Category Archives: Transfers Are For Coaches.

Bad luck, bad timing… or maybe both

Boy, if there’s a “we hardly knew ye” story, surely it’s this one:

Georgia reserve wide receiver Tommy Bush is leaving the program.

The fourth-year junior told the Athens Banner-Herald he has put his name in the transfer portal.

Bush played in two games in 2018 and another in 2019, making one catch against Georgia Tech for a yard.

He said he dealt with a groin injury as a sophomore.

“UGA did a lot of good things for me, I became a lot better player,” Bush said. “They definitely helped me in recovery.”

Between the groin and being hit by a truck, he spent most of his time in Athens behind the 8 ball.  Best of luck to you going forward, Tommy.  Sounds like you’re due.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Sometimes, the grass ain’t greener.

I thought Kirby was keeping a couple of roster spots open in order to fish a cornerback out of the transfer portal, but after seeing this 247Sports list of the top ten defensive backs in there, I can see why he’s in no hurry.  It’s a pretty undistinguished bunch.

Y’all have any thoughts about it?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Grass is greener rankings

247Sports has posted the transfer portal numbers.  Here’s how the SEC shapes up on the departure front:

FB_IMG_1614038827630.jpg

Yes, those numbers include walk-ons, judging by Georgia’s list.  Every one of Georgia’s departing players has landed elsewhere.

Hate to keep beating a dead horse, but the Vols have lost an entire signing class to the transfer portal.  That’s stunning, especially considering the quality of some of the players who’ve left.

On the other hand, you’ve got to hand it to Nick Saban, don’t you?  All that talent stacked up, along with a monster 2021 class, and only six players head for the hills.

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Filed under SEC Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

There’s a reason they call him The Portal Master™.

Florida may not have done so well with its 2021 recruiting class (although, to be fair, it’s not bad, either), but the Gators cleaned up on the transfer front.

The Florida Gators are the runaway winner of the transfer portal for 2021 according to the 247Sports ratings. Florida signed the top two rated players the entire portal and also added important depth on the interior defensive line. Tight end Arik Gilbert was one of the best in the SEC as a true freshman for LSU in 2020 and will be expected to step in and start in the role vacated by Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, who is off to the NFL Draft. Gilbert received a rating of 99 in high school and keeps that lofty rating here. The odds are good of Gilbert being a rare transfer non-QB being drafted in the first round.

Running back Demarkcus Bowman was also a five star in high school and keeps his rating after transferring a few weeks into his freshman season at Clemson. The ratings team believes his ability is unchanged. Penn State defensive tackle transfer Antonio Shelton received a grade of 87 and is expected to start for the Gators, while Auburn defensive tackle Daquan Newkirk was graded an 81. The ratings team expects Newkirk to provide good depth.

As Dirty Harry once said, a man’s gotta know his limitations.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Transfers Are For Coaches.

Stay classy, Vols.

Honestly, I don’t know why programs still pull this petty sort of bullshit.  We know how this will likely wind up — media gets ahold of it and after a ton of unnecessary negative publicity, the school relents.  What’s the point of the exercise, other than to piss off people?

Remember, too, that comes on top of this genius move.  Way to go, fellas.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Where did all the signees go?

This is a pretty amazing statistic.

FBS college football teams signed more than 400 fewer recruits to scholarships in the class of 2021 than they did in the classes of 2020 and 2019. In 2021, FBS teams signed 2215. In 2020 they signed 2622, and in 2019 they signed 2671.

That’s… a lot.  What gives?

The article suggests a couple of things.

  • “A lot of teams elected to sacrifice the potential upside of recruits for the relative certainty of existing college players via the transfer portal.”  COVID made it harder to evaluate high schoolers (don’t forget, several states cancelled high school football completely) and the transfer portal offered an option with less uncertainty.
  • “The NCAA ruled that the 2020 season does not count against a player’s eligibility clock.”  That, in turn, meant some programs were reluctant to overload their 2021 rosters.

The short to medium term consequences of this should be interesting to watch.  The bulk of those 400 some odd players are still going to play college ball somewhere.  You’d have to think FCS programs are going to be buoyed somewhat by an influx of players from that group.  And the D-1 programs that didn’t take their usual fill of signees this year?  In two or three years, watch them raid those same FCS programs for the kids they passed on initially who worked out at the lower level.  It might very well turn out to be an efficient approach.

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Filed under Recruiting, Transfers Are For Coaches.

“It’s beyond my mental capabilities.”

Today is National Signing Day, February edition.  You’d think coaches would be freaking out, wondering where the last of the best recruits are headed.  Well, they may be freaking out, but it’s not over what you’d think.

Combined, the changes to recruiting and scholarship allotment made to meet the demands of COVID-19 have made this the most challenging period for scholarship management in college football history.

“I think probably the most difficult thing for all of our coaches right now is roster management,” said Todd Berry, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. “What we’re getting ready to see this spring will be the most tumultuous spring in our memory as coaches or players.”

The returning seniors, known as “super seniors,” will push FBS programs over the normal cap of 85 scholarships in a given year, which the NCAA temporarily waived to accommodate the expansion…

The challenge is really coming down the road, mainly because of the law of unintended consequences.

While embraced by players and coaches, the NCAA waiver has led to two additional concerns related to scholarship management.

Programs taking back a large group of seniors, such as Ball State, could then lose upwards of 30 or more players after the end of the 2021 season — the super seniors, the more traditional senior class and players opting for the transfer portal or the NFL. With programs facing conference-mandated caps on how many recruits can sign during a given cycle, losing the equivalent of two senior classes in one go could set teams behind the 85-scholarship curve for one or more seasons.

“From a numbers standpoint, we can’t replace 36. We can’t replace 30,” Neu said. “I’m hoping that perhaps there’s some adjustments made, whether it’s on the NCAA level or what, to be able to make the adjustments necessary to fill your roster. That’s what I’m concerned about right now.”

The huge number of players currently in the portal has caused many programs to shy away from adding any recruits on Wednesday’s signing day in favor of leaving scholarships open for transfers after the end of spring drills. Some programs, particularly those on the West Coast, are still evaluating high school seniors from states set to play football in the spring, including California, Washington and Oregon.

“You always say recruiting is an everyday thing,” said Rolovich. “Well, signing people is going to be an everyday thing.”

And with no answer as of yet from the NCAA on whether the 85-scholarship limit will return after this coming year, coaching staffs are unable to plan ahead with any real certainty and begin digging into the makeup of rosters for the 2022 season.

This isn’t just having an impact on coaches’ future roster planning.  It’s also affecting what happens to players who decide to enter the transfer portal.  Ross Dellinger breaks down the dilemma for coaches and players.

The transfer surge is expected to continue well into next year’s cycle, not only because of the one-time transfer exception but as a result of a COVID-19-inspired rule granting each athlete an extra year of eligibility. While the seniors who return for next season do not count against a team’s 85 scholarship limit, players from all future classes do.

For instance, players who were juniors in the fall of 2020 and would normally have graduated by the 2022 season will now have the option to return as fifth- or even sixth-year seniors. They’d count against the 85. Meanwhile, some freshman classes in 2021 will be giant: 25 incoming freshmen will be coupled with roughly 25 “COVID-shirted” freshmen (true sophomores who were freshmen during 2020) for a 50-person rookie class. That leaves 35 scholarship spots for three classes.

While teams can have 85 players on scholarship each year, they can sign only 25 new players a year. The 100 signees over four years leaves a 15-player wiggle room for natural attrition. New transfer legislation and the impending COVID-shirter wave is causing unnatural attrition.

In the 2022 and 2023 recruiting cycles, coaches have one of two choices: retain their scholarship players and add fewer signees, or push out scholarship players and sign a normal class.

At least for now.  There is apparently pressure being put on the NCAA to loosen the annual 25-player limit on new signees.  Dellinger outlines three such proposals.

One proposal allows coaches to replace each player lost to the NFL, the transfer portal or for medical reasons, granting an unlimited number of signee spots in a one-for-one approach. Another similar proposal caps the number of replaceable signees at 10. A third proposal turns the one-year signee limit into a two-year limit, granting coaches 50 signees to be used over a two-year stretch.

Talk about your unintended consequences!  The first of those would be Nick Saban’s wet dream.

Speaking of Nick, Bob Bowlsby has a suggestion.

As it pertains to the 25-signee limit, Bowlsby has a somewhat revolutionary idea that is probably a longshot. To inject more parity in college football, the Big 12 commissioner believes the annual signee limit could vary from school to school based on that program’s past success and failures.

“If you win the Super Bowl, you have a low draft choice. So maybe in the college environment you have fewer than 25 to distribute the talent, so the rich aren’t rich all the time and the poor have a chance to build their programs up,” he says. “It’s time to think differently about how the enterprise is managed.”

“Probably” is doing a shit ton of heavy lifting there.  If Bowlsby’s ears aren’t already ringing, it’s only because he hasn’t received the phone calls from Oklahoma and Texas yet.

Meanwhile, Greg Sankey is here to help.

There are other longshot ideas for scholarship relief. For example, the SEC has proposed that all athletes who are COVID-shirted should not be counted toward the 85. That could result in more than 100 players on scholarship on a given team for multiple years.

Bowlsby calls the move “not likely,” and most other college administrators feel like the proposal has little momentum because of the finances alone. Sure, SEC teams and others in the Power 5 can afford to fund such a large number of scholarships, but what about the little guys?

“Let’s not reduce future opportunities for people coming into the system because we had to manage through a pandemic,” Sankey says. “It’s going to cost a little money but we ought to be spending that money on student-athlete scholarships.”

Greg, you’re not spending money on scholarships, but I digress.

Essentially, college football’s bigshots are into their don’t waste a crisis mode, but given all the competing interests, it’s hard to see how much gets done.  In the meantime, expect a lot more whining about roster management from the usual corners.

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Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Is the wealth being spread, and we’re just not seeing it yet?

I’ve mentioned before that the transfer portal is one means by which the lack of parity in college football can be addressed.  There are something like a thousand players in the portal now, which means there’s a ton of roster upheaval being processed, on both the losing and receiving ends.

That being said, Bud Elliott suggests there may even be a secondary consequence.

The best schools are still loading up on the best high schoolers. But for programs who are outside the current top five recruiting classes, it can be a bit of a different story. Some are leaving a lot of spots open for transfers. That’s because transfers, just like recruits, count against the cap of 25 new players a school may bring in in a given year. And this year, transfers are immediately eligible.

“If it is a borderline recruit for us, we’d rather take a transfer who we know can cut it physically at the college level,” said one staffer.

Many coaches and recruiting personnel have echoed those sentiments. Their thought is this: Why not take a transfer player who can be OK for two years and get that scholarship back quickly to use on a future recruit as opposed to risking a four-year mistake on a borderline high school prospect you’ve never worked out or seen in person? Coaches think the bust rate in this 2021 high school class might be much higher than normal due to the lack of evaluation and development time.

Take Oklahoma, North Carolina, Penn State and Florida State, which only signed an average of 16 players in the early cycle. Oklahoma has three transfers as of this writing. Penn State has four, while FSU has eight already.

With so many schools signing five or more fewer high schoolers than they normally would, doesn’t that mean the talent will likely trickle down? If the top 25 or so schools leave an average of two extra spots open for transfers, that’s 50 high school prospects who would otherwise not be available for some lesser programs to sign who are suddenly available.

“There’s no doubt,” a scouting director said on Monday. “If you are at a G5 school and you know your athletic director will be patient with you, there is absolutely an opportunity to sign some prospects who would normally be signed as flyers by P5 programs. It should trickle down to FCS schools, too.”

Sometimes the law of unintended consequences can have a positive outcome.  It’ll be interesting to look back on the 2021 and 2022 classes in a couple of years to see if this is a recruiting trend that has real legs.

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Filed under Recruiting, Transfers Are For Coaches.

The Portal Master™ cannot fail. He can only mail it in on the recruiting trail.

Mullen just lost his quarterbacks coach, Brian Johnson, to the NFL.  I guess this is what suffices as words of consolation for Gator fans from one of the dudes at Florida’s Sports247 site:

Johnson’s departure, though, leaves Florida with a two-fold hole to fill. Not only did Johnson help coach up quarterback Kyle Trask to a record-shattering season in 2020, but he was also one of Florida’s best recruiters.

The Gators haven’t been particularly strong recruiting so far in Mullen’s tenure, and the 2021 class for Florida currently ranks No. 12 nationally and No. 5 in the SEC.

That said, Mullen has been quite successful pulling instant impact players from the NCAA transfer portal, a strategy that has helped patch some holes on the roster in his first three years in Gainesville.

All that’s missing is a touch of snark and it could have posed as a number of comments here at GTP.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting, Transfers Are For Coaches.

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

There is so much to unpack from this one tweet, it approaches the density of a dwarf star.

LOL.

Somehow, though, he manages to top it with this:

But of course.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Transfers Are For Coaches.