football Edit

Three-Point Stance: NIL messaging, hot-seat coaches, transfer QBs

Eli Drinkwitz
Eli Drinkwitz (© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney has thoughts on NIL messaging from SEC coaches, five coaches entering the season on the hot seat and five transfer quarterbacks who immediately upgrade their new teams.


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The SEC spring meetings are this week and NIL is a dominant topic among the coaches – and they still cannot decide what to do about it.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said to “unionize it” but he might be vastly underestimating the power of unionized workers (players) against their bosses (him). Just ask Amazon - and countless other big companies – why they don’t want their employees to unionize. It would be more like an NFL system – and coaches don't have nearly the power in the league that they have in college football.

Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz had a disjointed argument that 18- to 22-year-olds are now getting life-changing money, more than his brother-in-law who’s a pediatrician, but he also didn’t have any solid answer on how to regulate or navigate through a regulatory framework in NIL and said “with this NIL situation, we’ve created our own problem in college sports.”

Ole MIss coach Lane Kiffin was asked about poking Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Kiffin still cannot get over the 2022 class where the Aggies signed the No. 1 group in the country and Fisher denied any NIL involvement in that success. Laughable.

There are some states whose lawmakers are voting in favorable NIL laws so high school players can start making NIL money. Some argue it’s only right to do it this way while the states where that won’t happen – or hasn’t happened yet – are complaining.

Every coach seems to have an issue with NIL – not that players are making money – but that there are no specific guidelines around it so everyone is playing on the same financial field.

Whether it’s collectives or foundations now raising money, non-profits, for-profits, one SEC athletics director admitted to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated that they’re all “money laundering.” What a mess.

Texas A&M has especially gone above and beyond – if you want to use that term for what’s happening there – to skirt any sort of understood NIL guidelines and utilize local laws. More credit to A&M. Since there are no mandated rules really, no rules are being broken per se.

Here’s the problem: State lawmakers, collectives and universities can work NIL miracles until they’re blue in the face chasing championships. Until there are federal NIL standards, until Congress puts guidelines in place where every team is held to the same standards and practices, these workarounds will never end in the pursuit of national titles.

The Aggies sure aren’t paying Fisher $100 million to go 5-7 every year. What’s a few more million to get the best players to College Station?

MORE SEC MEETINGS: Tampering discussed



Neal Brown
Neal Brown (© Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Allen, Indiana: Allen has had time to turn the Hoosiers into a consistent bowl team and after a couple promising years, Indiana is 6-18 the last two seasons. Last year, the Hoosiers started 3-0 with an impressive win over a better-than-expected Illinois team only to lose every other game except at Michigan State in mid-November. Allen needs wins but Indiana is once again projected toward the bottom of the Big Ten and the Hoosiers open with Ohio State.

Neal Brown, West Virginia: The Mountaineers have not had three-straight losing seasons since 1977-79 which ushered in the Don Nehlen era, but West Virginia will run that risk again after going 6-7 and 5-7 the last two seasons. Athlon is picking the Mountaineers to finish dead last in the Big 12 and they travel to Penn State and host Pitt in a tough non-conference schedule.

Eli Drinkwitz, Missouri: In his lone head coaching season at Appalachian State, Drinkwitz went 12-1 but since arriving at Missouri, he’s 17-19 with back-to-back 6-7 seasons. The good news is that the Tigers have some veteran skill players now and some transfer additions that should help, plus they start the season with what should be cupcake blowouts over South Dakota and Middle Tennessee. The fear is that after visiting Vanderbilt to close out September, the schedule gets monumentally tougher and things fall off the rails.

Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: At Florida State, Fisher coached 106 games and lost 23 times. So far at Texas A&M, he’s coached 60 games and lost 21 already. It has not gone well for Fisher in College Station and last season was embarrassing at times as the Aggies went 5-7. There are no more excuses as the elite 2022 recruiting class is more veteran now, there are some top transfers coming in and Bobby Petrino is there to run the offense. Will Fisher get fired? Probably not. But A&M isn’t paying Fisher $100 million to lose to an embarrassingly bad Auburn team.

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: The Wildcats won 10 games in 2017 and nine the following year but since that time the bottom has completely fallen out and the last two seasons, Northwestern is 4-20. Last season, Fitzgerald’s team lost to Southern Illinois and Miami (Ohio) in back-to-back weeks at home. They finished the season with a 41-3 drubbing by Illinois, not exactly an offensive juggernaut. Fitzgerald has a lot of leeway and he’s beloved there but this is not a competitive program right now.



D.J. Uiagalelei
D.J. Uiagalelei (© Brian Hayes/Statesman Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Luke Altmyer, Illinois: The Ole Miss quarterback room is stacked so Altmyer looked for another opportunity and he could immediately be the starter in Champaign. Last season, Illinois ran it far more than it threw it but Chase Brown is gone, Altmyer is in and the receiver room should be loaded. There will always be balance but Altmyer, a former Rivals250 member, can sling it.

Hudson Card, Purdue: The Texas quarterback room with Quinn Ewers, Maalik Murphy and Arch Manning might be the best in the country so Card moving to Purdue is a great win for both sides. First-year coach Ryan Walters hired Graham Harrell so they’re going to throw the ball as Card should have a strong line, running back options and weapons in the passing game. With QB Brady Allen transferring to Louisville, this is Card’s offense.

Jake Garcia, Missouri: The Missouri quarterback room is loaded with Garcia, Brady Cook (the starter last season) and former four-star Sam Horn battling it out for the starting job. It’s a QB competition for sure and if Garcia wins it, he has Luther Burden and some other talented players on the offense. It didn’t work out at Miami for the former California QB who played his final high school season in Georgia but Missouri could be a fresh start.

Tayven Jackson, Indiana: Hendon Hooker had a phenomenal season and then Joe Milton looks like the heir apparent before five-star Nico Iamaleava takes over at Tennessee so Jackson just got pushed out by elite players. He has the talent to be special as well as Jackson was excellent during the Elite 11 heading into his senior year and now back in the state of Indiana with some good talent around him, he could lead the Hoosiers’ offense back from the basement while revitalizing his career.

DJ Uiagalelei, Oregon State: After leaving Clemson, Uiagalelei had some critical comments about the offense being “basic” and “I didn’t think we did very much,” in an interview with The Athletic but Oregon State’s offense could be more suitable to the former five-star. After throwing nine touchdowns and 10 picks in 2021, Uiagalelei came back with a 22/7 ratio last year but there was always a sense the offense wasn’t clicking. Cade Klubnik looks like the next star at Clemson and Uiagalelei could restart his career in Corvallis.