Paul Johnson rips oversigning practice

Speaking at a news conference Friday, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson made clear his thoughts on oversigning in recruiting, a topic that has gained buzz this week because of Alabama’s pulling a scholarship offer for 2012 from North Atlanta High running back Justin Taylor.

Johnson is not in favor of it, a stance he has taken in the past. The matter came up when he decried the practice of high school prospects committing to a school but then continuing to fish for better scholarship offers. He made an analogy to illustrate his opinion.

“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 committed to Alabama last February, becoming the seventh player in the Crimson Tide’s 2012 class. However, Taylor missed his senior season with a knee injury and Alabama has taken 27 commitments, two over the limit. In an interview with the Journal-Constitution, Taylor said Alabama coach Nick Saban told him Alabama couldn’t sign him because the 25-player class was full, and instead offered him a signed piece of paper guaranteeing him a spot in the 2013 class. Taylor is reportedly considering other options.

115 comments Add your comment

HighTech

January 20th, 2012
3:57 pm

I’m glad Coach Johnson takes a stand against this practice.

Bobby C

January 20th, 2012
4:12 pm

Nick Saban = Urban Meyer = Les Miles = Jim Calhoun = John Calipari = Snake Oil Salesman. Dirt bags one and all.

Jacket Man

January 20th, 2012
4:13 pm

Not only does Paul Johnson not over sign, he holds scholarships to give players who make the varsity 2-Deep squad that didn’t have scholarships. There are several players now on the team who came as preferred walkons, or just guys who wanted to walkon to the team, who have been awarded scholarships. This happened because Coach Johnson is honorable.

The Coach Paul Johnson Way

January 20th, 2012
4:21 pm

WOW! This is why I has set up a blog just for extolling the virtues of our head coach. It is launched today. I am sick and tired of the haters flooding the ajc comments. This will be a place for you to write your comments and hopefully articles about CPJ and his handling of the program. Google “Coach Paul Johnson Way” and email me. Contributors wanted.

Blue Pants

January 20th, 2012
4:22 pm

Jacket Man, you seem to be in the know. Is it possible for the jackets to sign 20 or 21 this year?

WNZ

January 20th, 2012
4:34 pm

Isnt this the exact reason why Tech left the SEC way back when? Bama and most others in the SEC were continuing this practice of oversigning and screwing over the players that were cut?

GT oversigning = Oxymoron

January 20th, 2012
4:37 pm

Let’s be realistic. It is not like GT has very many 4 and 5 star recruits, or recruits in general for that matter, dying to come to the Flats. UGA’s struggles in recent years have reduced the appeal of playing for CMR as well. You do have to respect both CPJ and CMR for taking a stand against oversigning though.

OkieDawg

January 20th, 2012
4:52 pm

No way GT oversigns. Do you realize how hard it is to find 20 – 25 guys a year that want to play for a team that runs the Triple Option. Heck, this year alone CPJ had to scour every corner of the earth to find recruits. He has found two guys from outside N.A.and is looking for more. Oversigning, are you kidding me?

Island Dawg

January 20th, 2012
4:55 pm

I applaud your Coach.

Mad Dog One

January 20th, 2012
5:07 pm

Hate to have to say it but here goes. WAY TO GO CPJ YOU DO YOUR SCHOOL PROUD

Dog Man

January 20th, 2012
5:07 pm

Very sad to see Dawg fans not realizing it doesn’t matter if a kid is a 5 star or a 1 star. The point is the kid is a person who made a commitment and set his future around that commitment. Now Saban cavalierly dissolves that commitment. Poor choice on the coach’s part.

Always a Jacket

January 20th, 2012
5:14 pm

It’s not just Saban, what about Dooley at UT? or Miles at LSU? The SEC needs to enforce their new rule, otherwise other SEC schools are at disadvantage.

George Stein

January 20th, 2012
5:15 pm

His position on oversigning is the reason I support him on yanking the offer when the kids go visit other schools.

I applaud our coach for his position on this. I’d applaud him again if he hired a special teams coordinator.

George Stein

January 20th, 2012
5:17 pm

The SEC rule is that you can sign 25 players a year, Always. Think of it this way: last year Bama had 73 players on scholarship at the end of the season. They signed 22 players. They are within the SEC rule. But the NCAA caps the scholarships at 85, which means they had 10 more players than they could have under NCAA rules, which meant that at least 10 players got kicked to the curb.

trupert

January 20th, 2012
5:19 pm

Saban will do ANYTHING to gain any advantage he can. Saban cares about Saban and nothing else. Why these kids and their families keep falling for it is beyond me.

Why the NCAA hasn’t come down on Alabama for the T-Town Menswear scandel, and Trent Richardson’s free gifts, SUV, etc, suggest the NCAA is corrupt.

The NCAA could keep predators like Saban from this if they wanted to. The money must be too good.

Big A

January 20th, 2012
5:20 pm

Nick Saban told him Alabama couldn’t sign him because the 25-player class was full, and instead offered him a signed piece of paper guaranteeing him a spot in the 2013 class. Seems like this should be breaking some sort of NCAA rule. Might as well let him sign as many as he wants.

Go Jackets!

January 20th, 2012
5:22 pm

CPJ is gruff and to the point but recruits with honor. Maybe it’s old fashion. My guess is CMR would agree with him.

Go Jackets!

January 20th, 2012
5:26 pm

I’d certainly “trust” a signed piece of paper from Nick Saban. It’s like money in the bank. Wait? What? Is it a check? Sorry, I don’t know enough about the piece of paper in question.

Alabama and GT Fan

January 20th, 2012
5:28 pm

I love both schools. That said, Alabama wins championships within the bounds of the rules. I suggest CPJ get on board if he wants to win more than he is currently.

Analogy: GT offense is taught to jump across the line if a defender moves before the snap to draw an offsides penalty. This is GT using the rules to their advantage, though many teams don’t teach this.

George Stein

January 20th, 2012
5:30 pm

Except that a 17 year old doesn’t get screwed if Tech jumps offsides, Alabama & GT Fan.

bb

January 20th, 2012
5:50 pm

The new SEC rule is a joke. It was just lip-service to attempt to remove the bad image that many national observers have of SEC recruiting practices. It really does little to prevent the practice of over-signing. It still allows SEC schools to ’sign’ as many as 28 players each year. The idea is that at least 3 will turn out to be not eligible, so the school will not exceed the 25 limit. However, if all 28 turn out to meet eligibility requirements you have to ‘grey-shirt’ 3 players (this is what is happening to Justin Taylor).

Not only that, but it does nothing to prevent players from getting cut (have there scholarship taking away because they haven’t panned out as expected) in favor of the new recruits. If a team signs 25 players every year, then 15 players will need to be ‘cut’ somewhere along the way.

RocketCityJacket

January 20th, 2012
5:51 pm

AL & GT Fan – “This is GT using the rules to their advantage, though many teams don’t teach this.”
All teams teach this it’s just that some are better than others at implementing it. You have to react quickly to draw the penalty on the defense. A lot of teams are afraid that the ref didn’t see the movement and call the penalty on the offense instead. So they are afraid to react and do nothing.

James

January 20th, 2012
5:51 pm

As a Georgia fan, I applaud Coach Johnson for his stance on the issue.

GT65

January 20th, 2012
5:54 pm

What a stupid analogy..you dealing with a persons life. Do it right.

George Stein

January 20th, 2012
5:57 pm

gtfanfrom1951

January 20th, 2012
5:59 pm

Its time for NCAA to stepup and fix the problem because the SEC has not in 50 years!

bb

January 20th, 2012
5:59 pm

I can’t remember UGA or Alabama or Auburn signing less than 23-24 players in a year (usually they sign the max 25). That means they are getting rid of players that don’t pan out some other way. If you consider red-shirting those schools would be carrying 100-125 players on scholarship at any given time. That to me is oversigning. Realistically, a school should have trouble signing more than 20 players in any given year to stay under the 85 limit.

Conversely, it is rare for Georgia Tech to sign MORE than 20. They just never seem to have the room under the 85 player limit to sign more.

GTForever

January 20th, 2012
6:00 pm

I don’t have a problem with a Coach getting the best players he can. If I need 21 players and I have one who isn’t as good as a new recruit, it is about winning. Business would lay off a poor worker, why can’t a school revoke an offer? I guess I don’t see eye to eye with CPJ and Tech. I guess that is why we are so pathetic on the football field compared to UGA.

Alabama and GT Fan

January 20th, 2012
6:09 pm

GTForever: I agree with you. Business would lay off a worker, whether they are 60 years old or 16. We are talking about college football here, winning and money. Let’s not forget this people.

Alabama and GT Fan

January 20th, 2012
6:12 pm

If it weren’t really about winning and “just a college activity”, we’d be paying someone a lot less than Paul Johnson’s approx. $3 million in salary every year.

Roadrunner

January 20th, 2012
6:25 pm

You can bad mouth Saban all you want but he must be doing something right at Alabama since they are the national champs.

Mark Richt

January 20th, 2012
6:35 pm

I too fully support CPJ in how he chooses to recruit at our little sister school, Georgia Tech.

DesignerJacket

January 20th, 2012
6:37 pm

I support CPJ in his practices and not Saban in his. Why? Well, let’s take the business analogy. In one world you have the opportunity to work for your dream company. This company brings you in and interviews you, you impress them, they verbally offer you a position. After thinking about all the other offers you have you decide this is the place for you. You call them up and say “Ok I’m coming to work for you.” They say “Great! We’re excited to have you. You’ll start in a few months.” and all that’s left to do is sign the papers. You wait until it’s almost time to sign the papers and this business brings you back to sit in front of the President who tells you “Hey, we can’t bring you on right now. Can you wait a year?” You chose not to leverage other offers, because when you both verbally committed to one another you thought it was all a done deal. They went and found someone better. You didn’t know you were still competing for your spot. Now your options are whatever you can get in three weeks or…..you wait the whole year and defer your dream opportunity not even knowing if you can trust that it’ll be solid the second time around.

In the other scenario the business should’ve said “Hey, if you’re committed to us and we’re committed to you, then let the looking around be over for both of us. We’ll see you on signing day with your job waiting for you right as we promised.” It is an issue of honor. If you’ve ever said “A handshake ought to mean something” then CPJ’s way is how you want to do it.

GO JACKETS!

Really?

January 20th, 2012
6:44 pm

bb Despite all the Georgia fans praising coach fish fry, you have to try and compare Coach Mark Richt to that scum bag Saban?!

techies are truly pathetic.

Mark Richt

January 20th, 2012
6:45 pm

DesignerJacket: I’m guessing you haven’t graduated yet and experienced the real world?

Dacula

January 20th, 2012
6:46 pm

I am a huge UGA fan and I want to applaud CPJ for having the gall to tell the truth!!!!! Both schools in this state are represented by good men as their football coaches!

Mark Richt

January 20th, 2012
6:47 pm

Thank you Dacula.

DesignerJacket

January 20th, 2012
6:47 pm

Really?: Look at your own logic, sir. You got angry at one fan’s comment and extrapolated it to all of us. I’d say that’s about as fair as his comment was to Georgia and Auburn. All he did is wonder about something based on numbers. You’re making character statements.

DesignerJacket

January 20th, 2012
6:49 pm

Bad guess, actually. I’m a year out and had an offer to start the day after I walked for my diploma. So yes, I’m green. But I also have a CEO whose handshake means what he says it means. Maybe to learn I’ll go try to work at Bama…

Supersize that order, mutt

January 20th, 2012
6:51 pm

If all scholarships were 4-year scholarships, revokable only if the player leaves school, and not the renewable one-year scholarships that are the norm now, then Bama could never sign 20+ every year. As it is, Saban can find an excuse for revoking (not renewing) a scholarship and always have 20+ openings each year, Of course on top of that nefarious process, he also oversigns, knowing full well that he cannot honor all his “commitments.” That was one of the reasons Dodd pulled Tech from the SEC, because Bear pulled scholarships at will, leaving kids with no financial aid with which to finish their education. Dodd NEVER pulled a scholarship, and it is good to see that Tech still does not pull them. As far as I know, UGA does not do that either.

Dawg Fan for Life

January 20th, 2012
6:54 pm

DesignerJacket: Do me a favor, ask your boss the following hypothetical. “If this company is experiencing extremely hard times, would you ever consider showing me the door.”

I think everyone in America knows what the answer is. “Business is business”.

GT Fan

January 20th, 2012
6:58 pm

@designerjacket

Please stop. I applaud your enthusiasm, but the dawn is right. Any further argument will embarrass yourself and GT for you being green.

George Stein

January 20th, 2012
7:06 pm

UGA, to their credit, does not oversign, Supersize. In the SEC, they along with Florida and Vanderbilt are the only ones that don’t. And all three of those schools are fighting with a hand behind their back in that conference. We should applaud them for recognizing that kids are more important than wins.

GT = Dumpster Fire

January 20th, 2012
7:11 pm

NCAA rules prohibit Division I FBS schools from signing players from more than one continent as well as having more than 10 players in one recruiting class that only had offers from D I FCS and D II and III schools….GT might need to follow up on this.

JDawg1785

January 20th, 2012
7:16 pm

This Dawg fan applauds Coach Johnson for taking a verbal stand against this disgusting practice. Go get ‘em, coach!

Supersize that order, mutt

January 20th, 2012
7:20 pm

George, even though I hate all things UGA, I agree, and I give them credit for their integrity.

Ramblin Man

January 20th, 2012
7:43 pm

I see both sides of the coin and I understand the simple argument that what Saban does works, but is it right? What Banks and loaning institutions did worked for years so are you saying that was good business? I would not have a problem with what Saban does if he was honest with these kids. Don’t tell kids just weeks before signing day you can’t take them. This looks really bad when the kid was your 7th commit and you dump him weeks after getting your 26 and low and behold you play the same position and one is higher rated and now some how the lower rated kid becomes 26. While being honest why not tell the kids who will be cut sometime before August to make the 85 limit now so maybe they could make another team instead of going to play for a lower level or not at all. I have no problem cutting a kid who does not try and stays in trouble, but to cut one to make room because you took to many is a horrible tactic. The coaching staff thought he was good enough to recruit him in the first place and if that kid fails a lot of that fault falls on the coaching staff. I just wonder what the great Saban’s record would look like if he stuck with the kids he recruited in the first place instead of forcing kids out for the next big player.

Dawg48

January 20th, 2012
7:59 pm

Dawg Fan for Life
January 20th, 2012
6:54 pm

DesignerJacket: Do me a favor, ask your boss the following hypothetical. “If this company is experiencing extremely hard times, would you ever consider showing me the door.”

I think everyone in America knows what the answer is. “Business is business”.

This is totally different, besides Bama is not on hard times. Unethical is still unethical no matter how you twist it.

gtkenz

January 20th, 2012
9:12 pm

Good for CPJ, but he’s handicapping himself. Anyone that thinks College athletics is about the student athlete is insane. This is big business, not million, we’re talking billions of dollars.

It makes no difference if you’re Nick Saban, CPJ, or John Doe. Your window for earning millions of dollars for yourself and your family is limited. CPJ may not oversign, but he dadagum well played Bebe in the ACC Title game knowing dadgum well the kid was ineligible. Why do you suppose he did that? Pretty dadgum simple, he needed to win and he didn’t think he could without Bebe. Winning in CPJ’s profession translates into the kind of money most of us will never see. There’s nothing magical about the man. But he does believe in himself and his system. Personally I love the guy as a coach, but I don’t buy one ounce of this BS he’s spewing in this article. As stated, he may not oversign, but it’s probably more out of necessity than a desire not to do so. If CPJ had HS stars all over the country beating down his door for an opportunity the way Saban does, he’d do the same.

No allegence on either side top to bottom and that includes the AD’s, assistant coaches, President’s, and the players. The Peterno, Cox, and Rupp models are obsolete, it’s a dadgum shame, but it’s the truth.

DesignerJacket

January 20th, 2012
9:25 pm

Firing someone is different than my proposed situations, IMHO. If you use my scenario’s firing would take place after hiring. You’ve had some form of career there, which was the only end goal I was discussing in my hypotheticals. It wasn’t gonna be a perfect metaphor anyway, though. For one thing I like to sign contracts when they’re agreed upon…there’s not a gigantic year-long wait for “signing day.” But the situations are close enough to explain an opinion from.

Anyway, I see two philosophies at work here. One says the only real goal of the coach’s job is to get W’s for his school. It’s as if his main role is to be a businessman navigating the business of football (the currency of which is W’s) and not to be someone’s father figure or mentor or caretaker. The other philosophy (the one it seems like the fans wish for) says the coach’s job is to enrich the lives of the young men on his team through the practice of coaching them (and hopefully getting W’s.) It seems like that style is placing the coach’s role as more of a professor of football on the school’s behalf and some nebulous form of life coach as well. After some time away from the computer I think I’m seeing both sides of it a little better now. But having worked in education before, I do lean more toward the whole didactic “let’s set a good example of honor and honesty” style. The fact that CPJ said it probably doesn’t hurt either.