Friday Thoughts from Athens

    • From Athens- Friday Thoughts 8/11
    • With you on Varsity....great place to get your oil changed.....picture of health food... Need to add fried peach pie.....yummy.... and a sugar rush...... Go Dawgs

Recruiting News

    • Smart being Smart . . . .
    • As I have posted....last season was a steep learning curve for freshman Headcoach and quarterback.... Year one is 24 months....entering second half...... Jabcob ... truly learned as did HC.... No substitute for experience.... Time we'll tell .....how far along is our process....... Go Dawgs....thanks for sharing Buc

Latest Topics @ Dawgs.com

Georgia Bulldogs 2017 Football Schedule

Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result TV Countdown
09/02/17 vs. Appalachian State Athens, Ga. TBA    
09/09/17 at Notre Dame South Bend, Ind. 7:30 p.m. ET NBC  
09/16/17 vs. Samford Athens, Ga. TBA    
09/23/17 vs. Mississippi State * Athens, Ga. TBA    
09/30/17 at Tennessee * Knoxville, Tenn. TBA    
10/07/17 at Vanderbilt * Nashville, Tenn. TBA    
10/14/17 vs. Missouri * Athens, Ga. TBA    
10/28/17 vs. Florida * Jacksonville, Fla. TBA    
11/04/17 vs. South Carolina * Athens, Ga. TBA    
11/11/17 at Auburn * Auburn, Ala. TBA    
11/18/17 vs. Kentucky * Athens, Ga. TBA    
11/25/17 at Georgia Tech Atlanta, Ga. TBA    

Weather in the Classic City of Athens Georgia

Chance Rain Showers
93 75
Chance Thunderstorms
92 74
Chance Thunderstorms
92 74
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
92 73
Chance Thunderstorms
92 73
Chance Thunderstorms
91 73
Chance Thunderstorms
Dawgs.com Presents ESPN College
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 11:45

Bob Bowlsby sat in a meeting seven months ago with nearly three-quarters of all FBS head coaches, by his estimate, to discuss the transformative package of recruiting legislation that in April was formally approved by the NCAA Division I Council.

As part of that conversation inside a sprawling Nashville resort, the coaches considered the merits of a separately proposed early signing period -- long desired by some in their profession, often debated but rarely a source of agreement. Until January, that is, according to Bowlsby, chair of the Division I Football Oversight Committee and Big 12 commissioner.

He said "just about every hand" rose in support of a three-day December window for prospects to sign letters of intent ahead of the traditional February signing date.

In May, the Collegiate Commissioners Association approved early signing[1]. Then over the summer, as Bowlsby acknowledges, some of its support waned. Nevertheless, it's coming to every campus in America Dec. 20-22, with the promise to reshape just about everything in recruiting.

The most daunting aspect of an early signing period? The unknown. College coaches, at the outset of the 2017 season, don't know exactly what to expect this December.

"The challenge is, recruiting is a very disingenuous process," Bowlsby said. "When you've got one program, on average, making 230 offers but only able to sign 25 players, there's a natural amount of friction -- a type of tension that exists in that system."

Coaches wonder if this 72-hour lead-up to a long Christmas weekend will, in fact, grow quickly to replace February as the preferred time for recruits to sign. How will it impact the already frenzied December calendar as players manage final exams with bowl preparation, and coaches juggle practice time, recruiting travel and on-campus visits?

"I think [early signing] is going to be a positive thing," Arizona State coach Todd Graham said, "but more work for coaches."

And most pressing, it seems, for many teams is what to do with a committed recruit who opts not to sign in December?

"That's a bit of an unknown," said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, whose team currently owns the No. 1-ranked class with its 16 pledges for 2018. "To say we have a strategy, not yet, but we're in constant conversation of how we're going to do that.

"I guess I would anticipate most of them would sign."

Coaches don't like to guess. Fear of the unknown keeps coaches awake at night. Generally, they like everything planned -- from practice routines, to game day and recruiting scenarios.

Perhaps this looming element of mystery explains, in part, coaches' raising level of wariness about the early signing period.

"Totally against [it]," North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said.

Fedora is not necessarily opposed to early signing. He just doesn't like December. Other coaches, though, despised the idea of offering recruits the opportunity to sign before their senior seasons. The December period emerged as something of a compromise late last year after coaches largely rejected a proposed June signing period.

Even Bowlsby, instrumental on many levels in his role with the oversight committee, as a member of the D-I Council and one of the 10 FBS commissioners who ultimately passed early signing, favors a different early signing period.

"I still think we need to go further," said Bowlsby, quick to admit that no unanimity exists among the legislative or coaching communities on an early signing alternative to December.

So this is what they've got.

"To say we have a strategy, not yet, but we're in constant conversation of how we're going to do that."

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer

In addition to the early signing period, early official visits are coming for recruits in the Class of 2019. They'll be allowed to travel to campus -- paid for by the school -- from April 1 of their junior years until the Sunday before the last Wednesday in June.

The D-I Council in April also approved legislation to limit satellite camps and prevent schools from hiring associates of a prospect for a non-coaching position.

But the early signing period might prove to change the game more than the rest of the new rules put together.

"I do believe there's going to be continual change," Stanford coach David Shaw said, "because the things we passed, really no one in my position is really comfortable with, and we're going to have some pushback. This will be an ongoing conversation for the next few years."

Shaw is right, of course. Coaches and administrators will continue to discuss ways to improve the new rules. But how much does that matter for prospects in the Class of 2018 pressed with the choice to sign in December over February?

Not a bit.

"It's going to be real interesting," Kansas coach David Beaty said, "because when there's another day to sign and you're a kid, it would be easy to go, 'You know, I think I'm going to keep looking.' The good thing with that is at least we would know. We would know where to put our resources.

"Because if [a committed recruit] doesn't sign in December, he isn't coming. For the most part, he's not coming to us."

Beaty's program, long a Power 5 doormat, made some waves in this recruiting cycle, landing multiple commitments from Louisiana, including a pair of prospects once ranked in the ESPN Junior 300.

In spite of all the uncertainty about December, Beaty said he's comfortable with the changes. Kansas might alter some of its practices in recruiting, but its priorities remain solid.

"We always say around our place that we're going to continue to recruit everyone, because they're not real until they sign," Beaty said. "We're going to continue to cultivate those relationships -- and keep looking, because somebody wants that opportunity.

"And that's what is really important to us. Do they want to be here?"

December, February or anytime else, nothing matters more in recruiting. Coaches this year would fare well not to lose sight of such simple wisdom.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 11:44

MINNEAPOLIS -- An outside review says the University of Minnesota followed law and policy properly when it suspended 10 football players last fall following an accusation of sexual assault.

The review released Wednesday blamed "weak leadership" by the coaching staff for a threat by remaining players to boycott the Holiday Bowl. The Dorsey and Whitney law firm's review also says administrators and regents could have done a better job managing the threatened boycott.

A student accused several players of sexually assaulting her at a party last September. Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges, citing insufficient evidence. But the university suspended the players following an internal investigation.

Then-head coach Tracy Claeys backed the boycott, but players ultimately decided to play and beat Washington State 17-12. Claeys was fired a week later.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 10:53

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- On Nov. 20, 2014, near the end of Josh Allen[1]'s first season at junior college, he sent emails imploring someone -- anyone, really -- to give him a chance to be a Division I quarterback.

The recipient list included not only every FBS head coach, but also every offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and position coach from Alabama[2] to Washington[3], more than 1,000 emails in total. They started with the same salutation and the same desperate plea from a kid in tiny Firebaugh, California: I want to be your quarterback.

His unsolicited emails went over like a loan request from a Nigerian prince. He received a handful of responses and only two -- Eastern Michigan[4] and Wyoming[5] -- eventually offered him a scholarship. (The Eagles actually withdrew their offer after he chose to visit Wyoming near the end of the early signing period for junior college transfers.)

"Yeah, I was disappointed," Allen said. "I couldn't believe it."

On the bright side, it was one more scholarship offer than Allen had coming out of Firebaugh High School the year before, when not a single FBS or FCS program called.

"I truly felt like I was a Division I quarterback, and I'd felt that way for a long time," Allen said. "I just wanted other people to see it."

No one else saw it, at least not back then. But after throwing for more than 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns for Wyoming last season, the quarterback that nearly every FBS team (but two) ignored might very well end up being one of the first players selected in the 2018 NFL draft.

Allen's anonymity ended almost immediately after the final selection of the 2017 NFL draft was made on April 29, when ESPN reporter Adam Schefter said: "There was one personnel director who told me this week that you can put in the books, Josh Allen will be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft next year."

Of course, most of the people watching ESPN's draft coverage that day probably wondered: Who in the hell is Josh Allen?

"Probably 90 percent of America," Allen admitted. "That's kind of been my M.O. my entire football career."

There's only one stoplight in Firebaugh, California, a farming town of about 7,500 residents in California's Central Valley, about 40 miles west of Fresno. Originally known as Firebaugh's Ferry, it was an outpost on the San Joaquin River during the California gold rush during the mid-19th century.

According to 2011 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos make up more than 90 percent of the town's population, many of them migrant workers employed in agriculture.

"It's a small town, everybody knows everybody and news travels fast," said Allen. "It was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything because it kind of shaped who I am today."

Thousands of acres of alfalfa, pistachios and almond groves line the road to the ranch where Allen grew up. Joel Allen, Josh's father, and his uncle, Todd Allen, grow about 3,000 acres of Pima cotton, cantaloupes and wheat against the backdrop of a coastal mountain range. Joel and Todd Allen are third-generation farmers.

Josh's great-grandfather Arvid "Swede" Allen arrived at Ellis Island from Sweden in 1907 and settled in Firebaugh during the Great Depression. Josh's grandfather A.E. "Buzz" Allen established the family farm in 1975 and was also a local school board member and civic leader (the high school gymnasium is named in his honor).

"Josh would be fourth-generation," Joel Allen said. "But I don't think he's coming back to the farm."

Joel and his wife, LaVonne, raised their four children on the ranch, and Josh, his younger brother Jason and sisters Nicala and Makenna were involved in sports at an early age. There is a basketball goal, swimming pool and batting cage at the ranch, and Josh grew up playing nearly every sport, including baseball, basketball, football, golf, gymnastics, karate and swimming. He and his brother, who plays first base at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, also helped their father and uncle on the farm.

"It instilled a work ethic," Josh said. "Seeing my dad wake up super early when the sun wasn't even out and then coming home when the sun was set, he worked his tail off to provide for our family and did a great job. He's the most selfless man I know, and I think if I'm half the man he is, I'll be all right in this world."

Josh learned quite a bit about hard work from his mother, too. Until recently, LaVonne owned one of the few restaurants in town -- aptly named The Farmer's Daughter -- and fed farmers every morning before they went to work.

"She's the rock of our family," Josh said.

Josh grew up a Fresno State[6] football fan and tailgated with his parents and siblings at most home games. He attended the Bulldogs' summer camps and even retrieved the kicking tee during a few games (former coach Pat Hill once yelled at him to get off the field). One of Josh's most memorable moments was meeting Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr[7], another homegrown star, who now plays for the Oakland Raiders[8].

In February 2014, when it was time for Josh to choose a college as a high school senior, the Bulldogs -- and every other FBS team -- weren't interested. At the time, Josh was about 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds. He hadn't attended the elite quarterback camps and wasn't a widely known prospect. His high school team didn't participate in many 7-on-7 camps because Josh and many of his teammates were busy playing baseball and other sports. He was the leading scorer on his basketball team and also pitched on the baseball team, reaching 90 mph with his fastball.

It wasn't like Josh wasn't trying to get coaches' attention, though, especially those working at Fresno State. When his father played in a charity golf tournament with then-Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter, he told him about Josh's desire to play for him. But DeRuyter decided Josh wasn't the right fit. San Diego State[9] offered Josh a chance to join the team as a walk-on, but coach Rocky Long couldn't promise playing time. Left without a major college scholarship, Allen enrolled at Reedley College, about 65 miles southeast of Firebaugh, where one of the assistants was married to his cousin.

"He wasn't too concerned when he went to junior college," Joel said. "He knew there was going to be a big-time opportunity for him. He just needed a stage and he got one."

Josh didn't start the first three games at Reedley College, but he came off the bench to run for four touchdowns in the fourth game. After only a couple of starts, his offensive coordinator predicted FBS scholarship offers would soon start rolling in. But the offers never came, even after he'd grown to 6-foot-5, 238 pounds, and sent the mass email to every coach in the country.

"He saw himself as a big-time quarterback, even though he was in this small-time situation in a smaller body," Wyoming offensive coordinator Brent Vigen said. "Not all kids see themselves that way."

We have to assume that most coaches didn't click on the link to Josh's junior college highlights on hudl.com[10] -- a handful of coaches told ESPN that they receive dozens of unsolicited emails from recruits every day. If they had, they would have seen Allen display the arm strength, accuracy and mobility they covet.

On the first play of his highlight reel, he makes a back-shoulder throw from his end zone for a 38-yard gain. On another throw, he looks to his left, rolls to his right and fires a 37-yard strike into the back of the end zone -- just before an outside linebacker viciously hits him near the sideline.

The coaches also would have seen Josh keeping the ball on a zone-read, running up the middle and breaking a tackle for a 40-yard touchdown. On another run, he leaped over a safety trying to tackle him. The highlights were good enough to get Wyoming's coaches interested -- even if they'd gone to Reedley College to scout another potential transfer. And Vigen admits the Cowboys offered a scholarship to Josh only after they lost quarterback prospect Eric Dungey[11] to Syracuse[12] late in the recruiting process.

Wyoming coach Craig Bohl, who had guided the Cowboys to a 4-8 record in his first season in 2014 after winning three FCS national championships at North Dakota State, was the only FBS coach who made the long trek to Allen Ranch.

"He looked me straight in the eye and said, 'We went all around the country and there's only one quarterback we want and that's your son. He's going to be the face of our program,'" Joel recalled.

Before Josh committed to Wyoming, however, he made one last plea to Fresno State's coaches. The Bulldogs had just received a commitment from quarterback Chason Virgil[13], a 6-foot-1, 170-pound high school prospect from Mesquite, Texas. Virgil was shorter and lighter than Josh was during his senior year at Firebaugh High, when he said the Bulldogs told him he didn't fit the prototype of what they wanted in a quarterback.

After Virgil committed to Fresno State, Josh sent a terse email to an assistant coach: "6-1, 170?"

"Yeah, we got our guy," the assistant responded. "Good luck."

In Allen's first season at Wyoming in 2015, he exited training camp as the No. 2 quarterback, behind Indiana transfer Cameron Coffman and ahead of freshman Nick Smith[14]. Coffman hurt his knee in the season opener, a 24-13 loss to North Dakota, so Allen started against Eastern Michigan the next week. He led the Cowboys on an eight-play, 84-yard touchdown drive on his first series and had them moving again on the second drive.

But then Allen took on a defender at the end of a 24-yard run, breaking his collarbone in seven spots. Surgeons needed eight screws and a plate to repair it, and Allen said he didn't leave his dorm room for three weeks after he was hurt. Wyoming finished 2-10.

"I was devastated," he said.

In hindsight, sitting out the rest of the 2015 season might have been the best thing that could have happened. Vigen said Allen weighed 215 pounds when he arrived at Wyoming, but it was a "bad 215." Allen spent the next several months working to get bigger and faster, and his collarbone was fully healed by the time preseason camp came the next year. It was during preseason practices in 2016 when Bohl and Vigen realized how good Allen might be.

Former San Francisco 49ers[15] general manager Trent Baalke was watching a Wyoming practice in late August, before the 49ers played an exhibition game at the Denver Broncos[16]. Baalke and a couple of scouts were there to evaluate tailback Brian Hill[17] and a handful of other seniors, but Allen was the one who made the biggest impression.

"Your quarterback could be in an NFL camp right now," Baalke told Bohl.

It was high praise for a player who had taken only 13 snaps at the FBS level. In the 2016 opener, Allen led the Cowboys to a 40-34 win over Northern Illinois[18] in three overtimes. He scored the winning touchdown on a scramble, eluding three would-be tacklers to find the end zone. Allen finished his junior season with 3,203 passing yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The Cowboys upset Boise State[19] 30-28 en route to winning the MWC Mountain Division title, but then they lost four of their last five games.

On the night of Jan. 9, Allen watched Clemson[20] defeat Alabama 35-31 in the College Football Playoff National Championship. He watched the Tigers' thrilling victory in his parents' living room, along with agent Tom Condon and his associates. The next night, while dining at one of his favorite Mexican restaurants, Allen told his parents, siblings, girlfriend (Brittany Williams, a Fresno State cheerleader) and a few other friends that he was turning pro.

But Allen couldn't sleep that night, and when Vigen called the next morning, he couldn't muster the courage to answer.

"I couldn't talk to him and tell him that I was declaring for the draft," Allen said. "At that point, I knew there was something wrong with my decision. I'm a firm believer in your gut being undefeated."

Vigen was driving to the Denver airport to make a recruiting trip to Wisconsin. He called Joel Allen, who told him that Josh was having second thoughts about turning pro. When Vigen's plane landed, he immediately called Bohl, who told him that Josh had changed his mind and was staying in school.

"I asked him, 'Do you want to get drafted or do you want to have a career?'" Bohl said. "We think this next year is going to really give him a better shot to have a long-term career in the NFL. I mean, he barely shaves now."

Bohl wasn't the only one who offered Josh advice. Philadelphia Eagles[21] quarterback Carson Wentz[22], who played for Bohl at North Dakota State, also reached out to him when he was deciding what to do. Like Josh, Wentz was a late bloomer. College recruiters had largely overlooked him at Century High School in Bismarck, North Dakota, and he didn't start for the Bison until his junior season.

After leading North Dakota State to back-to-back FCS national titles, he was the No. 2 pick of the 2016 NFL draft by the Eagles, the highest selection ever for an FCS player. He ended up starting 16 games as a rookie, throwing for 3,782 yards with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Besides their small-town upbringing and the fact they played in a pro-style offense under Bohl, there are obvious physical similarities. While Vigen says Wentz is "off the charts" when it comes to maturity and other intangibles, he says Josh might be more physically talented.

Wentz's advice to Allen was simple: Make sure you're ready for the NFL.

"He seems like a bright kid with a bright future," Wentz said. "I know he has a lot of talent and people are really high on him."

One thing that Wentz said especially struck a chord with Josh: "He told me that I'd be stepping into a locker room full of 35-year-old men with families and children, who would be depending on me to win games and help secure their jobs."

For one more year, at least, Josh prefers a smaller stage. His goal is to lead the Cowboys to a MWC championship and a New Year's Six bowl game. Six months from now, he hopes everyone in America recognizes him.

"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "I think that kids who are at smaller schools or don't have offers from big schools can look at my story and continue to work hard. I preach to them that it doesn't matter where you come from, it matters how you play and how you apply yourself. If you want something, go get it."