Okay, so this didn’t happen.

One thing I’m a little surprised about from yesterday is that Roquan Smith didn’t turn out to be the trend setter I expected.  Not at Georgia, obviously, because this year’s staff isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but I anticipated hearing stories of other highly ranked kids who decided to hedge their bets.  I’m a little surprised, to be honest.

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UPDATE:  Seth Emerson has more on “pulling a Roquan” (nice!).

7 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

Off to a good start

Seth Emerson looks at Georgia’s newly minted 2016 signing class… and doesn’t see much of a change from went on before.

There may have been some subtle changes to how Georgia did its first signing day under Smart. But the final result – for now, pending one more big target – was about the same as it usually was under Mark Richt.

“Today, for me – for you guys it may be about stars and rankings – to me about it’s about new Bulldogs new members of the family,” Smart said.

For those who do care: Georgia ended the day ranked seventh nationally and fourth in the SEC in the 247Sports Composite, which takes into account the ratings of the four major recruiting outlets. That will change if five-star athlete Demetris Robertson, who remains uncommitted, signs up later.

Either way, there are a couple contexts in which to look at Smart’s first class.

Compared to almost any other first-year coach, it was an unusually strong class. Last year Florida finished 22nd nationally in Jim McElwain’s first year. Nick Saban’s first class at Alabama was 10th.

The caveat: Georgia was already on the way to a strong class when Richt was fired. It was ranked third nationally on the day he was fired. Smart ended up holding on to most of it – 11 of the 20 signees committed under Richt – and on Wednesday he signed defensive back-receiver Mecole Hardman, a five-star who was leaning heavily to Georgia before Richt’s firing.

First of all, he’s right to give Richt some credit there.  The old staff did lay the groundwork for much of this class, which isn’t to say that Smart and company didn’t have to do a lot of work to preserve their efforts, and that’s something we should appreciate.

But I was sort of curious about his “the more things change” point, so I decided to take a look at the 247Sports Composite to see where this year’s bunch sits in comparison to where all of Richt’s classes finished.  Here’s what I found:

YEAR RANK SIZE AVG.
2016     7        20  91.48
2015     5        30  89.73
2014     8        21  90.97
2013    12        34  88.51
2012     8        19   91.23
2011     6        26   90.03
2010    11        28   83.54
2009    5        21    91.43
2008    7        25   89.84
2007    9        24   87.69
2006    3        26   90.57
2005    6        17   90.64
2004    7        21    88.54
2003    9        24   86.15
2002    9        30   86.48
2001   10        27   74.16

(First thought:  sure looks like there’s been some grade inflation over the years, doesn’t it?)

More than superficially, there’s some justification for Seth’s point.  But there are a couple of nits to pick with it, too.  There’s an interesting correlation between class size and average recruit rankings:  Richt’s larger classes tended to have the lowest averages, which would indicate a certain amount of slot filling going on.  Sometimes that paid off spectacularly, as it did with his first class, and sometimes, as in 2013, it blew up in his face.

But what I can’t help but notice more than anything here is that in his first shot, with less than two months on the job, Smart’s average ranking betters every one of Richt’s fifteen and his national ranking ties for sixth best out of those sixteen years of classes.  I don’t see how you can’t be at least a little impressed by the results there.

Yes, the trick now is following up – keeping them in school, making them SEC-caliber players and finishing the next recruiting cycle even more strongly.  But as beginnings go, I’ll take it.

58 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

The year of the (potential) quarterback

If you think that one big reason the SEC appeared to be down last season is because of the relatively sparse great quarterback play – and when you read something like this

The conference had a high water mark in 2013 with eight quarterbacks having a season passing efficiency of at least 140, headlined by the likes of Johnny Manziel, Zach Mettenberger, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Nick Marshall, and Connor Shaw. Not included in those eight were Bo Wallace, who’d top the 140 mark in Ole Miss’s breakout 2014 season, and young versions of Brandon Allen and Dak Prescott, who were two of the best signal callers this past year.

In 2015, only five SEC quarterbacks hit 140: Allen, Chad Kelly, Prescott, Jake Coker, and Greyson Lambert. Lambert’s splits show that he only squeaked out a 141.5 because he torched bad teams to make up for mediocre-at-best performances against good teams. Florida’s Will Grier had a shot at beating 140, but then he got busted for PEDs and has since transferred.

… it’s hard to argue against that proposition – then the 2016 recruiting class may help the conference’s perception dramatically in the coming years.

This year, though, the SEC is bringing in one of its best quarterback bunches in recent memory. It should be a cause for excitement. Here are the headlining quarterbacks of the 2016 class. The stars and ratings are from the 247SportsComposite, and “EE” means early enrollee.

Player Team Style EE? Stars Rating
Shea Patterson Ole Miss Pro Yes 5 0.9979
Jacob Eason Georgia Pro Yes 5 0.9973
Feleipe Franks Florida Pro Yes 4 0.9721
Jarrett Guarantano Tennessee Dual No 4 0.9612
Brandon McIlwain South Carolina Dual Yes 4 0.9254
Jalen Hurts Alabama Dual Yes 4 0.9231
Woody Barrett Auburn Dual No 4 0.9149

Only seven quarterbacks achieved a rating of at least .9600, and SEC schools have secured at least a firm commitment from four of them. Patterson and Eason are the only 5-star quarterbacks, and they’ve already enrolled.

That is an impressive haul.  We’ll see if it pays off.

8 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Why so mad, bro?

Of all the instant reactions of disappointment to Georgia signing a top ten class yesterday, this baby ranks as my favorite.

As I said yesterday, we have the best fans.

37 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

“… tell the damn Gators anything they want to hear.”

For obvious reasons, this is my favorite recruiting story from yesterday.

17 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

G-Day time set.

It’s gonna be a long day in Athens.

Not that there’s a damned thing wrong with that.

3 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Not funny, man.

When people say the terrorists hate our way of life and our freedoms, this must be what they’re talking about:

Iowa’s three state universities would be prohibited from cooperating with Stanford University until Stanford officials publicly apologize to Iowans for “unsporting behavior” by the school’s marching band during the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl football game under a bill introduced Wednesday in the Iowa Senate.

Stanford’s football team defeated the University of Iowa 45-16 in the game. In addition, the Stanford band, which has a history of irreverent performances, poked fun during the halftime show with a dancing cow, a frowning farmer formation and other tongue-in-cheek gestures that upset some Iowans. ESPN, which televised the game, cut away from the band’s performance.

State Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, told The Des Moines Register at the Iowa Capitol on Wednesday that he introduced Senate File 2081 because he believes Stanford officials have condoned improper behavior by the marching band.

Jeez, dude, couldn’t you just give a press conference and be done with it?

The details of his bill are a hoot.

The Iowa legislation would prohibit “certain future collaboration and cooperation” between Stanford and the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. However, it would permit sporting events between Stanford and the Iowa universities. In addition, collaborations and contracts already in effect would be exempt from the ban.  [Emphasis added.]

So, the academic and research stuff, the reason these institutions purportedly exist, those relationships would be severed… but the games must go on!  At least he’s got his priorities straight.  And I’m sure political ambition has nothing to do with this sincere gesture… oh, wait.

… Chelgren, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for Congress in a district that includes the University of Iowa.

Not only is he ambitious, but he’s tone deaf, to boot.  Makes you proud to be an American.

44 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery