Daily Archives: January 31, 2017

“Coaches don’t want to spend all summer recruiting.”

National signing day is upon us, so cue the usual hand wringing.

Wednesday is college football’s national signing day, when prospects can finally ink their names on national letters of intent — binding documents that lock in the offers of athletic scholarships that colleges have made to them. But until players sign on the dotted line and, typically, fax their letters in (signing days are practically keeping the fax machine industry in business), agreements made beforehand are only as solid as the word of the parties who made them. A coach can pull a scholarship if he lands a better player. A player can renege on his commitment if he decides to sign elsewhere.
In fact, virtually everyone involved in the process feels it is flawed, and getting worse.

“What’s happening with the word ‘commitment’?” asked Chuck Kyle, the longtime football coach at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. “What are we teaching these young people?”

I love the implicit level playing field assumption there.  It’s like there’s no difference between 17-year olds who can’t even enter into a legally binding contract on their own and multi-million dollar athletic departments with business experience, representation and coaches who’ve made use of agents standard practice.

And that’s before you get to the straight math.

There remains a fundamental asymmetry between coaches and prospects that Josh Helmholdt, a recruiting analyst at Rivals.com, summed up: “College coaches recruit 20 to 30 kids each class. A kid gets one school.”

Helmholdt added that he was more sympathetic to the prospects who decommit than to coaches who renege on offers. “Most come into this completely green, totally naïve and just trying to keep their heads above water,” he said of the recruits. “They’ve been doing everything they’ve been told to do. They find out in December or January they’ve lost their scholarship — that’s on a totally different magnitude than a college coach having a four-star flip on him.”

The relative lack of leverage for prospects was a prime reason Darlington, among others, supported a signing window during the summer, something the oversight committee advised against. Many coaches oppose the earlier signing window, according to several participants in the process.

No shit, Sherlock.

You want kids to learn the meaning of commitment?  Let ’em consult with advisors who can explain that and make offers binding on schools and recruits when they’re accepted.



Filed under Recruiting

The times, are they a-changin’?

One little note in this Roll Bama Roll post on Alabama’s (yet again) impressive recruiting class:

Xavier McKinney S Roswell, GA 9 INT (2 pick-6) as a JR. 7 INT, 2 kicks returned for TDs as a SR. The lone Georgia product in this class.

[Emphasis added.]

I know Smart’s gone, so a certain amount of drop off for ‘Bama in this state shouldn’t be a surprise. But one measly Georgia signee in another strong Alabama class?  After all, it’s not as if Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t combing Georgia for kids before he showed up in Tuscaloosa.

Hell, if this keeps up, I may stop caring about seeing Saban’s face at a future Kickoff Classic.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

He’s just happy to be here.

Junior sounds positively fired up to be coaching at FAU.

That’s the sound of a man who’s hoping Jimmy Sexton can get him out of there sooner rather than later.


UPDATE:  A little bridge burning never hurt anyone, amirite?


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin

Throwaway year, by the numbers

Bill Connelly takes a look at his S&P+ 5-year rankings and what he comes up with shouldn’t surprise you.

On the flip side, here are the 10 power programs whose 2016s compared least favorably with their 2011s, making their five-year averages suffer the most:

  1. Oregon (-4.5)
  2. Georgia (-3.1)
  3. Rutgers (-3.0)
  4. Oklahoma State (-2.9)
  5. South Carolina (-2.7)
  6. Vanderbilt (-2.4)
  7. Missouri (-2.2)
  8. Arizona State (-2.1)
  9. Michigan State (-1.9)
  10. Illinois (-1.8)

Yikes.  (By the way, how ’bout that SEC East, baby!  Four teams out of ten on that list… if you’re wondering how Georgia missed out on winning a weak division, it’s because the Dawgs fell off more than anybody else did.)

One explanation for the drop might come under the heading youth will be served.

I emphasize the word “might”, because you probably notice like I did that the two SEC division winners both had higher numbers of true freshmen snaps than did Smart’s team.

Whatever the cause, if Georgia shows up next to last again after the 2017 numbers are compiled, it’s not gonna be a happy time in Athens.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

2013 signing day, a remembrance

In hindsight, we all recognize what an unmitigated disaster Georgia’s 2013 recruiting class turned out to be.

What’s sometimes forgotten is the amount of fan angst there was about it at the time, as my post on the subject in the immediate wake of signing day indicated.

Sure, we didn’t know that Grantham would be departing the program in a year, that Pruitt would start cleaning out the dead wood and that some of the bunch would clear themselves out through questionable behavior, but there was plenty of grumbling as it was over Tunsil’s last minute departure for Ole Miss and Garner’s snagging a couple of key players on the defensive line at his new gig.

Still, this was the money ‘graph:

What the success of this year’s class boils down to – what the success of any recruiting class at Georgia boils down to – is context, that is, how does it fit into the way the coaches have molded the program and where they’re trying to take it.  Brice Ramsey’s rawness means nothing right now, or even next season, but if he never develops the way Bobo thinks he can, then, yeah, it’s a big whiff.  But you look to future classes for insurance against that costing your program overly much.

In the end, there weren’t enough future classes for Richt to overcome the vaporization of that one.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Dual-threat quarterback is the new black.

In more ways than one, I’d say.

In an interview with Bleacher Report, Watson said, “People think, ‘Oh, he’s a black quarterback. He must be dual-threat.’ People throw that word around all the time. It’s lazy.”

Really looking forward to as much uninformed commentary on this subject as we’ve seen on the spread over the last decade.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

In the nick of time

Pro Football Focus cites offensive line as Georgia’s biggest recruiting need, which just proves you don’t need an analytics website to know something about Georgia football, but it’s the explanation that drives home how strong that need really is.

The Georgia offensive line had just two players finish 2016 with even an average grade, in center Brandon Kublanow and guard Lamont Gaillard. With Kublanow graduating, the Georgia offensive line loses its best player, and someone who allowed just one sack and six pressures in 2016. It’s of even bigger importance in the running game, where Nick Chubb returns for his senior season, and could use as much help as possible to give him free runs and linebackers and defensive backs. Chubb forced 39 missed tackles on 223 carries last year, and will be looking to build on that in 2017.

I’m not trying to be ugly here about a good kid, but Kublanow as the Dawgs’ best offensive lineman last year is all you really need to know about the kind of hill Sam Pittman’s climbing.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

The long, slow death of waiting his turn

Stewart Mandel has a good piece up on another trend making the rounds, blue chip quarterbacks jumping ship after a few years in the program they signed with.

If it seems like high-profile quarterback recruits transfer at an unusually high rate, well, it’s because they do. Using 247Sports’ composite rankings, FOX Sports researched the careers of every Top 50 quarterback recruit that signed from 2011-14.

Top 50 QB recruits, 2011-14
Stars Transferred Started early* Stayed anyway
4/5-star 46.9 % 33.3 % 28.1 %
3-star 52.9 % 12.5 % 33.7 %
TOTAL 50 % 22.5 % 31 %
Top 50 based on 247Sports Composite rankings
* — started early = first or second season of eligibility
Numbers don’t add up to 100 % because some early starters also transferred.

Exactly half — 100 of 200 — transferred from their original school.

He cites several reasons for it, some of which you may find more convincing than others, but there’s little question that whatever is driving them, a lot of quarterbacks aren’t hunkering down to wait for one shot at glory.

As such, nearly all of them expect to become starters by their first or second seasons. But of course there are only so many starting jobs to go around at the top programs, and the position there may only come open once every two or three years.

“That creates high expectations by not only the kids themselves but people around them,” said Stumpf. “Family, friends private coaches — there’s a lot of pressure on those kids to get on the field early.”

Unfortunately, just 22.5 percent of the Top 50 QBs start by their first or second seasons. Of the rest, only 40 percent stay for the remainder of their careers.

Ultimately, we live in a what have you done for me lately world.  It’s not rational to expect all kids and their coaches to be exempt from that kind of thinking.


Filed under College Football

You can’t put a price tag on covering your ass.

Tennessee is shelling out 75 large for a search firm to aid in finding its next athletic director.  Nice work if you can get it, especially if you can help a good buddy out in the process.

DeFilippo, who earned his master’s degree at Tennessee, is a longtime friend of former Volunteers coach Phillip Fulmer, who perhaps is the top candidate to replacement the outgoing Dave Hart.

There’s also a six-member search committee being formed.  Kind of a belt and suspenders approach, although I suspect the real purpose is to make sure no one individual can be held accountable if things should go south with the new guy.  And let’s face it — this is Tennessee, so the odds on that happening ain’t bad, considering the Vols’ track record lately.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange