Posted: 10:56 am Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Let’s be real: College football recruiting is a crapshoot 

By Bill King

Highly-rated quarterback prospect Jacob Eason has committed to Georgia. (Michael Carvell / AJC)

Highly-rated quarterback prospect Jacob Eason has committed to Georgia. (Michael Carvell / AJC)

The world where Mark Richt and other top-level college football coaches must operate is a crazy one.

That was illustrated starkly over the past few days in Athens. On the one hand, UGA got verbal commitments from two of the nation’s mostly highly sought high school prospects for the 2016 class, including Jacob Eason, one of the top-rated quarterbacks.

Shortly after that, Bulldogs defensive lineman Jon Taylor was arrested for allegedly choking and beating his girlfriend.

A perfect example of what a crapshoot college football recruiting is: Today’s heralded recruit, adorned with as many as five stars by recruiting services, promoted by his high school coaches as a young god and told he’s an NFL star in the making, could wind up being merely a pedestrian player who never develops to his potential. Or, worse, he could be tomorrow’s felony suspect sitting in a jail cell awaiting bond.

And it’s not because discipline isn’t enforced. No one can say that Richt isn’t a strict disciplinarian, as other teams are liberally populated with talented players who were shown the door by the UGA coach. And yet somehow, in the minds of his critics, when good players go bad, it’s supposed to be the fault of the guy who gave them an opportunity to play college ball.

OK, if Richt were signing kids out of reform school or players who already have a police record or some other obvious character defect, I’d agree with Jeff Schultz that the responsibility for Georgia football players like Taylor getting arrested falls on the head coach because he’s recruiting the wrong sort of kids.

However, as Schultz notes, it’s not just UGA: “Dumb kids are not a Georgia football problem. Dumb kids are everybody’s problem. Without much effort, I found over a dozen arrests at major college football programs in just the past two weeks, including a Bowling Green running back for attempted rape, a Baylor lineman for aggravated assault, a Texas A&M running back for shop lifting, a West Virginia running back for intimidating a witness in a murder trial, two Miami linebackers for sexual battery and a Florida State running back for grand theft of a vehicle (OK, a scooter).”

So, are too many college athletes being arrested? Sure. And, yes, way too many UGA athletes are running afoul of the law to suit me and many other supporters of the program. No argument there.

But I never hear any suggestions on what Richt or other head coaches who recruit these players should have done instead — no concrete ideas on how these “bad” recruits that every major program in the country is going after could be detected ahead of time and avoided.

Is Mark Richt supposed to know a player might go bad in the future? (Associated Press)

Is Mark Richt supposed to know a player might go bad in the future? (Associated Press)

When Richt’s players break the rules, he punishes them (more severely than many other coaches), but is he somehow also supposed to anticipate which kids might go bad?

These are the same kids every other major program is recruiting. Short of an NFL-style battery of psychological tests, how are you going to have any idea who might be prone to double-cash a check or get physical with a girlfriend? Certainly, stereotypes don’t hold true: Kids from broken homes or even with a parent in prison frequently wind up being exemplary citizens and students. Kids from intact middle-class nuclear families sometimes go off the rails.

No, the reality is that for the vast majority of these college players that get in trouble there were no red flags to warn off Richt or any of the other coaches who recruited them. In fact, in the past when there have been obvious concerns about a high school prospect’s character, UGA has backed off. Remember Deion Bonner, out of Columbus’ Carver High? He was implicated in a theft while visiting UGA’s campus and the Dogs stopped recruiting him. Bonner signed with Tennessee and later was dismissed by the Vols.

And I’m pretty sure that, as of this weekend, when five-star recruit Darnell Saloman (also spelled Salomon by some sources), became a suspect in a dorm theft while he was visiting UGA’s campus, he went right off Richt’s recruiting board.

By the way, Saloman is listed as having scholarship offers from a wide array of top schools, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and South Carolina. If it turns out he was involved in the theft, does that mean that all those head coaches, not just Richt, are guilty of going after the wrong sort of recruits?

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

174 comments
DawgVoiceofReason
DawgVoiceofReason

First of all, no one ever accused Jeff Schultz of being the brightest bulb in the drawer.  He undercuts his own argument by pointing out that he easily found bad kids at schools all over.  But then he wants to blame the coaches for recruiting these kids.  Not sure what he's thinking based on your description. But, not going to read the "for pay" article 'cause I just don't care that much.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Bellamy DUI. That will be 2 games.

Are Bellamy and Scott - Wesley (one game suspension remaining) at this time, the only two suspended going into season?

ARdawg
ARdawg

Bill, we desperately need a moron filter on the blog

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

Ok Bill we get it.For the 10k time Brother is a saint and can wash his hands of the situation. No chance he ought do background checks with each each recruit? Talking with teachers, friends, relatives.

police officers, about a recruit might help.

Cut the homer attitude Bill and make Brother responsible for his players. We get it, Brother always can wash his hands of any trouble..

JackBull
JackBull

It needs to start with the NCAA... all of this "Second Chance" stuff is nice and all, but there needs to be parameters.

If a player does something dumb enough to get kicked off of an FBS team(Div 1A), his 'second chance' can ONLY come at the FCS level (Div 1AA or lower). No more just letting these guys shoot on over to SCU (Second Chance University.....aka, Auburn!!)...and this sitting out one year deal isn't good enough either.

Sure, he can get his 'second chance'..... at Jacksonville State or somewhere similar...

In my opinion, their 'second chance' shouldn't be at the same level as guys like Chris Conley, Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley or Keith Marshall. Guys who go about things the right way.

They ALL have an equal 'first chance' coming out of high school. What they do with it is their decision. Take advantage of the situation they have been initially presented, or potentially blow it, and making things a little more difficult to make it to 'The League', where they can get paid and gain their 'fame', that they all seek.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Michael chigbu has the same body type as former bulldawg Michael Johnson the auburn killer! Welcome aboard the G Michael Chigbu!!!!!

HotDawg
HotDawg

6 players kicked off TX today, two days after 2 players kicked off for sexual assault.

Guess they didn't have Nostrodamas to predict their recruits future behavior, either.

But bad behavior only happens at UGA....yeah right.

HotDawg
HotDawg

A person at Comcast told me today they did not know what the actual channel will be for the SEC Network, yet. I'm guessing 45 since that was previously the old CSS channel.

The person was not 100% sure, but guessed that it will be included in their sports package. Which includes espnu, MLB network, nfl network, nba network, nhl network, nfl red zone, espn goal line, big ten, pac 12, cbs sports network, and a few other channels.

I have the sports package and when I first got it,

it was about $5 month in a promotional deal. I pay $10 month for it now. It's great during football season with the red zone and goal line.

I might be locked in a rate. I don't know.

They might try to raise a couple bucks with the SEC Network. We'll see.

But I'm just telling ya'll this to give you an idea

of what you might have to pay for the SEC Network if you have Comcast.

I can't believe they haven't announced to their customers how to make sure the customer gets it and what channel to watch it yet. Only 3 weeks away from launch.

DawgNation
DawgNation

Now you know why I quit reading Schultz.

ALB-Dawg
ALB-Dawg

A)  Mark Richt is a great coach.  Mark Richt is being a leader by setting the standards that he is setting.


B) I am a diehard dawg fan, but please let's stop pissing and moaning about Auburn. Nick Marshall screwed up, and he turned it around.  AU has a great bunch of players and a great coach.  Every undefeated team (or 1 loss team in AU's case) has a lucky moment or two.  Lord knows Bama has had their share of pull out their rear wins.  Lord knows UGA had 1 or 2 in 1980, not to mention Pitt and Penn State having some luck in 81 and 82.  Fluke or no, the AU receiver did what he was supposed to do.  The Georgia defender did not.  He was a young player whose brain was rehearsing victory speeches instead of focusing on knocking the ball down.  Good win Auburn.


C)  Say what you want, UGA's loss to AU was nowhere near as painful as Saban's screw up the following game.


D)  Go Dawgs!

HotDawg
HotDawg

Never understood why Tom Osborne ruined much of his somewhat good reputation, to keep enabling Lawrence Phillips.

Dawg350
Dawg350

UGA will be national champs this year! You haters best believe that!

Gandolph
Gandolph

@DawgVoiceofReason I read of copy of Schultz's column (given to me by my father-in-law, a huge Tech fan) and frankly, I did not think that his conclusion was fitting to the facts.  Everyone knows that UGA has a policy stricter than other SEC schools and it is hard for the kids to not make a mistake given the distractions of the college environment for four or five years in Athens.  As you mentioned, Bill, every coach in the conference and a lot of them not in the conference but with robo offers to every kid in the nation (Oregon, USC west, Notre Dame and Ohio State immediately come to mind) not in the conference were after these very same guys.  Schultz then destroyed his own argument with an accounting of other programs that have had to release or discipline players as well.  I can only surmise that Richt has lost control of those programs as well.  And, finally, I did not respond to Schultz as you had to have a subscription to do do.  And, like you, I just don't care that much.

Gandolph
Gandolph

@WhiskeyBreath Wow, what a colossal idiot.  You don't think that is being done?  The coaching staff depends mostly on their high school coach to give a character reference and then does other background checks.  So, are you telling me that his high school coach or teachers should have known that Jon Taylor was going to hit his girlfriend?  Are you really that stupid?  Go back and read an offer letter.  It contains some requirements that the recruit must meet in order for the offer to be valid.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Mind your own business.

Thanks anyways for your obsession with UGA, troll.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Raise standards and you'll be amazed how people will meet those standards for something they badly want.

Remember, it's been about a couple decades, maybe, that the ncaa raised minimum gpa and test scores to be eligible out of high school.

True, it still isn't very difficult to meet their minimums. But the point is they raised standards and most kids, of all demographics, have met those standards to become eligible.

So if they can apply raising standards to behavioral issues, I believe more kids (not all), will get their act together.

Maybe, if they knew they would be banned from playing football at another school. After being given multiple chances at one school, that's it for their college football career. They want to continue their education, they're welcome to at any school they remain academically and behavior wise eligible.

Just won't ever happen again on a football scholarship.

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@JackBull Since the NFL doesn't require that players who are drafted have actually earned a degree, why should there even be a second chance at the NCAA level? I'd be comfortable with NO chance. There are lots of NAIA schools that have football teams, but I hear that the perks aren't quite as good there as in the NCAA.

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

Tx has a new coach and new coaches always clean house. .

Dumb homer.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Those tech trolls only wished stuff like that only happened at UGA. Strong is cleaning house. I bet Texas would still beat tech though.

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@HotDawg Thanks for that summary of your cable TV service choices. I'm confident that Comcast will point you to the correct channel, while raising your bill yet again.

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@HotDawg And minus seven days until my vacation starts, so you can enjoy some time here without my annoying posts to upset your fun.

PMR
PMR

@ALB-Dawg  Nick Marshall turned it around??? He just got arrested for weed!

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@ALB-Dawg I agree with your entire post...except for that first sentence.

HotDawg
HotDawg

It's gonna be fun watching Eason in the Red and Black in a few years.

george231
george231

@Dawg350  34 time pre season national champs baby! For the next month the conspiracy theories about the Athens cops being so bad will continue to fly. Come sep it will be the refs conspiracy theories that cause the dawgs to lose 4 games again

Gandolph
Gandolph

@WhiskeyBreath Yeah, like Charlie Strong wasn't recruiting these same guys at Louisville or that he really doesn't need good players.  Damn dude, will you listen to yourself?

HotDawg
HotDawg

Richard Breath...So they only got kicked off the team for sexual assault because there were new coaches?????

You may be the dumbest of all Bamards!!

Guess if it was bamalama they would not have been kicked off team.

Another brilliant homer, Harvey Updyke Bamard.

Dog4Life
Dog4Life

Tech has their own issues with bad behavior and player dismissals.

HotDawg
HotDawg

You're ok. Have fun.

ALB-Dawg
ALB-Dawg

@PMR @ALB-Dawg True.  Now he needs to turn that around.  I should have been more specific and said that he accepted the consequences of his actions at UGA and did what he was supposed to do to move on.  As for the weed, you and I may differ in opinion.  While I don't condone drug use of any kind, I don't see a college student smoking pot as a big deal.  However, it is a point in case, that if he were at UGA, it would carry heavy consequences.


ALB-Dawg
ALB-Dawg

@SkokieDog @ALB-Dawg I am going to hate seeing the replay that hail Mary catch 5 million times this season every time I want to watch my team (not to mention the stupid commentators).

Dawg350
Dawg350

The one you are not part of......America!

Dawg350
Dawg350

Techs football team reminds me of dumb&dumber.....

Dawg350
Dawg350

Yeah man thanks to Tracy sprinkles. I see you're here to back this auburn fan....gee I really think they got a nice shot with Taylor....let's say mr cough?

Dawg350
Dawg350

What excuses will you have after auburn loses 5 games this year....heck don't believe me...look at y'all recent history....y'all are a Jekyll and Hyde team!

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

@HotDawg Thank you! I may even try to jump off the high dive, since it'll be August when I'm away.

george231
george231

@Dawg350  ha ha at least our pinnacle is something to talk about? what is the dawgs pinnacle? a victory at a mid level bowl? shoot for the stars!

Dawg350
Dawg350

7-5 again....will erase last years lucky season!

FlatTire
FlatTire

@george231 the only time Auburn excels to the stars is when they are either on probation or they go out and get some players that are kicked off another team

Dawg350
Dawg350

Your opinion home slice. I bet Tracy sprinkles agrees with your opinion as well.

george231
george231

@Dawg350  LOL. I LOVE this argument from clueless dawg fans. Yes the UGA game was an incredible fluke and there was a lot of luck involved. But you know what? Much of that was caused by your own players not doing what they were taught in pee wee football by knocking the ball down. Besides that ONE play please explain how the rest of auburns season was luck? cant wait to hear this one. Yes we had some good breaks but name one championship team that has not had good breaks. Correct me if im wrong but the dawgs had some pretty darn good breaks last year in the tech game and UT game did they not?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@george231  dumbest post of the year?  


when you went undefeated in the 90's Auburn was on probation


when you finally won your national title it was won with a QB that was kicked off another team


when you went to the national title again it was done with another QB that was kicked off another team



yea that sure was a dumb post





FlatTire
FlatTire

@george231



"your making my point"  


priceless post with no substance


golf clap......