I am so stealing this Allen Kenney subject for this post.
Under the new rule, players can play in up to four games in a season without sacrificing a year of eligibility. Previously, a player could not participate in any games in a given season to qualify for a redshirt. Riley will join every other FBS-level coach in testing out the redshirt rule in 2018.
“It completely changes [how coaches manage players’ redshirt years]. I don’t know if people on the outside or even maybe us on the inside understand how different that rule is,” Riley said during Big 12 media days.
A few members of OU’s heralded 2018 signing class will play so much this year that they have no chance of qualifying for a redshirt. Defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles and defensive lineman Ronnie Perkins seem like two of the surest bets. Meanwhile, a knee injury has already knocked out blue-chip defensive tackle Michael Thompson for the season.
In theory, every other rookie on the roster could find himself in play for a redshirt this fall. Here are the five freshmen on OU’s roster most likely to be affected by the rule this season.
The roster flexibility this opens up is enormous — for the true freshman who blossoms over the course of the season, for coaches who need to plug a spot hammered by injuries, for player development without expending class separation, etc. If there’s one thing Kirby’s good at, it’s roster management. It’ll be fascinating to see how this plays out in 2018.
Here’s the list of Georgia’s 2018 signing class. My five who are likely to be affected by the new rule:
- Zamir White. The new rule could not be more perfectly written for a kid like White coming back from a serious injury. There’s plenty of depth at the running back position, so the pressure to hit the field isn’t as intense as it might be elsewhere. Should White’s rehab play out as well as early reports indicate, he’s someone who could roll out late in the year and still preserve his four years. (And before you say he’s an obvious three-and-done candidate, Nick Chubb would like a word with you.)
- Jamaree Salyer. He’s a stud who didn’t enroll early. Again, offensive line is a place where competition is a bigger consideration than necessity and it’s easy to see Salyer being a late season adjustment, like Cleveland was last year.
- Divaad Wilson. The coaches really loved this kid in the spring, until he was unfortunately sidelined with an ACL injury. If he can recover sufficiently by November, I can see him getting some time.
- John FitzPatrick or
Channing Tindall Luke Ford. Georgia is pretty stocked at tight end. One of these two probably won’t see any time at all this season, but depending on where the coaches see a skill set need, I can see one of them getting in a few games.
- Cade Mays. Can he push one of the season starters off by year’s end?
Justin Fields is the hard call, obviously. On one level, he seems like a perfect case for the new rule, someone who can get a respectable amount of real game experience and still preserve class separation with Fromm. The question is whether he’s too good, or too necessary, to restrict to four games. I suspect that’s the case, but we’ll see.
As a general thought, one area that could clearly benefit from this is special teams, where you could move talented true freshman in and out over the year as you evaluate talent, develop skills and reward effort.
Who are your five?