Those of you who were wondering yesterday why Kirby Smart might be facing a numbers crunch next year, allow the master of roster management to explain.
“Everything doesn’t mesh…let’s say we have five mid-years, which isn’t the case at all, but let’s say we have five mid-years that want to come,” Smart said. “We have to have a spot for every one of them to come, so every senior who elects to stay, we don’t have a mid-year spot. So, even though [seniors] won’t count towards the 85, we don’t have a spot for [mid-years] to come. We don’t really control what seniors stay, and we’ll certainly give them the flexibility, but if we have more mid-years that want to come than seniors who want to leave, we have a problem. I don’t think that all the things mesh real well, especially if you’re a program that has a shot at a lot of mid-years. What’s different about this year? Kids aren’t in high school, so why should [they] stay for [their] second semester? We’re looking at—and I don’t know about other schools, maybe they’re the same way—[but] we’re looking at the possibility of anywhere from 14 to 20 mid-year enrollees. Let’s say we have 20 mid-year enrollees who want to come—we don’t have 20 spots. Yet, the seniors won’t count next year, but they’re eating spots right now. It just doesn’t add up. It doesn’t make perfect sense, so it’s a dilemma that we have to deal with.”
Maybe it’s something that everyone should have seen coming for a mile away. The cap on 85 scholarship players won’t be lifted until the 2021-2022 season. In January, when the Bulldogs’ mid-year enrollees arrive, the limit is still 85 because they’ll still be in the 2020-2021 athletic year.
Okay, sure, that’s a challenge, but, let’s face it, if there’s one problem that’s in Kirby Smart’s wheelhouse, it’s roster management. Bitch all you want about manball, but the man knows how to construct a roster.
That being said, it will be interesting to see exactly how the staff prioritizes personnel in the next two months. We’re already seeing hints of it with the Senior Bowl invite acceptances and the early moves to enter the transfer portal. We’ll get more when early signing day hits, I suspect.