Category Archives: Recruiting

An unnecessary apology

From Adam Rittenberg:

While many Saban protégés haven’t come close to matching the master, Smart seems different. He leads a program that, despite being nowhere near Alabama’s historical success, boasts superior elements — more in-state recruits by capita and no major in-state recruiting threat (sorry, Georgia Tech).

Don’t feel bad about that, man.  It’s the genius’ choice.

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19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

Georgia Tech’s “secret sauce”

According to Tech’s AD, adding majors or lowering the school’s academics standards in the hopes of aiding recruiting is nothing more than “recruiting hype.”

On the one hand, that seems like a convenient excuse for the genius to fall back on in the face of criticism over his recruiting.  On the other, does anybody seriously think recruiting on the Flats would significantly improve if Tech’s academic standards were relaxed more?

44 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

“The NCAA rules are the not the laws of the country.”

The basketball fraud case is in court and it sure sounds like two things are true.

One, there are a lot of dirty schools.

But Donnelly said in her opening statements that coaches at Adidas-sponsored schools asked Gatto for help in securing the highly ranked players.

Specifically, Donnelly alleged the evidence will show that Gatto agreed to pay Brian Bowen’s father, Brian Bowen Sr., $100,000 for Bowen to attend Louisville, but only after Nike-sponsored Oregon offered the recruit an “astronomical amount of money” to sign with the Ducks.

Donnelly said Gatto and defendants Merl Code and Christian Dawkins also schemed to pay Nassir Little’s family $150,000 to steer him toward the Miami Hurricanes, but only after Arizona, a Nike school, offered the five-star prospect from Florida the same amount to play for the Wildcats. Little committed to North Carolina shortly after the investigation broke last September.

And Donnelly said Gatto assisted Kansas by approving a $20,000 payment to Silvio De Sousa’s guardian, Fenny Falmagne, to reimburse Under Armour, which had paid him to ensure that he signed with Maryland.

And, two, the prosecution has a tough sell ahead of it.

In her opening statement, Donnelly emphasized that breaking NCAA rules is not necessarily breaking federal law.

“The NCAA rules are the not the laws of the country,” she said. “It’s like a kids’ after-school soccer league, if that soccer league also brought in $1 billion a year. These aren’t the laws. They’re the equivalent of the rules in your apartment building. If you break them, you haven’t broken the law. It is not against the law to violate NCAA rules.”

Donnelly told the jury that Gatto thought of the schemes as a “win-win-win” scenario that benefited all three parties involved: the universities, by getting top-ranked players; Adidas, by getting top players at Adidas-sponsored schools; and the players and their families, by getting money to tide them over until they could play professionally.

“The basketball coaches would ask for Jim’s help in recruiting particularly talented basketball players to their programs,” Donnelly said. “I suspect you know what kind of ‘help’ the coaches wanted from Jim. He’s not a guidance counselor. Jim understood that Adidas should help the families out if that’s what the coaches wanted.”

Whichever way this goes, it won’t be pretty.

5 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, The NCAA

The Kirby Effect

According to this, Georgia now ranks first in the SEC in men’s recruiting expenses (h/t).  The amount totaled $2,783,010 during the 2016-17 season, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Education.

More significantly, that figure represents a whopping 54.65% increase over what Georgia spent in 2014-5.

At the time of Richt’s firing, I posted this.

If you manage an SEC football program, there’s a difference between being committed to winning and being financially committed to winning. Everybody wants to win. The hard part is figuring out how to allocate resources to make sure that happens. And, no, that doesn’t mean spending money like a drunken sailor. (We’re looking at you, Tennessee.) It simply means that if you think your rightful place is among the Alabamas, Floridas and LSUs of the world, you’d better take a hard look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re giving your coaching staff the opportunity to keep up with them.

I’d say they’re doing that, and doing it well.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“The window is open, even if it’s just a crack.”

The view behind garnet-colored glasses:

… To me, it’s not that South Carolina can’t win this game, it’s just that I believe Georgia will win this game. The two teams are close enough in talent to where a great game by the Gamecocks plus the advantage of playing at home against a somewhat inexperienced Georgia team can close that talent gap…

… The Bulldogs are just a bit better and a bit deeper than South Carolina…

I do not believe that “a bit” means what you think it means, sir.

When considering this matchup from the Gamecocks’ perspective, it’s also important to note what that no program is more rapidly upending the college football power structure than Georgia.

Recruiting provides easy evidence of that idea. Georgia’s 2018 class set records for quality. Its 2019 class might be even better. The Bulldogs have five five-star prospects currently committed. The rest of the SEC East can claim just two such players in the 2019 cycle.

The Bulldogs are recruiting even better than Alabama under Kirby Smart. There’s a reason the Crimson Tide have won five championships under Nick Saban. Smart, a Saban disciple, is following that template of aggressively acquiring talent.

It’s translating on the field, too. Georgia reached a national title game in Year 2 under Smart, well before the players Smart recruited fully matured. Smart reached the title game mostly with Mark Richt’s framework.

That fact lends to the idea Georgia is only going to improve.

There’s a conclusion the author draws from this that actually makes some sense.

And if that’s the case, the Gamecocks’ window is now. Georgia might be ranked No. 3 nationally, but the Bulldogs are replacing eight starters, including a pair of first-round picks and two of the best running backs in program history. The defense, which lost six starters, will take time to coalesce.

Georgia is going to be good. Really good. But there’s an opportunity for the Gamecocks to catch them early.

If the ‘Cocks are going to catch Georgia napping, or whatever you want to chalk the opportunity up to, it’s likely that they’ll never have a better chance than today.  That talent gap ain’t closing any time soon.

26 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football, Recruiting

Getting o-line priorities straight

Jeff Sentell’s piece about Georgia’s offensive line recruiting is definitely worth a read.  To say there’s been a sea change in approach from Richt to Smart is an understatement, to say the least.

Sentell’s data says it all:

For the purposes of this study, we’ve culled the data from the 2002-2015 recruiting classes and then 2016-2018. Records are not available online to study Mark Richt’s first recruiting class in 2001.

  • During the 14 listed recruiting classes of the Mark Richt era, the program signed 12 Top 10 offensive line recruits on the 247Sports Composite.
  • Smart’s classes have signed nine such recruits in his first three cycles. (Keep in mind that Smart and his staff had barely two months to recruit his first class back in 2016.)
  • Sam Pittman and Smart have signed eight prospects which rated as Top 10 recruits at their position on the offensive line during just the 2017 and 2018 cycles.
  • From 2002-2015, the Bulldogs signed 22 total offensive line prospects with a rating of 4-stars or better on the 247Sports composite standard.
  • This staff has already signed nine OLs who had a composite rating of 4-stars or better since 2016. (We did count the signing of 4-star OT D’Antne Demery in 2017 even though he never enrolled.)
  • John Theus was the only 5-star OL recruit of the Mark Richt era. Georgia has already signed a trio of 5-stars in Cade Mays (2018), Jamaree Salyer (2018) and Isaiah Wilson (2017) so far with Smart.
  • The average offensive line signee under the previous staff was a 3.3-star recruit.
  • The average offensive line recruit under this staff is a 3.92-star recruit. That is boosted by a 4.1-star average per signee over Smart’s first two full recruiting cycles.
  • The Bulldogs signed 39 recruits with no more than a 3-star rating during the 14 years studied prior to Kirby Smart taking over the job.  That was an average of 2.8 per class. With Smart, the Bulldogs have signed only four of those recruits in his first three years.
  • Do you remember the 2011 “Dream Team” of elite recruits for the Bulldogs? When we examine that class we see that hyped-up batch of recruits included four OL signees with a 3-star rating. The top-rated OL in that class was 4-star OT Watts Dantzler. Dantzler rated as the nation’s No. 281 overall prospect.

Good Lord.

Stars may not be everything, but they sure improve the odds in your favor, especially when you bring them in quantity.

I doubt this needs repeating, but Sam Pittman is worth every penny Georgia is paying him.  And then some.

41 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Loaded for bear

Yeah, I’d say the talent base has been seriously upgraded under Kirby.

Lawdy.

6 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting