Category Archives: Recruiting
Jamyest Williams sat down with University of Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and got a first-hand glimpse of how the Bulldogs program is changing.
New coaching staff, new way of doing things, and that was part of Tucker’s sell to Williams — one of the best players in the state of Georgia’s Class of 2017.
“Me and Coach Tucker were watching film when Coach (Mark) Richt was the head coach, we were seeing how they would pursue and then jog through the cone a little bit,” Williams said. “Now they sprint full speed, and that’s what they were missing. Just little things to build that program.”
That would be Georgia, negatively recruiting against itself. Which isn’t to say I don’t see the point. You’re hearing things like this regularly from recruits this year:
“It’s a different environment (at Georgia),” Williams said. “I talked to some of the players too and they feel a big difference also.”
I wonder if this is the other thing to keep an ear out for as the season progresses:
Consider Smart in a kind of probationary period. He’s shiny, and his program has a new aura about it, but that only lasts until the games start. Part of that is enough for an early recruiting boon, but we’ve seen that before at other programs. It’s what happens in the fall that determines the longevity of that recruiting success.
Williams, and a lot of other prospects are waiting. They sense a change at Georgia, and want to see what it means on the field.
“I know this year will be a building year, but they have a lot of great commits,” Williams said. “I want to see how the season plays out and evaluate it.”
On the recruiting front, will it be more about wins and losses for Smart, or simply being able to convince recruits that it’s not the same old, same old anymore?
After reading this, I feel sorrier for Kirby and Mrs. Kirby.
“Mary Beth’s not going to like it,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said of Smart’s wife. “You go to bed with your phone, you know? There are times I’ve laid my phone on my cheek in case so if a kid texts you back, you know what happened. You are always constantly trying to recruit and having the ability to recruit and now those kids pick and choose when they want to communicate. They’ve got different hours than a lot of us.”
Sounds romantic, no?
Also from that Staples piece, is a revisit of a concept of his that I’ve long favored.
A year ago, Rodriguez began exploring the idea of eliminating National Signing Day and allowing colleges to sign players at any point during their high school careers. This notion sounds counterintuitive to people who don’t understand how recruiting works in 2016, but it would slow the process because each offer would correspond to one of a school’s 25—or fewer—scholarships a year. Think about it this way: If you had to present a diamond ring the first time you said, “I love you,” how long would you wait to utter those words? “It’s an easier solution than looking at changing the recruiting calendar and visits,” Rodriguez said. “Most of the other issues can be tied directly to that.”
If this concept sounds familiar, it’s because I wrote about it when Rodriguez suggested it last year. I also suggested it back in 2008, and the idea has only grown more practical since.
Rodriguez sits on the board of trustees of the American Football Coaches Association, and he is using that pulpit to spread the gospel of a world without National Signing Day. Would some coaches sign ninth- and 10th-graders? Of course. The dumbest ones would. Then they would get fired. Rodriguez pointed out that most schools’ admissions offices would tap the brakes for their respective coaches. Unless a prospect’s transcript absolutely sparkled, admissions would probably stop the coach from extending the offer. And if the coach extended it anyway and the player didn’t qualify? “If you sign him and he didn’t qualify, you made a mistake,” Rodriguez said. “You’ve got to eat it.”
A world without Signing Day sounds wonderful. But what, you say, if a coach leaves before the kid makes it to campus? Well, it turns out RichRod is more liberal on that than Staples.
When I proposed this idea, I suggested that players would have to stick with the school they chose or face penalties associated with breaking the National Letter of Intent. Rodriguez is nicer than me. He is in favor of creating a clause that releases a player from his commitment if the head coach he signed to play for leaves or gets fired. “Sometimes they pick a school,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes they pick a staff. You’ve got to protect them there.”
Gosh, that’s nice. Gosh, there might be an ulterior motive straight out of the Jim Boeheim school of coaching stability:
Though Rodriguez didn’t say it, this model could also benefit coaches. It would make athletic directors think long and hard before firing anyone. If they did, they would do so knowing they might have to release much of their next recruiting class from their Letters of Intent.
These guys don’t miss a trick. Although I’ve always said keeping a coach too long to avoid losing a recruiting class is as dumb a move as an AD can make. Not that there aren’t plenty of dumb ADs out there.
Andy Staples points out a little money-making quirk in the satellite camp business.
… Now, a college program can pay a high school any amount of money to host a camp the college coaches would then work. If that high school features recruits the college wants, that dynamic would provide an unfair advantage under the current NCAA framework*. Schools can pay high school coaches to work their on-campus camps, but the NCAA examines the payouts and can punish schools that pay one coach at a higher rate than another. There is no such way to control satellite camp payments. For instance, Big State could insist that renting the field at High School High costs $50,000, and no one could dispute it…
At this point, is there anybody left in the college athletics business… oh, excuse me, the noble pursuit of helping young amateur athletes achieve their goal of obtaining a college education… who’s not getting a piece of the action? (Besides the student-athletes themselves, that is.)
This is pretty damned cheeky, don’t you think?
Texas coach Charlie Strong has turned the phrase #Letsride into his social media clarion call. When the Longhorns land a new recruit, Strong tweets out the catchy phrase as something of a de facto press release.
Texas officials were surprised Monday after learning that a reporter who covers Longhorns recruiting had trademarked Strong’s phrase in March 2015 and recently started selling #Letsride T-shirts.
Jason Higdon, the lead recruiting analyst for Horns Digest, filed two federal trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last year to use the phrase on various sports apparel and wristbands.
Higdon, who actively talks to UT recruits and reports on whether they are leaning toward the Horns, recently began promoting a website selling Lets Ride Sports merchandise.
In a message board thread initiated Monday on Horns Digest, Higdon wrote, “I understand everyone has an opinion. I want to promote commitment back in team sports.
“Regardless the team, I am in talks with high school football programs in the southeast, little league baseball teams etc,” Higdon continued. “Doesn’t matter if its 13 year olds, 18 year olds or 25 year olds, and regardless of the team they all must have a certain level of commitment. The ‘LetsRide Initiative,’ which means commitment to yourself, to your teammates and your coaching staff is something I came up with. It just kind of evolved into what it is today.”
… Before Strong arrived in Austin prior to the 2014 season, #Letsride was not a part of the UT lexicon. According to the coach’s Twitter timeline, Strong first used the phrase on Feb. 22, 2014, after getting a commitment from Huntsville offensive lineman Buck Major.
That’s one heck of a coincidence. I guess this was, too.
On Monday morning, the site offered “Texas Orange” shirts featuring white and black lettering with the phrase #Letsride. After the Statesman began making inquiries, the website changed its language during the afternoon and was selling “Dark Orange” shirts.
I assume the school, which hasn’t commented, is either pissed off or kicking itself for not having thought of it first. Bet that won’t happen again.
If you’re wondering what Kirby Smart thinks the answer to these questions is…
Smart recently discussed the sheer number of requests he received for satellite camps.
“Everybody wants one now,” Smart said. “Every high school wants you to come to their place. So how do you keep everybody happy and go to all of them? It’s impossible. So they’re popping up everywhere and it’s a little bit out of control as far as how many of them there are.”
“Then you’ve got to decide as a coach, ‘Where do I send my coaches. Where do I send my support staff? Where is it a priority to send them?.’” he said.
… apparently it’s all of ’em.
On Monday, Cartersville head coach Joey King released news of a camp on June 15 at the LakePoint sporting venue in Emerson, Ga. Georgia is one of the schools expected to be in attendance, along with Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State, and Chattanooga…
… This is the eighth known satellite camp that has promoted Georgia as being in attendance:
- June 2 – Maynard Jackson HS (Ran by Cedar Grove HS)
- June 3-4 – Mercer
- June 5 – Lassiter HS
- June 7 – West Georgia
- June 9-10 Woodland-Stockbridge HS
- June 11 – Samford
- June 15 – LakePoint Sporting Community (Ran by Cartersville HS)
- June 16th Buford HS
The interesting thing is that all but one of them are in state. I guess it’s Kirby’s way of keeping an eye on those border fences.