Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney has thoughts on 2024 five-star receiver Jeremiah Smith, some recent interesting coaching hires and Iowa amending offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz’s contract for points and wins in today’s Three-Point Stance.
MORE THREE-POINT STANCE: Rankings risers, Arkansas in 2024, Dallas vs. Houston | Dylan Raiola, Irish’s OC hire, 2026 Midwest prospects
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1. How good is Jeremiah Smith?
This question really started to blossom in my head last summer at the Pylon Los Angeles event and then again at the OT7 in Las Vegas when South Florida Express showed up with Brandon Inniss, Carnell Tate, Jeremiah Smith and Joshisa Trader as its receivers.
Since that time, Inniss and Tate finished as five-star recruits and both signed with Ohio State. Smith has committed to the Buckeyes, but many others – including Miami – are trying to flip him. Trader has both those teams – Miami and Ohio State – high on his list, with the Hurricanes having a slight edge.
Smith has been absolutely dominant, though, first this offseason, especially in Las Vegas, and then through his junior year, during which he finished with 58 catches for 1,073 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Everyone knew he was getting the ball. No one could stop him.
So just how good is Smith, who is ranked as the No. 1 receiver in the 2024 class? Where would he compare against the elite 2023 receivers of Inniss, Tate, USC signee Zachariah Branch, Texas signee Johntay Cook and Florida State signee Hykeem Williams?
A good argument could be made that he would top that list – even if he’s a class below all those players. With his physical size, playmaking ability, length and hands, Smith might have been No. 1 in 2023.
2. Two interesting hires to watch.
There is certainly a trend in coaching and staff hires to go younger, to get people who connect with recruits, who are trusted by them and understand their interests.
Western Kentucky hired Ben Arbuckle to be QB coach and co-offensive coordinator and he’s 27. Notre Dame’s director of recruiting Chad Bowden is 28. Buffalo defensive coordinator Brandon Bailey is the same age. All across college football, at every level, people in their 20s are getting high-profile jobs and it’s helping with recruiting.
So it’s interesting that when 71-year-old Nick Saban needed a new defensive coordinator he reached out to an old hand, 64-year-old Kevin Steele, who is coming up on another birthday, to run that side of the ball for the Crimson Tide.
When Jimbo Fisher needed an offensive coordinator after finally relenting and giving up play-calling duties, he didn’t turn to a malleable young up-and-comer, he chose 61-year-old Bobby Petrino, who’s been around the block a time or two.
In a world where recruiting is more non-stop than ever, where social media edits are more important to some than meeting with the dean of the business school, Alabama and Texas A&M seem to be leaning on experience and knowledge, and away from what seems to be cool this moment.
There might be no right way to do it and no wrong way, just different ways. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds in Tuscaloosa, College Station and elsewhere.
3. Iowa’s contract: If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.
Imagine making $850,000 per year and then failing so wildly that your boss needs to come in and put together an incentives package for you to meet … and if you do meet the low standards in place you get even more money.
Sounds incredible, but that’s the case at Iowa as offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz has taken a pay-cut but can recoup all that money and more if – get this – the Hawkeyes score 25 points per game and win seven games next season.
Not counting the COVID season, Iowa has won seven or more games in 13 of the last 14 seasons. Reaching 25 points per game, though, will be the challenge since the Hawkeyes only mustered 17.7 this past season to finish No. 123 in FBS.
Some incredible facts to consider: Only Rutgers, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Colorado, Northwestern, Colorado State, New Mexico and UMass scores less.
Iowa starting quarterback Spencer Petras threw five touchdowns and five interceptions all season. Only one player on the team (tight end Luke Lachey) had multiple receiving touchdowns. No one on the Hawkeyes rushed for even 60 yards. National champs Georgia scored 616 points this past season; Iowa managed to score 230.
So here we are. Ferentz still has his job, but now with incentives to hit 25 points per game. Big whoop. Eighty-five FBS teams accomplished that monumental feat this past season.
Good work if you can get it.
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