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Five Years Later: Regrading the Jimbo Fisher Hire

Texas A&M was originally given an A for the hire of Fisher from Florida State. Five years later, is it still an A?

The Texas A&M Aggies football program is fresh off the heels of what's being called the greatest football recruiting class of all time, and expectations for 2022 are high. Especially coming off a disappointing season that saw the program achieve only an 8-4 record that brought criticism of coach Jimbo Fisher.

During the 2017-18 hiring cycle, CBS Sports graded the coaching hires of all schools and offered an A to Texas A&M for its successful pursuit of Florida State's Fisher.

Five years later, CBS Sports has regraded the hire and reduced the Aggies grade to a B+:

If you were to poll Texas A&M fans about Jimbo Fisher, the approval rating would be pretty high, but not as high as hoped. Fisher and the Aggies were close to a College Football Playoff berth in 2020 but have lost at least four games in every other season since he arrived in College Station. Still, the program is recruiting at an elite level, and now it just needs those recruiting wins to translate to more wins on the field. Another four-loss season could be bad for both parties.

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No doubt Fisher's 8-4 season in 2021 has affected the national perception of his performance, but what team wouldn't have underperformed considering the circumstances surrounding last season?

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Injuries to key players handcuffed the program all season, not the least of which was the loss of starting quarterback Haynes King in Week 2 in a close win over Colorado in Denver.

Overall, the hire of Fisher still compares well with other SEC schools that were also graded as As at the time. Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State have all moved on from their hires at that time, four of them dismissing their coaches within three seasons of the hire.

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But Fisher's hire still compares extremely well with that of other Power 5 schools such as Florida, Tennessee, Florida State, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State (three of them were graded as A hires by Fornelli when they made them) who have since moved on to other coaches. In fact, four of the programs cut bait within three years after the 2017-18 hiring cycle. 

Five seasons into his tenure, his job is as secure as ever, and can only be evaluated with an A in my opinion.


You can follow Timm Hamm on Twitter at @IndyCarTim

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