Category Archives: Recruiting

The art of the sale

Compare and contrast two recruiting stories from Georgia’s Tyler Simmons:

When Simmons was around 8 years old, he was at Georgia Tech for a one-day youth camp. It was a short drive from where his family lived in Powder Springs. Now 18, he remembers approaching Paul Johnson, who had just been hired, and telling the Yellow Jackets’ head coach that he’d be back one day…

After Simmons’ recruiting heated up, another school to offer him was Georgia Tech. Simmons found himself in Johnson’s office.

“I told you I’d be back,” Simmons said.

Johnson didn’t remember the conversation.

Alabama’s lead recruiter was Kirby Smart.

Then the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator, Smart approached Simmons at last year’s state track meet. He showed him his phone, which had a video from the previous year’s track meet.

“This is how much I believed in you: I’ve been wanting you since Day 1. I recorded this,” Smart said, according to Simmons’ father.

Smart and Williams took pictures with Simmons, sent them back to Alabama coach Nick Saban, and invited him to Alabama’s first summer camp.

“Basically, Kirby was the one who wanted him the most,” Leah Simmons said. “That stood out.”

I’m not saying it’s fair to hold Paul Johnson to a standard of remembering what every kid at a camp said to him a decade ago – although if you told me Nick Saban had a support staffer who catalogued that for him, it wouldn’t exactly shock me – but a little more warmth or enthusiasm might help leave a better impression.

Maybe Tech’s rousing success on the recruiting trail can’t all be chalked up to the triple option.

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Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

The biggest problem with satellite camps?

According to Kirby Smart, it’s that there are just too damned many of them.

“We have got a bunch of them that people are calling us about but we’ve got to be selective because our time is valuable and we want kids on our campus,” Smart said. “There’s a fine line.”

Georgia has a calendar that lists every satellite camp that the staff knows about on it. If you look at the dates of them and the amount of them, I think they’re going to get really diluted so you want your coaches to go where the players are. …They’ll be more than those two but I don’t know how many and I don’t know when and I don’t know where.”

The concept itself – including pairing up with Michigan – he’s okay with.

“Really it was more Cedar Grove,” Smart said about how he got together with Harbaugh. “They handled the whole thing. Coach (Jermaine) Smith called me and talked to me about it. I said it would be a great idea. I think it will be awesome. If they’re going to be in our state working it and evaluating talent, we want to be evaluating that talent, too. It gives an opportunity and it’s a good attraction. Both big-name schools. The idea is to get the best players, if you’re going to do it, let’s get the best players there. We’re going to want them on our campus, too, but if it gives us a chance for a kid that’s 90 miles away, 70 miles away for us to see them that they don’t have to come to campus, we’re good with that.”

This whole thing is turning into a giant yawner.  But not before Greg Sankey made sure Jim Harbaugh milked it for all it was worth.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“So everybody is coming in to come get players.”

Kirby Smart has the perfect answer to the question why UGA can’t close the state borders in recruiting.

A few months ago at the Macon Touchdown Club, a fan asked Smart why so many Georgia natives were on rosters of other teams.

“You gonna give me extra scholarships?” Smart answered, pointing to the SEC signing limit that essentially is 25 players per year, as well as the overall 85-player scholarship limit.

Then Smart made a point to illustrate that Georgia will always be fertile recruiting ground, for many schools: While he was at Alabama, the staff there looked at the first and second string of every SEC school and found that the most players hailed from Georgia.

“Georgia’s No. 1. All right?” Smart said.

Math is hard.  Building a fence to keep Alabama, Auburn, FSU and Clemson out is even harder.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Okay, so maybe there’s something to this silent commitment stuff after all.

I’ve always been a little skeptical about the concept.  If you have an offer and you want to go to the school, why stay silent about it?  (Trent Thompson, the exception that proves the rule, differs.)  But…

There have been rumors swirling that Kirby has a bunch of silent commitments for the 2017 class sitting in his pocket, cards that he intends to play as he needs them for momentum purposes.  And maybe that’s what we just saw happen yesterday.

Georgia didn’t strike out completely in receiver recruiting Sunday.

The Bulldogs picked up a verbal commitment from Pace Academy wideout Trey Blount. Blount is considered a four-star receiver, according to the 247Sports.com composite, and holds offers from at least 27 college programs…

Blount’s news came a few hours after the nation’s No. 1 receiver in the class of 2016, Savannah Christian Prep’s Demetris Robertson, announced he would play for California over Georgia and Notre Dame.

Good timing.  Blount says he was a silent commitment for a couple of weeks before announcing:  “I have been silently committed to Georgia for a while now, since the Wednesday after G-Day.”

The truly impressive thing here isn’t that these silent commitments exist; it’s that Smart is evidently able to impose enough discipline on the process to control the timing of when the public announcements are made.  Maybe that’s the best indication of all that these teenagers are buying in to what’s happening at Georgia.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

The curious case of Bo Davis’ departure

I made the assumption from the initial whispering that Davis was shown the door because of some serious violation on the recruiting front.  I assumed serious because Davis was a coach that Saban liked enough to bring back to Alabama a second time and you don’t give the boot to someone you obviously value without some real justification.  I also assumed serious because, as Barrett Sallee mentioned, when Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper became the subjects of a NCAA probe, they were merely pulled off the recruiting trail as a starter.

Sounds bad, right?  However, Kevin Scarbinsky suggests another possibility.

The departure of Davis would be curious enough if it weren’t preceded by a Thursday evening report from TideSports.com that Davis was headed out the door “over an inquiry into possible recruiting violations.”

A person familiar with the situation told AL.com it did concern a potential recruiting violation, which may not have been serious in nature, but Davis was not cooperative with the school when questioned about it. It appears that lack of cooperation led to his departure.

You don’t suggest to Nick Saban that you don’t have time for his shit and live to tell about it, in other words.

Now, sure, the possibility exists that the two aren’t mutually exclusive events, but as Scarbinsky hints that whatever recruiting faux pas Davis committed wasn’t a capital offense, it’s hard to say that’s the case.

I only mention this because it’s only natural to think Smart thinks highly of Davis, and if there isn’t any baggage coming along, well…

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

If Paul Johnson really were a genius…

… he’d be on the phone to Kirby Smart suggesting something similar to this.

Let’s face it – it’s not as if the schools are chasing the same talent on offense.  And Tech could make a good living off of Georgia’s leftovers.

The hard part is selling Kirby on what’s in it for him.  Free passes to Dragon*Con maybe?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

Together, at last!

Days like today I sincerely regret never polishing my mad Photoshop skillz, ’cause this story is just begging for a buddy movie poster.

Hours after the NCAA rescinded a ban on satellite camps Thursday, both UGA coach Kirby Smart and Michigan’s Jim Harbaughagreed to deal to work together at a camp in the Atlanta area on June 2. They’ll be coaching and evaluating high school kids on the same field.

It’s an interesting arrangement after Harbaugh fired a shot “at the Georgia coach” about satellite camps a few months ago on Twitter.

Cedar Grove High School coach Jimmy Smith, the host of the June camp, explained to DawgNation on Thursday night about how it all went down.

“Once I found out the NCAA changed the rule, I called (Smart) and he said, ‘I’m down with coming,’” Smith said.

“Coach Harbaugh had told me from the beginning that it was my camp … so he didn’t care who else came. I didn’t know how to handle that, because it is my camp. But it is Coach Harbaugh.

“So I contacted him. I felt like it was out of respect that I let him know that I wanted Georgia to come to camp also. Coach Harbaugh said, ‘Yes, that’s fine. Let’s all work the camp, and let’s coach these kids up.’”

Will Harbaugh and Smart be able to get along on the same field for one day? Smith, who was aware of the backstory between the two coaches, just laughed when asked.

“I don’t know,” Smith said. “I guess they get along. We’ll see when they get here. I hope they are friends. If they’re not, I’ll get them each some football pads and let them go from there.”

It’s a smart move on both coaches’ part.  Kirby’s presence nullifies to some extent Harbaugh’s novelty, while Harbaugh gets to use the camp as another occasion to paint the SEC and every other conference that originally voted for the satellite camp ban as a bunch of ninnies who overreacted (not that he’s wrong about that).  My bet is that both of them are shrewd enough to manage to paint themselves as coaches above the fray, or at least whatever the media will try to paint as a fray.

“That whole thing got so overblown,” Smart said. “Because he and I, he and staff members from his staff had communicated. That’s a big deal to the media, big deal to you guys. But in the coaching profession we’re a bit more lighthearted about it.”

But the attention for the camp itself is great.  My bet is Jimmy Smith is pinching himself this morning over his good fortune.  And I hope that good fortune spreads to a few kids who get more exposure than they were expecting.

Anyhoo, this is the only poster I got.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Heard About Harbaugh?, Recruiting