Posted on: January 20, 2012 6:50 pm

Paul Johnson criticizes oversigning in recruiting

Posted by Chip Patterson

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has never been afraid to speak his mind, and he certainly has plenty to say when it comes to oversigning in recruiting.

Johnson has openly criticized the practice over oversigning in the past, but chose to address the issue directly in a news conference on Friday. The practice has been a local topic of conversation after Alabama pulled their 2012 offer from North Atlanta High running back Justin Taylor. Taylor, one of the top running backs in the state, was offered a grayshirt from the Crimson Tide and promised a spot in the 2013 class.

“That’s like (if) we go out there, we’ve got 15 commitments and we just keep recruiting over the top of them,” Johnson said. “Now, people do that, but not many. And then they just come back and they tell ‘em, ‘Hey, sorry, you’ll have to come next year. You’ll have to come in the spring. We found somebody better than you. We oversigned.’ That’s wrong. And it’s wrong on both sides. It’s just wrong.”

Taylor is reportedly considering his options, and may take head coach Nick Saban's offer to join the program in 2013. The running back missed his senior season with a knee injury, and could benefit from the extended rehab. In addition to criticizing programs, Johnson has publicly expressed discontent with prospects who treat the verbal commitment as a flexible agreement.

Recruiting has always been a hot button topic for Paul Johnson, especially at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets must compete with the top SEC schools in the nation for in-state recruits, while still maintaining the school's academic standards. When other schools like Alabama are using oversigning to lock up the best local recruits, it makes the job for Johnson's staff even more difficult as they fight the uphill battle to assemble the strongest class possible.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: July 17, 2011 10:44 am

7/17 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

-- Good, in-depth look at oversigning.

Tennessee extended an offer to local athlete Cody Blanc.

Notre Dame's current recruiting class just isn't as impactful as last year's.

Despite an NCAA investigation, Auburn recruiting is continuing to roll.

West Virginia's new recruiting coordinator has a better understanding of NCAA rules than recruiting ins and outs and that isn't a bad thing.

Ohio State might not get a top 10 player from the state of Ohio.

Michigan State, however, is doing very well in the state of Ohio.

Receiver DeAndre Jasper loved his visit to UCF.

Michigan has done well in-state, landing five of the top seven recruits.

Some notes from Arkansas' latest summer camp.

- The inside story on how Georgia turned Dawg Night into a commitment-fest.

Some highlights of new Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight.

Georgia Tech's NCAA troubles could cost them a quarterback recruit.


Arizona State added California linebacker C.J. Dozier.

Florida grabbed a commitment from safety Rhaheim Ledbetter.

Offensive lineman Joe Spencer committed to Illinois.

Half of Colorado's class is from Texas after wideout Peyton Williams committed.

Defensive athlete Jason Thompson is the latest Washington Husky.

South Carolina received a commitment from offensive lineman Cody Waldrop.

Kicker Bobby Puyol committed to UConn.
Posted on: June 1, 2011 9:45 am

6/1 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The weather is literally heating up across the country but as the calendar has turned to June, recruiting has slowed down thanks to the end of the Spring Evaluation Period. There's still plenty of links though:

- Be sure and check out CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy's story about the issue of oversigning dominiating the SEC spring meetings this week.

- The issues at Ohio State could result in dramatic changes in recruiting in the Big Ten going forward. 

- Eric Berry's younger brothers are definitely going to be a package deal.

- Tight end Josh Parris decommitted from South Florida

- South Carolina extended an offer to safety Lucas Thompson
Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:34 pm

Details emerge about SEC oversigning proposals

Posted by Bryan Fischer

When the SEC spring meetings begin in Destin, Florida next week, there will be plenty of attention on commissioner Mike Slive and what the rest of the conference's presidents and athletic directors do about the controversal topic of oversigning. It was just two years ago that the SEC pushed through a rule limiting signing classes to 28 players but schools have taken advantage of several loopholes to get around it (South Carolina signed 32 players as part of their class of 2011 and Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt has the reputation of being a coach who frequently oversigns). Now it appears the conference is going to send an even stronger message by passing a new set of proposals that will make oversigning even tougher to do.

“We will not oversign,” Georgia president Michael Adams told The Athens Banner-Herald in February. “Issues of grayshirting and oversigning in football – and some of the other issues that have been in the press – are issues that I know to be on the presidents’ agenda for Destin.”

The Banner-Hearld found out some of the details about the new proposals and, if passed, they would represent a major change in how coaches go about building their recruiting class and manage their roster. Some of the details include:

- Limiting signing classes to 25 for those that sign with a school between December 1st to August 1st. The current limit is 28 signees from Signing Day to May 31st.

- Signees would count against the number if they attend summer school on scholarship. There are currently no limits on who can attend summer school.

- More control for the SEC office over handing out medical scholarship exemptions.

- Limit early enrollees from signing a financial aid agreement until they enroll in school.

From the sounds of it, several of the coaches are not happy about new limitations but this is being pushed by many of the presidents in the league. Nutt, who signed 37 players in 2009 and is thought to have prompted the rule limited schools to 28 signees, says the latter number is a good number and making it 25 would limit his ability to manage his roster.

“It’s a very difficult job to try to manage, to keep two, three deep at every position,” Nutt told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “Until you’ve done it, until you’ve actually done it, it’s one of the most difficult things, ever.”

The majority of the support for limiting oversigning seems to come from schools in the SEC East, such as Georgia and Florida, while the majority of the opposition for further restrictions seems to come from schools in the SEC West, such as Ole Miss and Alabama.

It should make for an interesting few days in Destin as coaches, presidents and athletic directors discuss the issue.
Posted on: May 23, 2011 10:03 am

5/23 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Lots of conference meetings underway (Big Ten's last week, Big East's this week, SEC's next week, etc.) and recruiting rules and oversigning are expected to be topics of discussion. We'll be sure and track what, if anything, comes out of the meetings. On to the links:

- Some details on what Auburn and Alabama pay for recruiting services.

- Offensive tackle Kameron Davis holds offers from West Virginia, Texas Tech, Louisville and others.

- Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine is planning on taking visits to Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Tennessee.

- Defensive back Josh Holsey will choose a school among Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Virginia Tech tomorrow.

- D.J. Gallo is up to eight offers, N.C. State, Maryland and UConn among them.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:32 pm

SEC should look at new official visit legislation

Posted by Bryan Fischer

New oversigning rules are one of the legislative issues that the SEC is expected to focus on during their annual league meetings but the Eye on Recruiting is passing along one suggestion for Mike Slive and company to also look at: official visits for college football recruits.

Recently, the six major conferences made a few suggestions as to how the basketball recruiting model could be changed to the NCAA Leadership Council and Board of Directors. The SEC suggested one plan while the five other major conferences submitted a slightly different one (the differences were minimal). While a lot of the focus was on basketball, some of the suggestions could and should find their way to the football side.

Ideally these would make things easier for the coaches, their compliance offices, the parents and the recruits.

Here's two of the proposed rules as they relate to official visits and how they could be applied to football:

Official visits

Currently: Begin senior of high school.

Basketball proposal: April 15 of a recruit's junior year of high school.

How it could be done in football: Permitting official visits during the spring and summer would have a much greater effect in football than it would for basketball. For one, schools have to host a lot more recruits and in shorter window than basketball does. Spacing them out allows for more one-on-one time with players and coaches and can give the recruit more time to actually see if he fits in at the school instead of being shepherded around as part of a group. Also at issue, most high school seniors simply don't have time to take all of their visits. They play Friday nights and then have to hustle to hop on a plane to get to a school before getting back late Sunday night. Allow them to do it during the summer so they don't have to miss out on school work (a key consideration) and can actually stay long enough to get a good look at the school.

Official Visit Expenses:

Currently: Limited to the recruit.

Basketball proposal: Allow the school to pay for the recruit and two parents/legal guardians.

How it could be done in football: Because there's so many more players, paying for both parents might be a little much but schools should be able to pay for at least one. While official visits are nice, those from poorer backgrounds often can't afford for a parent to go with along on a visit and see where, exactly, their son might go to school. Coaches also talk about getting to know what kind of kids they are recruiting so they don't sign trouble makers and this would give them another chance to meet their parents and see how they're raised.

While they're at it, I'm sure they can also advance some new legislation on a fair enforcement process, coaches lying and on a myriad of other problems plaguing the sport. Official visits might be a small step but it would improve things for recruits and be a step in the right direction for making it easier on the kids.

Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:34 pm

Slive to push oversigning legislation

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

That SEC standoff over oversigning we mentioned earlier this week? It's going to come to a head at the upcoming league meetings in Destin (Fla.), and it sounds as if if Mike Slive has his way, the conference is going to put some serious legislative brakes on the practice.

That news comes straight from Slive himself, who this week told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that a "package" of legislation aimed at regulating "roster management" would be on the table in Destin ... and that he's hopeful it passes:
"[I]t’s more than just the question of over-signing or grayshirting,” Slive said. “It’s a question of over-signing, grayshirting, early admissions, summer school admission. We’ve put together what we call a bit of a package to address these issues, that will give our people a chance to think about these issues in a more global fashion. So then it will be an important discussion item in Destin ...

"I think the goal is to make sure that our prospective student-athletes are treated in a way that is as they should be treated, like students our [sic] treated. And I think this package does that ..."

Slive indicated that more debate has gone on behind the scenes.

“Well, we’ve had some discussions to get the proposed legislation in place. I can tell you that the First Amendment in the Southeastern Conference is alive and well,” he said. “I have a view and not a vote. And I will certainly exercise my view. ... I like this legislation."
Whether he has a vote or not, that Slive will be pushing for reform should do plenty to boost the package's legislative chances.

It's not a surprise, though, that Slive is at the forefront of the issue. Whether fair or not, there's no debating that the SEC has become the representative face of oversigning thanks to the combination of oversized classes, high-profile grayshirting issues, and its prominence within college football. Already sensitive to accusations from the likes of the Big Ten's Jim Delany that the league doesn't take its classroom reponsibilities seriously enough, Slive must surely feel -- as the SEC's presidents must as well -- that the conference can't let the oversigning issue continue to stereotype it as a place where academic standards are trampled in the name of football.

Beyond that, Slive may also need to push the legislation through to prevent a full-on war of words between his conference's own coaches. When within a week of one making oversigning references to a rival coach so thinly veiled he can't even finish said reference without a fan spoiling it for him, another is straightforwardly exiling five players as part of a post-spring "scholarship evaluation," conflict is inevitable.

Slive should be commended for tackling the issue head-on. But if he can't get his proposed package through the voting process, he's going to have some serious damage control to do ... both in the public eye outside the league, and in the not-so-civil public discourse within it.

Posted on: March 4, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 4:34 pm

NCAA taking a closer look at oversigning

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The hot button issue of oversigning is no longer just being examined by the media, the NCAA is taking a closer look into the issue as well.

The Division I Football Issues Committee has agreed to monitor a recent rule limiting schools to signing 28 recruits to a National Letter of Intent (NLI). Coaches have only 25 scholarships per year to give out but may sign up to 28 in case several recruits do not qualify academically.

The hot button issue of oversigning becomes especially newsworthy when schools have to tell recruits that they are no longer welcome because there is not a scholarship available. South Carolina, for example, signed 31 players to a letter of intent in 2011. Coaches usually try to keep players committed to the school but will re-route them to a prep school for a year or grayshirt them by having them enroll in the spring.

According to the NCAA release, the administrator of the NLI, Susan Peal, says the NLI's governing body does not support the grayshirting policy some schools use. If a player is persuaded by a coach to grayshirt and does not wish to so, their letter of intent can be considered void and they may sign when another school.

The new rule on oversigning,, and the rise in ways around it are forcing the NCAA to take a serious look at the practices schools use when signing football players.

“This rule has only been in effect for one year, and we want to take some time to see if that’s the perfect number," NCAA Division I Football Committee Chair Nick Carparelli said. “Certainly, the committee will continue to monitor it, and we can re-evaluate to see if there is a more appropriate number if necessary.”

The NCAA is not the only group of people taking action to combat oversigning as several high school coaches are becoming proactive in trying to stop the practice by outright banning colleges from recruiting their kids if they oversign. South Lake High School (Groveland, Fla.) head coach Walter Banks banned South Carolina after one of his players, Jordan Montgomery, was told he could not enroll because of the numbers crunch.

“I cannot look a kid and their parent in the face and say you can trust what a University of South Carolina coach says,” Banks told The State newspaper.

The NCAA also issued a staff interpretation on a rule which clarified that schools may not give a prospect a scholarship indirectly, such as through a coach or a friend. Players cannot receive any written scholarship offer prior to August 1st of their senior year but often receiver verbal offers from coaches.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com