Category Archives: Recruiting

The recruiting rat race

This explains plenty about the way the 2017 season is shaping up.

Over the past two recruiting cycles, 2016 and ’17, Saban has signed an amazing 41 prospects who were consensus four- or five-star talents. Compare that with the Tide’s SEC West rivals: LSU has signed 32, Auburn 23 and Texas A&M 16. Alabama simply has more top-ranked players than anyone else in the SEC West.

As for Georgia, second-year coach Kirby Smart has signed 32 four- or five-star prospects in the past two classes. Florida has signed 20 and Tennessee 15 in that same time frame.

Over the past four years, Alabama has signed 83 four- or five-star prospects, with LSU at 63, Georgia at 61, Auburn at 57, Tennessee at 47, Texas A&M at 43 and Florida at 33.

There’s a gap between Alabama and everybody.  There’s a growing gap between Georgia and its primary rivals in the SEC East.

Sure, it doesn’t explain everything.  Auburn imported Stidham to plug a major hole at the quarterback position, an upgrade that is outside those numbers.  LSU would appear to be underperforming based on its recruiting results.  And in general, it’s reasonable to expect that some of those highly regarded recruits in the last two classes take more time to develop than others.

Bottom line, though, is that in the SEC, those with the most toys generally win.



Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

Justin Fields’ “curious decision”

Dennis Dodd, for some reason, goes concern trolling over Georgia’s latest verbal commitment.

Fields’ arrival begs the question: Why is he coming to Georgia in the first place? Two quarterbacks with starting experience and plenty of remaining eligibility await.

“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Simmons added. “Fromm doesn’t have the same NFL upside as Jacob Eason, much less Justin Fields, but if Fromm keeps winning at this clip it’s hard to imagine him getting beat out.”

Maybe — perish the thought! — Fields doesn’t believe he’ll be the guy who transfers.  Besides, if he redshirts, a possibility he doesn’t exclude, and even if Fromm is the man for four seasons, he’ll be gone by the time Fields is a junior.  There’s also the chance that Fromm suffers the same future as Jacob Eason’s present.

Bottom line, you can’t predict the future.  But this should make for a nice negative recruiting thing for other coaches to email Fields between now and signing day.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Coaches and the NCAA, working together

The NCAA’s Division I Council introduced a couple of new proposals yesterday.  One  would limit football staff sizes for recruiting purposes to 30.  The other would move the start of football practice back to early August.  Both are expected to pass.

For the recruiting proposal, the 30 staff members would include the head coach, 10 assistants and four graduate assistants. The others would include recruiting coordinators, recruiting assistants, analysts and other administrative personnel.

Schools would have to designate the 30 individuals before the first preseason practice. Only those parties “would be able to initiate written and electronic correspondence with prospective student-athletes, their parents or legal guardians.”

I can’t imaging that’s making Nick Saban a happy camper, but I’m pretty sure he’s got three support staffers grinding away through the night trying to figure out where the holes are in that proposal.

In any event, rest assured that every school will have those lists of 30 at their beck and call to make sure everyone out on the recruiting trail is certified kosher.

As far as the start date for fall practice goes, there was some grumbling this year about certain schools getting theirs underway in July.  That’s gone with this.

In addition, the Division I Council is proposing a new practice start date, which would be 25 days prior to the first game of the season. For example, a team playing its first game Sept. 1 could hold its first practice Aug. 3.

With the elimination of two-a-day practices this year, schools were allowed to begin practice an extra week earlier. Some did so in late July, which would no longer be allowed under the proposed change.

According to the NCAA, members of the American Football Coaches Association are on-board with that proposed change.

“We were also talking about the 14-week standardized season, but it became apparent that it was going to be an impediment in our efforts to keep all the practices in August,” Bowlsby said. “We didn’t want practices taking place in July and conflicting with the end of summer school.”

It’s all coach-friendly.  If you doubt that’s who’s driving the train, guess which NCAA proposal has been tabled for now.

Any talk of changing the rules on NCAA student-athletes immediately transferring in the middle of the season is going to have to wait.

In an NCAA press release on Wednesday, it was announced the Division I Transfer Working Group will develop proposals intended “to improve the transfer environment for college athletes, coaches and teams.”

Per the report:

Legislation addressing immediate eligibility for student-athletes who meet an academic benchmark and graduate student financial aid will not be considered in this year’s cycle.

 “The excellent membership and student-athlete feedback really helped the working group in its discussions this week,” Chair and South Dakota State AD Justin Sell said about the meetings on Oct. 1-2. “I am confident that in the next few weeks we will come forward with a solid recommendation that will make a real difference in the transfer environment.”

Yeah, sure.  They’ll get right on it, kids.


Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

Friday morning buffet

If you’ve got an appetite, dig in.


Filed under ACC Football, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

Monday morning buffet

Plenty to put on your plate.

  • Somehow, Notre Dame is in ESPN’s FPI top ten, but Georgia isn’t.
  • But Georgia is numero uno in special teams S&P+ this week.
  • And this advanced stats blog rates Georgia’s defensive effort from Saturday night the nation’s best of last week… yeah, I know… better than ‘Bama.  Somehow.
  • How many five-stars play for teams ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll?
  • Awesome story on Hal Mumme and the Air Raid offense here.
  • Alabama has won eighteen straight conference games.  Average margin of victory:  23.1 points.
  • “Is it possible the SEC might be just pedestrian enough, and Texas A&M just good enough, to save Sumlin’s job?”
  • These are not fun times to be a Missouri fan.
  • “By moving up four spots to No. 7 in the latest AP poll, Georgia has now been ranked in the Top 10 at some point during each of the last six seasons.”


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

‘It’s two different games.’

You know, all these years I thought the spread offense taking over college football would mean that contrarian pro-style college attacks would have an advantage taking on defenses that were geared to stop spread offensive schemes and also on the recruiting trail.  I may have a point with regard to the former, but with regard to recruiting, I may not have taken something into account.

The spread is taking over high school football, too.

In 2017, by the time a player reaches college, he has become more skilled at the collegiate game than most any player who came before him. When the same player reaches the NFL, he has played almost no football reminiscent of the NFL game.

“It’s the same sport, but it’s two different games,” Senior Bowl director Phil Savage said. “It’s a night-and-day difference in terms of the style of play. While most everyone focuses on the quarterback, the style of play being utilized across the board in college football, it’s a significant adjustment.”

A dozen years ago, many top high school football teams still relied on ancient tactics. In the South, Wright said, the Wing-T still dominated. The spread had seeped into college football’s fringes, but the game mostly looked like the NFL. Offenses used two backs and a tight end, with the quarterback under center.

“For a long time, the collegiate game and the NFL really mirrored each other,” Wright said. “You saw that schematically. You saw that with the type of quarterbacks going from one level to the other. You don’t see that much anymore. Try to find a true fullback on a college roster. It’s just tough to find. Now you’re hard-pressed to even find a [high school] team that goes under center.

“What you’re seeing is a reflection of the way the game has evolved. College football, with all the opportunities to watch it, kids and high school coaches get inundated with it. You see that being reflected in high school offenses, in the way high school coaches think and approach it.”

That doesn’t mean if you’re a school like Georgia that still incorporates pro-style concepts into its offensive scheme that the world you face is suddenly devoid of the talent you need to make things go, but it makes it harder to find that talent, because there may not be as much out there as there once was.  It also puts a greater premium on developing whatever talent you do find.

“In middle school, you take the best athlete, you give him the ball, let him pass and run, and you win,” Savage said. “And he’s not really developed. In high school, you give him the ball, they win, but he’s not really developing the characteristics and traits that are needed to play pro football. In most college teams, it’s the same. That development is put off in terms of becoming a pocket passer.

“Then it’s shoved off to the pro game. The pro game because of the amount of money invested in the quarterback position, they cannot put the quarterback in harm’s way. The pro game is never going to be able to adapt. They have too much money invested in the quarterback to expose him.”

In college, they may not have money invested in the quarterback, but, between the 20-hour week and four years of eligibility, they only have a limited amount of coaching to invest.  It’s a different kind of scarcity.

Speaking of scarcity, see if this doesn’t make you think about what Smart wants to do on offense.

Put the problem of quarterback hits aside, though, and conservatism permeates the NFL, where offenses aim to hog possession and limit mistakes. College offenses uniformly use tempo to tire defenses and create personnel mismatches. College coaches try to win games, and NFL coaches try not to lose them.

The use of the word “uniformly” is a bit of a stretch, but game control is a concept that is dwindling in the college ranks.  What that means on the recruiting trail and in the quarterbacks room for schools like Georgia is something I’d bet Smart thinks about.  Maybe the only thing you can wind up doing these days is recruit as many highly regarded quarterbacks as you can and let them sort things out once they get settled in your program.  The first to adapt wins.


Filed under Recruiting, Strategery And Mechanics

Tuesday morning buffet

Let’s open up the chafing dishes.


Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Pac-12 Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, See You In Court, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA