Auburn, Bama prove JUCO recruiting can pay big dividends

People at Blinn junior college knew what Cam Newton -- here diving Superman-style for a touchdown in the 2009 JUCO national championship game -- was capable of before he arrived on the Plains. (Special photo provided by Jim Quist)

People at Blinn junior college knew what Cam Newton -- here diving Superman-style for a touchdown in the 2009 JUCO national championship game -- was capable of before he arrived on the Plains. (Special photo provided by Jim Quist)

Commenting will resume on the Recruiting blog next week.

I wrote a story that’s running in print on Sunday about the rejuvenation of  junior college recruiting in the wake of some rather notable recent successes.

Lest we forget, Heisman Trophy winner Cameron Newton was actually honing his considerable skills in junior college (Blinn College, Brenham, TX)  last year before turning major college football upside down this season at Auburn. It was a fellow junior college grad (NG Nick Fairley, Copiah-Lincoln), who helped put some bite back in the Tigers defense. And, of course, the year before it was Terrence Cody (Mississippi Gulf Coast) who was made such a big impact in the SEC.

Now it, seems, talented junior college players are all the rage. Big defensive linemen are particularly popular. Alabama has already snapped up DT Jesse Williams of Arizona Western Community College, Rivals’ No. 1-ranked JUCO player. The No. 2 guy, DE Cornelius “Tank” Carradine of Butler County Community College in Kansas, went to FSU on Wednesday. And Georgia is among several other teams in hot pursuit of Missisippi Gulf Coast nose guard John Jenkins (ranked No. 6 by Rivals).

I’m not going to give the whole story away but I figured I’d offer a little sneak preview here today. The actual story will probably post online sometime over the weekend and, of course, will be in the Sunday newspaper. But here some snippets from the report:

Rodney Garner, UGA recruiting coordinator:

“I don’t know that there’s a re-emergence [of junior college recruiting] necessarily. I think there’s just some schools that rely on JCs  more than others. It’s a matter of philosophy really.”

Ole Miss typically signs several junior college transfers per recruiting class under coach Houston Nutt. Georgia, by contrast, has signed only one JUCO transfer – 2010 signee Jakar Hamilton from Georgia Military College – in the past four years.

The Bulldogs did sign four JC transfers in 2007, however. Three of those players – defensive linemen Corvey Irvin and Jarius Wynn and offensive lineman Vince Vance – became starters and went on to NFL careers.

“We use JCs to supplement at positions where we may be deficient,” Garner said. “But we haven’t delved into it heavily. If you do that, then it changes your whole recruiting cycle. It just depends on your needs in a given year.”

Steve Campbell, head coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College:

“Anytime you have that kind of impact at a major program, I’m sure it refocused people on junior college recruiting. The last two national champions have had star players out of junior college in Terrance Cody and Cam Newton.”

Campbell on the misconceptions of junior college football (he coached for Dye and Sherrill in the SEC):

“To me junior college is the most misunderstood division in football. The kids here are the same as I coached in the SEC. Some of them had academic issues, some of them are transfers from other schools and some of them just didn’t get enough notice in high school. But we had five academic All-Americans on this team. And this isn’t Division II or I-AA. We need SEC talent to be competitive.”

Miss. Gulf Coast CC DT John Jenkins on his recruitment:

“Georgia is definitely recruiting me the hardest. It’s great to be recognized as one of the top players in the country and having all these big schools wanting you to come in and be a starter like Terrance Cody did at Alabama. It’s a blessing, I know that, but it’s kind of overwhelming at the same time.”

Butler County CC AD Todd Carter:

“Every year after the football season is over you’re going to see Jim Tressel on Monday and Les Miles on Tuesday and Nick Saban on Wednesday come through here. At least that’s the way it with our program. We’ve always have top-notch kids; Zach Mettenberger and Tank Carradine are just the latest examples.”

Like I said, that’s just a taste. Much more in the print package.

236 comments Add your comment

dawgs need up

December 17th, 2010
6:03 am

RomeDawg

December 17th, 2010
6:04 am

It would seem like less of a gamble to recruit a JUCO over a high school kid. They have already started to mature both mentally and physically. The downside would be that if they are really good (Cam Newton) you may only have them for a year. I would gladly take one year like Auburn has had!

freedyg

December 17th, 2010
6:05 am

Nub

December 17th, 2010
6:16 am

Obviously the schemes on both sides of the ball at UGA are so complicated the coaches can’t figure them out let alone a JUCO transfer…. The comments by Gardner give great insight to the problems at UGA…. Talented coaches …. Coaching talented players ….

Nub

December 17th, 2010
6:21 am

Auburn …. And Bama …. Philosophy “win championships” …… CRG due tell what is UGA’s philosophy?

Nub

December 17th, 2010
6:25 am

We can’t attract the top talent in the state…. Go play at Auburn & Alabama nor can we bring top JUCO talent they go to said mentioned teams…. Roger Houston WE HAVE A PROBLEM!!!!! N

Nub

December 17th, 2010
6:33 am

Garner said. “But we haven’t delved into it heavily. If you do that, then it changes your whole recruiting cycle. It just depends on your needs in a given year.” allow me to translate …. Would mean I would have to work more….. It doesn’t seem to negatively effect Auburn or Alabama’s recruiting cycle…. This is a joke right?

RedandBlack

December 17th, 2010
6:38 am

Hey real Bulldogs, keep it together, keep it together. Go Dogs!!!

dawgfan

December 17th, 2010
6:43 am

Coach G, I would hope that our philosophy is to get the best players possible, regardless of whether the are JUCO or high school. Anytime a UGA coach starts talking about things like their “philosophy” these days I cringe. Its like, hello mcfly!!! How’s that philosophy been working out pal?

I sometimes think our coaches are too rigid in their thinking. The formula isn’t working anymore. Time for a new one.

Thanks.

5150 P.O.A.D

December 17th, 2010
6:44 am

Nothing like taking a player who was throw out of another school or not smart enough,or missing jail by playing the loop-hole game! It’s all about winning!

benedawg

December 17th, 2010
6:48 am

In my opinion our recruiting has become stale, we go after players everyone else wants, there are guys out there that dont get the attention but have a nose for the football…Nathan Shuster from Chattooga High school is a junior that is a QB/DB that is a player.

Mike

December 17th, 2010
6:54 am

Must suck to say “first” and not be….

dawgno91

December 17th, 2010
7:11 am

The UGA “philosophy” apparently includes not recruiting below Macon either. It’s time to quit recruiting prima donnas and get some football players!

Ric Flair

December 17th, 2010
7:17 am

I wonder what Jan Kemp would say about JUCO recruiting. I forgot, this is the SEC.

Ric Flair's male lover

December 17th, 2010
7:24 am

Can you please stop the Jan Kemp talk and get back in bed. I don’t understand why you get on these blogs when you know nothing about football. Come back to bed so I can take you to poundtown

5150 P.O.A.D likes guys

December 17th, 2010
7:25 am

Ignore me today guys my boyfriend dumped me.

5150 P.O.A.D likes guys

December 17th, 2010
7:26 am

I like man juice

5150 P.O.A.D likes guys

December 17th, 2010
7:26 am

I hate football

1eyedJack

December 17th, 2010
7:26 am

JUCO players are pieces. When you put the puzzle that is your team together and you find you are missing a piece…yo JUCO. Then again some of those JUCOs might have been placed there by you. Hello Ga. Military College. Coaches like Saban and Nutt have whole JV squads placed in JUCOs and Prep Schools.

5150 P.O.A.D likes guys

December 17th, 2010
7:28 am

Something is wrong in my medulla oblongata and it makes me come to these blogs and post nonsense.

5150 P.O.A.D likes guys

December 17th, 2010
7:29 am

I am dying for someone to come over and give me a hot carl

chilidawg

December 17th, 2010
7:30 am

Auburn has already won the MNC? Did I miss something?

Johnny Too Good

December 17th, 2010
7:34 am

http://www.youtube.com/user/ThatsJohnAnderson

alot of kids at jucos were those 4 and 5star guys who didnt hav the grades to get into a big school

Sanford Drive

December 17th, 2010
7:35 am

42-34 ha :) ha :) ha :) ha :)

jdawg

December 17th, 2010
7:36 am

5150, you are absolutely correct. The unspoken “philosophy” is all out win at any cost recruiting, or attempt to recruit kids with some thread of character. We have seen how difficult it can be just keeping kids that you have attempted to character-evaluate in line. What would our graduation rate and off field issues be if we just threw all caution to the wind. This JUCO thing is a big buzz right now because of the success Alabama, and Auburn have had with it. One doesn’t have to look too deeply at either of these schools and their recruiting practices to see recent issues abound. Both have been found guilty of significant violations on numerous occasions in the last 15 years, and have suffered periods of sanctions as a result. I would also be willing to bet their graduation rates are not nearly as good as UGA either. That philosophy is the difference in fans like myself and all of the “Fire Richt Now” folks. Your attention span is about 5 games long, and whatever the new rage in the game is, should be copied immediately.

Sanford Drive

December 17th, 2010
7:41 am

Any word yet on which Engineering Firms are recruiting Josh Nesbitt and Anthony Allen??

chiefdawg

December 17th, 2010
7:48 am

UGA has an evaluation problem. Jakar Hamilton has certainly not lived up to his billing. It is time for Rodney Garneer to go.

slobodan

December 17th, 2010
7:50 am

Hey Chip; thanks for the recruiting info. Speaking of JUCOS, how has Ronnie Outlaw progressed?

365/24/7 P.O.A..J.

December 17th, 2010
7:52 am

TOAD: eat your heart out. You won’t have to worry because very few of any significance would consider tech, anyway.

hiveredtech

December 17th, 2010
8:02 am

I wish GT could take JUCO’s, but cannot because of academic constraints. The problem is that almost any JUCO transfer to GT would be ineligible their first year because even though they were admitted, GT would not accept their hours. This means that not only would the kid lose all of the hours they took….they would also not meet the NCAA academic hours progress requirements for eligibility…which would take at least one year to catch up to.

Moonpie

December 17th, 2010
8:11 am

UGA back in the day raided the JUCO Ranks. It appears that it is becomming common place again in college football. This just might be the medicine we are lokking for at UGA.

truth4u

December 17th, 2010
8:11 am

MOST JUCO kids are there for a reason. Character issues(Newton, Mettenberger), grades(Cody), or talent (or lack thereof). I would prefer that UGA not delve into this seedy underworld any more than we have to. Let Alabama, Auburn, and others enjoy their short term success for a “season” until it bites them in the posterior. They are wearing their slime nicely…. for now. It will soon begin to smell.

Moonpie

December 17th, 2010
8:17 am

truth4u,

Short term sucess? Give me some ot that at UGA! Im in!

I do see your point on the character issues-I do see however,a kid improving and maturing with a year of two of JUCO.We at UGA have plenty of character issues with our players and none came from the JUCO ranks.

JB

December 17th, 2010
8:19 am

Starting off with sales figures…………I’m yawning………………I’m yawning some more………

Dave

December 17th, 2010
8:22 am

I still support Richt, but I sure wish we would have a few “win at any cost” decisions on some studs to help us out. Of course, then there would be the hacks that come up with the “thugery” and “criminal” tags. Seems they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t bottom line is to win. Ask AL and AU how much they worry about that negative talk now that they are collcting the hardware. You are right. It’s all about wins and when you are winning, only the people you beat are complaining. All this “character” and “ethics” stuff won’t even buy you a cup of coffee in the morning. Just win, baby…..just win.

Moonpie

December 17th, 2010
8:22 am

truth4u,

It will soon begin to smell.

It already does.Smell’s of SEC and National Championships

BigTimeTechFan

December 17th, 2010
8:22 am

Chip, Zach Laskey committed to TEch, do you have profile on him

VININGSDAWG

December 17th, 2010
8:23 am

I find it amazing that our (UGA) fans sit here and say that Alabama and Auburn are slimey programs for using JUCO players. With the problems we have in Athens, I can not believe that our fans want to be that arrogant.

The thing with JUCO players is that they have be able to contirbute immediately or they are a bust. There is no develop time. UGA needs immediate help on the DL but I still don;t think that will be enough. There are alot of stars in Athens but the amount of talent is lacking.

Moonpie

December 17th, 2010
8:23 am

Yes-Winning cures all!

Moonpie

December 17th, 2010
8:25 am

Slimey?

I will gladly take some of that Auburn/Bama slime in Athens to win a Championship.

BirdDog

December 17th, 2010
8:25 am

UGA needs Jenkins! 340lb NG who is quick on his feet will make a huge difference. But what is Plan B if he snubs them? Have they offered any other JUCO linemen?

rphdawg

December 17th, 2010
8:33 am

juco or not… heisman or not… i don’t want Cam wearing the bulldog uniform… i think the UGA coaches were absolutely right NOT to be involved in recruiting this talented gifted felon. and same for Nick (not so) Fairley – how many Dawgs want that thug on their team ?? Not me….

H-Town Dawg

December 17th, 2010
8:35 am

UGA needs to take a long look at offensive, defensive lineman, receivers and linebackers that come from the JUCO ranks. Some of these guys can come right in and produce for UGA. If we can get John Jenkins to pair with the linebacker from USC and some highschool defensive ends and outside linebackers UGA’s improvement would be astronomical.

Robert

December 17th, 2010
8:36 am

Further evidence of an uneven playing field. Georgia Tech can not get Junior College players admitted to school. Of course you “factory” fans will deny this bit of reality.

Bo Williams

December 17th, 2010
8:36 am

Robert McAdoo, all-time top-50 basketball player, xferred to UNC from Vincienes (spelling) Jr. College in Indiana. I don’t understand bias against JUCO’s. But then again I do, because I understand bias in general.

Moonpie

December 17th, 2010
8:38 am

I disagree. We need a nasty attitude lineman such as Fairely on the field for UGA. We would be singing his praises if he were a Dawg.Dont kid yourself.Let’s be honest here.

Moonpie

December 17th, 2010
8:39 am

Robert,

If yall could get Reggie Ball in at Tech Im sure a Juco player can be admitted.That is reality

Dave

December 17th, 2010
8:41 am

Yes, I’ll take Cam, Fairley, Cody and any other player that can make an immediate impact on the wins and loses for UGA. We can only crow about our “graduation rate” and “historical records” for so long. Every time I see one of the IGA posters say “Yeah, but what is the overall record between UGA and ______?” it makes me want to throw up from embarrassment. WHO CARES about the overall record???? All I care about is thet we were 8-5 last year and 6-6 this year. The coaches can’t steer the wagon of they don’t have the big hosses to pull it.

Pup Fan

December 17th, 2010
8:41 am

I have one question for some of you fellow Dawg fans: Will you really be ok with being Vandy-south? If i’m sifting through the ignorance correctly then we should be mostly targeting “good” players with big hearts, nose for the ball, and mature. Really? Ask Vandy fans how that’s working out so far. There is good news. The Dawgs are deep at the “arm chair quarterback” position!

SEC Homer

December 17th, 2010
8:43 am

I’m not trying to talk bad about a coach but has Garner lost some luster? It just seems that he doesn’t have the “it” factor anymore. I know he is a great recruiter but it seems like his DL talent doesn’t develop great like the Bamas and AU’s of the world? Maybe I’m wrong…Saban seems to get everything out of his defense and Tracy Rocker at AU makes 3 star guys All Americans (Nick Fariley)