football Edit

Twitter Mailbag: Les Miles, Badgers, UGA, Spartans, more

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position


College football’s regular season is coming to a close, the coaching carousel has already started turning and we have just four weeks until the Early Signing Period opens. It is the perfect time for Midwest Analyst Josh Helmholdt to open the mailbag and answer a few recruiting questions.

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Recruiting the 2019 class has already started for Les Miles, but there is a huge hole to dig out of. When you hire a coach from another program, their first recruiting volleys usually go out to prospects they had been recruiting at their previous school and current commitments to the program. In Miles' case, however, he has been out of recruiting for two years; he does not bring over any current recruiting relationships in this 2019 class. And, the previous staff left him with just one commitment and few good leads. So, this is a unique situation for a class that is vitally important for the new Kansas coach.

Several things need to happen in the coming weeks to get this recruiting machine up and running, but the most important will be the hiring of a staff. Depending on where those hires come from, there could be relationships that can be immediately leveraged and it will be important to have several coaches on the road starting Sunday, Nov. 25, when the contact period opens. The NCAA recruiting calendar will give Miles a gift with three potential official visit weekends between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the dead period on Dec. 17, when normally only two such weekends exist in most years.

My best guess would be that the first commitments of the Miles era come during that first weekend Kansas hosts official visitors on campus. I could see a prospect such as Kansas-legacy Jax Dineen, who already has a strong familiarity with the university and football program, popping during an in-home visit if Miles makes him a priority. But, most likely, those first commitments come when Miles gets prospects on campus.


If you’re asking for a name, there are prospects it would not surprise me if Wisconsin went after late in the process. The Badgers seem open to adding another body or two on defense. In the Midwest, I could see them trying to pursue a prospect such as four-star linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, who just de-committed from Boston College, or Keith Randolph, who is a versatile defensive lineman and wide open in his recruitment. They had shown interest in four-star linebacker Cameron Williams out of Indiana earlier in the process, and if he posted strong academic numbers in this first period, maybe that interest is reignited.

However, the more likely scenario is a prospect that is not on anyone’s radar for Wisconsin right now. A year ago Rachad Wildgoose was committed to Georgia. He was nowhere in the realm of possible Wisconsin adds, yet circumstances resulted in him signing with the Badgers last February.


By asking about Trevor Keegan, I assume you mean in this 2019 class? Georgia is maintaining a significant presence in the region, putting out two dozen offers to 2019 Midwest prospects thus far. Only Keegan and five-star defensive end Zach Harrison, who is likely to pick Michigan or Ohio State soon, remain uncommitted out of that group, though. With middle linebacker a remaining need for the Bulldogs in 2019, maybe they take a shot Eichenberg who de-committed from Boston College earlier this week. Defensive back is another need, but the cornerback talent pool in the region was particularly thin this cycle and I do not see a safety prospect that makes sense for Georgia to pursue.

Expect Georgia to be a strong contender for several 2020 Midwest prospects, though, with the most obvious being Oak Park, Mich., five-star lineman Justin Rogers. The Bulldogs are starting to talk defense with Rogers, which is an interesting wrinkle, but they are undoubtedly one of the top contenders early in this recruitment. Rogers and fellow Rivals100 teammate Enzo Jennings, have already made several visits to Athens. Georgia is also being prominently mentioned by Midwest four-star juniors Teriyon Cooper and Andrew Raym, both of whom already hold offers.


Not nearly as many as I would expect to be hearing. Michigan State has two, good young talents at the position in Rocky Lombardi and Theo Day, but they are the only quarterbacks on the roster who will be younger than seniors next season. That is thin depth at the position, yet the Spartans have not offered a quarterback in this 2019 class since Dwan Mathis flipped to Ohio State in June. They only offered one other quarterback in the entire 2019 class, suggesting Mark Dantonio and his staff are not overly concerned about the current state of the position. Unless, that is, they have something up their sleeve they want to keep quiet.

What that potential surprise may be, I could only guess. The Spartans did host Dearborn (Mich.) Fordson 2019 quarterback Hussein Ajami for a game earlier this month, but his only other offers are non-Division I and he strikes me as more of a walk-on target.

If I could throw a name out there: Justin Fomby from Central Gwinnet High in Georgia is worth a look. Michigan State has already shown the willingness and ability to recruit in Georgia, and Fomby won position MVP honors over five-star Bo Nix when I saw him at the Nashville Rivals 3 Stripe Camp last May. I will be interested to watch this situation unfold over the next couple months and am curious what solutions may be pursued.


College programs that offer scholarships can do so at any time during a prospective student-athlete’s high school career and at any point while those athletes still have collegiate eligibility, assuming the individual is not already on scholarship or signed a letter of intent with another NCAA institution. Consider those videos where a coach awards a walk-on player a scholarship, or when a team holds an open tryout; it is essentially the same as offering a high school student a scholarship.

While scholarship offers are such an integral part of the reality of recruiting, the NCAA has remarkably little oversight on the process. Its involvement with scholarship “offers” can be boiled down to mandating that no such offers extended in writing occur until Aug. 1 after prospective student-athlete’s junior year has concluded, or with the actual issuance of a letter of intent, which can only occur during a signing period.

Prospects not emerging until seniors happens less and less as the recruiting timeline extends earlier into high school (and sometimes middle school), training and development techniques improve and technology allows for quicker identification of prospects.

It does still happen, though the examples are few and far between. A recent one that comes to mind is offensive tackle Jalan Robinson, who came out of Lawrence (Kan.) Free State High School in the 2018 class. Robinson held one FCS offer and a few Division II offers when, on Jan. 29 of his senior year, Mississippi State offered. Nebraska and Kansas quickly followed with offers of their own and Robinson ended up signing with the Jayhawks.