Interesting look at the sausage-making that goes on at the four recruiting services (with nary a mention of how their business models work, though) here. I was prepared to mock them for claiming to take little notice of offers the kids they rate hold, but had to admit there’s some validity to this:
The other issue with factoring in scholarship offers, according to the analysts, is that not only do they not tell the full story, but they might not even exist. Recruits make up scholarship offers in order to get more attention. It would be incredibly difficult to personally verify every single offer that 2000 or more recruits claim to have.
Says Luginbill: “Some are manufactured by the kids and you don’t know if he even has an offer or not. Other offers might be predicated on stipulations of coming to a camp or an official visit.”
But the other part of the story…
The issue is that all scholarship offers aren’t created equal. Each school has different needs and different systems, and thus targets different types of prospects. Farrell compares it to the NFL Draft where “guys will rate a certain position higher because it’s a positional need for that team.” Despite a team willing to take a player in the Top 10 of the draft, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a Top 10-level talent.
The same theory applies to college football.
… is where I have my biggest problem with the recruiting services. If a three-star kid meets a team need, why doesn’t a team’s ranking reflect that, instead of being a mere reflection of the star count? If these guys are the expert evaluators they claim to be, how hard is it for them to factor that into the equation?
Over time, this is where the flaw in the model shows up. Teams, like TCU, that seem to do more with less manage it because they know how to fit kids into what they’re doing. That doesn’t mean the recruiting services did a poor job of evaluating the talent of a given high schooler. It does mean that they didn’t make the effort to evaluate how that talent fits with a program’s needs.