Category Archives: Recruiting

The bag man? Meet the baggee.

The NCAA’s investigation of Ole Miss is turning out to be quite the story.

Now officially on the record that August, Sheridan asked if Lewis understood that immunity would only cover past events, not any potential future violations, and that if he was found to have provided false or misleading information, he could still lose his grant.

“Yes sir,” Lewis replied.

Finally, Lewis’ lawyer, John Brady, stepped in to clarify how far his client could go.

“I just want to make sure we’re clear that the immunity extends to everything that you may ask Leo today, is that correct?” Brady asked.

“That is correct,” Sheridan replied.

Then Lewis started talking. About money. About free hotels, free rides to visit college campuses, hundred-dollar handshakes, free apparel, and even more money, bags of cash he says he received from multiple SEC programs totaling over $21,000 during the final week before National Signing Day in February 2015.

“Multiple SEC programs”?  Please, continue.

Additionally, new documentation submitted to the Committee on Infractions by attorneys for Ole Miss claims Lewis told NCAA enforcement he took $11,000 in benefits from his current school, Mississippi State. Unlike Lewis, Mississippi State cannot receive conditional immunity for any former, current, or future statements its current player makes.

11 grand?  Pfffft.  Loose change.

… an audio tape of an alleged conversation between Farrar and Lewis’ mother, Tina Henderson, was submitted by Farrar’s counsel after the November interview. In the audio tape, recorded on Feb. 2, 2015, a day before Lewis says Allen paid him $10,000 to sign with Ole Miss, Henderson allegedly told Farrar that she had received multiple cash offers for Lewis, including $650,000 from LSU and $80,000 from Mississippi State.

In the third meeting, Lewis confirmed his identity in the Snapchat video submitted by Ole Miss. Sheridan asked Brady and Lewis to listen to the tape alleging cash offers from LSU and Mississippi State and asked Leo, “were you personally offered any money from a school other than Ole Miss?”

At that moment, Brady requested to go off the record. When the meeting resumed, Lewis confirmed the questions.

“Yes sir,” he told Sheridan.

Lewis confirmed his mother was offered and received money as well, at which point the NCAA requested to go off the record[Emphasis added.]

That’s called not wanting to show your hole card.

I have no idea where this is going, but if Greg Sankey’s not already shitting bricks, he will be soon.

By the way, for those of you who continue to wonder how would schools figure out what to pay players in a post-amateurism world, it seems like they’ve already done their prep work on that.





Filed under Freeze!, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

“It’s not yet known if Smart can coach, but Georgia’s talent is being upgraded.”

Bud Elliott’s back with his Blue-Chip Ratio/National Title Contenders projection for 2017.

It boils down to teams that sign more four- and five-star recruits than two- and three-stars, over the previous four recruiting classes. That’s an exclusive club, usually consisting of the top 10 percent of FBS programs. All of the national champs over the last decade-plus have accomplished it, and often, the team taking home the trophy has signed many more elite players.

Clemson took home the title in 2016 after signing 52 percent blue chips in the 2013-16 classes. In 2015, it was Alabama with a 77 percent mark. In 2014, it was Ohio State at 68 percent. In 2013, it was Florida State at 53. And on and on.

As my colleague Bill Connelly has said, winning in college football takes talent acquisition, development, and deployment. I agree. But Gene Chizik has a national title, while Mark Dantonio and Gary Patterson do not; acquisition is by far the most important element. By NCAA rule, coaches get just 20 hours per week with their players. Only so much development can be done.

At 63%, Georgia is fifth on Bud’s list.

It’s no surprise to those of us who have been tracking the program since Smart’s arrival that he’s been laser-focused on talent acquisition and in that regard has been a step up from his predecessor.

Kirby Smart inherited a good Georgia roster from Mark Richt, but his first two classes are humming at 74 percent, while Richt’s final two were at 53.

That would seem to bode well, although I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed by the fact that Alabama’s four-year percentage is six points higher than Kirby’s pulled in his two-year run.  It would seem that he and his staff are going to have to coach a little to win an SEC title or two.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

The new recruiting math

How much of an impact with the new early signing period have?  Well, consider this:

In the 2016 class, from Dec. 20 through the month of January before signing day, 224 FBS recruits either decommitted or flipped their commitments to other schools. In the 2017 class, during the same time period, 238 prospects changed their commitment status.

Now, obviously, the new rules don’t stop that from continuing to happen.  Reading between the lines in the linked article, here’s a guess as to what’s coming.

  1. There will be a significant number of recruits who will sign in December.  (“I spoke to 76 recruits ranked in the top 150 of the ESPN 300 rankings, and 44 said they had plans to sign in December.”)
  2. That group will be largely comprised of kids who have already committed to a school.  (“Of the five-stars who said they are planning on enrolling early, all but Marshall are currently committed.”)
  3. Like it or not, the numbers suggest that some kids who want to sign in December won’t be allowed to sign early.  (“When you’ve got one program, on average, making 230 offers but only able to sign 25 players, there’s a natural amount of friction — a type of tension that exists in that system.”)
  4. There will be those recruits who simply don’t want to make a decision until the last minute (“But then again, there are some recruits who actually don’t know where they’re going, which is why they wouldn’t sign early. Most know where they’re going, but want all the recruiting hype and fun, so they play around with it…”), either due to uncertainty or because they enjoy playing the recruiting game.
  5. To the extent that coaches are unhappy about the new rules, it’s largely because they sense a certain loss of control.  Most of that isn’t about the top kids, as the above numbers hint at, but, instead, for recruits at the margins — late bloomers, for example.  But it’s more likely related to how they have to manage the numbers two months earlier than they’ve been used to.  It’s one thing to cut a kid loose very late in the process because the slot you’ve held open was filled at the end by someone higher on your board.  It’s another to try to talk that kid into hanging around for two months on a maybe when he’s got a hard offer from another school in his hand.  We’ll soon see who’s really good at that kind of sales work.

Bottom line?  Expect more grumbling from head coaches.


Filed under Recruiting

‘Well, we’re getting a lot of pressure from LSU.’

There’s closing the borders and then there’s Coach O doing what it takes to keep the out-of-state coaching hordes out of Louisiana.

Two sources with knowledge of the discussions told that LSU threatened to never again schedule Southeastern Louisiana for a nonconference game in the future if the Lions conducted the camp with those out-of-state schools present. That constitutes a massive financial hit for schools that need the money; LSU is paying Southeastern Louisiana $500,000 to play in Death Valley in 2018. (By comparison, the Tigers are paying Nicholls State $575,000, McNeese State $600,000 and Louisiana Tech $1.15 million for future nonconference games.)

There was also pressure put on Southeastern Louisiana officials from state legislators, the sources said.

Perhaps this is another good reason for Georgia agreeing to schedule cupcake games against in-state programs, as it certainly ups the leverage.  If you’re Kirby Smart, you’d think that might lead to a better use of state legislators’ power than a 90-day Open Records period.

When informing the disinvited schools of the change in plans, Southeastern coach Ron Roberts explained that “somebody else told him ‘If you do [camps with out-of-state schools], you’re going to get us all f—ing fired,” the source said.

Yeah, that might do it.


Filed under Coach O Needs Another Red Bull, Political Wankery, Recruiting

Making Georgia football great again

Kirby Smart wasn’t buying that “but we’re Georgia, damn it!” stuff when he was hired.

“When we got here I knew,” Smart said. “I coached against the University of Georgia. I recruited against the University of Georgia. I pretty much knew what was here.”

And then this critical sentence Kirby said that no one else would dare say in front of a podium over the last few years – and very few people would write or say out loud.

“I knew the level of expectation didn’t necessarily meet the quality of players that were here.”


Now there are two things to say in response to that, assuming, of course, that you take it at face value.  One, no surprise, roster management did in Mark Richt.  There was a dry stretch in recruiting, culminating in the disaster of 2013, that lasted until the 2015 class, from which the program is still recovering.  You don’t have to have coached or recruited against Georgia to realize that.

Two, despite that, it’s only fair to note that Mark Richt won 19 games in 2014 and 2015.  You can bitch, moan and qualify that all you want based on the level of opposition, the losses to Florida and whatever else tickles your fancy, but purely on a wins and losses basis, Richt did a good job coaching the talent he left himself.  (If you don’t believe that, go count the number of football teams that managed that many wins over that two-year period.)  Certainly, he got better results than Smart achieved last season.

I mention this not to support or attack either coach, but rather to analyze McGarity’s stated rationale for changing head coaches.  If Georgia football had plateaued, I would argue that it was because of the way Richt had gone about accumulating talent.  Smart has clearly upgraded the program in that department.

As Legge notes, though, even under Richt, that flaw had begun a correction course.

It must be pointed out that since Mark Richt’s final recruiting class, the 2015 class, things started to pick up. In that class a slew of very gifted players were signed and have been solid players ever since… Terry Godwin, Roquan Smith, Trent Thompson, Natrez Patrick, Jonathon Ledbetter.

Richt would have brought in a good 2016 class, too, had he lasted.  That’s water under the bridge at this point, but bringing all the talent in the world to Athens means little in the long run if you can’t coach ’em up.  The jury is still out on Smart as to that.  In that regard, history says that Georgia coaches tend to improve their teams’ won-loss records significantly in their second seasons.  Let’s hope that plays out again this year.  Otherwise, all McGarity’s done is trade one plateau for another.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“This is definitely the biggest kid I’ve seen at that age.”

Kiyaunta Goodwin is not like most middle school football players. Goodwin stands 6-foot-6, weighs in at 345 pounds and is just 13 years old.”

I didn’t know there’s such a thing as an Under Armour middle school All-American, but evidently Goodwin is one.  Hell, judging by this picture, he could be the entire middle school All-American list all by himself.

Only reason I bring this up is that, yes, Georgia has offered this kid.

He’s got room to grow, too.

Goodwin said doctors have told him he could grow to as tall at 7-foot-6.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he passed 7 foot,” Vaughn said. “At that point, we’ll just teach him how to dunk a basketball.”

It sounds like Mark Fox needs to make the next recruiting trip.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

BREAKING: Former Georgia Tech player isn’t impressed with Georgia.

Shorter Tom Luginbill:  Mark Richt’s failure to sign Carl Lawson or Raekwon McMillan proves that Kirby Smart is overrated.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting