Guest Column: Benedict v. Foster III

It’s Jeff Benedict’s turn in this spirited debate! But before I get into that, I would just like to remind everybody that readers are more than welcome to email me their thoughtful takes on this subject or any other KSU subject that they feel passionate enough about. This is a fan community first and foremost, so I want everybody’s voice heard that has a desire to speak up. Whether you want your name on it or submitted anonymously, shoot an email to “TheKSUOwlHowl@Gmail.com.” 

Back to Benedict v. Foster. If you haven’t been keeping up…read the following linked blogs before reading the post below.

Read First
Read Second

Ok now that you’re caught up, here’s what Jeff had to say…


Jeff Benedict is a KSU alum and current producer for 92.9 The Game. 

 I think many have gotten the wrong idea about my original post. I am not complaining about how hard any coach or players are working. I am not complaining on how this staff is representing the school, the fans or the alumni. My only concern is, was and will be recruiting. In order to be successful in college football WE HAVE TO recruit Georgia. If we are not recruiting our own backyard, why am I to believe we are properly recruiting the state? I find it hard to believe that after such a successful first class, that it’s okay to only have two 2015 commitments, if they are in fact, recruiting this state properly.

Before I go any further, let me address a statement that I made in my original piece that has been taken COMPLETELY wrong despite being worded correctly.

“During the scrimmage, the OL/DL are small and the team as a whole looks more D3 than FCS level as far as speed of the game. It honestly reminded me of the Spring Scrimmage I held a couple years ago as head Coach of the club football team.”

I was in no way comparing the scholarship college varsity squad to a ridiculous club sport in anyway EXCEPT FOR THE SPEED OF PLAY DURING THE SCRIMMAGE. I clearly stated that. I am not sure how so many people have miss construed this. Time to move on.

Michael is correct in that I do have an existing personal relationship with Russell Halimon. I coach an elite 16u AAU travel team and he is my backup point guard. I did not use him for any reason other than an as an example. As I stated Russell is a junior. Last year as a sophomore, he was the 3rd string RB and starting kick returner at Allatoona. However, there is a statement in which Michael made that was factually incorrect. Russell currently holds 10 FBS scholarship offers from smaller FBS level schools. Russell will not end up at an FCS school unless he chooses to. I am in no way trying to garner a scholarship offer for him; his play is doing that on its own. The other player that I used an example, Dylan Autenrieth, also plays for me. He is a Big 5 FBS level TE and a D1 mid major basketball prospect. Again, I am not advocating for a scholarship for him, he is bigger than KSU. In both cases, I was using examples of kids literally on our own back yards that have gotten zero attention from KSU.

Michael points out that they offered Josh Bettistea , the senior running back at Allatoona. I am not sure why this matters. If you miss out on one kid at a school, do you cross that school off your list and never go back? Of course not, if they have another player that is good enough to play for you the next year, you at least send a letter to that player as well. That is recruiting.

My concern with that is because in college athletics, you never know what a kid is thinking. I worked for former basketball coach, Tony Ingle, for 3 seasons. He did not care what a kid was ranked according to Rivals, Yahoo or ESPN, he cared about relationships. He realized that you never knew what could happen down the road. Best case in point is KSU’s all time leading scorer and one of the best basketball players in school history, Markeith Cummings. Most, if any, do not realize Markeith was a 4 star QB in high school and had committed to play for Alabama, he still holds several state passing records. Coach Ingle stayed in contact with Markeith and his high school teammate, Ladaris Green. Both decided to forego bigger opportunities and come play together at KSU. To this day, NBA scouts are still asking about and watching the 6’11 Green.

“I was also told through an athletic department member last week that the coaches have focused heavily for class No. 2 on bringing in transfer players, which will mean late announcements for the most part.” This is absolutely frightening. This is the equivalent to playing Russian roulette in college football. You cannot have contact with transfer players until they are released from their current institution. Typically, players go to schools where they have an established relationship (see above paragraph) with the coaching staff. Best example would be Isaiah Crowell. He transferred to Alabama State when he got kicked off the program at UGA because he had an established relationship with the head coach. This is the wrong way to build a program. As far as JUCO transfers, I have already stated my opinion on that in this thread.

I will disagree with Michael on another of his points. “The reason the speed of the game looks a little slow is pretty obvious: You don’t put 83 freshman on a football field, no matter the classification, and expect it to look pretty. We know this. Fans shouldn’t be blindsided by this” There is an absolute difference in speed from NAIA —> D3 —>D2 —>FCS —> FBS. Whether these kids are freshman or seniors, speed is speed. Rarely do you see speed increase more than 2/10th of a second in college. Don’t believe that, go back and compare kids that went to the NFL combine last year and what they ran their freshman years entering college and what they ran at the NFL combine. Now if Michael had said they were slower because they had to fully grasp the playbook, that’s fine but do not blame it on them being freshman. (If they haven’t learned the playbook yet, that is another issue.) 

As I stated in my original piece, I am ONLY concerned with recruiting of this second class. While I might not like his choices in coordinators, friends of his who could not win at the high school level, I am willing to give them time. I understand that this is a marathon and not a race. I just do not want to see us struggle like Georgia State has with their program. They had a great year one going 6-5 but have only won 5 games since their inaugural season in 2010.  I fully believe that if done correctly, we can and will be a much better, much faster. Bohannon’s passion is contagious and as an alumnus I love to see that. I think that both he and Coach Lallathan can be highly successful here for years to come, if they are successfully recruiting this state. Like I have stated several times, recruiting the state starts in our own back yard. Every successful program relies on that exact same philosophy.

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12 Responses

  1. corn_3024 says:

    Another great read. I for one love the discussion as information can be scarce regarding the team. As I’ve said previously, I hope the meat and potatoes of this class is high school talent..supplemented with JUCOs/transfers.

  2. KSUOWl3 says:

    Corn,

    Open your eyes so that you are not disappointed. The next recruiting class will not be the large number of HS kids you want. I am betting 12 or less. Mike confirmed what I have been hearing for sometime.

  3. BIGTIMEbenedict says:

    KSUOWL3-

    Lets say you are correct, 12 is still going to be the bulk of this class.

  4. BIGTIMEbenedict says:

    Also, after talking to several sources of mine, they confirmed my thoughts. Bohannon has indeed cooled off on his high school visits as he does not feel it is necessary anymore and has made it known to HS coaches that if he does not believe he has a legit shot at a kid, he is not going to “waste his time”. Again, this sentiment came from multiple sources. We shall see.

  5. KSUOWl3 says:

    Will only be 12 if he gets some of those guys you don’t think will come to KSU. Guys at Parks level or better. The remaining scholarships will go to current walk-ons and transfers.

  6. KSUOWl3 says:

    If you are comparing his visits to this time last year, of course he has. Last year was a one time deal. Head coach with no team. I would have to believe that 99 out of 100 coaches wouldn’t “waste their time” for a kid he believes he has no shot at signing

  7. BIGTIMEbenedict says:

    This is like banging my head on a table.
    First of all, Parks is and was an FCS level player. Had no bigtime offers. Nebraska showed interest but never actually offered. Air Force, Army, Chattanooga, Harvard, Yale were his only actual offers. Coaches have very little insight on players they can or cannot sign until a player gives their favorites. Therefore coaches should keep in touch and establish that relationship I have talked several times about. Also, if for one second you think that Bohannon showing up to schools for one football season was good enough to market his program and himself, you are truly clueless on how this entire process works.

  8. KSUOWl3 says:

    Banging your head… funny. I had a comeback about you banging you head, but I have to remember not to make this personal. I have to remind myself this is your opinion and you call it like you see it, and you actually get paid to do this which is pretty awesome. But I also know that opinions area like …….you know the rest.

    You jumped me for taking your writing out of context, where did I stay Parks was bigtime BCS? AF and Army are BCS last time I checked. There are a lot of crappy BCS teams. Secondly, I said this time of year. How many head coaches are visiting HS this time of year (in the middle of the season)? Also, your example of relationship was a player who had a bigtime football offer to a school where he would not have been a QB coming to play BB with his longtime friend. Lot different than a kid with big time offers for football going to a FCS school for football. Lastly, I bet most of your sources are limited to Cobb County. The more I think about it, your beef appears to be that he is not recruiting Cobb hard enough.

  9. KSUOWl3 says:

    One last thing BTB, I just saw a comment where you were supportive of a JUCO basketball player. As you stated in a reply to me “WTF”. Why this guy is a great fit, but JUCO players are bad for the football team?

  10. BIGTIMEbenedict says:

    KingOwl – KSUOWl3 says “you actually get paid to do this” so where is my check?

  11. Andrew says:

    I find this debate fascinating, not just from a KSU perspective, but from a “how a program grows” perspective. First of all, I have to disagree with Jeff on the comparison he made to GSU. I know he didn’t compare our current situation to KSU, but stated rather that he “didn’t want to see us turn into Georgia State down the road.” There are several reasons i think this won’t happen. For one, the support for Owl football in the school’s administration is already more stable and well-seeded than it has ever been at Georgia State. I had a source at State tell me that it often seems that all GSU REALLY wanted was to hold the press conference saying “we’re starting football.” They’ve done nothing in terms of facilities or on-campus support to advance their position in the landscape of college football. Their home field is a cavernous, vanilla pro stadium that resembles a bomb scare on days GSU plays. KSU, on the other hand, has a very nice new facility in which to play their games, giving potential recruits a look into what their future holds. Secondly, Georgia State took FAR too long after realizing it made a mistake in hiring Bill Curry to remedy that situation, putting GSU in an even deeper hole. I believe KSU’s decision to hire a vibrant up & comer, rather than a “name” on the way down will pay off in both recruiting and on-field results. Finally, Georgia State has failed to capture the interest of either current students or alum, leaving them with a very shaky financial base with which to try to expand. While teams at Kennesaw State can have trouble drawing, students have shown they will support a team that plays well and makes them proud, as seen by their raucous turnouts for club hockey, baseball, and (At times) men’s basketball. More importantly, having been a KSU student, I get the feeling around campus that this school and its student body is waiting for something to latch onto. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if campus on game day becomes a vibrant, party-like atmosphere.

    My personal excitement for KSU football is well documented. While a sports talk host on KSU radio some years ago, I led a semester-long weekly discussion on who KSU’s first head coach would be. My own (wildly unrealistic) pick was Dan Reeves, but I am thrilled to death with what Coach Bohannon has done so far. It wouldn’t make much sense to me to follow a class of 27 freshmen with another large class of freshmen. Programs at all levels nationwide use JUCO talent to deepen and improve their teams (Kansas State, anyone?), and the Owls’ decision to do the same should come not as a surprise, but as a sign that Bohannon knows what he’s doing. It would concern me more if the next class after this one wasn’t made up primarily of high school talent.

    Finally, Jeff made a statement about knowing for a fact that coach Bohannon wasn’t going to “Waste his time” on a kid that he didnt think he had a good shot at getting. At a school with KSU’s limited recruiting resources, this makes sense to me. You grow better crops lining up seeds in rows than you do just throwing up handfuls of seeds into the air.

    In summary, I think KSU’s football program is in the best shape it could be in, and I look forward to seeing the Owls play at home very soon.

    AC

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