ATHENS, Ga. – Apparently, Georgia didn’t make much headway or many true attempts in its pursuit of transfers from Penn State’s program.
That’s according to defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who addressed the recent publication of 19 names that Bulldogs coaches notified Penn State of intent to request on July 23, the day NCAA sanctions were announced against the Nittany Lions.
“We didn’t even contact probably a fifth of them,” Garner said. “There were a couple of guys that were some need positions that we looked at to see if there was some interest.”
Georgia’s assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator in addition to his position title, Garner joked that “I guess our compliance office set us up” with instructions through the process.
“‘If there’s anybody you think that you want or you may ever want to contact,’ we turned the name in,” Garner said.
Various media outlets, including Dawgs247, obtained the list of 19 names – formal notification that is required by NCAA rules -- through an open records request. Because it involved an e-mail between UGA’s compliance office and Penn State, the document was considered a public record and available by law.
Soon after that list was reported here July 27, Mark Richt issued a statement saying that “Currently, Georgia is not pursuing any of Penn State's football players.”
As it has turned out, however, Georgia is one of the few schools whose complete list of names has been made public.
“Everybody is like, ‘Georgia is recruiting (all these players),” Garner said. “Man, we ain’t. I’m like, ‘Where is everybody’s list at?’ Did they not have to do that? … They need to call Nick (Saban) and see what list they sent in.”
Richt had initially said earlier in the week that, given UGA’s numbers, the staff would look into possibly adding a Penn State transfer, who the NCAA said would be eligible to play immediately at a new school.
Some have taken the NCAA up on that, with reports that high-profile players like running back Silas Redd (Southern Cal), kicker Anthony Fera (Texas) and wide receiver Justin Brown (Oklahoma) were among the departures.
But Garner pointed out that adding any Penn State players would have impacted scholarship limits, essentially meaning UGA could sign one less in 2013.
“I know everybody is saying, ‘Why didn’t Georgia take any? Roster management, blah, blah, blah,’” Garner said. “It was going to affect what our list would be if we could get everything the right way in January and February by what we can take.”
As for Georgia’s roster attrition, Garner weighed in on that as well.
“We’ve had a lot of attrition,” Garner said. “You sit there and look at it, and unfortunately it’s the way we run our program. I don’t know what other people do, but I know we run a pretty strict program. We’ve had some unfortunate things pop up. I’m not saying that’s a common occurrence. There’s probably other programs that are going through similar things, depending on what kind of structure they have. But I do like the quality of the young men that we’ve got in the program.
“Do I wish some of the guys that we’ve lost – and we’ve lost a lot of guys – you wish you have been able to save a few of those, and it definitely would have helped your situation. But a lot of those guys, we made the decision to cut and move on. It wasn’t a university situation or whatever. It was just, ‘What do we want this program to be?’ I know it’s a double-edged sword, but ‘What do you want?’ You can sweep everything under the rug. You can have this or have that. But is that really what you want? … It’s the way coach wants to run his program, and I think he does a heck of a job running it.”