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July 3, 2012

Scholarships and Head Count

Paul and I have a running email discussion about what is going on with the size of the roster. He's written about recruiting plenty over the years. Both of us routinely refer to Dean Legge's Recruiting Manifesto, which if you haven't read in a while, now is a good time to brush up. Until this weekend, I thought his rantings about Richt's recruiting numbers were asinine. I now know just how much I had my head in the sand.

Simply put, Georgia is about 15 scholarship recruited players down because we routinely under-sign. We are voluntarily operating at a 20% discount. Think about that. When Paul said that the other day, I scoffed. Surely you jest. We sign right on the money every year. Mark Richt isn't into pulling a Saban and letting accountants and attrition work out those pesky numbers. He believes in making a promise to a kid that  if you decide to come to Georgia, you will be given a spot in this year's class. Which is the honorable and right thing to do.  

However...and there always is a however...I now agree with Paul that we undersign. How is that? I'm glad I asked. While we always nearly always hit our 'target' number of scholarships, except for 10 and 12. And 07.   And 05. What was I ranting about? Oh, yeah. We can be honorable and still sign the number of players it takes to field a full team of scholarship players (or at least close to a full team of scholarship players).

Are the coaches too worried about recruiting rankings? If that is what it is, shame on us a little. Yes, us the fans. We are the ones driving that train. Yes, the coaches could actually stand up and say we don't care about that, but they'd do so at the risk of sounding both 'in the arenaish' and 'shut the hell up I know what I'm doing'ish.' Neither are optimum.

Looking at AirForceDawgs excellent compilation of information on DawgRun (h/t Blutarsky), it isn't hard to see that we have averaged over 6 departures per season (I took the 32 departures and divided by 5 seasons). Now, some of those are less predictable, such as violation of team rules (I count seven). Nonetheless, you can count on those spots being open. They should be more effectively utilized, even if it means we are finishing outside the top 5 in recruiting rankings. I believe if we'd recruit some kids harder and earlier we'd find more success with the players that often times wait until February for ESPN airtime to decide.

If you read the comments on Blutarsky's post from last week, you'll see this situation being called a self imposed probation. I'd say it is worse. I think it is digging your own grave just to show you can handle a shovel. I respect what Coach Richt is doing in being honest with players when he tells them they will have a place in Athens if they decide to come to Georgia. I don't respect his inability or unwillingness to project what his real numbers will be based on natural attrition, some of which is easily predicable.

The only upside is that it looks like we are in line to have multiple guys report early for the upcoming class, which allows us some leeway in signing a huge Class of 2013. The problem is we are literally playing with Mississippi State Jacksonville Jaguar level depth in Fall 2012. We have to have production and health out of the 70 or so we recruited.


PS. It occurs to me much is being made out of the five guys that have earned walk-on schollys. All of them are contributors that deserve scholarships and are exactly the kind of players that we could be recruiting on the backend to help with depth. All five have grown into their playing time and are more than mere placeholders for scholarships.


Anonymous said...

what happened to the other contributors besides you and westerdawg.

Tyler Dawgden said...

Quinton had twins about a year ago. He's knee deep in baby raising and his career as an exotic painter.

Dawgnoxious' career as Michael Ian Black's ghost writer has kept him off the Intertubes, although I expect him to chime in upon Dr. Adams' retirement.

Anonymous said...

I knew when the Crowell dismissal came down it was only a matter of time before the scholarship # debate would boil up again. The is a hindsight issue that makes for good debate on message boards but does little to actual address the issue. Here is a real time example, Give me your solution: select any 10 ten player that we have offered and made an early commitment. The recruit then decommits and opens his recruitment back up. As coach do you throw his offer out the window and start fresh recruiting maybe a 2 or 3 star recruit in his place, just to fill a scholarship? Ok so you decide to hold the offer open for the player(s). What if the recruit takes you down to the wire on NSD and signs elsewhere. Do you really think you can replaced a top talent on NSD to switch. Remember you have expressed little interest in this same kid for 3-6 months. Is it actually reasonable to believe you can built a successful roster based on last minute switches. It is easy to count the scholarship after NSD and say we come up short. Unfortuneately these recruiting decisions have to be made long before NSD. You cannot simply go out an offer scholarships to 50 players and then choose which 25 you want. Well actually you can but it would take about 2 recruiting cycles and high schools coaches will run your program into the ground with these antics.
The fact of the matter is CMR and staff evaluate players and make offers to the ones they want. They get the one that WANT to be at Georgia. You cannot cry about the ones that decide to go elesewhere. I do not think bama or lsu is get production from the kids that are 65-85 on the roster. Recruiting & signing top level talent plus managing a roster number is not as simnple as some make it out.

Paul Westerdawg said...

You Get recruiting points for signing every player. Even 2 star kids. So that's not it. It ja just idiotic and lazy to have 68 to 70 kids when you are allowed 85.

Over the past 3 seasons we have given away 24 less scholarships to recruited players than allowed by the NCAA. Correction. We have given 24 ships to Walkons.

There is No Way we should have that many to give out. It's inconceivable that you could put together a championship team if you have that many non recruited guys on the roster over such a short period.

It's lazy and stupid. Richt is the king of the self inflicted gunshot wound.

You know why our special teams suck? Because we don't have the depth to field quality competition. So we send these YMCA teams out to cover kicks.

It is a self inflicted probation. And it has to stop.

If we signals enroll 32 kids this year (which we won't) we will still have less than 85 in 2013.

Paul Westerdawg said...

Sorry for typos. iPhone typing half asleep is never a good idea.

Tyler Dawgden said...

Anon, I agree that it isn't an exact science. However, I disagree that it can't be managed better, especially considering known attrition. King and Ealey were never going to make it to Fall 2011, as an example. Furthermore, we failed to sign the full allotment of players in at least three of the past five years. Players 65 to 80 are the guys that are currently starting at Troy,UAB, Southern and Middle Tenn who would absolutely acccept an early Feb offer to come to Georgia and would absolutely be contributors on coverage teams...or more.

As it is, we have guys with a ton of heart running coverage. I had a ton of heart in college, but I didn't have any business trying to run down a world class athlete who outweighs me (a 'lineman') and can out run me by walking fast. I don't think we should make 50 offers and hope. I do think we could work with guys who would love an offer to Georgia and would take one at any time before signing a LOI and as long as we are being up front with them, their coaches and their parents, we can manage whatever hit there might be lurking.

If Les Miles and Jimbo Fisher can figure it out, I know we can.

Paul Westerdawg said...

Anon - you are asking the wrong questions of me and Tyler. You should be asking why every other coach including the guys in the big ten who are at war with SEC over signing can figure this out and Richt can't.

Your fundamental flaw in your logic is this. Every offer for every kid is not an offer that says no matter what we have a schlarshIp for you. Most are conditional on a first come first serve basis.

Reuben Foster can wait as long as he wants. But not a tier 2 guy.

Kenarious Gates and Tim Jennings weRe two of those last minute offers. They turned out ok. You build a pipeline of kids who are on the fringe. You find out who can make it to the end. And you string them along without an offer.

Regardless there were not 10 more kids out there that Richt was waiting on til signing day. He had months to get back in the mix on some tier 2 guys.

Not the least of whom was Nkemesiche (sp?) little brother. It was beyond stupid that we didn't sign him.

Defend this stuff all you want. But there's only enough room up mark's ass for his own head on this issue. Not yours too.

Cosmic Dawg said...

I agree there may be some tricky math, but we need to be signing more players.

Someone posted on another board a great point: your #3 reserve position player breathes down the neck of your #2 reserve position player who breathes down the neck of your #1 reserve position player, making him even better and making your starter even better, too.

I wonder if part of CMR's problems keeping discipline is an attitude of "who's he gonna replace me with? There ain't nobody else behind me..."

Also, you never know when you're going to have two guys go down and need that third and fourth guy. Look at our secondary right now.

You also have to figure that some of those unsigned kids, with the right coaching, turn out to be diamonds in the rough. Don't tell me the #50 player is guaranteed to be that much better than your #80 player after a few years of coaching - think of all the four star busts out there, surely there are a good number of two and three star Cinderellas waiting for their chance...

Paul Westerdawg said...

Cosmic - yep. Another thing. When you have a deep an competent bench, you have to coach more aggressively to get bigger leads sooner. This allows you to sub more freely and build depth. Because if you don't play talented kids they get antsy and want to leave.

The powerhouse teams don't just kill reams because they can. They do it because they have to for morale.

And the more you play the younger kids the more depth you build and better manage your risk regrading injuries and suspensions.

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