If you hadn’t heard, three Georgia players have transferred to Nebraska in the past month — tight end Arik Gilbert, outside linebacker MJ Sherman and offensive lineman Jacob Hood. Evidently, the pipeline runs between Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule and Georgia secondary coach Fran Brown, who have a long history together.
Rhule recruited the Camden, N.J., native to Western Carolina in 2003 where the cornerback was a standout punt returner for the then special teams coach. Brown was on the support staff at Temple when Rhule was there and then got his first full-time college coaching job as defensive backs coach with the Owls under Rhule in 2013 and worked with him for six seasons including two at Baylor until 2018.
Rhule is even the godfather of Brown’s son, Fran Jr., who is finishing up his senior year of high school in Medford, N.J.
Makes it handy to get the inside scoop on kids when their names pop up in the portal.
“As guys were going in, ‘Hey, coach this is a guy who fits you,” Rhule said Wednesday at a signing day press conference in Lincoln. “He kind of knows who I am and the way I want to do things, the process we want to have, the character of the guys that we want, the work ethic. He was able to tell me about them and then also tell them about us and what we’re doing here and then kind of let us recruit from there.”
Works for me. Every player who leaves Athens for Lincoln is one less player who might otherwise wind up at Tech or an SEC program.
For the second straight year, a Georgia player leaves, seeking a better opportunity… at Alabama?
Marshall was definitely a contributor, if not a starter, unlike Burton. But it’s unlikely he would unseat Mondon or Dumas-Johnson this season, and between that and the group Georgia brought in at ILB in this year’s recruiting class, his prospects for increased playing time in his senior season weren’t going to improve.
Presumably, that’s not the case at Alabama. What a remarkable thing to observe, eh? It’s certainly nothing I could have foreseen five or six seasons ago, that’s for sure.
Anyway, best of luck to you, Trezmen. (Except for one game, of course.)
Honestly, this just blows my mind ($$).
Texas A&M has lost 25 scholarship players in one offseason. Eighteen were blue-chip recruits. Eight were top-100 recruits, including five-stars Denver Harris and Chris Marshall. Seven were freshmen from their top-ranked 2022 recruiting class. Not one entered the portal, changed their mind and withdrew.
To their credit, the Aggies have picked up two touted transfers, North Carolina cornerback Tony Grimes and Florida State safety Sam McCall, and are pursuing several more. But if you want to compare this to turnover margin and put it in those terms, no other FBS program comes close to Texas A&M’s minus-23 transfer margin.
At least 16 of their departing players are going to be on Power 5 rosters in 2023.
On top of that, it’s not as if Jimbo pulled in another giant recruiting class this time. TAMU’s bunch is rated 13th nationally, behind Florida, just to give you an idea.
Huge net loss of talent, but at least they’ve got Bobby Petrino coming in to make up that difference.
This may be the ultimate “respect my decision” tweet:
I bet Stingtalk will be majorly conflicted over this call. I mean, on the one hand, they’ve got to be pleased that a dwag has come to his senses, but on the other, it does put a dent in their academics argument.
Seriously, best of luck to Brett, who is about to experience what it feels like to lose in Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Just ask MJ Sherman’s sister.
It’s a shame, because from all reports, he’s been a great teammate. I don’t know if this was a rare case of misevaluation, or if he simply couldn’t make it back from injury to where he was, but it is what it is, as cold as that sounds. Hope he finds a good place where he can be a real contributor.
It’s Wednesday, so it must be time to tweak the transfer rules again.
The Council voted unanimously to update guidelines for the waiver process for undergraduate student-athletes who are transferring for a second time.
Each waiver request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but moving forward, student-athletes must meet one of the following criteria to be granted a waiver to compete immediately:
- A demonstrated physical injury or illness or mental health condition that necessitated the student’s transfer (supporting documentation, care plans and proximity of the student’s support system will be considered), or
- Exigent circumstances that clearly necessitate a student-athlete’s immediate departure from the previous school (e.g., physical assault or abuse, sexual assault) unrelated to the student-athlete’s athletics participation.
All other guidelines will no longer be used for waiver requests to compete during championship seasons that first occur in 2023-24.
The Council agreed that athletics reasons (lack of playing time, position presence) and academic preferences should not warrant waiver relief.
I get the frustration, but, simply based on history, does anyone doubt what’s about to happen? They’ll be flooded with threats/requests from the likes of Tom Mars, who must surely appreciate the new business about to head his way, and they’ll hair split and waste large amounts of time dealing with it. Those who cannot remember the past are on the NCAA’s Division I Council.
By the way, “academic preferences should not warrant waiver relief” is not a good look for an organization that supposedly exists to keep “student” in the term student-athletes.
A few random thoughts on who Georgia just brought on board for next season:
- If you’d have told me, say, a year or so ago that Smart would not bring in a single quarterback in the 2023 class, I would have fretted that something had gone seriously wrong. I mean, P5 programs of Georgia’s ilk sign quarterbacks. That’s what they do, if only for class separation purposes, right? Instead, quarterback, shmarterback. And I really, really like who’s on board this month. You know what I like just as much? Kirby’s response to Georgia not taking a quarterback.
- This is the kind of group you wind up with when (1) your existing talent base is elite; (2) even with that, you are fully aware of what areas need shoring up; and (3) you know how to make players fit inside the program culture you’ve carefully built.
- With regard to that whole shoring up thing, I don’t think it takes a football savant to realize that change needed to come to the wide receivers room. Monken’s done a brilliant job working with what he’s got, but it’s been apparent since Mitchell’s injury that there aren’t a lot of wideouts on the roster who are capable of consistently creating separation from defensive backs. Mission accomplished (at least on paper) with three high school signees with legitimate speed, and two transfers in Lovett and Thomas who finished in the top 15 in receiving yards in the conference this season. (Add in McConkey and Bowers, and Monken will have four such players to work with in 2023.)
- The other area that looks to have received a talent upgrade is the defensive back seven. Go back, look at that linked list and check out how many linebackers and defensive backs have forty times posted. Kirby said at his signing day presser that he’s been playing catch up on the overall roster numbers for the secondary for several years now, which is kind of a funny thing to say when you think about how much talent has passed through there. The inside linebacking group looks pretty studly, as well.
- The rest of the class falls more into the keeping a good thing going category for me. There are badass edge players like Wilson, M’Pemba and Harris. In the middle of the d-line, there’s Jarrett, who’s got a Jordan Davis physique, and Hall. Three offensive linemen were signed, as well as two tight ends (with the potential for another 5-star TE to join them in February).
- If you want to nitpick, Georgia only got one running back in the class and his name isn’t Justice Haynes. It’s hard to say right now if that’s a big deal, because we don’t know how many backs are leaving after the CFP and we don’t know how Paul’s rehab is going. Then again, if things there look thin in the spring, that’s what the portal is for.
- Speaking of the spring, remember this year there is no 25-player signing limit, just the overall 85-man roster limit. Georgia’s signed 25, has two hard commitments waiting in the wings, may add another signee in February and has taken two transfers already with a third rumored to be coming on board soon. There will be roster management coming, in other words, and likely quite a bit. Try not to be too dismayed when you see the departures; there’s only so many talented players you can keep on a roster and, more importantly in this day and age, keep happy on a roster. All you can do is trust the culture that’s been built in Athens and trust the staff’s ability to develop the talent when it arrives. Given the track record, that’s not exactly a big leap to make.
Georgia’s not staying out of the transfer portal this year.
Thomas is Mississippi State’s leading receiver this season.
UPDATE: Boom squared.
Georgia’s receiving room is going to have a very different look next season.
It’s a sad story, but this particular shoe has been going to drop for a while now. As Seth Emerson reported, Gilbert hasn’t been with the team for a few weeks. The situation is disappointing for the team, for Gilbert’s football future and, most importantly, for Gilbert as a person.
There’s no point in delving into the details (and I’d ask that you avoid speculating about those should you comment), but I’ll just say that he had all the support he could have asked for at UGA and I only hope that wherever he goes from here, he finds a similar level of that and uses it to get to a better place for himself.
But, yeah, as someone who was legitimately excited about his potential after he flashed at G-Day, it’s disappointing, for sure.
JT Daniels is just a good dude.
The night before this year’s National Signing Day, quarterback JT Daniels committed to play at Rice.
Daniels, who’ll turn 23 in February and is on the cusp of joining his fourth college program, couldn’t resist a joke.
“Mine was back in 1997,” he told ESPN of his high school signing day. “I’ll use that joke like 40 times this year.”
Daniels has already played at USC, Georgia and West Virginia. Rice will mark his fourth school in six years. There’s even the possibility of a seventh season if needed, as he could apply for a medical redshirt from his 2019 injury in the season opener at USC.
In an interview Wednesday, Daniels reflected — both lightheartedly and seriously — on his circuitous path and why he thinks that Rice could be the situation that helps unlock his talent. Daniels won National High School Player of the Year in 2017 and in 2018 became just the second freshman to ever start a season opener for USC.
A torn ACL in the first game of the 2019 season began his winding path, which included a national title at Georgia and a season of early promise at West Virginia ended with him losing the job after 10 starts. Over the three schools, he’s 17-12 as a starter. Now he’ll be leading Rice into its inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference in 2023. That will be the fourth league he’s played in, joining the Pac-12, SEC and Big 12.
“That’s probably the coolest part of it,” he said. “Has anyone else ever done that?”
Self-deprecating humor aside, he sounds like somebody who’s very comfortable in his own skin.
“I got a [bachelor’s] in psychology from Georgia. I’m starting my masters at Rice. Of course, you want everything to go perfect and smoother and exactly the way you want it. I don’t feel like I’ve been wronged by a university or a group of people. I have great relationships with USC and UGA and great relationships at West Virginia. It’s all just been a part of process.”
Can’t help but root for him, but you get the feeling a guy who’s that grounded is going to find the right path for himself.