Debate: Is Kirby Smart Adapting to the Times or Over-Recruiting?
Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Joe Burrow. All transfer quarterbacks, all Heisman trophy winners, all No. 1 overall draft picks and all three transfer quarterbacks.
It's the new wave of college football. Finding the mature new toy, and allowing him to set and break records at his new school. And this trend is here to stay. With the new one-time transfer rule likely arriving next year, it's only just begun.
In one offseason, Kirby Smart has gone out and landed not one, but two of the nation's most heralded transfer quarterbacks available on the market. First, the graduate transfer Jamie Newman out of Wake Forrest who is immediately eligible for the 2020 season, and Thursday he landed JT Daniels, who has three years of eligibility remaining after taking a medical redshirt last season but will need a waiver from the NCAA to avoid sitting out in 2020.
So, now Georgia's quarterback room is awfully crowded and supremely talented. Which begs the question: Is Kirby Smart adapting to the times, or has he over recruited the quarterback position?
Adapting to the times:
Two things are abundantly clear about Kirby Smart's coaching philosophy: He is a fiend for competition, and he prioritizes experience over all else. Bringing in transfer quarterbacks with experience and immense talent satisfies both of those cravings.
Not to mention, one of these young quarterbacks is going to enter the transfer portal eventually; that's the way of life in college football nowadays and the only way to get ahead of that is to ensure your QB room is as deep as possible.
Even before the one-time transfer rule was proposed, the NCAA was handing out waivers for quarterbacks left and right, and it wasn't just Justin Fields at Ohio State. Shea Patterson was immediately eligible, Tate Martell was granted eligibility, the list goes on. This is just the way of college football. Either adapt or get lapped.
Over recruiting the position:
Most Division I programs typically have three or four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, typically spread out from each other in terms of eligibility in order to ensure there's always a competent backup. Well, Georgia now has five on the roster in 2020:
- Jamie Newman, SR
- Stetson Bennett, SR
- JT Daniels, RS SO
- D'Wan Mathis, RS Fr
- Carson Beck, FR
Having a "QB competition" is an overused term. Is it every REALLY a competition? Think about it. Only one gets the opportunity to play on Saturdays, perhaps two get to take reps with the first unit in practice, which in this case leaves three talented players left holding clipboards and charting plays.
Georgia's defense had over 40 players play at least 100 snaps a year ago. That is doable on the defensive side of the ball, heck they played nearly a dozen offensive lineman last season, 11 wide receivers caught at least one ball, 5 running backs had at least 25 carries.
Only three quarterbacks threw a pass, and one of those was Nathan Priestley who threw just two passes.
The reality is, a name will be in the transfer portal before there's ever a "QB battle." That's not to even mention a guy by the name of five-star Brock Vandagriff, who will be on the UGA roster next spring.
So, what's the point of working strenuously to flip and land a guy like D'Wan Mathis if you're just going to continue to recruit over him and merely get to see him play in a spring game or during practice?
There's an argument for both sides. Which one do you land on?
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