Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ECU, Holtz look to prove 'experts' wrong

What do the recruiting classes of Akron, Miami of Ohio and Western Michigan have in common?

They are all rated higher than East Carolina’s group by Rivals.com. The Pirates are ranked in a tie for 90th on Rivals’ list, with Central Michigan.

Do you really believe that all those schools have done as well or better than ECU coach Skip Holtz’s staff?

Don’t bet on it; the problem is that recruiting is such an inexact science. The key element involved is an ability to look at a 17-year-old kid and arrive at an educated guess concerning how good a college player he will be in three or four years.

The schools that do it best find that such a skill eventually translates into victories. Last year, East Carolina won its Conference USA division and nine games overall.

Often, high school players look nothing like the finished products they will become years later. Everyone might be ignoring that skinny, 6-foot-4, 210-pound tight end. But ECU or Wake Forest or N.C. State will see something in him it likes and sometime in the future, that kid will be 6-5 and 265, and an all-conference offensive guard.

This isn’t to blame recruiting services. All they can really go by is what players look like right now. Some mature more quickly than others, and best of those—the ones with the bodies and speed of men—get four or five of those stars the analysts give out.

And there’s more to it than that; if a kid is being recruited by Texas, Southern Cal and Notre Dame, he can probably play. My guess is the knowledge of who has offered him can bring another star or two.

While the recruiting gurus do get most of the very best players right, don’t lose hope if your school’s class is far down the lists come Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

The experts have been wrong before.

—Stan Olson


Anonymous said...

I would love to know what Chris Johnson and David Gerrard's (among others) recruitment stats were...

Anonymous said...

The Pirates start recuirting very early and also ussally offer scholarships before other schools can look at the players. Since they commit so early, Rivals does not bother to keep up with them since they have already committed to ECU. Prime example is Damonte Terry from Scotland High. Committed before his senior year and once that happens all recuirting sites just lose interest and the players national rank falls. Ask any coach is NC if he not one of the best RB in the state. UNC has had a top 10 recuirting class the past Three years, but are still a mediocre team. Dont believe the hype.

Michael said...

Chris Johnson was a tiny one-star WR coming into ECU. He put on some pounds, though, and got a chance at RB, and his vision and shiftiness allowed him to thrive with the position change.

Anonymous said...

ECU won the Conference USA Championship this past season, not just its Division title.

Rivals' rankings are on a point system. 1 star , 2 star, 3 star etc, when schools like ECU only have 17 players to sign, they invariably will have a lesser total than a school that has 25 players to add.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Stan Olson. This has been ECU's talk track for decades. Know ing where to get these diamonds in the rough is how they get it done. We can all rattle of names from ECU that have gone on to upper levels. What is interesting is what ECU is doing with junior colleges. They do recruit very early also. It's not just a NC thing. I think UNC's class is obviously good, but I think Skip has 4 and a few 5 star players all over his class. Rivals is a joke. If Notre Dame offers they are 5 star, UNC offers they are a 4, ECU offers and they are a 3. Gimme a break.

PaulsHealthblog.com said...

ECU has a history of doing more with less.

However, now that the BCS bowls have seen the likes of Boise State and Utah, good players who want an opportunity to play immediately are giving East Carolina a hard look.