I don’t know about you, but if this comes true, I’m gonna laugh my ass off at those Auburn fans who kept insisting Gus Malzahn was grooming the next Heisman Trophy winner every damned year:
Daily Archives: May 2, 2021
It’s a narrative that refuses to die, even in the face of pesky facts, like these from Seth Emerson ($$):
Smart is the first coach in Georgia history to produce at least six draft picks in four consecutive drafts. That’s all-time, even before the draft was reduced to seven rounds in 1994.
Georgia finished with a program-record nine selections in 2021, one more than its eight draftees in 2002 and 2013.
Included in those nine are three-star kids like Stokes and Rice, as well as a grad transfer in McKitty.
There’s also this to note.
Two of those transfers were quarterbacks who couldn’t get around the Jake Fromm road block. A third was buried on the defensive depth chart and took his talents to Florida. The point is, if talent alone were enough, every five-star kid would be on a path to glory and the first round of the NFL draft the minute he set foot on campus. That isn’t how it works, though.
Kirby Smart is one of college football’s best recruiters. But he’s seeing record numbers of his kids take it to the next level because he’s doing something with the Jimmies and Joes when they get to Athens. No matter how hard the narrative insists otherwise.
UPDATE: What Graham said. Especially about Florida fans.
8-4. That’s the record the Gators finished with last year despite having a Heisman Finalist under center and two first round draft picks catching his passes. Mullen turned the best offense in Florida history into a four loss season. Georgia fans would be calling for Kirby Smart’s head if he brought home that record under the same set of circumstances. In Gainesville, 8-4 with a season full of embarrassing antics seems to be more than enough to satisfy the “Gator Standard.”
No, this isn’t a post about the Kentucky Derby. It’s about how coaches are already laying plans for opening the doors to recruits on June 1st.
With the pandemic winding down and COVID-19 vaccinations on the rise, the NCAA announced earlier this month a highly anticipated return to the normal recruiting calendar: Beginning on June 1 and running through the 27th, FBS programs will be allowed to host official and unofficial visitors on campuses for the first time since the NCAA enacted a dead period last March — ending a 445-day stretch in which coaches and recruits made eye contact on Zoom and FaceTime or not at all.
“The virtual thing showed us that there are a lot of different avenues and means to being able to recruit,” said Maryland coach Mike Locksley. “But there’s still no substitution for that face-to-face, personality, get a feel for people and who they are.”
On the heels of this unprecedented span, June promises to be unlike any period in the history of major-college recruiting. With thousands of prospects flocking onto campuses across nearly four open weeks and coaches now able to conduct workouts with unofficial visitors, the month will shock the FBS back into an established rhythm.
While teams have spent months preparing for the resumption of normal recruiting activities, the expected flood of visitors has the potential to strain the resources and manpower of every program.
Every program? Color me skeptical about that. Nick Saban’s had three interns working on this since the COVID lockdown was announced last year. Kirby sent Josh Brooks a recruiting budget request that Brooks approved without looking at it.
Florida’s in good shape, too, but that’s because the Portal Master™ has transitioned to a higher plane of recruiting.
“The recruiting aspect, I don’t have to be at my desk to do it,” Mullen said. “Wherever you have a phone and you can text kids or you can FaceTime kids, and you’re calling and doing all of that part on the recruiting side of things, it’s not that big of a deal.”
Humor aside, this next month is going to present a challenge for every program.
But it’s on June 1 that the floodgates will open, with a stream of committed and uncommitted prospects arriving on FBS campuses just as coaches juggle the two biggest topics in roster management: the explosive popularity of the transfer portal and the uncertain number of scholarships available in 2022, when programs are expected to be required to return to the standard 85-scholarship limit after the NCAA granted a one-year respite to accommodate seniors who accepted another year of eligibility.
The matter of scholarship allotment moving forward looms over the entire landscape of football recruiting and has already led several big-name programs to adopt different tactics to remain flexible in the face of uncertainty.
It’s not just getting to do talent evaluations in the flesh that will count. It’s figuring out how to construct a program’s roster after the evaluations that’s going to be critical. My money’s on the coaches who have already proven themselves to be masters at roster management. Gee, I wonder who they are?
… this one isn’t a bad one.
Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see what fate has in store for Dan Mullen, but it’s fair to say that one game a career doth not make. Although it does make for a familiar echo from a particular fan base.