Daily Archives: December 16, 2021

Another signing day in the books

And another great class signed by Kirby Smart.

Georgia football’s latest recruiting class replenishes talent on one of the nation’s most loaded rosters.

The Bulldogs’ haul ranked No. 3 nationally Wednesday evening with 23 players on the first day of the early signing period. That trailed only Texas A&M and Alabama. The Bulldogs look headed for a sixth straight top 4 class in the 247Sports Composite.

The group boosted fills gaps in one particular area of need in quality if not quantity: the Bulldogs secondary.

Coach Kirby Smart and his staff reeled in three 5-star DB signees including Jefferson’s Malaki Starks along with cornerbacks Jaheim Singletary from Jacksonville and Daylen Everette from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. All are top 30 national prospects…

Smart spoke before safety Kamari Wilson, a five-star UGA target, announced on ESPN2 that he’s signing with Florida, but later in the broadcast edge rusher Marvin Jones Jr. from American Heritage in Fort Lauderdale, announced for Georgia. That gave Georgia five five-stars in the class.

It’s one of the ten best recruiting classes of all time, as measured by the 247Sports Composite.  And yet… and yet… I can’t help but feel that’s there’s a whiff of, if not outright dissatisfaction out there in Dawgland, at least one of disappointment.  Here’s macondawg’s take on the moment:

It felt more like a Mark Richt signing day than a Kirby Smart signing day. 18 of Georgia’s 27 current commitments had their paperwork in by 11:00 am. Three more won’t actually sign until February. There simply wasn’t the excitement, the tidal wave of momentum we’ve come to expect over the past five years…

… But for the first time it feels a little like we’ve come back to the pack in recruiting, and that Georgia could have better addressed some real needs. This staff has earned every benefit of every doubt given the performance of guys like Jordan Davis, Ladd McConkey, and yes, Stetson Bennett.

But today feels a little like a day when Georgia continues to excel where it already excels and stayed the same rather than getting demonstrably better in the places where improvement is necessary.

He chalks that up to several factors:  (1) a post-SECCG hangover; (2) lack of pizzazz at the o-line and receiver positions; and (3) signing only four of the top ten players in state.

This class is very good. But it’ll look a whole lot better if Georgia wins two more football games before they all report this summer. If that doesn’t happen, and Georgia reports as expected with no more than 3 returning starters on defense and 5-7 on offense, this class will start with the same Sysiphean charge as Kirby Smart’s last five top three recruiting classes: to finally win a national title for a fan base that has aches for one for four decades. Bulldog fans are rightly wondering how many National Signing Days they have to win in December to win the last college football game of the season in January.

Maybe it’s a sense of déjà vu.  Maybe we as a fan base have grown a little jaded.  Maybe Texas A&M’s off the charts class takes a little of the gleam off Georgia’s.  I get it.  But I look at this 2022 class so far and think it registers a little better than just very good, despite that I agree with macondawg about this o-line group.  With this class, Georgia has a balanced quarterback room, a loaded tight end room and a running back in Branson Robinson who looks like a total stud.  There’s also ridiculous help at edge and ILB, which is needed.

For one thing, Smart was consumed with the state of his secondary, and given that we just saw them get roasted by Alabama, his focus is understandable.

“We’re still lower than we’ve ever been in terms of defensive backs,” Smart said. “We have more leaving than we do coming. We were already below and if you have more leaving than you have coming than you’re actually a negative net gain. …It’s been tough for us this year because we have not been able to play dime packages (six DBs). We have not been able to do so many things we want to do.”

Beyond that, I think there are a few factors that have to be baked into the cake before we can reach a full assessment.  This staff has shown itself to be extremely confident about identifying talent better than the recruiting sites do, and given their success as seen this season with players like Davis, Bowers and McConkey, they’re entitled to the benefit of the doubt in that regard.

Also worth taking into account is that Kirby’s done good work in the transfer portal and I have no reason to think that won’t come into play in the next few months.  One tell regarding that is, despite leaving a few roster spots open yesterday, there are three commits who are putting off their decisions until February.

Three players committed to Georgia–Appling County outside linebacker Darris Smith, wide receiver Dillon Bell and running back Jordan James revealed they play to sign in February.

“It’s still not over as far as guys we’ll sign in February,” Smart said.

That smells like a mutual decision.  Smart wants to see who leaves after the playoffs in order to determine how many total open spots he has to work with.  (Remember, with the temporary NCAA rule, he could sign as many as 32, depending on who leaves for the portal.)

In other words, sure, there are things I question about Smart, but roster management ain’t one of them.

What’s your take?

106 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Travis Hunter’s prime time moment

I’m not sure you’ll see many takes about Hunter’s decision to go the HBCU route as breathless as Dan Wetzel’s.

It was the most stunning college football recruiting decision in decades. No one turns down the richest and most successful programs in the country to sign with an HBCU. Well, they didn’t until now. And it may not take long before decisions like this, while still uncommon, aren’t that uncommon…

This is the first recruiting class that profit off name, image and likeness and maybe no one played this game better than Hunter. The speculation of what was committed to him reached into the seven figures, although what is real and realized remains to be seen. (Is he going to be in AFLAC commercials with his coach?)

What is undeniable is that Hunter made himself a massive star and cultural hero Wednesday and thus set the standard for players to rethink what NIL can do for them.

Yeah, well, and I thought Roquan Smith’s decision to forgo signing a national letter of intent was going to be the next big thing in college football.

That being said, it’s certainly a noteworthy decision, especially if it does turn out that NIL compensation played a role in it.  Except… what I can’t get past is the nagging feeling that if it really were a business decision, are we saying nobody could outbid little ol’ Jackson State?  If that’s the case, boy, don’t all those message board commenters who are positive Kirby Smart’s recruiting prowess stems from handing out bags of money left and right feel foolish this morning.

It’s a nice story, but I wonder how Hunter will feel about his decision in a season or two after compiling game tape for the NFL against subpar competition.  Or, for that matter, if Sanders leaves for greener coaching pastures.

37 Comments

Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting

That cannon isn’t going to fire itself.

Give Shane Beamer credit.  He’s already got PFF buying in.

Dude who was benched in favor of a true freshman quarterback leads gritty underdog to unexpected greatness?  I’m starting to get the feeling we’re heading into a long offseason, y’all.

29 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy

Does Urban Meyer have a future in college football?

That was a topic of discussion for me and some friends last night, before the news of Corch’s firing broke.  And, yes, I know Meyer’s got a 187-32 record as a college head coach, with three nattys.  And, yes, I know there are plenty of examples of second acts for college coaches who couldn’t cut it in the pros.  I mean, if a total douche like Bobby Petrino could land on his feet — handsomely, even — at Arkansas, surely there’s a place somewhere for Urban Meyer.

But this makes three fairly spectacular flame outs in a row for the guy when the going got tough.  Beyond that, you can make the argument that Meyer’s stint at Jacksonville is the worst showing for any NFL coach, ever.  And that’s before you get to the erratic personal behavior he displayed as the ship was sinking.  Handling adversity isn’t Urban Meyer’s strong suit.

What has been his strong suit is talent accumulation, but with the advent of the transfer portal, even that has to be questioned somewhat.  If your coach behaves like a complete dick, you don’t have to put up with that on the college level anymore.

I have no doubt Meyer intends to return to the college coaching ranks, because he’s not built to have the Jacksonville fiasco as the final item on his resume.  But how many schools are prepared to roll the dice on an expensive chance like Corch (and he will be pricey), knowing that it’s likely he’ll flame out in less than five seasons and his tenure will play out in a very public way?

Okay… how many schools besides Auburn?

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UPDATE:  LOL.  Stingtalk is all in on Corch.

66 Comments

Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Billy Napier, respect

I have to admit, after seeing the Gators’ class yesterday, I may have underestimated their new head coach a little.  No, it’s definitely not a class for the ages.  In fact at No. 50 in the 247Sports Composite, it’s downright the worst class a Florida head coach has signed in as long as I can remember, but Napier’s done a masterful job in selling it, as this tweet indicates.

If signing the SEC’s lowest ranked class is overdelivering, I’m here for years and years of that.

And he’s hardly alone with that take.

Georgia signed more five-star recruits than any other program in the country.  FSU, despite being pantsed by Coach Prime, still ranks seventeenth in the Composite.  Yet, somehow, Florida is seen as having had the better day over both.

I don’t know how good a coach Napier will turn out to be in Gainesville, but he’s already got the makings of being a skilled salesman.  You can go a long way in college football just on that alone.

32 Comments

Filed under Blowing Smoke, Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

This NIL aggression will not stand, man.

Nice “doing it for the kids” touch there, Chip.

What’s happened is, in the wake of the NCAA abandoning the field of regulating NIL compensation post-Alston, that schools in states without laws governing NIL rights actually have the advantage over those in states with NIL laws.  The turntables have turned, in other words, which was not the intention.  Chip is just restoring the natural order of the universe, or at least the recruiting part of it.

Along those lines, I would be shocked, shocked if the Georgia legislature did not revisit HB 617 this session.  You could make the argument that in the present circumstances, Georgia has the worst environment for NIL compensation in the country.  My guess is that Bill Cowsert’s take

“I’m actually concerned about the potential for folks to cross the line, going from a supporter to using someone to promote their products and becoming a booster,” Cowsert told Atlanta Business Chronicle. “We have to be very careful that this isn’t used inappropriately by businesses agreeing to essentially pay some for their NIL when they really want to persuade someone to come to the University of Georgia.”

… will either be modified significantly, or outright ignored.  ‘Crootin’ über alles!

18 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting

TFW you’re about to sign the best recruiting class ever

Hey, if you were Jimbo, you’d be laughing, too.

19 Comments

Filed under Recruiting