ATHENS — When Kirby Smart made his first official in-home recruiting visit on Sunday, to offensive tackle Ben Cleveland, he wasn’t alone. That offered up a clue as to what’s happening with Georgia’s coaching staff right now.
Todd Hartley, who is the team’s director of recruiting, and Josh Lee, who is director of football operations, were also in a picture posted of the visit. Normally it’s only full-time coaches allowed to make visits – the head coach and his nine assistants – but when there are coaching changes other staffers are temporarily allowed to fill the gap. And it has also been reported that Glenn Schumann, who Smart said would “probably” be an on-field assistant, was on a recruiting trip on Monday.
But the only member of the 2015 Georgia staff who is officially gone is head coach Mark Richt. So who are Hartley, Lee and Schumann replacing on the recruiting trail?
While there will certainly be coaches leaving the staff, UGA says that there is nothing to announce yet. The reason that other staffers are on the trail, UGA says, is thanks to an NCAA waiver.
“The NCAA granted a waiver to permit the current football staff to engage in coaching activities with student-athletes through the conclusion of its participation in the 2015 postseason while allowing the new coaching staff, to engage in recruiting activities,” reported UGA’s compliance office, through a team spokesman. “Specifically, the NCAA staff noted that not more than 10 coaches may engage in recruiting activities and not more than 10 coaches may engage in coaching activities (other than graduate assistant and undergraduate assistant coaches).”
But the rub on that is that, according to the team spokesman, that list of 10 coaches who can recruit can change “day by day.”
Either way, it’s very clear there will be staff changes – perhaps wholesale – and that the staff is very much in flux.
Bryan McClendon, the interim coach until Smart is on board full-time, said Sunday night that he expected all of the current assistants to coach the Bulldogs through the bowl game on Jan. 2. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. But at least on Sunday, and probably on other days, much of the recruiting is being done by others.