ATHENS — It’s hard to know how much Dylan Raiola would have played at Georgia, if at all.
But it’s a sure bet the talented quarterback prospect’s name would have been making headlines, whether they were related to football or not.
In case anyone forgot, Raiola is the former UGA commit who moved to Georgia to play his senior season at Buford High School before flipping to Nebraska the week of signing day.
The quick take here at that time was Raiola lacked the mobility to find success playing early against SEC competition and would have needed more seasoning before getting a start at UGA.
So it felt like things worked out for the best after Raiola made his decision go to Nebraska, and that decision looks even better right now.
There would have been a lot of second-guessing from such a high-profile family had Dylan Raiola been stuck on the bench for a couple seasons at Georgia, or anywhere else, for that matter.
The story of Raiola’s flip resurfaced last week but with a new — and laughable — spin: It was allegedly Kirk Herbstreit’s fault Dylan flipped to Nebraska.
As this story goes, Dominic Raiola told fan site Rivals.com about a conversation he had with Herbstreit, the nation’s top collegiate analyst.
“When he saw the smoke about Dylan entertaining Nebraska, he called me,” Dominic Raiola said on Wednesday. “’Dude, Is this true? He [Dylan] got to do it. You know, he got to do it.’ His [Herbstreit] affinity for Nebraska, for a guy like that to tell me and get behind me.
“I knew, I knew he needed to do it. But I wasn’t going to sit here and say ‘You need to go change that place or be a part of the change of that place.’
“So when Kirk told me that, I was like, man, I had other coaches reach out to me and say, look, the place is special. Coach (Matt) Rhule is a special leader.”
1. It’s an easy out
Examining the facts here, and providing some rational speculation, this looks like an easy out for the Raiola Family, intended or not.
Dominic Raiola probably heard a lot of second-guessing about his son choosing not to play for Georgia.
Sharing that anecdote, about his private phone call with Herbstreit, was likely an attempt to validate the family’s decision.
Perhaps it was deliberate, but more than likely it was subconscious.
2. Business as usual
Media types offer support and advice for families going through stressful situations like this all the time.
It’s authentic, and it’s part of networking and building relationships.
Remember when Jake Fromm revealed that Peyton Manning helped him make his decision to turn pro a year early?
Georgia, it must be noted, moved on quickly from Raiola and seems satisfied with signee Ryan Puglisi while keeping an eye out for a capable transfer this spring.
No harm, no foul.
3. Logical choice
Nebraska was a logical choice for Dylan Raiola all along.
If Dominic Raiola wanted his son to play at the same school he attended, and help Matt Rhule resurrect the struggling Nebraska program, that’s OK.
In fact, that makes a lot of sense.
Dominic Raiola is not naive, and he is anything but a pushover. He was one of the toughest, most intimidating centers to play the game at Nebraska before a 14-year career in the NFL.
Did you know Dominic Raiola was an All-American center for the Cornhuskers who once finished second in Outland Trophy voting, losing on a tiebreaker?
It’s OK the Raiola family wanted Dylan to play at a school where his uncle, Donavan Raiola, is the offensive line coach.
Remember that part of the story? The Omaha World Herald reported that Donavan Raiola received a 53-percent raise ($175,000) last season.
It makes sense the Raiola family felt pressure to ensure Dylan took a final visit to Nebraska before signing day.
It’s logical to assume Nebraska put the full-court press on Dylan Raiola to sign and play there.
4. Let it go
The assertion that somehow Herbstreit played a role in the Raiola Family decision is insulting to him and anyone else with a shred of knowledge of how college football works.
It’s a story that has no legs. It’s a sad attempt at revisionist history that should make people laugh more than it does trigger any other sort of emotion.
Herbstreit is one of the best television analysts in the business, if not the best.
Prepared and entertaining, Herbstreit plays no favorites, and Georgia fans should know that better than anyone.
Remember when Herbstreit was the loudest proponent for Georgia to be included in the 2018 CFP field?
This, while others were afraid to challenge the “integrity” of a committee that included athletic directors from Florida, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma.
It’s time to put the Dylan Raiola recruiting story to bed, and in doing so, leave Kirk Herbstreit out of it.