Georgia football must leave the “QB buying” to other programs

Stetson Bennett passes against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the College Football Playoff Championship. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
Stetson Bennett passes against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the College Football Playoff Championship. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

Georgia football is one of the best-recruiting programs in college right now, and while the NIL deals continue to climb higher and higher in price, the Dawgs haven’t resorted to that.

Tennessee picked up 5-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava on March 21, and that pledge got college football fans talking. There was a buzz surrounding the commitment and how a team like the Vols could land one of the best 2023 quarterbacks.

Sure, Josh Heupel is a great recruiter and is a wizard with quarterbacks, but someone like Iamaleava who picked the Vols over Alabama, Oregon and other schools, seems unfeasible.

Some believed that Georgia was in the race for this kid, but the Dawgs are more focused on Arch Manning for this class.

Georgia football needs to leave the massive NIL deals to Tennessee and other programs.

Schools are now creating NIL collectives, and Georgia is no stranger to that, but each program has differences, and no two are alike.

Since the NIL deals were put in place, a few kids that rumors suggest have signed six-figure agreements before even playing a snap of college football.

While there is no official word, the Athletic writer Stewart Mandel reported that the collective that negotiates NIL deals for Tennessee athletes signed an agreement with a 5-star athlete.

That reports suggested that the collective could pay him more than $8 million by the end of his junior year of college and make $350,000 almost immediately.

The report goes into deeper detail on how the deal respects the rule of not paying the athlete to pay, and other details can be found in Mandel’s full report. A portion is free to the public, but the whole report is behind the paywall.

However, speculation suggests that Iamaleava was the unnamed 5-star to get this massive NIL deal. While there isn’t anything official yet, with him taking a visit to Knoxville last week and how he came away bragging about the Vols, the speculation seems warranted.

When Iamaleava committed, Alabama Twitter profiles immediately started talking about how Tennessee just paid $8 million for a quarterback.

Of course, we want to reiterate how much of this is speculation, and until the details of the contract emerge, we cannot for sure say they did this, but it’s hard not to discuss it.

These massive contracts scream trouble and Georgia football needs to stay away from them as a skinny girl stays away from carbs. Buying players isn’t head coach Kirby Smart’s strategy for recruiting players.

He builds relationships, finds high-character kids, and then recruits those who are coachable. Throughout his first six seasons, Smart has grown from grabbing all the big names out of high school to honing in on finding the right prospects. With so many transferring out a couple of years ago, the shift happened, and now the Dawgs focus on specific players.

Georgia is still landing incredibly talented 5-star players, and those guys also possess leadership skills and off-the-field talent that can help them in the long run.

There is nothing wrong with a kid wanting to go to a school because of NIL money. If that deal helps their family and them, then, by all means, go for it, but Smart and the Dawgs need to leave these massive deals alone.

Georgia has its NIL collective and seems to be taking a more conservative approach to this new thing, rapidly changing the college football landscape.

Money doesn’t always bring the most coachable players to the program, so instead of just throwing money at kids who ranked as 5-stars, it’s important to see if they can make it as a college athlete first.

There is nothing wrong with paying these players for things because they don’t have the time for jobs, and sports are what they do for a living, so by all means, compensate them.

However, a NIL deal of this magnitude with a whole football season before the player can even sign with a team seems desperate. Winning programs don’t resort to these tactics because they’ve built the reputation of developing players and having success doing so.

If anyone says that Georgia has paid players for years, they are jealous of the Dawgs’ success. Georgia needs to keep being smart about their NIL deals, and the Dawgs seem to have that for now.

Of course, recruiting will change with these agreements, but Georgia can keep doing what works right now, and it is still producing top-ranked classes.

Let Tennessee, Texas A&M, and other programs fork out the cash because those tactics will likely catch up to them.

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Meanwhile, programs like Georgia and Alabama can continue to contend at an elite level without looking desperate to sign good players. They don’t need that because those players want to play for the Dawgs and Tide.