Category Archives: Recruiting

“I guess that’s why they get paid to do what they do.”

A revealing quote from Mr. Kirby Smart ($$):

“I don’t know this for certain — but I don’t think a lot of teams do the evaluation process as deep as others,” Smart said. “Some people fall in love with a player because of a play and they just go recruit him, but we don’t do that here. We watch a lot of tape. I’m on my coaches all the time that the tape and the camp is what speaks volumes to who they are. Trust your evaluation and we worry about the ones we get and not the ones we don’t. It’s helped us.”

And roster tweaks the NCAA is proposing to bail out coaches who don’t do their recruiting due diligence like the Smarts and Sabans do, like the temporary expansion of the 2022 recruiting class, are going to be of more benefit as a weapon for the evaluators than a crutch for the ones who don’t put the work in.

You can’t game slack.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

When there’s a will, there’s a way.

You, a Georgia fan who thinks they should stop playing Florida in Jacksonville:  look, Kirby can’t recruit at a neutral site game!  Why should the program give up an advantage like that every other year?

It, a neutral site game:  wut

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

The limits of Jimmies and Joes

Interesting hypothesis from David Wunderlich:

The new Team Talent Composite for 2021 is not out yet as of this writing, but Florida will probably rate highly in it.

The team was seventh last year, and five of the eight Gators to go in the NFL Draft — including early selections Karadius Toney and Kyle Trask — were 3-star players. Undrafted free agent Trevon Grimes is the biggest loss in terms of recruiting ranking, but he’s more than offset by Demarkcus Bowman transferring in. Plus, the 2017 class has largely gone by now, and the new 2021 signing class collectively rates higher than it. We’ll see if teams full of super seniors can pass up UF on sheer volume alone, but I strongly suspect the Gators will be in the top ten again.

It matters because there are clear patterns that emerge when you match up Dan Mullen’s teams against their opponents in terms of team talent. The TTC goes back to 2015, so I looked at his teams from that season through 2020 to see how they fared based on team talent differential alone. Recruiting ratings aren’t everything, but they do mean a lot.

To classify the matchups, I made tiers based on the points. If the point differential was more than 160, which is about how far the No. 1 overall team is than the tenth or eleventh in a given year, I called Mullen a heavy favorite or underdog depending on which team was on top. If the difference was less than 30 either way, it was a tossup. I didn’t include any games against FCS teams, none of which ever beat a Mullen team anyway.

The results came out about like you’d expect, considering the programs Mullen has coached.

  • Heavy Favorite: 16-3 (.842), Scoring Margin +15.6

  • Favorite: 10-1 (.909), Scoring Margin +15.7

  • Tossups: 10-5 (.667), Scoring Margin +7.3

  • Underdog: 7-8 (.467), Scoring Margin +1.7

  • Heavy Underdog: 2-7 (.222), Scoring Margin -11.0

Here’s where the rub comes in.

Regardless, talent clearly matters. Mullen has a reputation for being one of the best game planners for a reason, but even he struggles to win consistently when faced with a noticeable talent deficit. He’ll reliably knock off some teetering talent squanderers for you, but victories against healthy programs with healthy talent advantages are hard to find.

To his credit, Mullen has noticeably upgraded the talent in Gainesville while also squeezing everything he could get from the generally lower-rated McElwain holdovers. The Gators leapt from the high 700s in the McElwain years to the 830s in Mullen’s first two seasons, and then into the 870s last year. I think they’ll be around that level this year too.

The good news is that if he can sustain that level, only four teams will be beyond the level of tossup. The bad news is that two of them are in the SEC: Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and Clemson. If he can get up to around 885-890, then Clemson can be within the tossup range too. The other three have been in the 960s and higher since 2018, Alabama for longer than that, and there’s no sign they’re slowing down.

Argue if you want about Mullen’s game planning skills, but the real underlying message is that he’s generally not a good enough schemer to overcome talent deficiencies.  That’s not really meant as a smackdown of his coaching — how many coaches are good enough to overcome talent deficiencies on a regular basis, anyway? — but more as a reflection of how UF is never going to be a consistent top tier SEC program if Mullen can’t permanently upgrade the talent level there to match the recruiting powerhouses David lists.

But there’s also something to be said about how this analysis applies to Georgia, which David also does.

The point there isn’t that Mullen is better at coaching than Smart (that talent gap differential meant something different at Mississippi State than it’s meant at Georgia).  It’s that Smart is much better at assembling talent than Mullen has been.  Smart was laser focused from the day he took the job in Athens on recruiting and those stats certainly reflect that.

What those stats also indicate, though, is that there’s a limit to how far sheer talent accumulation takes you.  At some point, the air gets rarified enough that you’d better bring something besides overall team talent — a transcendent quarterback, a modern, attacking offensive scheme, Gus Malzahn’s rabbit’s foot, whatever — if you want to win more of those type games than you lose.

24 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting, Stats Geek!

Talk about your foreseen consequences…

Shot.

NCAA officials are moving closer to an immediate expansion of the annual 25-person signing limit as a way for coaches to replace players they’ve lost to the burgeoning transfer portal. The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is finalizing a proposal that would change the signing limit this cycle in what’s being described as a one-year waiver of relief until a permanent policy is created.

Multiple officials spoke to Sports Illustrated under the condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of ongoing deliberations on the proposals.

A compromise is finally emerging among a group of proposals. Under the plan, schools can sign 25 new players while gaining additional signee spots for every player who transfers out of their program—up to a certain limit. The extra spots would be based on the number of players who enter the transfer portal under their own volition and would be capped at a figure, such as seven.

Chaser.

But not everyone agrees with the proposals. The annual signing limit in football has for years been an argumentative issue. It was originally implemented to disincentivize the trend of coaches cutting or pushing out scholarship players in an effort to over-sign high school players or transfers.

Earlier this year, West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons and other administrators expressed concern that replacing departures with additional signee spots will “repeat history.” They believe that coaches will exploit the change by pushing out players to create an additional spot for more talented athletes—a reason for the cap on replacements.

Shit, you think so?  Here’s the tell:

However, in the compromise proposal, schools can replace only players who leave for the transfer portal on their own. Schools would not be able to gain additional spots for players dismissed from a team, pushed out by coaches or those who leave early for the NFL draft.

“Pushed out by coaches” is doing some seriously heavy lifting there.  Like Nick Saban doesn’t know how to make a player feel like the transfer portal isn’t his best option.

What’s being proposed as a band aid for coaches who aren’t the best at roster management is going to turn out to be a bonanza for those who are masters at it.  And five years from now, people are still going to be marveling at how much better the rosters are at places like ‘Bama and Georgia than elsewhere.  This is a real genius move, fellas.

20 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Your Daily Gator has some ‘splaining to do.

Swamp247 is a target rich environment this morning.  Here’s a dude who wants Gator Nation to know why they should be happy about the state of Florida’s recruiting:

I just… can’t.

44 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

Now here’s a narrative I can get behind.

Hey, he’s just asking!

And asking…

It’s probably portal time in Gainesville.

**********************************************************************

UPDATE:  Your Daily Gator responds.

37 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

In the end, it’s always about one thing.

You get one guess.

Remember, these are the same people who just passed NIL legislation.  ABC, baby.

6 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football, Political Wankery, Recruiting

The state, it is still run by us.

Shot.

Chaser.

Coach 404 still has a tough row to hoe, methinks.

29 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

So long and good luck

Yeesh.

But what about the carcass of the Big 12? Just how much will it be losing on the recruiting trail? How do teams like Oklahoma State, TCU, Iowa State, Baylor, and the rest measure up?

Predictably, the answer is a lot. In fact, without Oklahoma and Texas, the Big 12 is closer to the Group of 5 leagues than it is to any of the existing Power 5 conferences.

Eleven recruiting classes have come and gone since Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas A&M left the Big 12. In those 11 classes, Texas and Oklahoma have signed a combined 287 blue-chip players, which is about 13 per team per class. The rest of the league has combined to sign just 165, or slightly less than two per team per class.

Well, maybe it’s not as bad as that sounds.

But even given that the remainder of the Big 12 has significantly out-recruited the AAC in any relevant time frame, it is still well behind its other leagues. The Pac 12’s top eight recruiters have signed 270 four- and five-star recruits over the last five years compared to just 65 by the remaining eight Big 12 schools.

For all intents and purposes, the Big 12’s recruiting level without the Longhorns and Sooners is that of the best Group of 5 league, and far away from a Power 5 league.

Then, again…

5 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football, Recruiting

Will no one think of the offensive linemen?

We presume Kirby Smart is having to deal with some negativity on the recruiting trail as it relates to the infamous pooling arrangement in HB 617, but at least he can honestly say it’s something he was saddled with by Sen. Bill It’s not fair for just the skill players to take all the money, otherwise why is somebody going to block for you?” Cowsert.

Ohio State’s Ryan Day, on the other hand, has elected for the own goal approach.  He’s all in.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day thinks that while college football’s highest-profile players will have immense earning opportunities through name, image and likeness deals, there should be consideration to sharing money among other players.

Day, speaking Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, was asked about Alabama coach Nick Saban’s recent comment that Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young could command seven figures in NIL agreements. Ohio State’s starting quarterback occupies a similar position in the sport, and the growing Columbus market provides “the perfect alignment,” Day said, for earning potential.

“Those things happen and will come naturally, but I do think we need to consider down the road, somewhere along the line, maybe it’s a year from now, figuring out how we spread some of that money out,” Day said. “Certainly the quarterback at Ohio State is going to have unbelievable opportunities, the wide receiver, the running back, there’s going to be certain positions.

“However, how do we find ways to make sure we disseminate that throughout the team? Because there’s a lot of guys out there who are also playing football, guys who are blocking for the quarterback, guys who are covering the wide receivers.”

Day thinks one approach would be for schools to create agreements with a group of local businesses that would produce a pool of revenue that could be divided among the players. The NCAA would have to allow schools to be more active in creating such deals, or in having their logos and markings used.

“Say they put $3 million into an account, and then you could work with Ohio State, and they split that money to everybody, so that the quarterback isn’t the only one,” Day said. “Now if the quarterback wants to do a deal on his own, great, but if not, it all gets spread evenly to everybody. If it’s a group deal, you can use the Ohio State logo and the trademarking. The NCAA would have to OK that because now we can’t do that. But it seems more sustainable to me.

“It seems like that would help the left tackle or the left guard get $10,000.”

Now, to be fair to Day, he’s offering this as an alternative.  If the quarterback doesn’t want to share, he doesn’t have to.  But I can’t help but wonder if that winds up being an approach that causes more dissention than it prevents.  How’s it going to go over with his linemen when the star quarterback says, “sorry, but no thanks, you’re on your own”?  And if you’re a kid who doesn’t want to be put on the spot like that in the first place, why not find a more accommodating place to play than Ohio State?

21 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting