Daily Archives: February 7, 2019

#1 forevah

Listen up, dog.

If Reggie Ball isn’t in attendance, it’s just fake culture.

32 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football

He gets around.

Opinions may vary on Todd Grantham’s prowess as a defensive coordinator, but when it comes to using the threat of the NFL as leverage to get a raise, there is no doubt the man is a complete and total boss.

6 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness

Moar roster news

Tight end insurance.

You’ve traded up, Eli.

25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Don’t bury Nick, ’cause he’s not dead yet.

Let’s see how that “Stick a fork in Nick Saban, he’s done” narrative did yesterday.

Oh, right. Bama finished with the No. 1 class, getting back to a perch it occupied seven years in a row before slipping slightly in 2018. The Tide lost two blue-chip commitments on Wednesday, and it didn’t come close to taking them out of the No. 1 ranking.

In particular, take a look at the defensive line class Alabama signed for 2019.  It’s outrageously good.  Overall, the Tide signed 27 kids and only one of them, a kicker, had fewer than three four stars from the recruiting services.

All this in the face of a second straight year of enormous staff turnover.  And it didn’t matter.  Yeah, he’s really done.

19 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

What “closing the gap” in the SEC East really means

I expect some pushback on this post, but here goes nothing.

Let’s start by reposting this:

Titles are reserved for programs that sign more blue-chip recruits than non-, and only 13 teams in the whole country met that threshold in 2018, including all four Playoff teams.

The SEC has seven teams above that cut right now for 2019, including three — A&M, Florida, and Tennessee — whose 2018 rosters left them just below the Blue-Chip Ratio line. The Vols got there by signing a five-star tackle, Darnell Wright, and four-star linebacker, Henry To’oto’o, in the last hour or so of the February NSD.

Both the Gators and the Vols are trying to emerge from irrelevance.  Tennessee has a tougher row to hoe in that regard, both because it’s fallen farther and also because it’s a tougher place from which to recruit.  That being said, the surest way to dig yourself out of an irrelevant hole is to sign better talent.  Both programs appear to have done that with their 2019 classes.

Sure, being relevant and being elite are two different things.  2019’s done nothing to put either UF or UT on the same level, talentwise, as Georgia.  But relevant programs can certainly win divisional and conference titles and make the national title postseason on occasion.  It may take somewhat freakish opportunities — key injuries to opponents, injury luck for itself, a generational type player who elevates the program, turnover margin magic, etc. — but there are occasions when a puncher’s chance has been sufficient, if a program is sufficiently prepared to take advantage.

That’s exactly where I think Florida and Tennessee are now.  The gap isn’t closing, but the chance to break through on occasion may be rising for the two.  I think that’s particularly true for Florida.  As I’ve mentioned, Tennessee is hampered by having a tougher time recruiting.  It’s also got to deal with the reality of having Alabama on its schedule every season, a burden neither Georgia nor Florida have.

The other reason I think the trend favors the Gators is that I think they’re better built to deal with it.  Pruitt’s record as a head coach is obviously too short to draw any real conclusions about his program management philosophy, but I don’t think Phil Fulmer is expecting anything less than a return to the glory days of the nineties, even though today’s SEC is a tougher place for the Vols to build sustained success.

Mullen, though, runs a program — at least from what we’ve seen from his days at Mississippi State and even a little from last season at Florida — in a way that’s conducive to success in accepting relevancy as a launch point.  Along those lines, I had an interesting exchange with David Wunderlich on Twitter about that.

That’s where I see Florida.  And I think Mullen is a good enough coach to make something like that work now and then.  Mississippi State waxed and waned when he was there; it’s not hard to see Florida doing the same, except at a higher level on both ends because he’ll be working from a much better base of talent.

No, it won’t be a return to the Spurrier or Meyer eras.  But I can certainly see a year here and a season there of frustration for Georgia fans.  Hope I’m wrong, of course, but I bet I’m not.

As for Tennessee, ask me in another year or two.

63 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

The SEC’s insane Signing Day

How crazy was it?  This crazy.

With February’s National Signing Day now pretty well in the books, what seemed obvious after December’s Early Signing Period is now final. The SEC just had the best recruiting year for a conference in the history of recruiting rankings.

The SEC did something that’s never happened in the internet rankings era: finish with teams in four of the top five spots on the 247Sports Composite class rankings.

It wasn’t just at the top, either.  Almost every team in the conference killed it on the recruiting trail.

Arkansas, which just won two freaking games, somehow has a top-25 class. So does Ole Miss, transitioning out of NCAA sanctions with a strong finish. South Carolina’s ahead of both of them, just inside the top 20 at No. 19.

Thirteen of 14 teams finished in the top 36. The last of those is Mizzou, which just got hit with an NCAA bowl ban. Every team in the conference except Vanderbilt (at No. 56 nationally) is at least pulling its weight.

I don’t mean to ignore the middle.  Things went well there, too.

Titles are reserved for programs that sign more blue-chip recruits than non-, and only 13 teams in the whole country met that threshold in 2018, including all four Playoff teams.

The SEC has seven teams above that cut right now for 2019, including three — A&M, Florida, and Tennessee — whose 2018 rosters left them just below the Blue-Chip Ratio line. The Vols got there by signing a five-star tackle, Darnell Wright, and four-star linebacker, Henry To’oto’o, in the last hour or so of the February NSD.

Like I said, nuts.

4 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

Kirby Smart’s excellent day

Really, there’s no need to elaborate.  The facts speak for themselves.

Georgia locked up the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class on Wednesday and filled its class with two commitments. The Bulldogs flipped five-star wide receiver George Pickens (Hoover; Hoover, Ala.) and beat out Alabama and TCU for three-star tight end Brett Seither (Clearwater Central Catholic; Clearwater, Fla.), giving them 308.98 points.

Only Alabama finished ahead of UGA and it’s the third straight year that Kirby Smart and his staff have signed a top-three class that amassed 300 points or more. There’s a lot to be excited about when you look at the haul as a whole. A total of five prospects with a five-star rating inked with Georgia. That group includes the nation’s No. 1 prospect per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite, the top two players in the state of Alabama, the top player from Mississippi, and the top defensive tackle, a major position of need for the Bulldogs in this class, in Georgia.

UGA also reeled in 15 four-star prospects including the No. 1 and No. 6 junior college prospects in the country. All needs were met, especially on Wednesday when Georgia signed Pickens and Seither and during the early period when a pair of quarterbacks inked with the program and enrolled early.

To begin with, Smart sits on the largest pool of talent ever accumulated in the history of the program.  Think about that for a minute.  Sure, you’ve still got to coach them up and develop, but it’s a helluva lot easier to succeed with studs than without.

Next, what makes yesterday’s finish particularly impressive is how effortlessly Smart identified a remaining area of weakness after the early signing date and moved to address it.  You can’t address every need completely in a single class, of course, but, given Georgia’s recent classes, it’s not like Smart was faced with that kind of problem.  This time, it was the receiving corps that was in need of shoring up after the departure of several key players and Haselwood bailing for Oklahoma; shoring up is just what happened with the signings of Pickens and Seither.

Kirby’s roster management skills are peerless (okay, except for Saban, of course) and the biggest difference between him and Mark Richt.  It’s why the program is where it’s at today and the most likely reason Georgia will eventually break through on the national title front.  The scary thing is that it’s like we don’t even see him break a sweat doing it.

24 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

This town ain’t big enough for the both of ’em.

Geoff Collins ($$):

“I’ve been here when we were a top-10 team in the country. I have been here when ‘College GameDay’ has been here. I’ve been here when we were playing for ACC championships. I’ve been here when the conversation in college football centers on Georgia Tech. Not just Atlanta because of Mercedes-Benz and the SEC championship and the College Football Hall of Fame — the center of the college football universe is in Atlanta at Bobby Dodd Stadium,” he said with pointed determination.

“Right now, the Super Bowl is in town, and it is (1.9) miles away from Bobby Dodd Stadium,” Collins told The Cheap Seats radio show. “The college national championship was played here last year, (1.9) miles away from Bobby Dodd Stadium. The College Football Hall of Fame is right here in our backyard. The center of the college football universe is in Atlanta, and Georgia Tech is in the heart of it.”

Kirby Smart:

“I think it helped having the Super Bowl in Atlanta all together because with us having the most players in the Super Bowl between the two teams at the University of Georgia. It’s in Atlanta, which is our home base, and all the different things that happened that week. It was certainly tremendous for us to be in some homes during that time.”  [Emphasis added.]

42 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

Okay, I’ll make an exception in this case.

I don’t care how distasteful you find the current state of football transfers — tell me you wouldn’t have enjoyed this playing out publicly.

Former Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell was in the process of crafting a transfer waiver appeal last year while with the Buckeyes, citing Urban Meyer’s three-game suspension as a reason, multiple sources have told CBS Sports.

It is not believed Martell ultimately filed the appeal with the NCAA and may have been advised against it. Last season, Martell stayed for his redshirt freshman campaign as a backup for Heisman Trophy finalist Dwayne Haskins.

It’s not clear if Meyer’s suspension was the sole reason Martell considering an appeal. Meyer was suspended before the season for what the school called “insufficient management action” regarding former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith.

Granting a transfer waiver because Corch is a dick seems like a slam dunk to me.

9 Comments

Filed under Transfers Are For Coaches., Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Those gaps aren’t going to close themselves.

I have to say the people running Saturday Down South have done a fine job developing a reputation for top notch satirical work.  Clever satire is hard to pull off, but here’s an excellent example of the genre.

I mean, how snarky is it to bury the lede in a piece entitled “How Florida closed the gap on Georgia and Alabama with a strong Signing Day finish”?

For the first time since the inception of recruiting rankings, Florida’s football roster will lack a 5-star recruit in the 2019 season.

Still, the Gators penned 17 blue-chip recruits (4- or 5-stars), a number only exceeded nationally by Alabama (25), Georgia (22) and Penn State (18).

Closing the gap by losing ground with elite prospect signings is sarcasm I can only dream of pulling off.

Oh, wait… you mean he was serious about that?  I guess his bio should have tipped me off:

Neil Blackmon covers Florida football for SaturdayDownSouth.com. An attorney and two-time graduate of the University of Florida…

Don’t quit your day job, Neil.

15 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting