Maurice Smith, a defensive back at Alabama, wants out of Tuscaloosa. Only Nick Saban won’t let him leave.
Smith wants to transfer to Georgia and play for his former defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart, but Saban is reportedly blocking it.
What do we make of this? On the one hand, if Saban allows Smith to leave to play for Smart, it’s possible that other Alabama defensive players could follow suit. On the other hand, shouldn’t a player be allowed to play for whatever team – and attend whatever university – he wants?
“College rules are so tough on the players,” CBS Sports College Football analyst Gary Danielson told Moose & Maggie, who were filling in as hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “There’s so many variations of recruiting and how much commitment that these colleges put in recruiting players and when they get them. I think the whole complication here is that he’d probably be a player that would instantly be ready to play for Kirby at Georgia, and as Kirby has even stated, his secondary is not up to the standards that he had at Alabama. He really doesn’t have a player in the secondary that would be a starter at Alabama. I think it’s a competition situation. I don’t think the contemplation right now by Alabama – and they may give in here because of the bad press – would be a big deal if Kirby, his former coach running the same system, wasn’t there.
“For the most part, I don’t like these instant transfers,” Danielson continued. “I think the commitment of the school that they spend recruiting players, even the graduated players, I think it tilts competition a little bit. I get all the rules (about how) coaches can transfer and all that, but there’s a commitment to your teammates. I don’t know if it’s really that I even enjoy the fifth-year transfer, where a guy immediately goes from one school to anther and starts playing football.”
As Maggie Gray pointed out, though, there has to be some pot-calling-the-kettle-black here with Saban. After all, this is a guy who’s left multiple places high and dry when, in his eyes, a better opportunity came along.
“There’s no doubt,” Danielson said. “When you’re covering college football, you can’t stand on anything firm. Everything changes everyday. I’m not defending anybody, but I’m one of the few guys that believes that college football players, if they stay in the game, if they want to play college football, they should be willing to sacrifice and play college football. However, if they’re going to do that, they should have the right to go play professional football anytime they want. The problem they have in college football right now is the rule that the players can’t make any money. That’s tough to take when they’re not allowed to go play professional sports like any other sport that we watch.
“But remember – and I’m not arguing for anybody – when Nick left Michigan State to go to LSU, Michigan State didn’t allow any of his staff to follow him,” Danielson pointed out. “He had to create a whole new staff and look what happened: He hired guys like Jimbo Fisher and Will Muschamp and created a new beginning. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sacrifice, and if Maurice wants to go to Georgia, I don’t see why he can’t sit out a year and sacrifice.”