Daily Archives: February 4, 2018

Down the home stretch with signing day

Times are quieter.

But no one’s really sure what to expect. The noise has been turned down — and we’ll see, but maybe a lot — by the advent of a December early signing period.

“There’s no doubt it’s different,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn says. “From our standpoint, it won’t be near as hectic as it was.”

Most of the hay is already in the barn.

But this year, things have changed. College football’s Christmas came at, well, Christmas. Many schools secured the majority of their recruiting classes December 20-22 after the establishment, for the first time, of an early signing period for football.

According to ESPN’s rankings, 221 of the top 300 players signed letters of intent in December. Only nine of the top 50 players in 247Sports’ composite rankings remain unsigned.

Approximately 80% of prospects in the 247Sports database who had given schools nonbinding, verbal commitments signed. Using the total number of signees from the 2017 class as a baseline, 247Sports estimates 65% of prospects in the Class of 2018 have already signed.

All of which means come Wednesday — well, what exactly?

“In terms of the big names and the big stories, it’s gonna be similar to every other signing day,” says Barton Simmons, director of scouting for 247Sports. “There’s some major programs fighting for the same guys. There’s five-stars that have everybody guessing. There’s plenty of drama that we’re used to for signing day — the difference is, there’s just not the same quantity of it.

“There’s not the depth of drama. There’s not the frenetic energy to it that we’ve seen in years past, where every school in the country is scrambling to hold onto a class or fill it out.”

Who could have ever predicted that the biggest crisis the early signing period would create would be the challenge for the recruiting services to keep their clientele as engaged as before?

One of the ways they’re trying to promote some of that faux drama is over which of Ohio State and Georgia will finish first in the school recruiting rankings for this class.  (Oooh, I sit on the edge of my seat.)  If for some reason you find that to be a compelling story, I’m here for you.  Here’s a look at that race from the Ohio State perspective — with math! — from the good folks at Eleven Warriors.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“… we’re going through an assessment of our signage…”

I guess this is how we’re supposed to know Florida means business now with its football program:

The Gators are coming off their second losing seasons in five years and have not competed for a national title since 2008.

But the expectations at UF are such Stricklin had grounds crew members remove the recognition of the two SEC East titles won under Jim McElwain. Those appeared in the north end of the Swamp.

Kind of sounds what Stalin used to do when the Soviets would whitewash recent historical events.  That worked out well.  Is it possible we’ve underestimated what a sea change took place at last year’s Cocktail Party?

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

For those who think Justin Fields needs to be looking over his shoulder at Stetson Bennett…

… maybe Stetson Bennett needs to be looking over his shoulders, too.

Georgia added to its quarterback room on Saturday in the form of Alpharetta quarterback Matthew Downing. The 6-foot, 185-pound signal caller announced via twitter that he has chosen to accepted a preferred walk-on opportunity with the Bulldogs.

The pipeline never ends, baby.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“Go save us from ourselves.”

While I’m on the subject of academic leadership in the world of college sports, this advice column (using the term “advice” very loosely) from Indiana Purdue president Mitch Daniels to Condoleezza Rice warning her about the minefield she’s stepping into in chairing the NCAA commission to (allegedly) reform college basketball (h/tis a masterpiece of misdirection and misguided self-congratulation.

College basketball’s integrity isn’t threatened by one-and-dones so much as it is by college presidents who have created the rules these institutions are expected to live by and then try to pretend it’s somebody else’s problem when the proverbial shit stirred up under those same rules hits the fan.

The only way you’re ever really going to clean up college athletics in a meaningful way is to take the money out of it.  And since that’s never going to happen…

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Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, The NCAA

Graduate transfer’s poster boy

I posted the other day about the Miami quarterback whose desire to transfer to another program as a graduate was being blocked to a significant extent by the school, i.e., Mark Richt and the athletic director.

It turns out the blockage is more cringeworthy than you might expect.  In fact, I’m not sure you could draw up a worse example of unfairness if you set out to try.  Consider the specifics:

If it’s really about education in that often-repeated NCAA manifesto that props up major-college athletics, Evan Shirreffs is having a hard time believing it.

Miami’s backup quarterback has fulfilled his obligation — the obligation the NCAA tells us — by getting his Business Finance degree in three years. Not only that, Shirreffs killed it in the classroom with a 3.9 GPA. Not surprising given that he had a 32 ACT score out of Jefferson High in Georgia, where Shirreffs was class valedictorian.

But as a graduate transfer, Shirreffs is leaving Miami with more than a degree. He is carrying a significant burden because he cannot go to the grad school of his choice. To make himself the best person he can be for next 50 or so years of his life, Shirreffs really wants to enroll in an elite MBA program.

But Miami has the leverage in his transfer, even after Shirreffs has fulfilled theobligation.

Miami has granted Shirreffs permission to contact other schools. But it has not granted an exemption to the one-year residency requirement (sitting out) at any ACC school or five nonconference opponents on the 2018 and 2019 schedules.

That list includes DukeVirginiaNorth CarolinaWake Forest and Boston College, all in the ACC, all with some of the finest MBA programs in the country.

In short, this kid really is transferring for the academics.  Toss in that Miami has an established starting quarterback who returns for 2018, add this for a topper…

… Shirreffs is now playing for a coaching staff that didn’t recruit him. Mark Richt replaced Al Golden in 2016, Shirreff’s redshirt freshman year.

… and here’s what you’re left with as a rationale for being a dick to a kid who’s done everything he’s been asked to do as a student-athlete.

AD Blake James told CBS Sports of his desire for “consistency” in denying Shirreffs. He has never released a student in a similar situation, why should he now? Student-athlete beware: The transfer policy is right there in the student-athlete handbook.

“You have 114 other guys on that team who have put in the work and made a commitment,” James said, “and you have someone that’s going to leave with the entire playbook and go to a team you’re going to play. To me, I struggle with that as well.”

Man, I hate that for you.

What an effing travesty.  These people ought to be ashamed of themselves, but it seems pretty clear that they don’t really have a sense of shame.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA