football Edit

Fact or Fiction: Georgia RBs, Willie Taggart, Notre Dame

With recruiting picking back up and the college football season starting, Rivals is introducing a new feature called Fact or Fiction. National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney will tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.

MORE FACT OR FICTION: Tennessee's loss, Jalen Hurt's Heisman chances

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State

1. Georgia recruits RBs better than any other program in recent years.

D'Andre Swift
D'Andre Swift (Radi Nabulsi)

Farrell’s take: FACT. Just look at some of the players Georgia has recruited and produced — Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and now D’Andre Swift to name a few — and more are on the way with Kendall Milton already in this class and Zachary Evans possibly joining it in the future. Zamir White and James Cook are former five-stars as well. You could make a case for programs such as Alabama, Oklahoma, but no one comes close to UGA for me.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. Georgia does an excellent job recruiting and then especially developing elite running backs, but I’m going with Alabama. The Crimson Tide signed the No. 1 overall prospect in Najee Harris for the 2017 class and then came right back in 2019 and signed the top-ranked running back in the class, Trey Sanders.

Going back a few years, Alabama also signed the No. 1 running back in 2015, Damien Harris who went on to have a great career in Tuscaloosa, and in 2016 in B.J. Emmons, who has since transferred because there are just too many good running backs there. And don’t forget the development of Josh Jacobs, who turned into a first-round NFL Draft pick. Georgia has done a phenomenal job, but Alabama is slightly better.

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2. Willie Taggart’s seat is now as hot as Clay Helton’s.

Willie Taggart
Willie Taggart (Warchant.com)

Farrell’s take: FICTION. Taggart isn’t going anywhere people. Yes, Florida State is a mess and there is no excuse for players being out of shape or dehydrated or whatever it was that caused them to lose to a freshman quarterback and Boise State. But Taggart is in his second year at FSU and there is no way the Seminoles would get rid of him so soon.

Will things turn around? Is he the answer? I don’t think the answer to either of those questions is yes right now, but Helton will be fired long before Taggart.

Gorney’s take: FICTION. No one’s seat in college football is as hot as Helton’s, but Taggart is quickly approaching that level - and I don’t think it would be a bad idea to station someone outside Taggart’s house to see if he threw his Christmas tree on the front lawn a la Jimbo Fisher. Just kidding, sort of.

But Florida State brass and that rabid fan base cannot take too lightly to losing to Boise State and a freshman quarterback and blaming some of it on dehydration. That’s ridiculous. And then at a press conference this week, Taggart said after watching the film, FSU’s problems can be fixed quickly. Well, then why weren’t they remedied during the game? Taggart is now 52-58 as a head coach and 5-8 in Tallahassee. If things don’t get fixed right now, watch out.

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3. Notre Dame is overrated.

Ian Book
Ian Book (Bill Panzica)

Farrell’s take: FICTION. I know the Fighting Irish looked bad against Louisville on both sides of the football, but this is a team with talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and they will give Georgia, Michigan and others on their schedule a lot of trouble. Perhaps Notre Dame isn't a playoff contender, and if that’s how you had them rated then that’s a problem, but to me they are a 9-3 football team and that’s what I expected.

Gorney’s take: FACT. Eighth best football team in the country? No way. The early-season rankings are ridiculous anyway - please tell me Auburn is a top-10 team after looking terrible for three quarters against Oregon or Florida should be No. 11 after looking bad all night against Miami.

The Irish are leaning on last year’s College Football Playoff berth and name recognition to be eighth. Georgia absolutely demolishes them like Clemson did last season. Virginia and Michigan could get interesting, but the rest of the schedule looks favorable right now. Notre Dame is not a bad football team by any stretch, but I’d say No. 12, 13 or 14 in the country makes more sense to me.

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