SEC Media Days are always good for a few tasty menu items.
UPDATE: This goes out to those of you who have missed the point behind Saban’s comment about Bryce Young.
I’m not sure what I enjoy the most about Sports247’s transfer portal rankings…
… that Georgia has three of the top ten incoming, or that Tennessee has three of the top ten departures.
Okay, I kid a little bit there, but I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet how much damage Fulmer’s stint as athletic director did to the football program there. But by the end of this season, it just may.
And no, that’s not a reference to Dan Mullen, hard as that may be to believe. It’s to the SEC’s most underachieving coach.
But within the SEC, Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs won the 2021 Transfer Challenge, the inaugural great plunder amid the NCAA’s new transfer landscape that allows immediate eligibility for first-time transfers.
… Georgia: The Bulldogs added three all-conference-caliber players in tight end/wide receiver Arik Gilbert (from LSU) and defensive backs Tykee Smith (West Virginia) and Derion Kendrick (Clemson). The transfer exits of defensive backs Tyrique Stevenson and Major Burns and defensive end Jermaine Johnson put a chink in Georgia’s transfer trophy, but it still came out way ahead.
Yeah, I know it’s hard to believe that tops Harsin straight up stealing the next Justin Fields, or the Portal Master™’s stellar track record, but it is what it is.
Honestly, I don’t know if this is snark or straight…
Everyone loves a good black-hat villain in the SEC, and Harsin is wearing it today. On Thursday, Auburn’s football coach did something many longtime fans of the league would have once considered unthinkable. Harsin straight up stole a former five-star recruit off the roster of the rival Georgia Bulldogs.
Harsin walked into the Bulldogs’ receiver room this week, and left with a former freshman All-American. Demetris Robertson wore black and red in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry last season, but this fall he’ll be dressed out in burnt orange and navy blue. He’s the third transfer this offseason to go from an SEC school to Auburn, but the others were from Vanderbilt and LSU.
… because if it’s the latter, the entire piece is likely to be the dumbest thing I read all year, and, yes, I know we’re only in early July.
If you don’t think that qualifies, try this on for size:
… Georgia recently added a former five-star receiver from LSU, Arik Gilbert of Marietta, Georgia. Was Robertson addition by subtraction for Georgia, or will losing him to Auburn come back to haunt Smart and his staff like quarterback Justin Fields?
Tell me that has to be sarcasm. It has to be, right?
Auburn needed a veteran receiver for Nix going into fall camp, so Harsin looked around and took one from Georgia like he was pulling a gold chain right off Kirby Smart’s neck.
Robertson, while extremely gifted, apparently didn’t impress Smart enough in practice over the last three years to earn more chances on the field.
Okay, maybe not.
At one point, he refers to Harsin as “this Bandit from Boise”. He better hope he’s not saying that in a few years about Harsin’s paycheck.
And there we go.
Now, sonny, back in the days of Greg McGarity…
Honk if you’re a Vol who hasn’t entered the transfer portal.
Tennessee defensive lineman Darel Middleton on Wednesday entered the NCAA transfer portal, sources told GoVols247. A 12-game starter over the past two seasons, Middleton’s future with the program had looked uncertain since the end of the spring when he was absent from a couple of practices and Tennessee’s Orange & White Game. He will have one season of eligibility remaining wherever he transfers.
He is the second Tennessee defensive lineman to enter the transfer portal in the past week with Greg Emerson going into the NCAA database last week.
They brought in two d-line transfers, so, in a sense, it’s a wash. The great thing is they’ll have five seniors on their d-line in 2021, so they’re going to have to dive right back into the portal again after this season to fill those holes.
“Do you want an honest answer on that? I can give you the stock answer, which is indifferent. But as every coach in the SEC wouldn’t admit, it’s based on who they can get with how they want that rule,” Smart said. “It’s a selfish world out there and every guy is trying to do what gives his team the best chance to win.”
“I do know this, that I’m for the portal,” Pittman said. “I think if a kid doesn’t want to be on our team then he doesn’t need to be on our team, and it’s not because of me, it’s because of his teammates. So I’m all for that. At the end of the day, if they don’t want to be here, then they need to go somewhere else.”
Or, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard…
A look at the official roster on GeorgiaDogs.com shows that seven of the eight new additions now have jersey numbers. The two most high-profile additions, Clemson transfer cornerback Derion Kendrick and LSU transfer wide receiver Arik Gilbert are among those players.
Kendrick will don the No. 11 on the defensive side. Redshirt freshman wideout Arian Smith wears that number on offense. Gilbert will use the No. 14, the same number worn by true freshman safety David Daniel on the defensive side.
Junior defensive back Tykee Smith, a transfer from West Virginia, will keep the same number he has worn the past two seasons. He’ll don the No. 23, the same one worn by walk-on wideout Jaylen Johnson on offense. Smith was the first of UGA’s transfer additions earlier this spring.
Alabama transfer defensive back Brandon Turnage isn’t yet listed on the official roster. Sources confirmed to Dawgs247 last week that Turnage had made his way to Athens.
Why do I have this nagging feeling there’s more to come on the transfer front?
Damn, it seems like college football these days is consumed with crises. There’s state NIL legislation, of course, where we’re told chaos will envelop the sport at the end of the month if the feds don’t do something about it. Then there’s playoff expansion, where we’re told if something isn’t done to let mediocre Pac-12 champions have a chance to get blown out by Alabama, fans will abandon the sport in terrifying numbers.
Then, there’s the new transfer rules.
As I mentioned yesterday, it won’t happen soon because there are enough coaches out there who know Nick Saban would game that for maximum benefit, just like he does with everything.
But there’s another reason not to rush into anything. 2020 was the mother of all outliers. Because of COVID, the NCAA granted every player another year of eligibility. That’s left us with a number of… um, marginal players who are now playing with house money. If you’re someone who’s been given an extra year you were never expecting and you know that won’t get you much in the way of on-field time at your current school, why wouldn’t you take a chance on the transfer portal to see what might turn up?
So, while the numbers might seem staggering — an average of 12 scholarship players, remember — they aren’t likely to be sustainable. It’s not sensible to rush into dramatic change (not that that’s the NCAA’s strong suit, anyway) when it’s too early to tell how the new transfer rules are going to play out.
Besides, I’m kind of enjoying Tennessee’s predicament. 25 to the portal is staggering.