UGA recruiting finished first in the rankings in the 2018 class. Expect the Bulldogs to be at the top in 2019, too. DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell will answer a Recruiting Question of the Day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can ask him your questions on Twitter or the DawgNation Message board forum. Previous QODs can be found on our question of the day archives page.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
This one comes from Kirby Smart’s press session Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla: You are in a position to recruit a talented quarterback every year. Is it hard to keep two, much less three, quarterbacks on a roster?
Kirby Smart had a very interesting response to that question from a media member on Tuesday. He took it all the way back to high school football.
“I think you can see what we are going through now and what a lot of people are going through,” Smart said. “It is the same thing because these young high school quarterbacks — a lot of them — are doing the same thing in high school. They are positioning from eighth grade to the ninth grade where can I be the quarterback in the ninth grade at this high school program? When they just go shopping and searching, they find a place they can go. A lot of them start for three and four years.”
“Where it used to not be that way. Now it is kind of trickling up to us. You are sitting there where a kid is saying, ‘I am going to go there or I am going to go there.’ You don’t see the guy that — I use Hutson Mason as an example — he was a guy that kept getting better and kept getting better and grew as a quarterback. Just not a lot of that.”
He continued with a counterpoint to that trend.
“I would argue if you are a parent of a quarterback that you would say, ‘You know what? Where is my son going to get the best development? Where is he going to get the best reps and learn to play a quarterback position like it is in the NFL?’ Not necessarily play first. But where is he going to learn to play the position and sit in a meeting room where they teach you protections and the things you have got to learn to play at the next level?”
“Because they don’t draft you at the next level just based on your playing performance. They want to see what system you played in and how did you play. Did you grow as a quarterback? Have you learned? It’s tough. It is tough to keep them around because they are all used to going where they can play right away.”
Kirby Smart’s follow-up to that point was pretty good, too
Smart’s detailed response sparked several follow-up questions.
The trend is that seven of 11 quarterback prospects dating back to the 2013 cycle wound up transferring from the school they signed with initially.
But this is not just an issue with the elite quarterbacks. There isn’t a single quarterback prospect with a 5-star rating in the 2019 class. Smart took on the main theme right at the outset.
Is he worried about recruiting the elite QB prospect? If that guy doesn’t play fast, will he leave?
“I don’t think that’s true for elite quarterbacks,” Smart said. “I think that’s true for any quarterback. You know what we are going through with Stetson [Bennett] and we wanted to keep Stetson with us. You can’t say that he was [elite] coming out of high school. He was looking for an opportunity to play.”
Smart brought up simple math. He quizzed the press about the number of FBS schools. The number thrown out was 130 teams. There were 129 of those last season.
“Everybody would like to have a 3-deep,” Smart said. “So that’s how many is that — 390 or so? That’s crazy to me that you are not going to have that. It is a ‘me now’ society. They want self-gratification. They want to know that they will be able to play. It is different than every other position on the team. Every other position on the team, except for maybe kicker, they know they can have another role.”