Fascinating post from Black Heart Gold Pants that spins off the question of what value recruiting rankings have to this:
… We’ve calculated the fraction of each rank of recruits that are developed into draft picks by the average BCS program. We can then use that to evaluate the player development of individual programs (or conferences). The Development Ratio is a simple way to measure the effect of a program on player development: take the number of recruits a program turned into draft picks and divide that by the number that an average BCS program would have produced from the same recruiting classes. For instance, let’s say some college program brought in 20 4-star recruits, and 80 3-star recruits, and that 15 of them were drafted. The average BCS program, by the numbers above, would have had 10 of those recruits drafted. So our example program has a development ratio of 15/10 = 150%, very good!
Back to the original question – we know USC produces more draft picks then Stanford, but is that just because of all those 5-stars they bring, or does USC have a better development program as well? If I am a recruit with NFL aspirations, which schools are the best choice to fulfill that dream? How much does it matter?
By that metric, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the SEC’s top program for development: the Georgia Bulldogs.
Don’t let your brain freeze up after reading that, as there might be a couple of reasons for it that appear later in the post.
… And as a side note, the SECs development profile suffers by its addiction to oversigning. While few doubt that oversigning is advantageous for the programs that do it, the players are the ones that pay the price in the form of a lowered chance of turning their talent into an NFL career.
Richt doesn’t oversign, so Georgia’s NFL-level talent pool doesn’t get diluted as much as at some other SEC schools.
Second, a note about our old friend the spread:
Play-style matters: Big Ten defenders rejoice, Big 12 defenders despair
One aspect of the modern Big 12 that has attracted both praise and criticism is the wide-open pass-heavy style of football that has spread through the conference. While entertaining for fans, the ubiquitous spread offenses and deemphasized run games depart significantly from the NFL norm. Could this the culprit for the subpar development of players? One way to answer this question is to look at conference Development Ratios for players categorized by type, i.e. development of offensive vs. defensive players, skill players vs. linemen.
Conference Offense Defense Skill (Offense) Line ACC 104% 101% 94% 110% Big East 108% 97% 108% 87% Big 12 89% 76% 96% 76% Big Ten 104% 123% 99% 125% Pac 12 99% 114% 103% 93% SEC 94% 97% 99% 101%
The breakdowns for the Big Ten and the Big 12 really stand out. First, while the Big 12 does an acceptable, albeit subpar, job of developing offensive prospects, the league is brutal when it comes to developing defenders and linemen. This seems like strong evidence for the play-style hypothesis, since those are exactly the areas one would expect to suffer under an passing-emphasis style. The Big Ten’s development profile also reflects its reputation, but in a good way. The Big Ten does not struggle in any area of player development, but it truly shines at bringing along defenders and the men in the trenches. Smash-mouth football is alive and well in the Big Ten, and tangibly benefiting its players. I’m sure that Big Ten and Big 12 programs go head to head for more than a few prospects each year, and defenders in particular should heed these numbers – choosing the Big 12 means you are accepting a big hit to any NFL aspirations.
He doesn’t mention it, but it’s interesting to note that there’s less variation in the SEC percentages than for any of the other BCS conferences. The study relied on the ratings for the 2002-8 recruiting classes; since then we’ve seen the spread go to Mississippi State and Auburn (although we’re now seeing Florida go back to a pro-style offense). But for the most part, pro-style offenses constitute the rule more than the exception in the SEC. Certainly Georgia falls into that category.
Sure makes for a good sales pitch to recruits with professional ambitions.