In his Mailbag today in response to a question about how Kirby can keep the underclassmen who aren’t first or second round draft pick quality from leaving the farm early, Seth Emerson takes a couple of swings at a horse I’ve beaten to death ($$):
… Still, in (almost) every case you also have to consider whether that player was going to improve his draft stock by staying that extra year in college, a year they weren’t going to be paid.
That’s why allowing players to receive name-image-likeness money will be another win-win for players and colleges.
I mean, it really isn’t that hard. If you care about these players staying home for the betterment of the program, I don’t see why you would not favor giving them an obvious incentive to do so.
Sorry, Gators, the Portal Master™ has no more fucks to give.
Either you do this because you really want out of Gainesville and recruiting, or you’ve seen how successful Todd Grantham’s agent is every year whipping up pseudo-hiring rumors and are taking a page out of his book, but in any event, it is hard not to imagine how much hay is going to be made about this on the recruiting trail by competing programs.
Not that Mullen cares, apparently.
UPDATE: Interesting note from Matt Hayes here…
Understand this: For the second straight year, Mullen hasn’t yet received a contract extension despite a 29-9 record and 3 straight New Year’s 6 Bowl appearances.
Three sacks yesterday, including the strip sack that changed the momentum of the game for good. Helluva finish, Azeez. Best of luck to you going forward.
Hopefully, this is a message not lost on JT Daniels.
It’s business decision time, Dawg fans.
Three key members of the Georgia football team have decided to opt-out of the Bulldogs’ upcoming bowl game to focus on their impending appearance in the Reeses’ Senior Bowl and upcoming NFL Draft, UGASports has learned.
Tight end Tre McKitty, linebacker Monty Rice and cornerback D.J. Daniel have all decided that they will not take part in the UGA bowl game, which will be announced Sunday afternoon.
I know on one level, this is coachspeak. I also know that Kirby Smart has a certain vested interest in players staying in Athens. Still, I do think there’s an interesting point to be made that this isn’t a normal year to decide to leave early for the NFL draft.
On the conversations with underclassmen regarding the NFL Draft…
“We gather information on these guys based on how they play, what’s going on, how big the pool is at their position. We try to be very honest with them, don’t get emotional about it. We’re not recruiting them like people say. That’s a decision that they have to make. What we want is to arm them with information, and I say the same thing every year, ‘We’re going to give you the information to make the best decision possible.’ Ultimately, you have to make the best decision possible. What value do you put on a degree? What value do you put on preparation, because 100 percent, the higher you get drafted, the longer you’re able to stay. So, ultimately, we want these kids to get drafted as high as possible. There’s value in coming back because they cannot develop in that league. There are no practice reps, there is possibly no Combine, there is no coming to OTAs and getting you better. You’re there, and you’re going to be good enough or you’re not. We can still develop players, and every general manager, scout you talk to says, ‘If you’re going to have someone grow and get better, they’re much better doing it in your organization than ours’ because they don’t have the freedom to get them better. We don’t have a lot of those conversations right now. We’ve had a few, but we don’t have those conversations because we want the kids to focus on being student-athletes and finishing out the season.” [Emphasis added.]
Evaluations are going to be a challenge, that’s for sure. Add to that every college player gets a mulligan for this season (hell, Demetris Robertson hasn’t ruled out coming back for another year), along with the possibility that it becomes possible in 2021 for college athletes to monetize their NIL rights and you hope these kids choose wisely, whichever way they go.
Kirbs is just sayin’.
The upcoming portion of Georgia’s football schedule is far more opt-out row than murderers’ row.
Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt are the next three tests for the No. 13 Bulldogs, and all three of those programs have been ravaged by players choosing to punt the remainder of this coronavirus-altered season. Gamecocks cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu announced their decisions to opt out Tuesday, with Mukuamu having intercepted three Jake Fromm passes in South Carolina’s 20-17 double-overtime upset of Georgia last season in Sanford Stadium.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart questioned some of these moves following Tuesday’s practice.
“I think it will be measured when they get to the next level,” Smart said. “Some pundit or critic would say, ‘That’s easy for you to say. They need to worry about their NFL careers,’ but I’ve learned that those NFL careers are not for long, especially for guys who aren’t first-rounders.
“If you’ve got a bona fide first-rounder, that’s a completely different subject, but that’s not the case in a lot of these opt-outs.”
“Our kids care about each other, and they want to win,” he said. “They want to have a productive season. At the end of the day, they want to improve their draft stock. How does it really look to opt out to train and not play? All of the general managers we talk to are going to talk about that.
“What are they working out for? We don’t know if there is going to be a combine or a pro day. What we know is that we play Mississippi State on Saturday, and that’s a showcase to go do what you can do.”
I’m just spitballing here, but what if kids who aren’t likely first round picks had some kind of real financial incentive to remain in school instead of being tempted by the bright lights of the NFL?
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall watching Smart’s expression when Monken explained this to him:
Georgia went to a bit of a different look near the goal line on Saturday night against Auburn as defensive linemen Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis entered the game on offense as blockers. The Bulldogs were able to score both times that Carter and Davis entered the game, and afterwards, Kirby Smart gave credit to new offensive coordinator Todd Monken for the idea.
“(Todd) Monken talked about the inability to travel a lot of guys in the NFL and how they use defensive players for those packages,” Smart said following the 27-6 win on Saturday. “We certainly think that Jordan is a weapon because of his athleticism and his size, and Jalen did a lot of that stuff in high school. He’s a really talented guy who has played some fullback and things. We’ve had it in for awhile and thought we would use it when we needed to. I thought Monken and the offensive staff did a good job developing that package.”
It was probably something like this…
… followed by a shit eating grin.
There’s one other shoe of note that dropped yesterday.
Virginia Tech will be playing the 2020 season without one of its best defensive players.
Cornerback Caleb Farley said Wednesday he won’t play in 2020 because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and will instead train for the 2021 NFL draft.
“After much consideration with my family, I have decided to opt out of the 2020 college football season and begin preparing for the 2021 NFL draft,” Farley said in a video statement. “I am opting out due to uncertain health conditions and regulations and all of the other opt outs going on in football right now. I tragically lost my mother Robin January 2, 2018 to an illness and I cannot afford to lose another parent or loved one. Though the competitor in me badly wants to play this season, I cannot ignore what’s going on in my heart and I must make the decision that brings me the most peace. Thank you, Virginia Tech — my coaches, teammates and anyone else who has supported me in the past. I wish you all the best. Stay safe, and God bless.”
Farley entered the 2020 college football season widely considered as one of the best corners in the country. He had 12 passes broken up and four interceptions in 10 games as a sophomore in 2019. He missed the final two games of the season because of a back injury and had offseason back surgery.
You probably saw Farley’s name on some preseason All-ACC teams and even some preseason All-American teams. The corner will likely be a high pick in the 2021 NFL draft even with just two years of game film. Farley had 36 tackles and two interceptions as a freshman in 2018.
My bet is that he’s just the first of several high profile players to pull the plug on 2020 college football. What say you?
If you’re wondering to whom and what the header refers ($$)…
As each day passes and the coronavirus numbers gain unwanted skyward momentum this summer, though, hope for any such achievements fade.
“If you’re Trevor Lawrence, for example, what’s the value to go back and play a year at Clemson? You know, the guy can be a first-round pick. There’s probably 10-20 guys that legitimately can forgo a season and still be a high-round guy,” the prominent agent continued. “Then there’s going to be also a big contingency of players that believe they’re a high enough caliber player but (they’re) also just afraid of getting sick or afraid of what happens to their season. … There’s literally nothing to gain (by coming back) for these top players other than, you know, the greatness of Alabama football and Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney and Clemson football. I mean, what benefit truly is (there) for you to play? There’s no benefit. All risk.”
Now, sure, some of that is agent talk, but, if these guys are to be believed, they’ve already been discussing this with some of the top prospects.
I suspect there are more than 10-20 college players who might be interested in making the jump, but the irony could be that prominent agents won’t want to carry those who aren’t obvious first round picks for a longer period.
And somebody has a sense of humor.
Of course, perhaps the schools and the NCAA surprise us all with a long-awaited plan of their own.
“Maybe they say to the players we’ll pay you to play,” an agent said. “But that’s never going to happen.”