Fact or Fiction: Players now more powerful than coaches
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
CLASS OF 2022: Top 100
1. Players have more power than coaches right now.
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Farrell’s take: FACT. College football players are starting to realize how much power they have to influence change in today’s world. When I see headlines about the Texas president meeting with players to discuss their demands of change and how quickly Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy got out in front of the threat made by Chuba Hubbard to not participate in anything regarding OSU football this week without some changes, it made things clear to me. These million dollar coaches and universities realize without their star players, they are in big trouble.
Players can press for racial equality around the country and universities and coaches will respond. This is a true movement we are seeing in light of the death of George Floyd and it’s a good thing. People pay to see the players and not the coaches or presidents and they should have more say in what changes should be made.
Gorney’s take: FACT. The reality is that players have always had more power and now they have decided to exercise it and we see the outcome: Coaches and administrators better listen and act or they will realize how replaceable they can be.
This should not be a question about who has power and who doesn’t; it should be a discussion about what is suitable for athletes to thrive in a community and university setting, what is right and fair and how best to move forward as a society. This should not be a power struggle or a contentious situation - it needs to be a dialogue between coaches who almost always want the best for their players and those players who want important and significant change. If both sides work together toward the same goals, this can be achieved.
2. Texas is improving its defense better than any other Big 12 team.
Farrell’s take: FACT. The Longhorns just landed two key defensive backs in JD Coffey and Ishmael Ibraheem and Tom Herman has does a good job addressing the defense in the last couple of classes, better than any other team in defense-weak Big 12. Players like Coffey and Ibraheem along with DE Ja’Tavion Sanders and likely defensive back Billy Bowman lead a strong defensive class for Texas coming off last year where DT Vernon Broughton and DB Xavion Alford led the way has the Longhorns in good defensive shape moving forward.
Gorney’s take: FACT. There is no question Texas is doing the best job and there’s really no excuse for the Longhorns’ defense not to be dominant in the coming years. Texas has seven four-stars so far in this class - by far more than any other team in the conference - and five of them come on the defensive side of the ball. Over the past few recruiting cycles, the Longhorns have loaded up on defense and many players have had an impact. Getting Coffey and Ibraheem earlier this week were more steps in the right direction.
3. Tight end Hudson Wolfe is the most important commit in the Tennessee class.
VOLQUEST.COM: What Wolfe brings to the Vols
Farrell’s take: FACT. He’s not the highest rated player, that’s LB Terrence Lewis from Florida, but Hudson Wolfe is No 40 in the country and an in-state kid who grew up loving the Vols. These are the kind of players Tennessee can’t let get away and they closed on him. Others could make a bigger long-term impact in the class, especially on defense, but Wolfe sends a big message to other locals and diehard Vols fans that things are going to get better.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. Wolfe is a massive commitment for Tennessee and coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff deserve huge credit because it looked like Ohio State was way out in front for the four-star tight end for a while. He’s an in-state kid which is important and the top tight end nationally, so he could be a big factor moving forward.
But Lewis is more important because that’s a high-level four-star from South Florida who decided to pick Tennessee. If Lewis sticks and has early success in Knoxville, Tennessee’s efforts in that talent-rich state could pay off even more as others look at the Vols as a real option.