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Michael Carvell

Notebook: UGA battles negative recruiting for No. 1 prospect, a radical idea, and the NCAA

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5-star DT Trenton Thompson of Albany (12thmanpromotions.com)

5-star DT Trenton Thompson of Albany (12thmanpromotions.com)

The nation’s No. 1 prospect for 2015, defensive tackle Trent Thompson, admitted that he’s almost committed twice to UGA in a very revealing interview with 247sports.com’s Kipp Adams.

Thompson held off both times on the advice of his high school coach, adding “I do not want to commit early because I want to give everyone a chance. I want to see how their season goes and if Coach Mark Richt is going to still be there.”

Say what? Evidently there’s some negative recruiting going on in the Albany area with the high-prized recruit. Thompson told Adams that some hometown people want him to go to FSU. “They say if Georgia does not have a good season Coach Richt would probably leave.”

Thompson will visit UGA with his mother on this weekend, and still has the Bulldogs ranked as his No. 1 school. He has Alabama at No. 2 and FSU at No. 3, with Tennessee and Auburn rounding out the top five.

RADICAL IDEA TO SLOW RECRUITING (ABOUT TIME!)

Hugh Freeze

Hugh Freeze

An early signing period is this year’s trendy idea for recruiting, but Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze would like to go in the opposite direction. Rather than accelerate the recruiting process, he’d like to slow it down. Finally, somebody who makes some sense about all of this madness. We’ll let Freeze explain: “I would love to suggest that we cannot offer, or take a commitment, or recruit a kid until August of his senior year (of high school). I know that it would probably not fly with a lot of coaches. But as we continue to progress, and we’re guilty of it also of offering younger and younger kids (at Ole Miss), I do not think high school coaches are a fan of that. I think that it’s hurting their program some. I would just love to see us recruit kids as they become seniors in high school as when you can start taking commitments and visits, and things.” So how about some details on how you would do this, Hugh? “The rule would be you cannot extend an offer until August of their senior year of high school. Now you have 2016 commitments but you would no longer see any of that. You wouldn’t see commitments start until August 1 of their senior year. Now kids are continuing to be motivated to work hard for their high school program, and you see kids develop. I think it may eliminate some of the flipping and flopping that you see both sides do with commitments and non-commitments. It’s very difficult right now. Because right now, there’s commitments all the way up until 2016. That (my idea) may not be good for some of the recruiting websites and things. But there would be no more such thing (as early commitments). You would have no commitments in any class until that senior year. That’s when the commitments start for that class. The offers come out on Aug. 1, and then you could start committing.” Freeze also suggested the seniors could begin signing letters of intent on Sept. 1 of their senior year. While the coach’s heart and intentions are in the right place, there’s pretty much no chance this would ever work. Even if they put Freeze’s rules in place, colleges would maneuver slickly around it, telling high school sophomores and juniors, “We’ll have some good news for you around Aug. 1 of your senior year.” On a related note, the more and more I research an early signing period and hear ideas (that are all over the spectrum on how to do it), the more I’m beginning to think that the current February signing period, with all of its flaws and problems, may be the best idea out there.

NCAA ON OVER-SIGNING LOOPHOLE

The NCAA confirmed that it was the SEC which has appealed the NCAA’s new interpretation on prospects signing financial aid agreements with multiple schools. On a side note, the NCAA also revealed that there were concerns that some schools (they didn’t name names but my guess would be Tennessee?) might use kids signing early financial aid agreements as a way to find a loophole in the over-signing rules. Basically, schools have a 25-man limit on signing players from Dec. 1 to May 31, with early enrollees being able to count toward the previous year’s limit. There was speculation that Tennessee might try to find a loophole by not counting kids who signed financial aid agreements before Dec. 1 against the 25-man limit. Apparently, it was more than just speculation. Said the NCAA’s Steve Mallonee: “… The other thing (with the issue of financial aid agreements) is you ran into the rule which put limits on the number of signees which starts on Dec. 1 in which you can only make 25 offers. You got into this ‘If somebody signed this (the F.A.A.) in November, then it didn’t count (towards the 25). And if somebody signed in December, it did count.’ And that created a lot of concern among the membership.” Looks like that loophole didn’t work but you’ve got to admire folks for trying.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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