Kirby Smart has his second No. 1 recruiting class at Georgia.
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Georgia wins recruiting national title with No. 1 recruiting class

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For the second time in three years, the Georgia Bulldogs have signed the nation’s top-rated recruiting class. With the second National Signing Day drawing to a close, the recruiting rankings have been compiled and the composite rankings from 247 Sports have determined Georgia will close out the Class of 2020 with the nation’s No. 1 class.

To claim the top spot, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart once again had to edge his former boss, Alabama head coach Nick Saban. After returning to the top spot in the recruiting wars last season, Saban and Alabama pulled in the nation’s No. 2 class, just edging out Dabo Swinney and Clemson.

Consider Georgia now charged with the responsibility of delivering on some lofty expectations. Such high expectations are nothing new for Georgia, of course. Smart has already delivered an SEC title and a run to the national championship game in his time as Georgia’s head coach, but the bar continues to be in need of being cleared. With four straight recruiting classes ranked in the top four of the nation and two top-rated classes in the last three seasons, Georgia looks to have the roster it needs to win a seemingly elusive national title. Even from a conference with Alabama and the new defending national champions (LSU, who signed the No. 4 overall class), the time is now for Georgia to put up or shut-up.

This is Smart’s program from top to bottom now. Now let’s see if it is good enough to win it all.

Another Strong Year for the SEC

The SEC has made it routine to see the majority of its conference landing in the top 25 of the annual recruiting rankings. This year was no different. In addition to Georgia, Alabama and LSU landing in the top four, the SEC had four more teams rank in the top 10. Texas A&M (No. 6), Auburn (No. 7), Florida (No. 8), and Tennessee (No. 10) each brought in a ton of talent and potential in their latest recruiting classes. Only Clemson, Ohio State (No. 5), and Texas (No. 9) managed to crack the top 10 from outside of the SEC.

South Carolina (No. 18) and Kentucky (No. 24) also waved the SEC flag inside the top 25. That gives the SEC 9 teams in the top 25 of the national recruiting rankings. Mississippi State (No. 27), Arkansas (No. 30), Ole Miss (No. 39), and Missouri (No. 50) also cracked the top 50. Vanderbilt is the only SEC member without a top 50 recruiting class, but the Commodores come in at No. 57 as of the time of this post being written.

  • Top 50 By Conference
    • SEC: 13
    • Big Ten: 11
    • ACC: 9
    • Pac-12: 8
    • Big 12: 7
    • AAC: 1

As for teams in the top 25, the Big Ten is well-represented. And it’s the usual names you will find form the conference in the top 25. Aside from the Buckeyes, Michigan and Penn State are back-to-back at No. 14 and No. 15, respectively. Nebraska, who always seems to fare well in recruiting rankings no matter the year, comes in at No. 20. Wisconsin (No. 25) rounds out the top 25 recruiting rankings.

Best Recruiting Classes in Each Conference

When it comes to what schools are leading the way in recruiting within their own conferences, there are some familiar leaders of the pack here. Ohio State continues to be the champions of the Big Ten in recruiting, and the results on the field have backed that up. Clemson has been the dominant force in the ACC for a number of years now, with nobody really closing in just yet. Texas is taking the crown in the Big 12 this year, and defending Pac-12 champion Oregon is sitting on top of the Pac-12 recruiting rankings just as they did last year (it’s another rough year for USC on the recruiting trail, with the No. 10 class…… in the Pac-12).

  • AAC – Cincinnati (No. 40)
  • ACC – Clemson (No. 3)
  • Big 12 – Texas (No. 9)
  • Big Ten – Ohio State (No. 5)
  • Conference USA – FIU (No. 71)
  • MAC – Toledo (No. 68)
  • Mountain West – Boise State (No. 65)
  • Pac-12 – Oregon (No. 12)
  • SEC – Georgia (No. 1)
  • Sun Belt – Louisiana (No. 79)

A few notable differences from last year’s Class of 2019 rankings include Cincinnati taking the top spot in the AAC this year. The Bearcats dethrone UCF for the top recruiting class in the conference and are easily ahead of the rest of the Group of 5 programs. The next Group of 5 team in the recruiting rankings is Boise State (No. 65), but the Broncos are ranked 16 spots lower than where they sat a year ago. In Conference USA, the departure of Lane Kiffin (from FAU to Ole Miss) may have been what was needed for FIU to slip ahead of FAU.

It is worth noting that recruiting rankings are subject to change. All rankings are according to the latest 247 Sports composite rankings at the time of this posting.

Maryland latest to put coronavirus-related halt to voluntary football workouts

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We can officially add Maryland to the growing list of football programs hitting the workout pause button.

As with other schools in the Big Ten, Maryland welcomed back student-athletes, including football players, to campus for voluntary workouts last month.  Saturday, those workouts for Terrapins across several sports have come to a halt.

The suspension came as a result of an increase in positive tests for COVID-19.  The school didn’t specify the number of Maryland football players involved.  Below is the university’s release:

Maryland Athletics, as part of a gradual, phased approach to the return of student-athletes to campus, is working with the University Health Center to conduct regular COVID-19 testing. In preparation for this ongoing testing period, we worked with State, county and university health officials to develop appropriate protocols in the event of positive test results, including education, contact identification and tracing, and self-isolation.

On July 7-8, the University Health Center conducted on-campus screening of 185 student-athletes and staff; nine individuals tested positive for COVID-19. These nine student-athletes and staff have been notified and are currently in self-isolation, monitored by university health officials. Contact tracing is ongoing through the Prince George’s County Health Department and all identified individuals will follow a mandated 14-day self-observation period, under the supervision of university health officials. Under guidance from the Prince George’s County Health Department, we have temporarily suspended voluntary, individual training for the football program.

In previous testing of 105 individuals in June, no individual tested positive for COVID-19.

Maryland football is the latest but certainly not the first impacted by the pandemic.  Or the last, more than likely.

Just last week, Ohio State announced and North Carolina confirmed they were putting a temporary halt to voluntary workouts because of the results of recent COVID-19 testing among its student-athletes. July 3, Kansas was the latest FBS program to pause voluntary workouts after 12 players tested positive for COVID-19.  Earlier in that same week, Arizona announced that it was pausing its phased return of student-athletes to campus.  Prior to that, eight individuals connected to the Boise State football program tested positive, forcing the school to temporarily scuttle workouts.  June 20, K-State announced that it is pausing all voluntary workouts as well.  The reason?  “[A] total of 14 student-athletes have tested positive for active COVID-19 following PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of more than 130 student-athletes.” The weekend before that, Houston decided to put a halt to voluntary on-campus workouts after six symptomatic UH student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

Other programs have seen a high number of players test positive but continue workouts.  Among those are Clemson (37 players tested positive), LSU (30 players quarantined), Texas (13 confirmed positives for football players) and Texas Tech (23 positives for players/staffers).

Colorado LB Jashua Allen tosses name into the transfer portal

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Colorado football has already seen one portal reversal this offseason.  They are now hoping for another change of heart.  Maybe?

Earlier this offseason, Sam Noyer took the first step in leaving the Colorado football team by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  In early April, the quarterback pulled his name from the portal and remained with the Buffaloes.

Three months later, 247Sports.com is reporting that Jash Allen has entered the portal as well.  While the linebacker didn’t confirm the news specifically, he did retweet reports of his impending departure.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Allen began his collegiate career at the JUCO level.  In 2019, he was a four-star member of the Colorado football recruiting class that cycle.

His first season with the Buffs, Allen played in 10 games.  Most of that action came on special teams, although he did appear in three games on defense.  In that limited action on the defensive side of the ball, he was credited with four tackles and two quarterback pressures.  His official CU profile also notes he had “four special teams points on the season, one tackle inside the 20, one first down field and one knockdown or springing block on kick return.”

Allen will be leaving the Pac-12 school as a graduate.

It cost Indiana $44,000 to lose to Tennessee in the Gator Bowl

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Talk about adding financial insult to on-field injury for the Indiana football program.

Indiana faced Tennessee in the Gator Bowl this past college football bowl season.  Midway through the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers held a 22-9 lead.  IU was on the verge of claiming its first postseason win since the 1991 Copper Bowl.  The Vols, though, scored a pair of touchdowns in less than a minute of game time to come away with a 23-22 win.

For participating in the bowl game, Indiana’s athletic department received $2.125 million from the Big Ten.  The expenses surrounding the trip to Jacksonville, though, were $2,169,416.  So, in other words, it cost IU a little over $44,000 to lose that heartbreaker of a game.

From HoosierSportsReport.com:

Nearly $2 million of those expenses were for the football team specifically, with the most costly line item being travel. Flights to Jacksonville, Fla., cost $690,333, plus there was another $145,406 in ground travel.

Meals were the next biggest expense at $337,236. Hotel costs amounted to $219,240. Uniforms and bowl apparel were a nearly quarter-of-a-million-dollar expense, at $249,150.

There was also a $110,930 expense for awards, which includes commemorative rings for players in the game.

IU’s band and cheerleading team accounted for a combined $174,262 in expenses, including $156,272 for IU’s Marching Hundred.

If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that the 15 extra practice sessions that came along with the bowl trip — especially since spring practice was gutted by the pandemic — helped ease the financial loss.  For the head coach, at least.

Name of Wake Forest’s football home will be Truist Field moving forward

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A banking merger has led to a name change for the home of Wake Forest football.

Since 2007, the Wake Forest football stadium has gone by the name BB&T Field.  In February of 2019, however, BB&T and SunTrust banks merged.  Eventually, the company’s name was changed to Truist.

As such, Wake Forest announced this past week that, moving forward, its football home will be known as Truist Field.

“Wake Forest University is proud of its affiliation with the people of Truist and grateful for their longtime support of Demon Deacon student-athletes,” said Wake athletic director John Currie said in a statement. “As Truist continues its climb as one of America’s leading financial institutions, we are excited that the 21st century’s best college football program in North Carolina will now call Truist Field its home.”

The facility that now goes by the name of Truist Field was built in 1968.  It has a seating capacity of 31,500, although the record attendance is 37,623 set in November of 2013.  For that game against North Carolina, temporary bleachers were installed.

Wake is scheduled to open the 2020 college football season Sept. 4 at Old Dominion.  They’ll face Appalachian State the following weekend in the home opener.

Wake Forest is coming off an 8-5 2019 campaign in Dave Clawson’s sixth season with the Demon Deacons.  Wake has played in four straight bowl games for the first time in school history.  Last April, Clawson signed a contract extension that would keep him at the ACC school through the 2026 season.