I don’t know what to make of Georgia’ recruitment of the wide receiver position.
I already regret that wording as it implies that the coaching staff has done something wrong in talent evaluation and pursuit—which I don’t think is the case. More aptly: I don’t know which wide receivers will sign with Georgia.
I wrote about the position group at Bleacher Report yesterday morning and the situation has already changed with Shaq Wilson’s flip to West Virginia. In theory, Georgia could still hold on to Terry Godwin (5-star), Darius Slayton (4-star), Jayson Stanley (4-star) and Michael Chigbu (3-star) while adding someone (perhaps 3-star Terrell Chatman). But at this point, that’s the best case scenario.
I wrote about the significance of Van Jefferson’s decommitment a few weeks ago and critics bemoaned my “overreaction.” I get it: Commitments aren’t contracts and they’re subject to change. But they still hold more often than not. As such, losing the No. 11 receiver in the country (per 247Sports) was not a good thing then and it’s still not a good thing now. And my fear at the time (a disconnect between the new coaching staff’s expedited efforts to get to know recruits) could be coming to fruition given Wilson’s defection.
Shaq Wilson, an athlete who could play DB or WR, was going to get a chance at WR at Georgia. So, the fact that West Virginia “wanted” him at wide receiver doesn’t necessarily equate to an excuse for “understanding” why he flipped. I’ve said this before, teenage kids should be able to play football wherever they damn please. If Morgantown made more sense for Wilson, he should be there. I’m not questioning his decision. I’m questioning—or perhaps just wondering—what contributed to his decision. And I’m fearing that there may be something thematic there.
Recruiting is, at least in part, about momentum. I’m not sure Georgia has much momentum as national signing day approaches. Godwin is getting the full court press from little-man Nick Saban, and that’s never a good thing. Auburn is after Darius Slayton in a big way, and he probably hasn’t had time to realize that the Bulldogs have outscored the Tigers 155-57 over the past four years and won nine of the last 13 battles in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Those things make me nervous.
I’m not completely convinced Georgia is in trouble at the receiver position, but if Godwin and Slayton go elsewhere things could get really thin for wide receiver group that returns the following:
- Just 57 total receptions in 2014 (26% of all Georgia completions)
- One player with more than six catches in 2014 (Malcolm Mitchell with 31)
- No players with more than 250 receiving yards in 2014
Godwin, Slayton and others will be counted on to help out immediately. But Van Jefferson would have been equally depended on. And given that immediate need, it seems like Wilson would have had a legitimate chance to compete early on as well.
That’s all I got/
Baker and Wilson may very well go, but I think Godwin and Slayton are firm – though the “surprise” of the Auburn visit for Slayton is interesting.
(Personal note: I always wonder how much counterintelligence goes into the recruiting process. Are there spies that just watch where these guys might go? I bet Bama has one.)
To be fair to both sides, I like Buchanan and Chatman to come to Georgia. I think the late pushes under Schotty kind of make sense and with a new OC Georgia isn’t perceived as “late to the table.” Also I find it interesting that McGraw is still viewed as up for grabs. 247Sports actually has him going to Georgia in one article.
Originally posted on College recruiting blog:
We’re one week away from signing day, and it’s setting up to be a wild, wild finish for UGA.
The Bulldogs have already had five recruits de-commit and go elsewhere, but they’ve already flipped five others from other schools. So it’s a draw so far?
That’s a crazy high number, but that’s how modern-era recruiting works I guess.
And what’s even crazier is that UGA is almost guaranteed to do some more flipping in either direction over the next seven days.
Did you realize six UGA commits visited other schools this past weekend? Six? I can’t ever remember that many this close to signing day. But the good news is none of them switched, at least publicly.
On the flip side (no pun intended), UGA has brought in three recruits committed to other school within the last week. And more could be on the way this weekend.
Confused or overwhelmed…
View original 1,555 more words
Georgia Football: As National Signing Day Approaches the Pressure is on Pruitt and Defense, not Schottenheimer and Offense
Georgia cares about its defensive presence. The numbers support that story.
Jeremy Pruitt is making head coach money. His $1.3 million annual total would rank 67th among head coaches. His salary in 2015 will be more than what Boise State’s Bryan Harsin, Marshall’s Doc Holliday and Memphis’s Justin Fuente earned in 2014. And those men coached teams that finished in the Top 25 of the Coaches Poll.
Pruitt’s salary is more than the entire assistant staff budget of 62 schools in 2014. In total the defensive coaching staff is earning more than $2.25 million. The money is backing this Georgia defense.
Not surprisingly, so is recruiting. Georgia has seven early-enrollees (plus one UAB transfer). Seven of those eight players play defense. Of 19 hard commites (Per 247Sports) 10 will definitely play defense and an 11th (athlete Shquery Wilson) could settle on that side of the ball. Georgia’s two leading uncommitted targets, Roquan Smith and Arden Key, both play defense. If Georgia were to land them both and Wilson were to settle in the defensive backfield, 20 of 29 new Bulldogs would be on the defensive side.
So while it’s trendy to discuss the “risky” hire of Brian Schottenheimer, a potential quarterback controversy and the concept that Nick Chubb is all we know about the offense, the real pressure is on Jeremy Pruitt.
Pruitt has a nice debut season in 2014, but it’s hard to say it was a grand slam. While improvements defined the season for the most part, each of Georgia’s three losses could be pinned on the defense.
Pruitt himself took the fall for the South Carolina loss, and he did so rightfully. “I felt like there was probably 10 or 15 plays throughout the game where I put them in a situation where they didn’t have a chance to be successful, and that’s my fault,” he told Chip Towers of the AJC. The accuracy of those numbers can be questioned but 10 or 15 plays represented somewhere between 13.9 and 20.8 percent of South Carolina’s offensive plays that day. Combine that disturbingly high ratio with Pruitt’s utter confusion as to how a 35-point offensive effort by Georgia could possibly be to blame, and it’s fair to peg that loss on the defense.
Nobody looked good in the Florida loss, but allowing 38 points to an abysmal offense that averaged just 20.1 points per game vs. SEC competition (and a nearly identical number vs. Power 5 Conferences as a whole) is no way to wring one’s hands free of guilt. And the damned spot left by 418 Gator rushing yards (and only six pass attempts) sure isn’t coming out anytime soon.
And 399 rushing yards allowed to Georgia Tech is equally hard to ignore. Sure, the Yellow Jackets finished the season second nationally in rushing yards per game, but in 13 other contests Tech averaged 338 rushing yards per contest. Pruitt’s defense nearly allowed a 20% premium. Time and time again the Yellow Jackets picked up crucial conversions, moved the football and ate clock. Time and time again the defense came up short.
By all accounts the defense improved tremendously against the pass, and that’s hard to dispute. Georgia finished second in the nation in passing yards allowed per game (158.4) and 11th in pass defense efficiency (106.4). Todd Grantham’s last defense in 2013 finished 60th (227.4) in yards allowed per game and 85th (134.7) in pass defense efficiency.
But as evident as improvements against the pass may have been, steps back against the run were equally obvious and still quite painful.
In 2014, Georgia finished 78th in rushing yards allowed per game (175.6). In 2013, Georgia was 42nd in rushing yards allowed (148.2 per game).
As a whole, Georgia improved in total defense by 43 yards per game and dramatically in points allowed (from 29.0 to 20.4) in Pruitt’s first year. But the other question remaining is how much of that success (particularly in scoring defense) can be attributed to forced turnovers? In 2013 Georgia forced just 15 turnovers. In 2014 that number almost doubled to 29.
I’m not a blind subscriber to the “Turnovers are Totally Random” school of thought, but I don’t think turnovers can be predicted either. According to GeorgiaDogs.com, Georgia forced 13 fumbles in 2014 and recovered 13.
That ratio seems so absurd that it defies logic, but if it is true it’s certainly not to be expected moving forward. Over the preceding three seasons Georgia actually averaged more fumbles forced (10 in 2013, 21 in 2012 and 17 in 2011 for an average of 16 per year). But only once (17 recoveries in 2012) did Georgia match 2014’s number of recoveries. In 2011 Georgia recovered 70.6 percent of forced fumbles, in 2012 that number rose to just shy of 81 percent and in 2013 the figure was an even 80 percent. Those numbers are strong, but they’re not 100%.
So what does all this mean?
It means the defense got better in 2014. I can argue against that notion but I can’t do so with much integrity. As a whole, the defense got better. But did that improvement surpass expectations for 2014? That much is debatable. Passing defense got better, rushing defense got worse, total defense improved some, scoring defense improve a lot, turnovers forced were (possibly) inflated and in the end Georgia’s three losses all came with woeful defensive blunders.
Georgia is betting big on Pruitt. I’m not going to say he’s undeserving, but I’m not ready to unequivocally say he’s earned a 53% pay increase yet either. In any event, he’s getting his guys on the recruiting big board.
If he comes up short, it will be hard to blame Richt or McGarity but I think we all know Richt and McGarity won’t be a duo if such a scenario comes to pass.
That’s all I got/
For more Georgia football download The UGA Vault for FREE in iOS and Android.
I’ll be brief, but something about the Van Jefferson decommitment and the miss on Donte Jackson is rubbing me the wrong way.
I’ll grant two obvious points:
- Missing on two elite talents that had Georgia in the running hurts. Obviously.
- Both were out-of-state prospects with other viable suitors.
But suddenly national signing day feels an awfully long way off—in a bad way.
I wrote about Jefferson here, and I’ll take a closer look at recruiting over the coming days.
That’s all I got/
If you notice a recurring theme to my posts, you know that I love everything SBNation does. The following link is no exception.
Ohio State shut down the vaunted Oregon spread option attack with a base 4-3. Daniel could speak more to what (if any) adjustments the Oregon offensive line could have made to mitigate tOSU’s attack, but this is just brilliant. I’ve spent the past hour and a half reading and re-reading this article.