Daily Archives: June 7, 2020

When it’s Georgia, talent isn’t everything.

At least at Athlon, which, in ranking Georgia seventh in its preseason listings, calls this Kirby Smart team “probably his most talented”.

The problem?  Round up the usual suspects.

He’ll have a brand-new quarterback in Jamie Newman, and the advantage gained by getting him on campus in January was almost completely wiped out when spring drills were canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Losing those 15 practices (12 regular practices and three scrimmages) will force the Bulldogs to break in a new play-caller and a new triggerman in short order.

I ask you, is there another team in the country as profoundly affected by the loss of spring practice as Georgia?



Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

TFW a post writes itself

“I’d think we did a poor job recruiting if guys were coming in and then immediately walking out the door because it was something different than what they thought it would be and we lied to them during recruiting, or we sold them on a dream that wasn’t true,” Mullen said.

The class of 2021 is one of the most unique in the history of recruiting. Prospects are committing at record rates, with almost 1,000 committed players as of the time of this writing compared to just 400 at this time last year.

Prospects are scrambling to secure spots in classes, even if they have never visited those campuses. Our analysts know of several prospects who have tried to commit to multiple schools only to be turned away before finally finding a home.

Some coaching staffs, particularly new staffs, are reluctant to take prospects site unseen because of the potential need to squeeze them out of a class could damage relationships in their states with power players and high school coaches. Many of those relationships have not yet been formed in-person due to the shutdown.

But many schools are willing to take them, even if it means having to drop them from their class later in the year. Schools are going ahead and taking prospects to whom they had issued, pre-shutdown, a “camp offer” (an offer that isn’t actually committable until the prospect shows up at a school’s summer camp and shows that he is as big or as athletic as advertised and works well with the school’s staff). They will, of course, attempt to keep the recruits committed who they later confirm are good enough to play for them.

And as schools take more commitments, it creates panic in the mind of uncommitted recruits, who then call up schools trying to commit and secure a spot.

This all sets up for a potentially amazing season of decommitments.

And in keeping with that idea, I am tracking the race for the top decommitment class in the country. Players who recommit to a class will not be counted. There’s no algorithm here. The formula is simple: Total stars. Updates will come monthly.

I think you know where this is going.

No. 2 Florida Gators: 20 stars

The Florida Gators are nipping at the heels of the Miami Hurricanes. Five-star linebacker Terrence Lewis was once a UF commit, as were three other four-star prospects. They include defensive end Bryce Langston, safety Dink Jackson, and safety Kamar Wilcoxson. Most of these decommitments happened in calendar year 2019, which does beg the question of Florida’s staying power near the top. However, Florida’s elite start will likely keep the Gators in the top ten all season. Receiver Trevonte Rucker was once a decommit but has since recommitted.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

Another list

I confess I hadn’t come across the CFB Saturdays blog before.  The folks there just got through rating their Top 25 returning players at each offensive position and have followed that by compiling their Top 10 returning offenses.

… we thought it would be a good time to look at what teams are returning the best offensive talent based on the rankings.  Below you will find the teams returning the most experienced talent.  This list does NOT include recruits or players who do not have significant sample size.  We are not considering players that are likely breakout candidates who have not yet played much and strictly limiting ourselves to returning players with experience.

In ranking these teams we looked at how the returning ranked players will fit together and help their offense produce.  Two key factors were given preference over just sheer numbers – positional value and star power.  Clearly, quarterback is the most valued position on offense and a team with an elite player at the position will usually be ranked higher.

The value of star power also cannot be underestimated in college football.  There are very few players rated as great players (8 out of 10 rating) or better in our entire rankings (51 total out of 150 players).  That is only one third of the best returning offensive players in the country.  We recognize that there are a lot of above average to good players in the game, but very few that are truly elite.  An offense with five total players graded as 7 on our scale of 1 to 10 may be ranked below a team with a 9 QB, 9 OT, and an 8 WR.  These are the parameters we considered in compiling these rankings.

Based on that, Georgia checked in at number five, somewhat surprisingly (at least if you’ve been tracking all the punditry lately).

The Bulldogs are another team that returns only four players but is rated higher due to star power and positional value.   It all starts with the shot in the arm provided by Jamie Newman (#6 QB) who brings true dual threat ability to Athens (as we highlighted in our Transfer Spotlight here).  Newman is one of three quarterbacks rated an 8 out of 10 due to his elite tools and strong production.

The most talented player returning for Georgia is without a doubt George Pickens (#8 WR).  With the offense expected to open up, and with Newman’s propensity to hit deep shots, we expect to see Pickens make a ton of big plays in 2020.  Pickens is rated an 8 out of 10 and has the potential to move up as he perfects his craft.  Adding to the pass catching talent is transfer Tre McKitty (#13 TE).  McKitty is the highest rated 6 out of 10 at the position due to his impressive pass catching skills.  Center Trey Hill (#6 G/C) is one of the best at his position and should be the anchor for another strong Georgia offensive line this season.

Georgia ranks above some other teams as a result of the importance of strong quarterback play coupled with a borderline elite receiving target and offensive line anchor.  The pieces are in place at the right spots for the offense to produce and make Georgia fans forget the lackluster performance of the 2019 unit.

I find this noteworthy, not because it’s dispositive of anything in the slightest, but because there’s more to evaluating an offense’s prospects than checking off what players have left in the prior offseason.  I don’t know how Georgia’s will do, but having a boatload of talent and an improvement at offensive coordinator makes me think things aren’t as dire as some project.


Filed under Georgia Football

“When the opportunity presented itself, the Gators feasted on opposing quarterbacks.”

David Wunderlich looks at how Florida tops the conference in terms of returning sack production in 2020.

Historically speaking, 2019 was an impressive year in that regard.

As a team, UF came up with 49 sacks. The only teams with more in the conference since 2009 were the 2015 (52 sacks) and 2016 (54) Alabama teams that featured a trio of sackmasters in Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, and Ryan Anderson.

However, those Crimson Tide teams played 15 games versus the Gators’ 13 of a year ago. On a per-game basis, Florida’s 3.77 per game is the most in the SEC since ’09. When you rack up a ton of sacks, you can lose the league leader and still have the most coming back.

That being said, the bulk of that production came in just a few games.

You probably remember that the Gators had a remarkable ten sacks in the Week 0 opener against Miami. They also had six against Vanderbilt and eight against FSU’s dreadful offensive line. Total those three games up, and you come out with 24. So, roughly half of the team’s sacks came in three games.

I will highlight that those were all Power 5 teams, because against FCS competition Florida had five sacks against UT-Martin and four against Towson. They probably could’ve had more if they didn’t empty the bench and go relatively vanilla against those teams.

But, add in those two lower-division opponents and you get 33 in five games.

And when you look at sacks on a per game basis against ranked teams, Florida finished twelfth in the conference last season.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Stats Geek!