It’s from a post at an FSU blog looking at Jim McElwain’s recruiting, so you can guess the overall tenor, but I can’t say I disagree in the slightest with this conclusion:
Stars matter, folks, especially at the macro level. You can scour the rankings and find terrific stories of 2 and 3 star kids who were missed in evaluations or found the right time and place to showcase their abilities, but at the end of the day, teams with the most talent win the most games. Alabama has won four national titles since 2009, FSU has a title, UF under Meyer has two since 2006, Meyer won another at Ohio State in 2014, and LSU and Texas each have one in the last 11 years. All of these programs recruit at the highest of levels, they are mainstays in the recruiting top 10 rankings, and their success on the field is not a fluke. New coaching can spark enthusiasm and excitement around a program, but at the end of the day in college football, it all comes down to recruiting. If you don’t have the players, you probably won’t win (enough). It is really as simple as that.
The author finds that Florida has come up short, or at least shorter, compared to its rivals, in signing four- and five-star studs.
Which brings us to Jim McElwain’s debut at UF in 2015. A National Championship winning offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, with the pedigree and experience at the highest of levels, Florida’s confidence and optimism was expectedly high from the beginning. The 2015 class cannot be properly judged for a few more years, but on paper, only signing 20% blue chips is not the beginning for which many were hoping. With signing day 2016 upon us, the Gators sit at 37.5% blue chips and, given the way the second half of 2015 ended on the field for UF, the continued question marks at quarterback, and the fact that FSU does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon in terms of acquiring talent, either the coaching needs to get significantly better in a hurry, or UF could be in need of a fourth head coach in less than 15 years. A combined 30% rate over the first two classes is just not up to standards, and would rate outside the top-20 nationally.
If you blindly compared what McElwain (30%) has done to the first two years of Fisher (41%), Meyer (59%), Muschamp (64%) and Golden (24%), the closest match is to Al Golden. That doesn’t mean it won’t improve, but things certainly did not trend up in Year 2 like it did for Jimbo Fisher in 2011.
It didn’t hurt too much in 2015, as UF won the East, but it will be interesting to see if that begins taking a toll going forward.
Along those lines, one other thing to mention: Georgia’s 2016 class sports a 65% blue chip rate.