the bad news. He doesn’t have enough head coach “street cred” to be pulling that crap yet.

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  21. If by a remote chance UGA wins a NC in 2017 or 2018, a lot here will be denying they even said what they said in print or that “It was just a slip of my keyboard”. LOL

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  22. ugafidelis

    With his official visit to UT, any chance this has become an inconvenient story for both sides that has now turned into a superficial pissing contest?

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