Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Recruiting rankings can hurt lesser football names

It's a complaint I hear often--schools like Wake Forest traditionally have their recruiting classes rated lower by the analysts simply because there is a sense that a really good player will go to Alabama or Georgia or Florida but will not become a Demon Deacon.

That cuts two ways; if a low-rated prospect is suddenly offered a scholarship by Southern Cal or Notre Dame, he may go from three to four stars on some lists.

The Sporting News recently tried to quantify all this. The magazine first took the average ranking of the recruiting classes for each of the BCS schools (66 programs) from 2004 through '08 on It listed them from 1 (Southern Cal) to 66 (Cincinnati).

Then it took the total number of victories for each school over the same period and made a second list. USC was tops again, while Duke was last.

Finally, TSN found the differential. For instance, Florida State was fourth in the recruiting rankings, but tied for 20th in wins, for a differential of -16. Not a good thing.

Obviously, the team with the highest positive differential would have gotten the most production out of the lowest-rated recruiting classes. That would be Cincinnati, which was ranked dead last in recruting but tied those Seminoles in victories, for a differential of +46.

The best of our area BCS schools by far was Wake Forest, ranked 63rd on the recruiting classes list but tied for 32nd in wins, a spread of +31. That made it No.4 on the differential list.

Georgia Tech also did well, tying for ninth at +27. Virginia Tech was 13th at +20. No other area BCS school was more than +2 (Virginia).

Worst of the bunch? North Carolina, which tied Miami and three other schools for 60th overall with a differential of -22. Before you Gamecocks start crowing, South Carolina (-18) wasn't much better, giving it the 57th spot. And N.C. State was -11, Duke was -7 and Clemson, -6.

Either the Deacons consistently make a lot out of not much, or the recruiting rating system has some serious flaws.--Stan Olson


Anonymous said...

I would say the recruiting ranking system is terribly flawed.

Anonymous said...

I would say that both are correct. Wake does do alot with lower ranked athletes that they think will fit their system. They also redshirt almost every freshman which gives them more time to adjust to their system. When you are getting lower ranked players, that is a very smart thing to do. This gives them more time to mature and learn how to adjust and play the game. Also, I feel the national rating systems are terribly flawed as most anyone can see. Most players ranked number one in high school very rarely are at the top of the NFL draft.

Anonymous said...

I think this is because the perceived highly ranked players just go to the "best" schools, and these schools don't really analyze them, they just take these guys with 4 and 5 star ratings to improve their "status". Schools like Wake Forest and Cincinatti analyze their recruits for their systems and take the ones that fall through the cracks.

Michael said...

Anon 6:04, I wouldn't go that far. Among the top '05 HS players: Mark Sanchez, Willie Tuitama, Jonathan Stewart, Rashard Mendenhall, Patrick Turner, DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly, Derrick Williams, Mario Manningham, Martellus Bennett, Michael Johnson, Chase Coffman, Jermichael Finley, Jeff Cottam, Eugene Monroe, Alex Boone, Michael Oher, and Jered Gaither. All have either already entered the league or soon will.

Anonymous said...

Same thing happens in basketball players become McDonalds All Americans when they commit to Duke not the other way around.

Observer Sports said...

I agree concerning Wake's redshirting, but the major powers also redshirt most of their guys. I disagree with the powers picking up 4 or 5 star guys to improve their class rating; the big boys do a ton of homework, and it shows on the field in most cases...

Anonymous said...

What a totally useless report!! A team that has a great recruiting class in 2007 or 2008 will not show immediate results in wins in 2007 or 2008. They need to look at the ranks of classes for a couple years and then at victories a couple years later when most of those recruits are actually on the field.

Anonymous said...

Here is all you need to know about recruiting rankings

September 1, 2007