Ari Wasserman ($$) suggests that something may be in play that might have an effect on leveling the playing field in terms of the recent severe disparity in recruiting.
And, no, it’s not playoff expansion.
… it has to do with geography and first-year head coaches.
Look around the sport right now. Lincoln Riley is at USC. Billy Napier is at Florida. Mario Cristobal is at Miami. Brian Kelly is at LSU. Brent Venables is at Oklahoma. Steve Sarkisian is in his second season at Texas. And the big hitters like Ryan Day, Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Jimbo Fisher and Dabo Swinney are still at their schools. Now look at the areas of the country that typically have the highest number of top-100 players. Where is the weakness? Southern California? Texas? Florida? Nope. Nope. Nope.
Let’s make some assumptions. Miami gets a few more players than it typically does from South Florida. Florida lands a few more five-star prospects than it did under Dan Mullen. USC locks down SoCal. The Lone Star State, among Venables, Sarkisian and Fisher, doesn’t have a ton of players left over for the traditional powers. Everyone does their part little by little, which means it’s much harder for the typical superpowers to assemble classes with 10 or 15 players ranked in the top 100.
This recruiting cycle is going to be so exciting because there are so many promising coaches at powerhouses in very advantageous geographical areas. If all of them meet or come close to meeting expectations, the talent will be more evenly distributed. And if that becomes a trend, you’ll see the competition on the field start to level out a little bit.
Those “if”s are — altogether now! — doing some seriously heavy lifting there. But assuming for the sake of argument most of them in fact kick in, you know what? One place where we’re not looking at promising coaches at powerhouses in very advantageous geographical areas is the state of Georgia. If Miami and Florida up their in state recruiting results, that’s not good news for the likes of Saban and Swinney, who usually have to do a fair amount of shopping for recruits outside their home states.
But in Athens? Recruiting should continue in its greased groove, because Smart wouldn’t face the same challenges.