Daily Archives: April 28, 2022

TFW patience is a virtue

Good piece from Ivan Maisel here.

It’s rare enough that Georgia will have as many as seven defensive players go in the first two rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. You have to scour the draft logs closely to find another unit as talented.

There’s the Alabama offense in the 2021 draft (six of the first 37 picks, five in the first round).

There’s the Oklahoma defense in the 1984 draft (five of the first 36 picks, another two in the first and second rounds of the supplemental draft).

Take a good, long look at Bulldogs who will parade across your screen on Thursday and Friday night. They are linemen Travon Walker, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, linebackers Nakobe Dean, Quay Walker and Channing Tindall, and safety Lewis Cine. They may be the last group of homegrown, one-school-no-portal stars who develop as a unit. Only Wyatt attended a junior college. The others came in as raw freshmen.

As spring practice closes, and self-declared refugees flock to the portal gates, as college football careens toward an uncertain future with, to coin a phrase, all gas and no brakes, the 2022 draft class of Georgia Dawgs may be the last we see of a homegrown crop of stars.

So how do you deal with the new mentality, driven by the transfer portal?  Kirby Smart has some thoughts.

“What is the greater goal?” Smart asked. “Is it the endgame of where I go? Or do they think, ‘I have to play to make it?’ You got to get better. What gets you better?”

A player has to be mature enough to decide between the discomfort of working toward an opportunity to play and the allure of a better opportunity somewhere else.

“What you’re doing,” Smart said, “is you explain, ‘You will have the same opportunity to play in the NFL being here going against the best every day in practice. You’re still going to get an opportunity to show the NFL. You don’t necessarily have to do it on a Saturday at 2 p.m. at a smaller school or a different school.’ ”

It’s a fair point, made even fairer by Smart acknowledging that Justin Fields helped himself out by transferring to Ohio State.  (Although I notice he didn’t say anything about Jermaine Johnson.)

I’m not sure this is as fair, though.

“This all-in, NFL mentality, all or nothing. It’s really not meant to be that way,” Smart said. ‘It’s get a good education, and if you make it to the NFL, that’s an added bonus. The fun point was playing a game, playing for a school, playing for something you love. Now it’s all transactional and how do I get to the NFL?”

“I think the old world, they realized that and they focused on their education. The current world, when they realize that, they go somewhere else. And there’s not a realization until they get to the other place and they say, ‘It might be important that I get this education.’ ”

Am I supposed to believe coaches at places like ‘Bama and Georgia aren’t selling top recruits on their programs being the surest way to develop for a shot at the next level?  Or ignore how often schools made every effort to shunt athletes into academic programs modeled more for keeping them eligible to play than for providing a meaningful degree?

Perhaps I digress.  One thing Maisel underplays is that the success of Georgia’s 2022 draft class is itself an excellent example for Smart to use in countering the lure of the transfer portal.  Will that be enough?  If anybody can make that work, it’s Kirby Smart.

25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The NFL Is Your Friend., Transfers Are For Coaches.

“It’s going to make some heads explode.”

The NCAA’s Transformation Committee wants to blow your mind.

Several athletic administrators and college sports insiders discussed the Transfer Committee’s concepts under the condition of anonymity. They include (1) eliminating scholarship caps on sports that offer only partial scholarships; (2) abolishing the limitation on the number of coaches per team; (3) expanding direct payments from schools to athletes; (4) reconfiguring the recruiting calendar; and (5) implementing closed periods in the NCAA transfer portal. At least the first three items will be left in the decision-making hands of individual conferences, if the concepts are approved.

Uh hunh.

Keep in mind two things here:

  • The Transformation Committee is co-chaired by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.
  • “Every G5 AD is like, ‘Holy s—!’” says one Group of 5 athletic director who attended the presentation.

The committee’s ideas on deregulation were met with opposition from a wide swath of administrators. The moves to abolish restrictions on equivalency scholarships and coaching positions threaten to further widen the gap between the rich programs and those with lesser resources, some believe.

No kidding.

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Filed under The NCAA

Everything’s coming up roses.

So, here’s a USA Today piece on the SEC’s spring practice winners and losers.  Marc Weiszer wrote the summary about Georgia:

Winner: Tight end Arik Gilbert took advantage of Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington missing the spring due to injuries. The LSU transfer returned from missing last season to have a big spring, capped by a two-touchdown showing at G-Day.

Loser: Offensive lineman Amarius Mims. The former five-star missed valuable practice time after entering the transfer portal. He withdrew his name but will have to rise from a backup role to beat out other starters this fall.

LOL.  Even when Georgia’s losing, it’s winning.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Leadership, respect and a great man in Mark Emmert

Man, the tributes from his bosses are rolling in, and they’re classic.  I mean, however will they fill those enormous shoes of his?

Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson, who is the most senior FBS commissioner and joined the others this week for the annual College Football Playoff spring meetings, agreed with Phillips.

“The timing is perfect because there’s a bit of a ramp-up of more than a year potentially,” he said, “and let’s define what the NCAA is going to look like, and go backwards.”

They ought to adopt that as a motto.

“Trade organization”?  Baby, you’ve come a long way from insisting you were doing it for the kids.

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Filed under The NCAA

Making it worth their while to stick around

Stewart Mandel posted something in his Mailbag yesterday ($$) that I’ve harped on before as a potential positive of NIL compensation.

… it’s conceivable a player who’s a college starter and recognizable name would be better off financially coming back for his senior season than turning pro and winding up a low-round pick or undrafted free agent.

We’re already seeing that in basketball, where stars like Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe (the national player of the year), North Carolina’s Armando Bacot and Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson are coming back next season. That might not be the case were they projected lottery picks, but these guys weren’t certain to be first-rounders. They’ll likely get NIL deals that make passing on an NBA minimum salary ($925,000) more palatable. It’s possibly the best thing to happen to that sport in a long, long time.

In football, I am already hearing about plenty of less-than-All-American college players, particularly those in the transfer portal, who are getting deals in the $200,000-$400,000 range. The NFL minimum salary last year was $660,000 — but that’s if you make the team for a full season. Practice squad rookies make $9,200 a week, which comes out to $165,600 on the season. So yes, a pay cut.

And that’s just for guys who would theoretically be eligible this season. It’s impossible to predict what the landscape will be like in three or four years for guys who are only now enrolling in college. Some elite recruits are already signing deals worth more than those minimum NFL salaries.

Maybe somebody who’s vigorously opposed to player compensation can explain how making it financially viable for starting players to stay in college another year, allowing them to contribute athletically and continue progressing towards getting a degree is a bad thing, because all that looks like a win to me.

26 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Where’s the gratitude, I ask you?

A bunch of fucking ingrates, we are.  Just ask Mark Ingram.

My Gawd, and that’s after just one natty.  These people are going to totally lose what’s left of their minds if Kirby gets across the finish line a second time.

33 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football