Dude Emeritus Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy) joins host Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) for a brief apology for ANOTHER lost episode and a rehashing of the good, the bad, and the ugly (mostly good!) of Georgia’s 2017 Signing Day class.
Since podcasts aren’t a visual medium, this is the tweet Chad references when citing Ameer Speed as his favorite player in the class:
Catching some sun while waiting for NSD☀️😏 pic.twitter.com/DvoWO6lMDl
— $peed (@OG__speed) January 31, 2017
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Let’s get the good news out of the way first: Tray Scott is a dead ringer for Killer Mike, which adds INSTANT credibility to a program in the state of Georgia, or anywhere really:
Now the bad: after watching Tray Scott coach defensive line firsthand at North Carolina for two seasons, I feel he represents a pretty substantial downgrade for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Maybe I’m a little too close to see the good. Maybe Gene Chizik’s defense, predicated on an extreme ‘bend but don’t break’ mentality was skewed towards defensive linemen occupying blockers in order for the linebackers to make plays. Given the lack of talent in North Carolina’s linebacking corps relative to the rest of the defense, I sure as hell hope that’s not the case.
Maybe it was a talent/experience issue. Carolina’s two-deep on the line consisted of, in 2016, at least three underclassmen, and for the second straight year doesn’t graduate any seniors with NFL aspirations (though junior DT Naz Jones declared early and is likely a 2nd-3rd round pick). There are three former 4-star recruits at DT, one at DE on the depth chart, with a bunch of “high threes” sprinkled in.
Or maybe Tray Scott was not a very good defensive line coach. Some numbers (as per usual, from Bill Connolly’s Football Study Hall):
|Rushing Success Rate||49.40%||117||46.20%||95|
|Adjusted Line Yards||88||117||92.90%||95|
|Power Success Rate||68.20%||81||67.60%||69|
|Standard Down Line YPC||3.42||124||3.30||108|
|Passing Down Sack Rate||4.90%||108||9.90%||18|
|D-Line Havoc Rate||4.10%||87||5.10%||56|
Now, the optimist would say Scott improved those numbers in his two years at North Carolina.
The realist would say that, besides the passing down sack rate (which includes blitzing LB’s and DB’s, obviously), there is not much to write home about. Most frustrating is an inability to stop the run. You may recall Baylor’s 645 rushing yards (a bowl record) from the Wing-T in the 2015 Russell Athletic. Or Nick Chubb and the Georgia offensive line looking like world-beaters after week 1 of 2016. Either way, the defensive line did not hold up, ranking among the bottom 10 in the nation in stuff rate (runs of no gain or for a loss) in both of his seasons.
Can he recruit? That was a mixed bag for UNC. He’s credited with two four-stars from the 2017 class, DE Jake Lawler and DT Xach Gill, in addition to three-star DT Jordon Riley. He was also given credit for a McEachern (Powder Springs, GA, of all places) WR who is grayshirting for Carolina. His 2016 recruits? One coup in Kyree Campbell failed to qualify, the other, DE Nolan DeFranco, is a project at best.
His misses are more interesting. DT Dexter Lawrence of Clemson grew up 30 minutes from Chapel Hill, and the Heels were never really a factor. DE Nick Coe went to Auburn after publicly declaring North Carolina his leader early in the process.
Scott’s results leave a lot of unanswered questions for Georgia. One would have to hope that inexperience (both as an FBS coach and among his personnel) and circumstances (Chizik’s vanilla defense) played a role, but the track record is not good.
College football is the world’s greatest sport. But it could be improved.
Previously, I wrote about the absurdity of the divisional alignment of the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten. As it relates to my beefs with major college football, it is my opus: why does it take 9 years for Georgia and Texas A&M, conference ‘rivals’, to play?
Today, let’s take down an issue that rears its ugly head occasionally: the length of games and pace of play. The College Football Playoff championship game lasted until almost 1 a.m. this year. CBS games (you know…the SEC’s headliner matchup each week) averaged about 4 hours. With the advent of high-tempo spread offenses and ALL of the TV money, its no longer feasible to sit down for a nice noon/3:30/7 schedule on a Saturday and not have the day’s most compelling matchups overlap.
Not all of these ideas will be good, but a combination of a few would help.
- Get rid of clock stoppages for first downs. This is so stupid. College football necessitates a stoppage to reset the chains, but the NFL doesn’t?
Old Dominion was right in the middle of FBS’ 128 teams with 273 first downs this past year, or 21 per game over their 13-game season. Assuming Old Dominion is perfectly average and their defense gave up the same, you’re looking at 42 first downs per college game (with certain conferences and teams skewing this, obviously). Assuming maybe 7 of these are touchdowns, the clock stops for those already. It seems fair to call it 12 seconds for the ref to blow the clock live, so for 35 touchdowns you’re at 420 seconds, or 7 minutes saved.
Solution: Only stop the clock for first downs in the last two minutes. Seems a fair compromise, and you’ve taken 5-7 minutes off a game’s average runtime.
Regulate commercial stoppages.lol this won’t happen, but can we at least eliminate the touchdown-commercial-kickoff-commercial-play from scrimmage combination? I don’t need to get a beer after the kickoff, Isaiah McKenzie isn’t here anymore to force a celebratory chug.
This definitely won’t happen, but in a nice utopian society it would at least be considered.
- Stoppages for out-of-bounds plays. Again, you can do this in the last two minutes of each half for competitive purposes and compelling finishes, but a 2nd-quarter 6-yard bubble screen where the slot receiver steps out to avoid getting crushed by a sideline-to-sideline defensive end does not necessitate stopping the clock.
Army runs the triple option, and is our median in plays per game at 70. Let’s say there are 140 (which, given the above info, is low), and 30 (again, seems low) end up out of bounds.
At 15 seconds per play (low again!) you’ve cut out another 6 1/2 minutes. A more radical solution follows:
- Stoppages for incompletions. Won’t happen, because its so ingrained in our football-watching DNA. But what if the clock kept running after an incomplete pass?
Our old friends at Old Dominion check in at #64 in passing offense, and threw 154 incomplete passes over 13 games. Assuming their opponents did the same, you’re looking at 23.7 incompletions. 20 seconds of stoppage per, and you whack another 6 minutes of time off the clock. For a more plodding offense (cough Georgia) the time elapsed between plays is closer to 30 seconds, so your 3:30 SEC on CBS slugfest could realistically be 11 1/2 minutes shorter.
I propose a compromise: stop the clock for a set amount of time (8 seconds was the top speed I remember the good Oregon teams running) and then start it. It would shave 5 minutes off the runtime for any game.
Are any of these solutions good? Do you have something better? Hell, given that we’re obsessed with college football, are long games even a problem? Let us know.
(Minor programming note: Andrew and I intended to gush about this class this morning on the podcast, and we will…tomorrow).
Georgia signed a hell of a recruiting class. I started to write a snarky article on how we STILL couldn’t beat Alabama, or how Kirby can’t close (similar to the Tennessee and Vanderbilt games) but I’ll save that for another day.
The Dawgs filled a TON of positions of need, and in so doing solidified their chances of improving on 2016’s 8-5 record.
Who is going to crack the two-deep right off the bus?
Jake Fromm: The nation’s #3 pro-style signal caller would be getting Jacob Eason hype…were Jacob Eason not on campus. The hope would be for Brice Ramsey to maintain the QB2 role, and allow Fromm to redshirt. I’m willing to bet he plays if Eason succumbs to any kind of extended injury, and he may use spring ball to win the #2 job outright.
Georgia fans should hope for a redshirt.
D’Andre Swift: Swift is a 5’8, 220 lb. wrecking ball, and as such seems a perfect fit for Jim Chaney’s pro-style O. The problem(s)? Chubb. Michel. Herrien. Holyfield. Its a good problem to redshirt such talent.
Jeremiah Holloman, Mark Webb, Trey Blount, Matt Landers: Javon Wims and Riley Ridley gave Georgia some much-needed length (as well as the potential to make explosive plays on the outside) in 2016. Terry Godwin should assume Isaiah McKenzie’s slot role, and Michael Chigbu may develop hands. All this is to say, these four shouldn’t HAVE to make an immediate impact, but all have the talent to crack the two-deep.
I’d keep a particularly close eye on Holloman, as the nation’s #18 receiver is in for spring. He and one of the other three, at least, will see action, as Mark Richt’s bad (BAD!) receiver recruits get phased out. I look for Wims/Ridley/Godwin to be the primary set, with Chigbu and perhaps redshirt freshman Charlie Woerner (looks more like a TE to me) manning the second team on the outside. The backup slot is wide open.
None signed, none needed. This position is loaded for 2017.
Hey! The whole reason we’re here (mostly).
D’Marcus Hayes, the nation’s #2 JuCo OT, is already on campus and needs to assume a starting role. Isaiah Wilson, Andrew Thomas, and Netori Johnson are all national top-100 recruits, and should play to start the backbone of a dominant line with holdovers such as Ben Cleveland for 2018 and beyond.
I already wrote about this in greater detail.
Another spot where Georgia recruited well, but doesn’t necessarily need immediate impact. Julian Rochester, Trent Thompson, Jonathan Ledbetter, Da’Quan Hawkins-Muckle, John Atkins, and Tyler Clark all return. Chauncey Manac and Mikhail Carter were two of the standouts from the 2016 class.
Having said all that…talent will prevail. Rochester, Thompson, and Ledbetter seem like locks to run with the ones, but this is Georgia and suspensions will happen. Malik Herring could be a factor at end, and Devonte Wyatt has the size to be a factor on the interior.
I’d expect someone to crack the rotation, but not make an immediate impact this year.
Robert Beal, Jaden Hunter, and Walter Grant all register as guys to be excited about watching. Lorenzo Carter, Roquan Smith, and D’Andre Walker already fit the bill.
I fully expect Beal and one more to crack the rotation here, if for no other reason than to see who’s going to take Carter’s spot on the strong side in 2018. Also, Georgia seems more (insert Rodrigo Blankenship joke here) invested in special teams under the new regime, and 4-star linebackers are ideal in kick coverage.
Again, more about who returns. Natrez Patrick and Davin Bellamy should be entrenched as starters. Reggie Carter and David Marshall should be entrenched as reserves (though Marshall has the versatility to end up at DE or OLB).
Monty Rice is in for spring ball, so again could get a leg up as a depth piece. Nate McBride just seems like one of those dudes who will redshirt and become a beast as an upperclassman.
A more interesting watch will be Jaleel Laguins, a 4-star who redshirted last year.
Malkolm Parrish, Juwuan Briscoe, and Deandre Baker all return, but none is without flaws. I expect Mecole Hardman to step up and take somebody’s spot as well, so corner isn’t what I’d characterize as a weakness, per se.
Tray Bishop, William Poole III, and Ameer Speed all provide length that the previous three don’t provide. Think Dre Kirkpatrick and others at Alabama. These guys will play.
Richard Lecounte and Deangelo Gibbs (a possible WR) are already on campus, and thus will provide depth in the backfield and on special teams, with an eye on taking over for Dominick Sanders and Aaron Davis in 2018. The size of the corner recruits adds more possibilities for safety depth this year.
Our favorite! Who knows what to expect with Blankenship now, as Georgia gave a scholarship to Wofford grad transfer David Marvin. Marvin is a boomer, and by reading the tea leaves will be the favorite to win the placekicker job.
Georgia not only plugged holes in its 2017 roster yesterday, but it built what could be a NASTY trenches-and-secondary team for the future. They handpicked some skill position talent on offense, and the class represents an immediate talent upgrade across the board.
If guys like Lorenzo Carter, Dominick Sanders, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Davin Bellamy (holy hell how did we manage to keep ALL of them?) had gone pro, some of these signees would be thrust into more important roles. For the time being, though, anticipate a veteran bunch taking the lead in 2017 with the fruits of Kirby Smart’s first class at Georgia to be borne down the road.
Note: Unless specifically noted all rankings, ratings, etc. via the 247Sports Composite. Also, publish time on this bad boy was 6:00 p.m. ET on February 1, 2017. So pardon any developments in the evening.
There’s an awful lot to like about Georgia’s 2017 recruiting class, but if you’re a light follower of recruiting like myself (and like Chad) it may be hard to know where to begin. So with that in mind, I’ve sifted through the rough to find the five diamonds that you—an avid follower of recruiting or a casual Georgia fan—will find most encouraging.
1. This is Georgia’s Best Class Ranking—Maybe Ever
If you believe in college football rankings, then this is the best Georgia recruiting class ever. I believe in rankings because 1. The correlation between success in recruiting and success in games is rich and 2. The correlation between individual player ratings and NFL futures is rich. I’ve talked about this at length so do some research if you’re a nerd (check this out).
So, as a believer this class is insane relative to Georgia’s already high standards.
The 247Sports Composite (which combines all major recruiting services) has the Bulldogs ranked third in the nation. They’ve never finished higher (data going back to 2000). The 2006 class was also third (but with a lower average rating, fewer 5-star signees and fewer 4-star signees).
Rivals.com has Georgian ranked third as well. That’s the best recorded on the site (which posts data since 2002).
Scout.com pegs Georgia with the second-best class in the nation. The Bulldogs have never topped that spot.
ESPN tabs the Dawgs as the nation’s third-best class. Again, this is the best class reported by the site.
So if you buy that class rankings matter, this is an epic success for Kirby Smart! Even if you buy the myth that Georgia out-recruits its peers (it doesn’t: See Alabama, LSU and Florida over the past decade), this is a huge class.
2. This Class is Incredible – Numerically Speaking
Georgia’s average recruit rating (per 247Sports) is 92.71. That’s the third-best tally in the nation behind Ohio State (94.47) and Alabama (93.61). That’s really a fantastic number. Consider other elite classes in the last ten years (2017 classes italicized).
- 2017 Ohio State (94.47)
- 2015 Alabama (93.64)
- 2017 Alabama (93.61)
- 2014 Alabama (93.59)
- 2010 Florida (93.55)
- 2010 Texas (93.55)
- 2013 Alabama (93.25)
- 2009 USC (93.16)
- 2012 Alabama (93.09)
- 2016 Alabama (92.85)
- 2017 Georgia (92.71)
Now, the numbers above just represent individual player averages. Another way to look at this would be by evaluating 247Sports (again, they compile all sites’ data) total class ratings. For 2017 the Top 5 classes are as follows:
- Alabama: 322.53
- Ohio State: 310.97
- Georgia 300.98
- Southern Cal: 296.12
- Michigan: 293.77
Those numbers take things into account like actual class size. In other words, these ratings give preference to Alabama’s 29 signees over Ohio State’s 21, even though the average rating of committed Buckeyes was higher. This is a combination of quality and quantity.
Where does Georgia’s rating of 300.98 stack up historically? Consider how many classes bested that total over the past ten years:
- 2017: 2 (Alabama, Ohio State)
- 2016: 1 (Alabama)
- 2015: 2 (Alabama, Southern Cal)
- 2014: 1 (Alabama)
- 2013: 2 (Alabama, Ohio State)
- 2012: 1 (Alabama)
- 2011: 0
- 2010: 2 (Florida, Texas)
- 2009: 0
- 2008: 0
3. This Was NOT a Weak National Class – Georgia Just Killed It
The bullet-points above support this case. At worst, Georgia’s class rating of 300.98 would rank third among its peers in any class over the past decade. And, this class would only rank third four times in the last ten years (this year, 2015, 2013 and 2010). So by that measure, this is a strong national class. Case in point, it would have been the second-best class in the nation in 2016, 2014 and 2012. It would have been the best class in 2011, 2009 and 2008.
- Best Class in 2008: Notre Dame (294.67)
- Best Class in 2009: LSU (291.33)
- Best Class in 2011: Alabama (298.50).
Further, consider how the nation’s third-best class has held up each of the ten years prior to 2017.
|Year||No. 3 Class||Average Rating||Total Rating||5-Star||4-Star|
Now Consider Georgia’s 2017 class:
|Category||Result||Better Than No. 3 Class AVG||Rank Among Previous 10 Classes|
|Average Rating||92.71||YES||Tied – 2nd|
|5-Star Players||2||NO||Tied – 5th|
|5 & 4-Star Players||20||YES||First|
4. Georgia Landed Elite Players All Over The Field
- Richard LeCounte III is the no. 2 safety prospect in the country.
- Jake Fromm is the the no. 3 Pro-Style QB in the country.
- Deangelo Gibbs is the no. 4 safety in the country.
- D’Andre Swift is the no. 4 running back in the country.
- Malik Herring is the no. 4 strong-side defensive end in the country.
- Isaiah Wilson is the no. 5 offensive tackle in the country.
- Nate McBride is the no. 6 inside linebacker in the country.
- Netori Johnson is the no. 7 offensive guard in the country.
- Robert Beal is the no. 8 weak-side defensive end in the country.
- Jaden Hunter is the no. 9 outside linebacker in the country.
- Andrew Thomas is the no. 9 offensive tackle in the country.
- D’Marcus Hayes is the no. 2 JUCO offensive tackle in the country.
In total, 12 new Georgia signees rank among the nation’s Top 10 at their respective position. Six play offense, six play defense.
Seventeen of the nation’s Top 200 high school prospects signed with Georgia. That’s staggering. Only Alabama snagged more Top 200 players (with 18).
5. Georgia Locked Down the State
I do think in-state recruiting can get a bit blown out of proportion. Get the best players you can get; I don’t care where they’re from. But by practically every measure Georgia held its own in Peach State.
The state’s top prospect was a QB, Davis Mills, heading to Stanford. He’s regarded as the top QB in the class. Georgia got the third-best Pro-Style passer in the class (Fromm) and the No. 2 Pro-Style QB last year (Eason), so it’s not a shock that Mills went elsewhere. Aubrey Solomon, no. 3 in the state and the nation’s second-best DT went to Michigan.
Outside of that, it’s hard to find much fault with what Georgia did in-state.
Five of the Top 10 players in the state are staying home. In addition to Mills and Solomon, Georgia missed on three defensive backs—AJ Terrell, Xavier McKinney and Jaymest Williams were ranked 7th, 8th and 9th in the state respectively. But, Georgia signed two DBs who ranked second (LeCounte) and 6th (Deangelo Gibbs) in the state.
Players 11-16 in the 247 Composite State Rankings ALL chose Georgia. So 11 of the Top 16 will suit of for the red and black.
That’s all I got/