Paul Johnson is a very good football coach, but if he truly believes what he’s shoveling with this comment, he’s dumber than I thought:
“The whole [recruiting] process has gone bonkers. You’re talking about kids who’ve never played a down yet. Nobody can pick who’s going to be the next great player. It’s all about how hard are you willing to work. There’s so many factors involved. I read somewhere that the Indianapolis Colts have one five-star recruit on the whole roster – Peyton Manning. They have 32 or 37 players who were 3-star or below. What does that tell you?”
Well, first of all, it tells me that Peyton Manning is one of the greatest players in NFL history. But I don’t think that’s what Johnson is fishing for there.
What he’s really trying to claim is that recruiting ratings are total bunk and don’t matter, because there’s a Super Bowl team that isn’t totally comprised of five-star recruits. That of course ignores the basic math (something you’d think a Tech man would be able to follow) behind the size of the talent pool.
Yes, there are a whopping 178 five-star recruits ranked so over the past five years. That works out to roughly 35 per year. There are 32 NFL teams. You do the division. (Tossing in the four-star players adds another ten or so per team each year, which still leaves you somewhat short of being able to field an NFL squad, Super Bowl-caliber or otherwise.)
Maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe what Johnson is trying to claim here is that he’s so smart and his system is so effective that the quality of his recruiting classes isn’t very relevant to Tech’s success. If so, I think Michael Elkon pretty much shreds that argument:
… The recruiting rankings tend to track the offers that a player receives. If Texas, Florida, and USC are all after the same player, then that player will get four or five stars. If the schools of the MAC are fighting for a player’s signature, then he won’t. If Schultz is right that the stars and rankings are meaningless, then he is adopting the position that the staffs at the elite programs do not know how to evaluate players. Care to defend the position that Urban Meyer doesn’t know the difference between a player and a poseur, Jeff?
And then Schultz’s crowing insult comes at the end, where he lists four players that Paul Johnson will have to replace this year: Derrick Morgan, Demaryius Thomas, Jonathan Dwyer and Morgan Burnett. Guess how many stars went next to Morgan’s, Dwyer’s, and Burnett’s names when they were recruits? Cue Moses Malone: fo, fo, fo. Guess how many stars went next to Josh Nesbitt’s name? The 2009 Georgia Tech team succeeded for a number of reasons. Good offensive coaching and good fortune come to mind immediately, as does Chan Gailey’s recruiting. The assumption that Paul Johnson can continue to win at the same level without recruiting at the same level is just dumb.
Like it or not, there’s a basic correlation between recruiting well and winning. If Johnson is either stupid enough or arrogant enough to think it doesn’t apply to his program, as a Georgia fan, all I can say is go dog go.