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The Pitfalls of the Recency Effect

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I love nice new shiny things. Do you?

NCAA Football: Russell Athletic Bowl-West Virginia vs Miami Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re not familiar with the term in the title, see below:

Recency Effect: This is the principle that the most recently presented items or experiences will most likely be remembered best. If you hear a long list of words, it is more likely that you will remember the words you heard last (at the end of the list) than words that occurred in the middle. This is the recency effect. You should also note that you will be likely to remember words at the beginning of the list more than words in the middle, and this is called the Primacy Effect. – Psychological Glossary (alleydog.com)

It's been funny, at least to me anyways when reading a lot of the articles and comments on SOTU when the topic involves the recruiting class from 2017.

“The freshmen quarterbacks are going to come in and win the open starting spot.”

“Bandy is a natural slot corner, he’ll be starting week one of next season.”

My favorite comment which got me onto this topic has to be:

“Garvin and Johnson are going to take playing time away from Demetrius Jackson and Trent Harris. They’ll be starting by the end of the year over Chad Thomas.”

You’re kidding, right?

Miami fam, lets pump the breaks on these notions that #Squad17 is going to come in and wipe the floor with their teammates who ALREADY HAVE EXPERIENCE in the college ranks. This isn’t NCAA Football where you plug and play people simply on tangible “attributes.” It takes time to adjust to the new surroundings and, here is a novel concept: earn playing time.

I’ll give two examples, one real world and then another basic outline to prove my point.

First, only one year ago, one year ago! Miami signed a four star, top 10 or so quarterback in the country in Jack Allison. In the ’17 class Miami signed another 4 star recruit in N’Kosi Perry and well, Allison may as well not exist. Let’s go with the shiny new recruit, yay!

Let’s forget that Perry is extremely thin for his height (he’s over 6 feet tall and weighs approximately 170 pounds) and could be broken in half by a defensive end on any given play. Let’s forget that for one second.

Allison has talent. Why are we forgetting that? He’s also been in the system for one year. He’s had coaching on throwing mechanics for a year with the coaching staff, he’s had his footwork cleaned up over that same span as well. He also, right now, may have one of the strongest throwing arms in the conference.

Nope, we have a scrambling “new hope” quarterback coming in. Forget about what we already have. #Squad17

Here’s the second example.. Imagine if we signed three more stud linebackers. We’ll name them Mike Quarterman, Sam Pinckney and Will McCloud (you see what I did there?). All three were four star recruits and are looking to come in and immediately gain playing time.

Do they earn more time than the “Bermuda Triangle II” of sophomores we have at their positions they so desire to unseat? Hell no they don’t. They’re the exact same damn players just a year younger and less experienced.

Here’s what I’m getting at: #Squad17 can excite you and they should when it comes to looking ahead to next season. But please, please don’t start believing in delusions of grandeur that these young guns are going to come in and immediately unseat players who’ve already been in the Richt system for a season as well as have actual game experience of one or more years on the field.

Get past the shiny new prospects and let’s be excited for the team as a whole.