Daily Archives: January 24, 2017

Now look who’s blocking.

From Seth Emerson:

During Mark Richt’s time as Georgia’s coach, the policy was always to let players transfer anywhere they wanted. Then Richt left, and Georgia’s policy changed – and so, apparently, has Richt’s new school.

Miami is not permitting running back Gus Edwards, a graduate transfer, go to Syracuse or Pittsburgh, two ACC schools that are on Miami’s schedule in 2017. The Palm Beach Post reported on the story Tuesday. 

It’s not clear what Richt’s role is in the decision to block. His athletics director, Blake James, told The Palm Beach Post that it’s the school’s policy.

“Institutionally, our policy has been that we would not do that for a school we’re going to play in the upcoming season,” James told the newspaper.

I guess life’s not so short at the beach.



Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Making Friday nights great again

I’m not sure how this proposed law would work, since the schools don’t control conference scheduling…

… but if somehow it leads to Jim Delany’s arrest one day, I’m down with it.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Political Wankery

A Kiffin never changes his spots.

It’s one thing for a new coach to pull the rug out from under a kid who committed to his predecessor by saying he’s simply going in a different direction.  Not that it’s good, but at least it’s relatively straightforward.

Then there’s the Lane Kiffin way.

Even amid upheaval in the FAU athletics department back in December, with football coach Charlie Partridge being fired and Kiffin being hired as the new guy in charge, Charles had done his due diligence. He had kept in touch with his recruiter, Terrance Jamison, who was retained from Partridge’s staff to help in the transition to the new coaching staff.

Jamison, however, was eventually let go as well and suddenly FAU went silent on Charles, the versatile  defensive back/running back who was instrumental in getting the Panthers to this past season’s Class 8A state title game.

The silence ended last week. Charles had feared the worst when he was met with nothing but voicemails during his attempts to contact members of the coaching staff. Then he finally connected with Kiffin’s brother and new FAU defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin on Twitter last week.

“He actually had reached out to me. He followed me on Twitter, so I followed him back and then he hit me up on DM, saying, “Hey D.J., what’s up?” … and then he asked me, “Why did I decommit from FAU.”

Charles never decommitted and whether it was all a ruse to give FAU leverage to pull his scholarship, we’ll possibly never know, but that’s how it was presented to Charles.

Oh, puh-leeze.  We know.

“I said, ‘I never posted anything saying I decommitted from FAU,’ and I told him, ‘I was just wondering why I hadn’t heard from anybody since the new coaching staff came in,’” Charles said. “And then he said he’d have to get with Coach Kiffin [the head coach] and have him watch my film and he’d get back to me soon. A couple days later I asked him [on Twitter] if there was any update, and he was like, ‘Let me find out today.’ So I guess he never got with Coach Kiffin and it was left at that.”

Lesson for today:  Junior’s gonna Junior.  Maybe you can get away with that kind of shit at USC and Alabama, but I suspect FAU is another story.



Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin

“I think for any coach, his first full class is a big deal.”

If you’re gonna compare 2016 Georgia to 2007 Alabama, you might as well finish the drill.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

The fault, dear Georgia fans, is not in our stars.

One of the perks of this job, so to speak, are the great folks who read this blog and deliver feedback.  Some of y’all are more dedicated to the cause than I am, which is even better.  One of these good people I’ll call Henry, since I don’t know that he’d want his name tossed out there.

In any event, I want to share an email he sent me breaking down SEC East recruiting classes by overall rank, size and average number of stars from 2013 on.  (Henry used the Scout rankings to compile his data, if you’re interested.)  Here’s a handy-dandy chart he compiled.  Note that the 2017 numbers are as of 1/22/17.

SEC EAST 2017* 2016 2015 2014 2013 5-Year Average
School Rk / Tot / Avg Rk / Tot / Avg Rk / Tot / Avg Rk / Tot / Avg Rk / Tot / Avg Rank / Tot / Avg
Georgia 1 / 23 / 4.04 10 / 20 / 3.9 4 / 29 / 3.59 12 / 20 / 3.70 8 / 33 / 3.42 7 / 25 / 3.69
Florida 25 / 15 / 3.47 11 / 26 / 3.46 29 / 21 / 3.24 9 / 24 / 3.46 7 / 28 / 3.59 16.2 / 22.8 / 3.45
Tennessee 10 / 27 / 3.23 18 / 22 / 3.59 5 / 30 / 3.53 4 / 32 / 3.53 36 / 21 / 2.90 14.6 / 26.4 / 3.38
South Carolina 17 / 24 / 3.17 25 /26 / 3.08 20 / 28 / 3.11 24 / 21 / 3.29 24 / 21 / 3.19 22 / 24 / 3.16
Kentucky 28 / 23 / 3.09 39 / 5 / 2.88 45 / 22 / 2.86 21 / 29 / 3.07 38 / 22 / 2.91 34.2 / 24.2 / 3.0
Missouri 40 / 21 / 2.95 59 /22 / 2.55 26 / 25 / 3.04 32 / 29 / 3.0 35 / 20 / 3.00 38.4 / 23.4 / 2.9
Vanderbilt 67 / 15 / 2.87 68 / 21 / 2.67 74 / 18 / 2.78 50 / 22 / 2.77 19 / 26 / 3.09 55.6 / 20.4 / 2.8
Reality Check
Alabama 2 / 24 / 4.00 1 / 25 / 3.88 2 / 23 / 4.04 1 / 26 / 4.04 4 / 26 / 3.88 2 / 24.8 / 3.97

Some of the data is unfortunately cut off (more on that momentarily) — apologies, but I’m a complete tyro when it comes to cross-configuring stuff like this into WordPress — but here’s Henry’s summary:

  • The top three recruiting classes, based on average stars, over the last five years in the SEC East have all been from Georgia (2017, 2016, 2014).
  • The average star rating for Georgia compared to the rest of the SEC East is increasing.
  • Georgia’s average stars under Smart has increased significantly over the last two years compared to Georgia’s five-year average.
  • All other teams in the SEC East are recruiting at or below their five-year average for talented players.
  • If the 2013 class is removed, then the gap between Georgia and the rest of the SEC East is even greater.
  • Roster management: Only one school in the SEC East has signed more players than Georgia over the last five years.
  • Alabama still has a significant talent gap over Georgia and all other SEC East teams.  However, Georgia’s average star rating has been higher than Alabama over the last two years.

Tell me you saw that roster management bullet point coming.

For what it’s worth, the five-year averages are as follows:

  • Georgia:  3.69
  • Florida:  3.45
  • Tennessee:  3.38
  • South Carolina:  3.16
  • Kentucky: 3.00
  • Missouri:  2.90
  • Vanderbilt:  2.80

If you want to be depressed, Alabama’s average is 3.97.

Now, bringing in more raw talent than anybody else except you-know-who is only part of the picture, as we all have learned over that time.  Allocation of that talent is just as important.  So is coaching up that talent.  The latter two are areas that could certainly stand improvement.

But if the essence of winning college football is having the Jimmies and Joes, it’s hard to say the Georgia program has been handicapped in that regard.  While Kirby has demonstrated an ability to up Georgia’s game in that department — and, given the impressive nature of the incoming group of offensive linemen, even address the allocation issue more satisfactorily than we’ve seen in some regards — we’re in a wait and see mode when it comes to retention (hey there, 2013!), deployment and development.

One thing’s for sure; it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of opportunity in 2017 for Smart to show us what he’s got with regard to those.

I hope you enjoyed Henry’s work.  On signing day, I’ll share some more data he compiled.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Will the early signing date change everything?

Andy Staples seems to think there are plenty of repercussions coming from the soon-to-be enacted December signing period.

The new signing period, a three-day window that matches when junior college players are allowed to sign now, wouldn’t replace the period that begins with National Signing Day in February. But given how early most recruits make their college choices, the bulk of the signing action likely would move to December, just as most of the National Letters of Intent for basketball are collected in November instead of the also-available April period.

The changes would do more than change when players sign, though. They could fundamentally alter the way the Recruiting Industrial Complex does business in ways that could help the high-schoolers and some of the coaches chasing them. They also might change the way athletic directors decide when to fire and hire coaches. “It’s the most wholesale change to recruiting in the 11 years since I started working in college football,” said Matt Dudek, who serves as Arizona’s director of on-campus recruiting and player personnel.

The hiring and firing thought is particularly of interest.

For example, new/old Connecticut coach Randy Edsall wouldn’t have made news last week for dropping a long-committed player less than a month before signing day. Had the December signing period been in effect for this recruiting cycle, New Jersey linebacker Ryan Dickens—committed since June 2016—would have signed a National Letter of Intent before Connecticut AD David Benedict fired Bob Diaco, the coach who recruited Dickens. (Diaco was fired effective Jan. 2, which, conveniently, was a day after his buyout dropped by $1.6 million.) Edsall wouldn’t have had the option to stiff a high schooler under the new rules, though it’s possible Benedict may have made his decision sooner.

Most firings now come in November or early December. Most new coaches get hired in the first two weeks of December. Hiring a new coach days before signing day could create high drama. But when SI asked several Power 5 athletic directors last week if the new signing period would change when the firing/hiring decisions got made, most respondents said it would not. They reasoned that the decision to change coaches is too big to allow the possibility of a few players being signed to change the timetable.

One AD wasn’t so sure, though. “If a school has some high profile commits but a poor record, the early signing day may save a coach his job more so than with the current calendar,” the AD said. “Or schools may try to poach a coach mid-season, which I’m sure would be well received by all.” (That last line dripped with sarcasm.)

Or, there’s the other possibility:  an AD allows a coach to lock in at least part of a heralded recruiting class in December and then unceremoniously shows him the door in January, allowing the next guy to reap the rewards.  So, who knows how it goes?  (In any event, retaining a coach to keep a class together is dumb, dumb, dumb, even by the low standards of most athletic directors these days.)

While I’m not sure there’s going to be much impact in that area, I do think Staples nails this part:

The earlier date also could force coaching staffs to declare whether a scholarship offer means what they say it does. Every year, a few players learn shortly before National Signing Day that the “offer” they thought they had either evaporated or was replaced by an offer to “grayshirt,” to delay enrollment a semester and go on scholarship in January of the following year. “Everybody’s going to have to show their cards two months earlier,” Dudek says. And the players left without an offer would have two months to find another scholarship instead of a few weeks. Meanwhile, recruits stringing along more than one staff also would have to declare their intentions earlier.

Man, this could give the Johnson Doctrine a whole new shot in the arm.

There are other areas Staples points to that could feel an impact from the new regime; it’ll probably take a little while to sort everything out.  One thing I’m sure of, though, is that Nick Saban already has three junior staffers gaming everything out as I type this.


Filed under Georgia Football

Moar 2017 SEC East greatness

In case you missed it, Booch has himself a new offensive coordinator.  Andy Staples gives you the deets:

Coach Butch Jones promoted tight ends coach Larry Scott to run the offense in place of Mike DeBord, who left for Indiana earlier this month.

When Jones plucked DeBord from a non-coaching job at Michigan, it was to ensure the Volunteers ran the Butch Jones offense. That seems to be the aim here as well—for better or for worse. Scott has only called plays at the high school level, but he did go 4–2 as the interim coach at Miami following Al Golden’s firing in 2015.  [Emphasis added.]

That seems promising.  At least he won’t be burdened with coaching quarterbacks.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

It may not have been a great year for Georgia athletics…

… but the reserve fund continues to kick ass.

The Georgia Athletic Association has entered into a 10-year, $152.5 million multimedia and marketing rights deal with IMG College and JMI Sports.

A copy of the contract was obtained by Onlineathens.com on Monday through an open records request. It was agreed to on Dec. 8 and extends a previous deal set to expire on June 30 until 2027. A memorandum of understanding was first agreed to last May.

The deal pays Georgia a guarantee of at least $12.8 million for 2017-18 with increases each year through 2026-27 when the school is to make at least $15.7 million. That annual royalty amounts for 2017-18 includes $11 million for multimedia rights, $1.4 million for new media and $400,000 for seatback rights.

Georgia’s previous multimedia rights deal with IMG was worth $92.8 million over eight years.

The new deal is worth nearly $15.3 million per year, up from $11.6 million in the previous contract. That includes a $10 million royalty payment in the new contract.

Open records request for the win!  There are days when I bet McGarity wakes up and says to himself, “ninety days isn’t nearly long enough”.

Now, fans, don’t take this as a message that your contributions aren’t appreciated, or that it’s okay to slack off.  Georgia’s commitment to having the best athletic department reserve fund in the country is as strong as ever.  For that, it takes a village, you know.



Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Inside the minds of recruits?

So, it turns out there’s this thing out there that purports to help a school analyze which recruits it’s pursuing are likely to sign and which are likely to spurn.

The company founded by the four Northwestern undergraduates, called Zcruit, essentially borrows that same mentality, one of putting numbers behind what have long been gut-based decisions, and applies it to the recruiting landscape.

Think of this way: Every program in the Football Bowl Subdivision is chasing after the same pool of recruits; most programs recruit the same region as countless others; some programs offer hundreds of recruits to sign just 25 future student-athletes.

Boiled down, Zcruit’s goal is to assist a program’s efforts by streamlining the process — by taking all the streams of data at their disposal and creating a formula for recruiting success, in the same way a university’s admissions office attempts to pinpoint the best and most likely fits for the student body at large.

Three baseline factors are taken into account. The first is demographic information: background information, such as where a recruit is from. The second is a prospect’s interactions with the school, such as how many visits he has made on campus, whether he attended any camps or when the scholarship offer was tendered.

The third is the prospect’s interactions with other schools. Is he showing any interest? When was he offered by another school, when did he visit, how many times did he visit? In the end, the data compiled by Zcruit creates a threshold, for lack of a better word, between whether a program should recruit a player — if the data suggests he’s gettable — or whether it should move on to another prospect.

Zcruit claims a pretty good success rate, too.

Zcruit worked alongside Bowers and the coaching staff during this current recruiting cycle, helping the Wildcats identify and evaluate a number of recruits at positions of need. With one week until national signing day, the algorithms created by Zcruit have predicated which recruits would not sign with Northwestern with 94% accuracy; the same algorithms predicted which recruits would sign with the Wildcats with 80% accuracy.

Man, a program that could have predicted what my teenage daughters wouldn’t do over 90% of the time sure would have come in handy back then.  Just sayin’.

More power to you, guys.


Filed under Recruiting, Science Marches Onward

Is Jim McElwain writing checks with his mouth that his team can’t cash?

Nice bravado, sir.

… during halftime of UF’s basketball game on Saturday against Vanderbilt. That’s when McElwain was trying to fire up the crowd and perhaps get the attention of many marquee football recruits who were attending the game.

When McElwain and some of his current UF football players were introduced at halftime, McElwain — with microphone in hand — ran out to center court and whipped the O’Dome into a frenzy.

“I’ll tell you something, what an awesome arena and a great crowd,” McElwain said. “It’s because of the energy every day that we were able to go undefeated in the Swamp, we were able to go to Atlanta back to back years. … And because of you guys, when we get back to Atlanta next season, we’re going to kick the door down!”

Only problem with that, Jim?  Florida has played Alabama.  It hasn’t worked out too well for you either time.


Filed under Gators, Gators...