“We don’t have any writers, bloggers or journalists making assessments on football players.”

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.


Filed under Recruiting

14 responses to ““We don’t have any writers, bloggers or journalists making assessments on football players.”

  1. This is very true and it’s an area where I have high hopes for the Pruitt regime. I don’t think Grantham was good at this at all. That said, I wouldn’t trust recruiting services to get that sort of alternate ranking right. The people they serve need to know that team X finished ahead of team Y.

    That sort of ranking would be even better for a “down the road re-evaluation” though.


  2. Senator, your post is exactly why those guys will never get my hard earned money for a subscription.


  3. heyberto

    Couldn’t agree more about rating recruiting classes. Declaring someone number one because they amassed the most stars is easy and misleading. I’ve always viewed it as a nice nod to have a highly rated recruiting class, but not a metric that means very much, intrinsically.


  4. Malcolm Butler

    “There will always be future NFL stars that will slip through the cracks for a variety of reasons.”

    Uhhhh huh.


  5. DawgPhan

    Morning red meat for the “gimme 3 stars with heart” crowd.

    should be good for comments today.


    • ‘Cept this isn’t about a kid’s heart. It’s about a coach’s head. 😉


      • Cojones

        A few yrs ago, I thought part of the class ratings was predicated on team needs as much as stars. Was I reading a coach’s words of evaluation or was that true of some recruiting services then? While there is commonality in RS evaluations, understanding how each service ranks classes seems to be much more than stars. Why else would our 2015 class be separated and interchangeable with those ranked above and below by differing businesses? If predicated heavily on stars, why isn’t USC ranked the highest ?

        Would like to see the careers of the 3-star players mapped out as to school’s ability to get the most out of them. And the pre-collegiate ranking of players in the NFL.


  6. TXBaller

    I cannot disagree more with the TCU reference.

    Gary Patterson pursues 4 and 5 star kids in Texas just like everybody else. Don’t think for one second that his roster would not be full of 4 and 5 star kids if the kids wanted to play in Fort Worth…. excluding his usual 2 and 3 star kids from enrolling at TCU.

    The signing of 2 and 3 star kids has nothing to do with intentionally fitting kids into TCU’s needs but everything to do with signing the best remaining talent that wants to play for Patterson.

    Example is Tony James from Arlington Bowie HS. 5-10 165lb 3 star QB will sign with TCU tomorrow morning. Patterson not filling a need with the kid but said the Frogs would utilize at QB, RB, WR, wildcat, punt return, kick return and DB. James not a star but will contribute to the overall team effort.

    Patterson will get the most out of the kid – guaranteed. All the credit goes to GP and staff for their evaluation of talent and ability to coach-up under valued kids.


  7. Macallanlover

    Excellent points, Senator. I get that relationship of signing classes to good results on the field has merit, but the specificity of class rankings being absolute is not valid. The recruiting services play games with stars and assigning points based on the volume signed makes no sense to me. I just want to be in the top 15 with a class that fits the needs. If you make good assessments and have them stay healthy/eligible as they mature you will be competitive on the talent level whether your ranking was #3 or #12.

    The performance of teams like Boise and TCU, among many others is overwhelming proof that too much angst is put on the services’ numerical rankings. If not, just give Texas, USC, and Bama the trophy and cancel the season.


    • I thought TCU and Patterson might have peaked after two down seasons and losing to Texas Tech Red Raiders two years in a row. Not the case.


      • Macallanlover

        Yes, I think he got caught with “class separation” issues. I have always been surprised about the coaches with a defensive background that have tremendous offensive success as HCs. Patterson, and Erk are two that come to mind but there are many other examples; guess knowing what works best against you helps build the correct antidote.


  8. DawgPhan

    I believe that again this season Bama is running away with the recruiting ranking right now.

    But if you check the 24/7 rankings you will see that the difference between Bama @ 1 and USC @ 2 is greater than the difference between 2 and 10.

    You dont have to win the recruiting rankings to win the national title, but it doesnt hurt.