Even though I don't know all the players he will recruit, I am left with a good way to figure how many scholarships we will have each year. It is simple and I've shared it before with regulars on this board. Take the 85 scholarships we are entitled to and subtract the players on this year's squad who are eligible to return next year. Also deduct any eligible players who will not return. This latter category is tricky since you have to be able to foresee the future and not even the coaches know this for sure. But they know more than we do and obviously plan accordingly. They just won't tell us what is going on so the drama of the process becomes intense.
Here's my calculation as on November 2004:
These are the current players I'm counting as eligible to return in 2005:
2 - Center: Kalil and Spanos
6 - Guard: Matua, Malu, Radovich, Draper, Byers and Rachal
3 - Tackle: Lutui, Kyle Williams and Baker
7 - Tight End: Byrd, Katnik, Vanderboom, Barrett, Davis, Thompson and Miller
6 - Wide Receiver: Carlson, Walker, Buchanon, Smith, McFoy, and Jarrett
4 - Tail Back: Dennis, Bush, LenDale White and Reed
4 - Quarter Back: Leinart, Hart, Booty and Hinds
3 - Full Back: Kirtman, Hancock and Adewale
3 - Corner Back: Wyatt, Eric Wright, and Thomas
5 - Safety: Ware, Bing, B Ting, R Ting and Pinkard
8 - Line Backer: Sartz, Tatupu, Ashton, Lua, Powdrell, Rivers, T Williams and Stuart
6 Defensive End: Rucker, Goodrum, Tofi, Jackson, Morrow and Schweiger
5- Defensive Tackle: Manuel Wright, Ellis, Ramsey, Miles and Moala
2 - Special Teams: Malone, Collins
By this calculation there will be a total of 64 eligible players returning from the current roster.
Since we can have a maximum of 85, that leaves a total of 21 available scholarships. Unless of course players on the current roster do not return. Reasons for this could be medical, academic, citizenship, simply quitting or leaving early for the NFL.
First options to fill these scholarships would seem to be players who were on the roster last year but were ineligible this fall. They are:
3 - Washington, Lewis and Justice
All three are now indicating that they will return in January and be in spring camp.
The next group that might have first call on scholarships are three players who signed Letters of Intent in February 2004 but failed to gain admission last fall. They are:
3 - Germany, Herring and Jones
Herring and Germany have said they have been cleared by the NCAA and will enroll in January for spring camp. Reports on Jones were mostly that he was going elsewhere but recently some have said otherwise. It is anybodys guess at this point.
Let's look at a hypothetical calculation. Let's say that 3 of the 64 who are eligible for next fall do not return. That would raise the available scholarship count to 24. Step two is to say that all three return from the 2003 roster (Washington, Lewis and Justice) and that two of the three that signed LOI's but didn't qualify last fall, return in January 2005. That would use 5 of the 24 available scholarships. Under this scenario 19 scholarships will be available for the next class.
If you change any of the assumptions then the number of scholarships either increases or decreases. That is why so many different numbers show up from "usually reliable" sources. Some count the players who will re-enroll this January as part of the next class. I do not, but that is an arbitrary decision.
I think the most likely variable to change is the number of eligible players who do not return next fall. Instead of the three I counted you can project the number to be 4 or even 5 with some credible history to back you up. In that scenario, we would have 20 or 21 available scholarships.
Best regards to all and have fun trying to out-guess the system.