It’s absurd moments like this that make me really, really wish a scholarship offer could be immediately accepted and become binding on a school.
Category Archives: Recruiting
There’s some fascinating stuff in this statistical analysis of recruiting tempo among SEC schools over the past ten classes. You can read it all, or, if you want the tl;dr version, it’s this:
Teams that get the majority of their final signing class committed before Sept. 1 have a better chance of pulling in a more impressive class in the SEC.
Don’t know when that means it’s panic time in Athens over the state of the 2018 class, but it’s at least food for thought.
Andy Staples cuts to the chase on what really bugs coaches about the new early signing period.
… Still, coaches controlled one vital piece of information—whether their scholarship offer actually was an offer.
Now, coaches have to put their cards on the table six weeks earlier. Some of them hate that.
Most programs hand out more than 100 scholarship offers but aren’t allowed to sign more than 25 players a year. Obviously, they need to offer more than 25 players because not everyone they offer will sign. But do they need to offer 231? That’s how many players claim offers from Minnesota in the class of 2018, according to the 247Sports database. Do they need to offer 265? According to rivals.com, that’s how many class of ’18 players claim offers from Ole Miss, whose coach thinks allowing players to sign six weeks earlier is reckless. Even if we correct for the possibility that some of the players are claiming offers they don’t have—let’s estimate that number liberally at 50—it’s still an astounding number of offers.
Before this recruiting cycle, coaches could watch the dominos fall through December and January and either cut loose committed players or ask them to take a grayshirt, which would require them to delay enrollment until the spring of the following year…
When programs sent the FedEx envelopes containing scholarship papers in the first week of February, that’s the first time the players learned whether their scholarship offer was real. In most cases, they were. But on Dec. 18 and Dec. 19 of this year, when some players go looking for those envelopes, they’re not going to find them.
This irks some coaches for several reasons. First, coaches hate change. Second, they hate anything that makes their lives more difficult. Third, many hate anything that offers a modicum of power to the player. In this case, knowledge is power.
It really is that simple.
Just imagine how coaches would react if the NCAA eliminated signing days altogether and made an accepted offer binding on the spot.
Kirby Smart’s got a reputation for being fairly ruthless on the recruiting trail, which makes for a great story about one of Georgia’s 2017 signees, Tray Bishop.
Bishop actually was committed to the Tigers for a long time. He pledged his services to Auburn coach Gus Malzahn in July of 2016 with the intention of heading to the Plains as Auburn’s next great quarterback. It’s the position he played most of his four years at Terrell County and the one he planned on playing in college.
Nevertheless, while telling Bishop he was their quarterback of the future, the Tigers still listed him as an athlete on their recruiting board and continued to recruit other quarterbacks. Auburn told him playing other positions would be an option if signal caller did not work out, but the school’s continued pursuit of other QB targets began to ring disingenuous to Bishop and others in his circle of trust.
“The [Auburn] coaches told me from the get-go they wanted me as a quarterback, but if I signed it was going to be as a quarterback/athlete,” Bishop said. “If I didn’t like quarterback I could go to any other position, receiver or defensive back. After a while, though, my whole mentality changed. I decided I didn’t want to play offense.”
Georgia had a lot to do with that. From the jump, the Bulldogs were saying they liked Bishop as a defensive back. They told him they felt he had the speed to play cornerback and the size to play cornerback or safety. They also spent a lot of time citing NFL data about the number of players that get drafted as a quarterback versus those that get their names called as defensive backs. The Florida Gators were giving Bishop the same spiel, and it quickly started to make sense to him.
Meanwhile, Bishop continued to get knocked around as the Greenwaves’ quarterback. While he enjoyed playing the position for his school, and did it quite well, he never experienced much in the way of team success and stayed beat up most of the time. The only time they made the state playoffs was Bishop’s senior year, and he couldn’t play because of a fractured ankle and torn ligaments. Terrell County went 20-20 while competing in Region 1-A during Bishop’s four years in the program.
“I always told the coaches recruiting me, ‘Tell me what you think, not what you think I want to hear. Tell me the truth. If I can’t do it, I can’t,’” Bishop said. “When Coach Tucker [Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker] came to see me play, he’d tell me that he thought I had the potential to play corner. He said, ‘There’s a few things I can teach you and it’ll be on from there.’ I always appreciated that.”
Toombs admits she wanted her son to go to Auburn. Bishop’s grandparents also “were enamored with the idea of him playing quarterback at Auburn,” according to Huff. But Huff was advising against it.
“Basically what I told him was, in two or three years you’re going to have to learn to play defensive back or receiver for the NFL,” Huff said. “In the meantime, Auburn started signing these other quarterbacks. I think Tray saw the writing on the wall. They were just trying to recruit an athlete and they were going to move him anyway.”
No doubt the recent game of musical chairs at Auburn’s quarterback position helped, but you can almost hear the “so, where’s Marshall playing today?” singing in the background. Well played, Mr. Smart.
We learned last week that SEC coaches ain’t happy about that new signing period. It’s concern for the kids, you know.
The arguments mainly focus on the timing of the early signing period and spring official visits. Multiple SEC coaches pointed out that the early signing period conflicts with recruits who are in the midst of chasing a state championship while studying for final exams.
Bielema said it wasn’t smart to host official visits during the spring of a prospect’s junior year, which is arguably the most important one academically.
Yeah, uh-hunh. Unfortunately for his worried brethren, Bert gave the game away with this comment:
The only SEC coach to say anything remotely positive about the new recruiting rules was Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema. And his take was about prospects having more leverage with an early signing period since they won’t have to worry about having a scholarship pulled at the last second.
Players’ feature is coaches’ bug. Go figure.
Brace yourself for the inevitable clichéfest that will spew forth the first time this kid runs somebody down to make an open field tackle.
On the other hand, I have to admit it’s a shame we’ll never hear Munson say his name.
It’s a pretty good one, too.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema’s idea is a simple one, but it makes a lot of sense: Let recruits take multiple official visits to the same school if they want to.
Under the current rules, recruits can take up to five official visits but have to be at different schools. There’s never been a particularly compelling reason why that’s the case; it’s just the way it is.
In Bielema’s scenario, a recruit would able to do more due diligence on a school without having to pay out of pocket. Recruits can take as many unofficial visits as they want to a school but that’s cost prohibitive, and not everyone can afford to make those trips. Allowing a recruit to take two official visits to the same school gives him more knowledge and perspective as to whether that school is the right fit.
“A lot of times the visit becomes more real on the second rather than the first,” Bielema explained. “For those of us married, that first date wouldn’t be great and the second one probably a little better. You kept building that progression and if not, you got out of it.”
Two signing dates, two official visits. Anything that increases the information flow during the recruiting process can’t be a bad thing, can it?
This deserves some discussion.