Two of the premier recruiting head coaches in the country believe the addition of Name, Image and Likeness is only going to make it easier for the top programs, and harder for everyone else.
Both Kirby Smart of Georgia and Nick Saban of Alabama think that the NCAA needs to implement more regulations to balance out the playing field.
“You’re going to have the haves and have nots, and the separation that is already there is going to grow larger,” Smart said on the eve of Monday’s national championship game against Alabama. “The schools that have the capacity and the ability and are more competitive in the NIL market are going to be schools that step ahead on top of other schools.”
The competitive imbalance in college football has been a recurring topic in recent seasons, which can be at least partly attributed to the same schools dominating recruiting. For the second time in four years, there is an all-SEC title game and 11 of the last 15 national champions are from the powerhouse conference. And the advent of NIL hasn’t changed that. Alabama currently has the No. 2-ranked recruiting class in the country according to 247Sports and Georgia is No. 3. The two schools have finished in the top five each of the last five years. Texas A&M, another SEC school, currently has the No. 1 recruiting class this year.
“I think we probably need some kind of national legislation to sort of control that to some degree, because I think there will be an imbalance relative to who can dominate college football if that’s not regulated in some form or fashion,” Saban said.
Evan Neal enjoys going up against Will Anderson Jr. in practice, two future NFL players challenging each other.
There are few offensive linemen that share that sentiment with him, though. The Alabama sophomore edge rusher enters Monday night’s championship against Georgia as the nation’s leader with 17.5 sacks and has 34.5 tackles for loss. He was given “The Terminator” nickname for a reason.
“It’s fun to block Will. He makes me better,” Neal, considered the top offensive tackle in the coming NFL draft, said. “I can say that he’s the best rusher I’ve been up against.”
Georgia has come up with two nicknames for Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young this week. Smart called him “Houdini.” Defensive tackle Jordan Davis has dubbed him the “Gingerbread Man.” Both are in reference to how tough it is to catch the sophomore quarterback. In the teams’ first meeting, Georgia failed to get to Young, who threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns.
“He’s slippery,” Davis said.