• Dabo Stings Recruits with Paul Johnson Recruiting Philosophy

    GT head football coach Paul Johnson has company in the coaching ranks when it comes to his recruiting philosophy. Johnson has made waves over the years in the way he won’t allow recruits to visit other schools after they have committed to him.

    Fans and media have been split, the critics saying it denies teenage recruits the opportunity to fully explore their options and in some ways hurts GT recruiting. Johnson’s supporters like that it forces recruits to stand firm with their commitment.

    Turns out that Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is utilizing the same philosophy. For the second time in this recruiting season Swinney has dumped a recruit who verbally committed to the Tigers then took a visit elsewhere.

    Swinney canned Florida linebacker Isaac McDonald in early June after the Champagnat Catholic (Hialeah, FL) player attended Alabama and Mississippi camps.

    Apparently Champagnat Catholic assistant Jon Drummond wasn’t too impressed with Swinney’s recruiting philosophy based on what Drummond said in his Twitter posts.

    “Clemson gon tell me I shouldn't have taken a player in visits...man they crazy as hell. A verbal commitment dnt mean u own a kid.”

    And this… “They cut from the list and consideration….and coach D slams the phone setup like we owe him. S***t they can have that attitude n shove it”

    And this… “Clemson with that BS, but I bet they let committed players on their campus all day any day….smh keeping it moving”

    In addition to McDonald, North Carolina offensive lineman R.J. Prince committed to Clemson and then after visiting North Carolina to view the Tar Heels’ game against Duke, his ties with the Tigers were severed.

    If there was an early signing period like Paul Johnson and many college football coaches advocate it would greatly minimize the commit and still look elsewhere problem.
    Comments 40 Comments
    1. stonedwall's Avatar
      stonedwall -
      wow, this drummond guy is a real wordsmith, isn't he??? airing all this out on twitter is ridiculous.

      has anyone ever thought that if all the coaches did what dabo and CPJ do kids wouldn't be so cavalier with their verbal commits? everyone wants to put this on the shoulders of the coaches and make the student athlete out to be the "victim" or blame their youthfulness. well, guess what??? it's time to GROW UP! when you give someone your word it should mean something. there's plenty of time to make visits, talk to coaches, and weigh options THEN commit, IMO. CPJ makes it very clear to kids and parents to do their diligence, make their visits, and only commit when they're sure they wanna be a jacket. ain't nothing wrong with that attitude! he always honors his offer commitments. but, as he says, "if you're looking we are too . . . " that is exactly how it should be!

      too many of these athletes wanna soak up the limelight and have their egos stroked but it's time for a reality check if you ask me.
    1. AllGT's Avatar
      AllGT -
      Dang, Jim...little late to party aren't you? We talked about this a little while back:

      What do Dabo Swinney, Nick Saban, and CPJ Have in Common?

      In addition, Brady Hoke at Michigan also has the same policy. They also currently have the #1 class in the nation:

      Michigan Wolverines enjoy security of fewer decommits with no-visit policy - ESPN
    1. Yukonwreck's Avatar
      Yukonwreck -
      Quote Originally Posted by stonedwall View Post
      wow, this drummond guy is a real wordsmith, isn't he??? airing all this out on twitter is ridiculous.

      has anyone ever thought that if all the coaches did what dabo and CPJ do kids wouldn't be so cavalier with their verbal commits? everyone wants to put this on the shoulders of the coaches and make the student athlete out to be the "victim" or blame their youthfulness. well, guess what??? it's time to GROW UP! when you give someone your word it should mean something. there's plenty of time to make visits, talk to coaches, and weigh options THEN commit, IMO. CPJ makes it very clear to kids and parents to do their diligence, make their visits, and only commit when they're sure they wanna be a jacket. ain't nothing wrong with that attitude! he always honors his offer commitments. but, as he says, "if you're looking we are too . . . " that is exactly how it should be!

      too many of these athletes wanna soak up the limelight and have their egos stroked but it's time for a reality check if you ask me.
      What the tweet was saying essentially was the verbal commitment means nothing to the recruit and his handlers, but they would like the verbal commitment to "own the scholarship". Completely one sided. I am certain this attitude has evolved due to the prevalence of oversigning and pulling offers by so many coaches. The kids can't get their brain around the idea of a true verbal contract--you honor your part and we'll honor our part---AND THEN ACTUALLY FOLLOW THRU! The problem here is that we need good every player we can get and Dabo has them coming out of his ears.
    1. dressedcheeseside's Avatar
      dressedcheeseside -
      CPJ says that when he receives a verbal commitment from a recruit, he stops looking to fill that particular slot. All he's asking is for the recruit to do the same thing, stop looking for a better offer. Why is that so unfair to the recruit? "If you're still looking then so are we." Sounds completely fair and reasonable to me.
    1. stonedwall's Avatar
      stonedwall -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yukonwreck View Post
      What the tweet was saying essentially was the verbal commitment means nothing to the recruit and his handlers, but they would like the verbal commitment to "own the scholarship". Completely one sided. I am certain this attitude has evolved due to the prevalence of oversigning and pulling offers by so many coaches. The kids can't get their brain around the idea of a true verbal contract--you honor your part and we'll honor our part---AND THEN ACTUALLY FOLLOW THRU! The problem here is that we need good every player we can get and Dabo has them coming out of his ears.
      oversigning IS the devil. no doubt about it. but, young people live more and more in an "entitlement" society that expects to be given something, too. and, don't get me started on the handlers.

      i agree the recruiting pool is smaller for us compared to the likes of dabo. but, i wouldn't change one thing about CPJ's attitude towards recruiting.
    1. Curious's Avatar
      Curious -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yukonwreck View Post
      What the tweet was saying essentially was the verbal commitment means nothing to the recruit and his handlers, but they would like the verbal commitment to "own the scholarship". Completely one sided. I am certain this attitude has evolved due to the prevalence of oversigning and pulling offers by so many coaches. The kids can't get their brain around the idea of a true verbal contract--you honor your part and we'll honor our part---AND THEN ACTUALLY FOLLOW THRU! The problem here is that we need good every player we can get and Dabo has them coming out of his ears.
      I don't know what role Johnson's wife plays in his recruiting. I guess meeting the parents and the kid in some social setting. Or for that matter what role any of them play. But I've now had two people fairly familiar with the Clemson situation tell me that Dabo's wife can "seal the deal". Maybe that sweet Alabama cheerleader charm or such but apparently parents love her to death. That's pretty potent.
    1. Jim Hart's Avatar
      Jim Hart -
      Quote Originally Posted by AllGT View Post
      Dang, Jim...little late to party aren't you? We talked about this a little while back:

      What do Dabo Swinney, Nick Saban, and CPJ Have in Common?

      In addition, Brady Hoke at Michigan also has the same policy. They also currently have the #1 class in the nation:

      Michigan Wolverines enjoy security of fewer decommits with no-visit policy - ESPN
      All.. these articles are sometimes geared towards those who aren't regular posting members. Us GT fanatics follow all this type stuff on a regular basis but most folks don't. So you will see more articles that are based on things we have already discussed in the future.

      Articles that are posted on the front page bring in a different traffic flow. It just so happens when an article is posted it automatically posts a link to the forum.

      Also, the tweets from the high school assistant coach added some interesting texture to the story..
    1. Curious's Avatar
      Curious -
      Quote Originally Posted by stonedwall View Post
      wow, this drummond guy is a real wordsmith, isn't he??? airing all this out on twitter is ridiculous.

      has anyone ever thought that if all the coaches did what dabo and CPJ do kids wouldn't be so cavalier with their verbal commits? everyone wants to put this on the shoulders of the coaches and make the student athlete out to be the "victim" or blame their youthfulness. well, guess what??? it's time to GROW UP! when you give someone your word it should mean something. there's plenty of time to make visits, talk to coaches, and weigh options THEN commit, IMO. CPJ makes it very clear to kids and parents to do their diligence, make their visits, and only commit when they're sure they wanna be a jacket. ain't nothing wrong with that attitude! he always honors his offer commitments. but, as he says, "if you're looking we are too . . . " that is exactly how it should be!

      too many of these athletes wanna soak up the limelight and have their egos stroked but it's time for a reality check if you ask me.
      Equally distressing is that this coach is supposed to be a grown man. Role model and all that, don't you see.
    1. wesleyd21's Avatar
      wesleyd21 -
      "Johnson has made waves over the years in the way he won’t allow recruits to visit other schools after they have committed to him."

      Not sure how accurate that statement is, Mr. Hart. I do believe a recruit may ask for permission to go to another school and this has been granted in the past.
    1. PatrickinGa's Avatar
      PatrickinGa -
      Quote Originally Posted by stonedwall View Post
      wow, this drummond guy is a real wordsmith, isn't he??? airing all this out on twitter is ridiculous.

      has anyone ever thought that if all the coaches did what dabo and CPJ do kids wouldn't be so cavalier with their verbal commits? everyone wants to put this on the shoulders of the coaches and make the student athlete out to be the "victim" or blame their youthfulness. well, guess what??? it's time to GROW UP! when you give someone your word it should mean something. there's plenty of time to make visits, talk to coaches, and weigh options THEN commit, IMO. CPJ makes it very clear to kids and parents to do their diligence, make their visits, and only commit when they're sure they wanna be a jacket. ain't nothing wrong with that attitude! he always honors his offer commitments. but, as he says, "if you're looking we are too . . . " that is exactly how it should be!

      too many of these athletes wanna soak up the limelight and have their egos stroked but it's time for a reality check if you ask me.
      To take this "going by your word" a little further...

      A huge PET PEEVE of mine is when an athlete holds out in mid-contract, for extension, change, raise, whatever, any time before the signed contract (their word in writing) is up.

      At negotiating time - ASK FOR THE WHOLE DANG WORLD, and congratulations for whatever they can get. If they want to hold out, then hold out signing the contract.

      Once you SIGN the contract = LIVE UP TO IT. The athlete had their time to get what they wanted.

      And they always ask for more, you seldom see an athlete giving back when they failed to perform what was in the terms of the contract.

      I tend to intensely dislike people who don't live up to their word.

      My grandaddy always told me "If a man's word is no good, then neither is he"

      Good words to live by, imho.
    1. Lee Reeves's Avatar
      Lee Reeves -
      It's like dating a girl or vise versa. You can go on as many dates as you want with as many different people as you want, but when you commit to one person you can't go around dating other people still. And when athlete commits they are then "dating" the school. I'm all for trying to find the right school, go visit 45 places if you want, but when you commit, live up to your word and stay put.
    1. Jim Hart's Avatar
      Jim Hart -
      Personally it doesn't matter to me how Paul Johnson recruits, that is his business. What matters is the bottom line.

      What I'd like to see is stats on decommits. Is Paul Johnson's philosophy working or not?

      It seems like we have as many decommits as your average school which if that supposition is true we are gaining nothing on the front end and losing on the back end.

      This type philosophy gains nothing in good will so it has got to work or it is a loser.

      All macho aside with the "my way or the highway philosophy".. is it really working?
    1. That Guy's Avatar
      That Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      Personally it doesn't matter to me how Paul Johnson recruits, that is his business. What matters is the bottom line.

      What I'd like to see is stats on decommits. Is Paul Johnson's philosophy working or not?

      It seems like we have as many decommits as your average school which if that supposition is true we are gaining nothing on the front end and losing on the back end.

      This type philosophy gains nothing in good will so it has got to work or it is a loser.

      All macho aside with the "my way or the highway philosophy".. is it really working?
      I'm trying to understand your question a little better. Are you asking if we should publicize the stance of not considering a recruit that takes visits committed? Or are you saying we shouldn't operate that way because it doesn't help? If it's the latter, are you okay with over-signing? If not, are you okay turning a kid away if we end up with too many commits? If not, are you okay with potentially even more decommits and smaller classes and perpetually operating under 85 scholarships?

      This has been blown way out of proportion IMO; any team that doesn't oversign has this policy. They're not going to hold a spot for you if they think you're actually looking around for another offer. They'll keep recruiting people, and if someone else is more committed (not taking offers and says they're in), you lose your slot you were trying to "hold" with a verbal. It's as simple as that. People got all hung up on Aycock because his scholarship was actually pulled. Well, that was an extreme case where PJ told him it would happen because it was on the weekend before NSD and he didn't want to put up with it. If you want to debate that explicit example that hasn't happened again compared to other coaches, you may have more of a true debate.
    1. stonedwall's Avatar
      stonedwall -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      All macho aside with the "my way or the highway philosophy".. is it really working?
      if you polled most of us, i doubt the majority would call CPJ's honesty about recruiting "my way/highway" at all, jim. i wouldn't call hoke's policy at michigan or dabo's policy at clemson that, either. they're all calling an ace an ace and a spade a spade. to honest folks who have integrity and backbone, that ain't hard to understand or grasp, IMO.
    1. stonedwall's Avatar
      stonedwall -
      Quote Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
      This has been blown way out of proportion IMO; any team that doesn't oversign has this policy. They're not going to hold a spot for you if they think you're actually looking around for another offer. They'll keep recruiting people, and if someone else is more committed (not taking offers and says they're in), you lose your slot you were trying to "hold" with a verbal. It's as simple as that. People got all hung up on Aycock because his scholarship was actually pulled. Well, that was an extreme case where PJ told him it would happen because it was on the weekend before NSD and he didn't want to put up with it. If you want to debate that explicit example that hasn't happened again compared to other coaches, you may have more of a true debate.
      well stated. aycock is the only kid i can remember that actually had his schollie pulled and for good reason, too! hardly does that one situation warrant CPJ being considered cold-hearted or a "my way or the highway" kinda guy.
    1. Jim Hart's Avatar
      Jim Hart -
      Quote Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
      I'm trying to understand your question a little better. Are you asking if we should publicize the stance of not considering a recruit that takes visits committed? Or are you saying we shouldn't operate that way because it doesn't help? If it's the latter, are you okay with over-signing? If not, are you okay turning a kid away if we end up with too many commits? If not, are you okay with potentially even more decommits and smaller classes and perpetually operating under 85 scholarships?

      This has been blown way out of proportion IMO; any team that doesn't oversign has this policy. They're not going to hold a spot for you if they think you're actually looking around for another offer. They'll keep recruiting people, and if someone else is more committed (not taking offers and says they're in), you lose your slot you were trying to "hold" with a verbal. It's as simple as that. People got all hung up on Aycock because his scholarship was actually pulled. Well, that was an extreme case where PJ told him it would happen because it was on the weekend before NSD and he didn't want to put up with it. If you want to debate that explicit example that hasn't happened again compared to other coaches, you may have more of a true debate.
      I'm not asking any of that. I want to know if it works.

      In reality.. you're dealing with 16 year old kids and even though the recruiting scenario is like a sales transaction, there is no "good faith money" exchanged. There is no "down payment" given by the recruit.

      Why is there a down payment or good faith money given when a buyer tells the salesman that he wants to buy the house or car, etc.? Because to hold that product for the buyer the salesman needs the down payment.

      Why does the salesman need a down payment or good faith money? Because American consumers would renege right and left on verbal commitments, that's why. So why do we expect these 16-year old kids to be these "men of their word" when American society is traditionally the opposite?

      I think all coaches have to operate with a "seller beware" mentality and keep their eyes open.

      Coaches all have a "B" list.. kids who are waiting in line to get an offer from the school they want to attend. They sit and wait until towards the end after the school figures out how many of their "A" list are actually going to commit.

      Coaches in reality do not have to oversign. What they have to do is keep their "B" list handy and hope and pray they have to use as few of them as possible.
    1. Ga Tech Navy Nuke's Avatar
      Ga Tech Navy Nuke -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      Personally it doesn't matter to me how Paul Johnson recruits, that is his business. What matters is the bottom line.

      What I'd like to see is stats on decommits. Is Paul Johnson's philosophy working or not?

      It seems like we have as many decommits as your average school which if that supposition is true we are gaining nothing on the front end and losing on the back end.

      This type philosophy gains nothing in good will so it has got to work or it is a loser.

      All macho aside with the "my way or the highway philosophy".. is it really working?
      CPJ is recruiting better than Chan. It works. (Along with a lot of other independent variables.)
    1. That Guy's Avatar
      That Guy -
      But if you do that, Jim, and you don't have flips that you wanted to get, you end up less than your slots because you didn't have enough people really committed. Or you have to have some understanding of who you think is really committed and who isn't and calculate an expected value of commits and adjust your recruiting accordingly. That's essentially what all coaches do because we offer way more than 16 guys, right? The question is how long you hold those slots open for people and if you close them, do you expect the kid to do the same? There's no way to answer your question because we can't prove how many kids were turned off of the stance any more than we can prove how many stayed because of it. There are way too many variables to even compare prior to CPJ the number of "lost" recruits vs now because we only probably hear about a small portion anyway post commits rather than during the season.

      So to flip the script, is there part of the recruiting philosophy you disagree with or think should change?
    1. dressedcheeseside's Avatar
      dressedcheeseside -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hart View Post
      Coaches all have a "B" list.. kids who are waiting in line to get an offer from the school they want to attend. They sit and wait until towards the end after the school figures out how many of their "A" list are actually going to commit.

      Coaches in reality do not have to oversign. What they have to do is keep their "B" list handy and hope and pray they have to use as few of them as possible.
      The problem with this theory is that the "B list" kids aren't guaranteed and aren't around forever. They, too, feel pressure and commit elsewhere. CPJ's method allows him to cut ties and move on when there's still time to do so, when his "B listers" are still available and interested. Today's kids lose interest pretty quick when they're not "getting love."

      Not only is it prudent, but it's honest and above board. That's what I like about it. I don't care when people say "well then, why does he entertain kids who are commited at other schools?" He does it because if they're still looking then obviously they're not committed. He doesn't force kids to visit. If they're interested and want to check out GT, then their recruitment is still on going. CPJ has always said they're not yours until they're signed and that commitments only give you a chance to sign 'em.
    1. AllGT's Avatar
      AllGT -
      Not sure why this is even an issue anymore. I'm one of CPJ's biggest recruiting critics, and even I don't think the "no visit" policy as he explained it is keeping us from blue chip or non blue chip recruits.

      Let's take our closest and historically most hated rival: UGA. Richt kinda dodged the "no visit" policy question, yet look at what just happened. They had 3 big recruits de-commit just recently, including a 5 star running back. How many de-commits did we have last year? Two I think...an OL to Auburn and a DB to Miami. So within a two week span, UGA had more commits leave them than we had all of last recruiting cycle, and they haven't even ran their first play yet. Why isn't anyone asking is UGA's policy is hurting them? As you pointed out in the OP, Clemson just lost two recruits.

      Kids are smart...especially the type of SA's we recruit. IF GT is where they really want to go, and they still want to take visits else where to "feel the love", they're not going to commit to us right away. EVERY school loses recruits to other schools, and I would bet that GT's de-commit rate is better or on par with all the high major schools. We've been the beneficiary of quite a few of those.