I’m way too amused to work up any righteous indignation over the way events have unfolded at Auburn, but that hasn’t stopped Andy Staples($$). He has some shame to send the school’s way, while acknowledging that Harsin hasn’t exactly done himself any favors with the way he went about his business in his first season there.
Bryan Harsin already had little chance to succeed at Auburn. Based on his actions and his public statements, he seems to believe that he can compete in the SEC at Auburn the same way he competed in the Mountain West at Boise State. Anyone with even an inkling of understanding of the levels of major college football knows this isn’t true. Talent acquisition is the most important aspect of a job like Auburn’s, and Harsin’s second recruiting class at Auburn showed he is hopelessly behind annual rivals Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M. Allow a different SEC coach to explain what truly matters in these jobs.
What did Georgia’s Kirby Smart do last month? That’s right. He won the national title. That would be the thing Auburn aspires to win, the thing Auburn did win 12 years ago when it had one of the best college players to ever wear the uniform. Auburn won’t win one of those with Harsin if he continues to sign classes where the highest-ranked player would rank No. 18 in Alabama’s class, No. 20 in Texas A&M’s class and No. 15 in Georgia’s class, according to the 247Sports.com composite. Recruiting rankings are wrong individually, but in the aggregate, they’re almost always correct. Smart, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher — all of whom have led teams to national titles — are trying to play an entirely different sport than Harsin.
Now, Andy makes a fair point that even if Harsin has had his come to Jesus moment about recruiting, it likely doesn’t matter in the short term, because Auburn has completely destroyed his credibility as a recruiter. So, yeah, I get it.
It’s just that I can’t get worked up about it. Auburn’s self-neutered and I’m all here for that. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.
Bennett had one of the most efficient seasons in program history. His 9.97 yards per attempt was good for No. 3 in the country and second in program history behind Aaron Murray in 2012. His 176.69 passer rating was No. 4 in the country and best in program history. His 86.7 QBR was No. 3 in the country and No. 2 in program history, behind Murray (2013 – 88.1).
The 2022 Georgia Bulldogs will be replacing a lot of experience on both sides of the ball — especially on defense. The Bulldogs do return 10 starters this fall, and many of them are All-SEC candidates. That roster remains loaded with veteran talent. For reference, Georgia returned 14 starters on its 2021 National Championship team and 10 starters on its 2020 squad.
Chris Smith, S
Kelee Ringo, CB
Nolan Smith, OLB
Warren McClendon, RT
Warren Ericson, RG
Sedrick Van Pran, C
Brock Bowers, TE
Ladd McConkey, WR
Adonai Mitchell, WR
Stetson Bennett IV, QB
The most notable thing there is the complete absence of anyone on the defensive line (not that there isn’t plenty of talent with game experience on the ’22 roster) and at inside linebacker (where there’s talent, but not much experience). The defensive coaches have their work cut out for them, that’s for sure.
“And Georgia fans, don’t be turds. Enjoy this. Soak it up. It’s awesome. If you don’t win this year, it’s still not a failure. It’s a heck of a run. Back-to-back in the Playoff era hasn’t been done. So, to ask for a third I feel like it’s gluttonous. I feel like it’s not OK. But we’ll be in the mix.”-- David Pollack, On3.com, 5/9/23