University of Georgia’s new football coach has already stirred the drink of controversy in Athens with his policy on players transferring to another school. The former Alabama defensive coordinator has made it clear he does not want or will allow players to transfer to the University of Miami or SEC schools.
A story that appears on Sports Illustrated’s website is specific of Kirby Smart’s policies, and how running back A.J, Truman wants to leave the school, but has been restricted as to where he can continue to play ball.
Earlier this week, running back A.J. Turman told Dawg Nation that once he decided to transfer, Smart restricted him from joining Miami, who earlier this year hired former Bulldogs coach Mark Richt, and Florida, an SEC rival.
Saturday, Smart said Truman did not want to transfer to Miami, but he wanted to set an example for future transfers.
“I wanted to set the precedent for the future that kids would not be able to go to Miami right away,” Smart said. “It’s very important that we understand that, and that’s pretty much standard operating procedure when a coach leaves one place, that a kid can’t go there with the coach.”
On the surface, it looks to be a solid move – where a former player cannot help a rival win or better yet, beat the Bulldogs. But the move has created some backlash, especially from ESPN’s Mike Greenberg.
“Shame on you Kirby Smart,” Greenberg said Wednesday. “You’re scared of some 19-year-old kid going some place, who’s obviously barely playing for you and that’s why he wants to transfer in the first place or has whatever other reason to go someplace else. And you’re so terrified to allow him to go to someone you (may) play on your schedule?
I see both sides to this argument, which is still up for debate. But as long as Smart is in control of granting student athletes their release, it may fall on deaf ears until it is formally challenged.
Recruiting has become such a high profile event in college football, the desire to keep star players from leaving to transfer to other top programs has become that much more greater a priority.
NUNEZ COULD MISS SPRING BALL
The South Carolina Gamecocks are adjusting to new head coach Will Muschamp and football life without Steve Spurrier roaming the sidelines for a full season. The last thing it needs is an injury to the team’s quarterback
Lorenzo Nuñez could miss the remainder of spring practice with a knee injury, reports The State’s Josh Kendall. Nuñez, a sophomore, hyper-extended his knee and sprained a ligament during practice Saturday. He is one of five quarterbacks battling for the Gamecocks’ starting position in 2016, along with Perry Orth, Brandon McIlwain, Connor Mitch and Michael Scarnecchia.
CLEMSON DEFENSE WILL BE YOUNG BUT TOUGH
Despite losing three potential first round draft picks this offseason, Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers defense are expecting much of the same from last season.
This year, the team is looking to Christian Wilkins to continue to lead by example as he did last year.
Wilkins has become the leader of a unit that hopes to help the school challenge for another national title in 2016.
According to David Hale of ESPN.com, For Wilkins, the leadership job comes naturally. It’s part of his personality. But for Clemson’s defense, which has lost a combined 16 starters the past two years, it’s an absolute necessity. The next-man-up culture Venables has worked to instill isn’t just cliché. It’s been reality. So as the Tigers look to return to the College Football Playoff this season with a defense that looks far different than last season’s unit, no one is panicking. They’ve done all this before.
Wilkins and linebacker Ben Boulware will be asked to continue to show the way for Clemson in what could be a highly competitive ACC this coming season.