Three-Point Stance: NIL drama, NCAA governance, Venables' reaction
Rivals national recruiting analyst Nick Harris takes a look at the NIL drama unfolding between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher, the NCAA's lift on its 25-signee rule and highlights Brent Venables' first big proving moment in Norman.
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1. Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban's war of words is the offseason battle we didn't know we needed, but it still won't fix the issue at hand.
Nick Saban fired off some mega-shots at a booster event on Wednesday night at just about anyone that was willing to stand in the crossfire, including Jimbo Fisher. The attack on Texas A&M's record-breaking 2022 recruiting class was definitely spirited by just that, but it surely doesn't help that the Aggies are closing in on a four-star target from the state of Alabama in Tony Mitchell.
Alabama is getting beat at its own game with the opening of NIL, and it was up to Saban to fire up his donors on Wednesday night to get the money part of the program up to speed with the other traits in the program that make it college football's biggest dynasty of the 21st century.
What we didn't expect was Fisher's quick and swift response on Thursday morning, one that ignited social media. I imagine Fisher staying up all night Wednesday carefully conducting his response only to go off script and tell everyone how he really feels instead of making his usual golf jokes. What we're left with is a game of everyone trying to figure out who did what and if that "what" fell within NCAA guidelines.
But in reality, it doesn't matter - and it might never matter.
Let's play a hypothetical for a moment. Let's say that yes, Texas A&M paid its 2022 recruiting class and is using that steam to do the same thing in 2023 like Saban is implying. Who is going to stop the Aggies? The NCAA? A live look at Mark Emmert would show that he is prepping his retirement plans far from this forsaken place. State governments? You mean the same government officials that have a large alumni base from schools across the state? Once again, probably not.
There might be rules in place, but what's the point of those rules if there is not a system in place to enforce them? Sure, Saban and everyone else across the country can say what they please when it comes to this topic but this drama will only grow as the system remains less regulated.
2. What teams will benefit from the NCAA's lift on its 25-signee rule?
The NCAA announced on Tuesday that it would be lifting its restriction on the 25-signee rule for the next two seasons as long as the 85-man limit remains.
This decision helps drastically with roster overhaul, especially for teams that have seen a portal exodus this offseason or for new coaching staffs looking to get "their guys" in the building. Which teams benefit the most?
My first thought upon hearing the news was Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have already locked in 20 commits in the 2023 class, and with this news Joey McGuire could push that number to 35 by the end of the cycle.
The question I have is how this will benefit top programs such as Miami and USC that are also handling first-year staffs and can also load up in the 2023 recruiting class. Expect a flurry of camp offers to go out across the country this summer, and if you're a recruit in the 2023 class debating whether to go to camps or not, then this rule is made for you to succeed.
3. How will Brent Venables handle Ashton Cozart's official visit to Oregon?
Rivals broke the news earlier this week that Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus wide receiver and Oklahoma commit Ashton Cozart would be taking an official visit to Oregon this weekend, and it has kicked up a lot of questions from the Oklahoma faithful.
When Brent Venables moved from Clemson to Oklahoma, the former Tigers defensive coordinator chose to carry over Dabo Swinney's longtime rule that committed recruits are not allowed to take visits to other schools. Swinney's rule was rarely tested, but Venables will have his first run-in less than six months into the job.
How should he react? That's up for him to decide. Cozart plans to visit Eugene but he is still committed to the Sooners, so it appears as though there won't be much contesting - at least early on.
As for my unwarranted opinion, the recruiting process creates a lot of unexpected situations and opportunities, and it makes it really difficult to make an early decision like Cozart did and then completely shut things down. Let these things unfold and if you want to enforce that rule, enforce it once the fall season starts. At that point, commits should be working to build the class anyway.
Cozart will follow up his weekend visit to Eugene with a trip to Norman on June 3-5. At that point, one would expect the rubber to meet the road and a decision to be made in this interesting predicament.