Doing the math, Kirby-style

With regard to roster management, Dorothy, we’re not in Mark Richt’s Kansas any more.

Kirby Smart didn’t seem worried on Wednesday when asked about the team’s potential numbers crunch. The direct quote: “We’ll be fine with the 85.”

And that was about an hour before it emerged that graduate transfer kicker David Marvin was on the way this fall, expecting to receive a scholarship. The media didn’t know about that yet, so Smart wasn’t asked, but no doubt he knew about that, and still felt “we’ll be fine with the 85.”

That would be, for the uninitiated, the NCAA’s scholarship limit of 85. A reminder: Georgia doesn’t need to be at or under the limit until the summer begins and the new recruits enroll. What that means: There’s going to be attrition between now and then.

Based on what is publicly known, Georgia is now probably committed to 89 scholarships for the 2017 season. It signed 26 players, and Marvin’s scholarship would make it 27.

As closely as Smart managed the recruiting numbers, you have to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he says he’s comfortable sliding in under the 85-man limit.  Which isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of moving parts to be managed between now and August.

This of course is a relatively hard count that doesn’t include walk-ons who have been on scholarship. The exceptions are Frix, as noted, as well as senior Aaron Davis, who came to school as a walk-on but long ago was put on scholarship, and has been such a key player that it’s hard to see him being anything but a scholarship player.

There’s obviously the Rodrigo Blankenship situation. If you were under the belief that eventually a scholarship would be found for Blankenship, then the Marvin news throws a giant wrench in that. Fullback Christian Payne is also a walk-on, and would have a good case for getting a scholarship. But only if there’s room.

If the above numbers are right, then Georgia is four over the limit. How does it make room? Smart pointed out that “you’ve got guys who are graduates who may transfer.” That includes Davis and John Atkins, but they’re in line for major playing time and there’s been no inkling they’ll leave. Other players are set to graduate this summer, and they include Ramsey and Wilkerson, for what it’s worth.

Some incoming players could always not qualify. But more likely it will come down to players leaving because of playing time. That could happen prior to spring practice, or players could wait to evaluate their situation after spring practice.

Say goodbye to the feel good era of handing out short-term scholarships to a half-dozen or so deserving walk-ons at a time.  The numbers simply aren’t there.  And there may be a few more kids than usual moving on to other opportunities as the summer draws nigh.

Enjoy the sausage making, peeps.  If you don’t want to see your team field a short-handed roster, it’s what they’ve got to do.


Filed under Georgia Football

33 responses to “Doing the math, Kirby-style

  1. Bright Idea

    AJC guys already setting things up for a big stink when Kirby has to make cuts to get down to 85. They’ve got Ken Blankenship on speed dial you can bet. If Georgia wins the East it will be forgotten but another 8-5 look out!


  2. Billy Mumphrey

    This is one area Kirby hasn’t needed OTJ training. I like it.


  3. sectionzalum

    Let’s all grayshirt!


    • Just Chuck (The Other One)

      Is that a new dance? What kind of music do you play for this? Is it anything like the Timewarp?


  4. Dog in Fla

    “We’ll be fine with the 85.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. DawgPhan

    yeah being 4 over right after signing day doesnt worry me in the least.

    I always wanted CMR to be in this spot. 4 over at this point is easy to manage.


    • Mudcat’s car will clear that right up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • MGW

      Kirby was just talking about motivation the other day in terms of competition on the roster.

      But how’s this for motivation:

      There are going to be 85 players on scholarship this summer. 27 new guys are coming in and they will be on that list. That only leaves 58 scholarships but there are 62 of you. Work hard and stay out of trouble this spring.


  6. Jim

    There will invariably be transfers, perhaps an arrest or two, academic issues. To only be at 85 today would have been asinine in my opinion. Attrition happens even before Kirby’s apparent penchant for more active roster management

    Far prefer to be here instead of at 85 (or below) and then have the attrition that is bound to happen and finding yourself even thinner with numbers


  7. Bulldog Joe

    Gus came up seven players short of 85 last summer, without the aid of The Georgia Way suspension and dismissal policies.

    The injuries came and Auburn lost 3 of their last 4 games.


  8. Brent Henry

    Say good bye to Mr Ramsey. Thanks for all the hard work and wish him well…
    Dean Legge will be very sad


  9. WF Dawg

    I’m just trying to figure out which 4 will “pursue other opportunities” or else play w/o scholarship. Ramsey? Frix? Who else?


  10. Otto

    I of course was happy to see a walk on get on scholarship but was frustrated that the program had 10 to give out.


  11. I bet if you go back and look, you won’t be able to find more than one year where we haven’t lost at least 3 players after signing day. And that was without “trying” to make room, because we usually had plenty of room to spare. So this is pretty much a non-issue for me. In a class this size, you can usually bank on at least one signee not qualifying, at least one guy being kicked off for discipline, and at least one wanting to transfer for various reasons. That puts you at 3 right there, minimum, and usually you end up with a couple of more. I’ve said for a LONG time now that we should be sitting at 2-3 above the 85 cutoff after signing day. So one more than that doesn’t bother me a bit.


  12. W Cobb Dawg

    If we were counting the number of players CMR lost annually between signing day and the first day of camp, we’d have a long list. I’d be happily surprised if getting down to 85 became a problem in 2017.

    Kirby’s signed 9 OLs in his first 2 recruiting classes. And based upon the lack of playing time for Bynum, Madden, Baker, Allen and Hardin last year, it seems to me we’ve got more than enough candidates from the OL alone. I expect some of these players to start contributing or look for another line of work.


  13. Timphd

    I know how sausage is made and I find it delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Uglydawg

    If you picked 85 kids at random out of the UGA student population, what are the chances they’d all still be at UGA in a year? Six months? Three months? Of course, they aren’t given the academic, er….support….that scholarship players are given..but it would be quite a stretch not to see at least a 5 to 10 percent attrition rate, no? I’m guessing here, thus all the question marks. I understand that students who potentially will make a lot of money for the school will be given more leeway, but still, it doesn’t look as if Coach Smart is taking a big risk.


  15. Hogbody von Bismarck

    Y’all know where the sausage reference come from dontcha?


  16. Hogbody Spradlin

    If I recall correctly, the last 2-3 years of his tenure ‘The Departed’ figured out that attrition is inevitable and had us over 85 at this time of year. Not saying one way or the other, jes remembering.


  17. Bigshot

    Nice, isn’t it.


  18. Macallanlover

    Have long said, all teams should be allowed to sign to 88 on NSD to allow for attrition, but not one more. If you are lucky and make it with 1-3 above the 85 number, good on you, but your new hard count next year is 88 again. Between injuries, transfers, academic caualties, etc. there will not be many teams over the number, and if they are, so what? But it will stop the oversigning for an advantage so that every team has the same opportunity.


  19. The Dawg abides

    We were at 88 after signing day in 2015. Five transferred or were dismissed. One late signee (Mirkovich), and a grad transfer(Lambert) were added. This was the only time I can recall that we were at 85 recruited scholarship players on August 1st under Richt. That lasted about a week when Detric Bing-Dukes decided to transfer and Arron Davis was given that spot.
    I don’t know why Emerson is counting Frix because he was one of the walk-ons that got a spot last year because we were short of 85. He won’t get one this year unless there are spots for walk-ons available. Pretty sure that Davis has earned a permanent scholly though. And the new kicker has publicly stated that he is being blueshirted. So the true number right now is 87. I fully expect to lose 4 or 5 through natural attrition, so there will be some spots for walk-ons. The big question will be if Squints will get one.