The fault, dear Georgia fans, is not in our stars.

One of the perks of this job, so to speak, are the great folks who read this blog and deliver feedback.  Some of y’all are more dedicated to the cause than I am, which is even better.  One of these good people I’ll call Henry, since I don’t know that he’d want his name tossed out there.

In any event, I want to share an email he sent me breaking down SEC East recruiting classes by overall rank, size and average number of stars from 2013 on.  (Henry used the Scout rankings to compile his data, if you’re interested.)  Here’s a handy-dandy chart he compiled.  Note that the 2017 numbers are as of 1/22/17.

SEC EAST 2017* 2016 2015 2014 2013 5-Year Average
School Rk / Tot / Avg Rk / Tot / Avg Rk / Tot / Avg Rk / Tot / Avg Rk / Tot / Avg Rank / Tot / Avg
Georgia 1 / 23 / 4.04 10 / 20 / 3.9 4 / 29 / 3.59 12 / 20 / 3.70 8 / 33 / 3.42 7 / 25 / 3.69
Florida 25 / 15 / 3.47 11 / 26 / 3.46 29 / 21 / 3.24 9 / 24 / 3.46 7 / 28 / 3.59 16.2 / 22.8 / 3.45
Tennessee 10 / 27 / 3.23 18 / 22 / 3.59 5 / 30 / 3.53 4 / 32 / 3.53 36 / 21 / 2.90 14.6 / 26.4 / 3.38
South Carolina 17 / 24 / 3.17 25 /26 / 3.08 20 / 28 / 3.11 24 / 21 / 3.29 24 / 21 / 3.19 22 / 24 / 3.16
Kentucky 28 / 23 / 3.09 39 / 5 / 2.88 45 / 22 / 2.86 21 / 29 / 3.07 38 / 22 / 2.91 34.2 / 24.2 / 3.0
Missouri 40 / 21 / 2.95 59 /22 / 2.55 26 / 25 / 3.04 32 / 29 / 3.0 35 / 20 / 3.00 38.4 / 23.4 / 2.9
Vanderbilt 67 / 15 / 2.87 68 / 21 / 2.67 74 / 18 / 2.78 50 / 22 / 2.77 19 / 26 / 3.09 55.6 / 20.4 / 2.8
Reality Check
Alabama 2 / 24 / 4.00 1 / 25 / 3.88 2 / 23 / 4.04 1 / 26 / 4.04 4 / 26 / 3.88 2 / 24.8 / 3.97

Some of the data is unfortunately cut off (more on that momentarily) — apologies, but I’m a complete tyro when it comes to cross-configuring stuff like this into WordPress — but here’s Henry’s summary:

  • The top three recruiting classes, based on average stars, over the last five years in the SEC East have all been from Georgia (2017, 2016, 2014).
  • The average star rating for Georgia compared to the rest of the SEC East is increasing.
  • Georgia’s average stars under Smart has increased significantly over the last two years compared to Georgia’s five-year average.
  • All other teams in the SEC East are recruiting at or below their five-year average for talented players.
  • If the 2013 class is removed, then the gap between Georgia and the rest of the SEC East is even greater.
  • Roster management: Only one school in the SEC East has signed more players than Georgia over the last five years.
  • Alabama still has a significant talent gap over Georgia and all other SEC East teams.  However, Georgia’s average star rating has been higher than Alabama over the last two years.

Tell me you saw that roster management bullet point coming.

For what it’s worth, the five-year averages are as follows:

  • Georgia:  3.69
  • Florida:  3.45
  • Tennessee:  3.38
  • South Carolina:  3.16
  • Kentucky: 3.00
  • Missouri:  2.90
  • Vanderbilt:  2.80

If you want to be depressed, Alabama’s average is 3.97.

Now, bringing in more raw talent than anybody else except you-know-who is only part of the picture, as we all have learned over that time.  Allocation of that talent is just as important.  So is coaching up that talent.  The latter two are areas that could certainly stand improvement.

But if the essence of winning college football is having the Jimmies and Joes, it’s hard to say the Georgia program has been handicapped in that regard.  While Kirby has demonstrated an ability to up Georgia’s game in that department — and, given the impressive nature of the incoming group of offensive linemen, even address the allocation issue more satisfactorily than we’ve seen in some regards — we’re in a wait and see mode when it comes to retention (hey there, 2013!), deployment and development.

One thing’s for sure; it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of opportunity in 2017 for Smart to show us what he’s got with regard to those.

I hope you enjoyed Henry’s work.  On signing day, I’ll share some more data he compiled.

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57 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

57 responses to “The fault, dear Georgia fans, is not in our stars.

  1. JG Shellnutt

    Henry, you’re a genius.

    Like

  2. Timphd

    Looking at this you have to wonder how we didn’t win the East at least for the last couple of years. Is it that the “stars” are distributed well? For example, did we have a bunch of 4 or 5 star running backs but no 4 or 5 star O linemen? That is my theory. Seems to me the recruiting hasn’t always addressed “need” appropriately, but what do I know?

    Like

    • Irwin R. Fletcher

      I think there are a couple of issues…first, a five star is just a likely lock for top performer/starter. There are only about 32 of them each year. I’m a 247 Composite guy…there are 32 5 stars and 300(!) 4 stars. Under this type of ‘star’ average, a guy like DeAndre Swift, who is ranked 33rd and is literally the last one out, gets the same weight as Logan Rudolph…a DE commit to Clemson who is rated the 332nd player. I went through this at some point a few weeks back looking at the O-Line. Yes we signed some 4-stars, but none of those guys were top 150.

      A good example in this year’s class…Netori Johnson and Justin Schaffer. Both 4 stars and by all accounts…both absolute road graders with great motors who could be starters at UGA and since they played on the same team were comparable players at the high school level….but Netori is ranked 110, flipped from Alabama and was an Army All-American…Justin is ranked 239 and while receiving many accolades, did not get invited to one of the all star games. What does this all mean? Only that the recruiting services give higher ODDS to Netori being the stand-out vs. Justin. Just looking at stars doesn’t factor in that difference…which I think over the long term would bear out in the production. (It also is why Bama is not just a little ahead but a lot ahead because of the wealth of 5 stars)

      The second is just what you pointed out…having a bunch of 5 stars at running back doesn’t help at OT…you have to have quantity while also not neglecting any position. I think Richt’s major fault was in getting top flight talent at OT and WR towards the end.

      It may seem like semantics, but I do think the margin between schools in the SEC can be so thin that the details in this stuff really, really matter.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Brandon

      These are just players that signed with Georgia. Over half of the big “stars” in that 2013 class have been long gone. I’m shocked that there is actually a school that has signed more players than us in this time period considering all the attrition we have had AND the fact we were playing 17 men short in the 2012 title game.

      Like

    • Macallanlover

      I think how the recruiting class is distributed against needs is a lost point in this data. I also feel attrition, for whatever reason, is a sizable factor, especially when you look at availability of in certain key games.

      Raw data in class ranking is missing so much, and that isn’t necessarily their fault. But it says that while using it literally as a predictor may be all we have but it doesn’t capture all the factors. The judgment of a recruiting service’s ability should be less important than what our staff gives to a recruit/class, and we will never capture that. You see that with a 3 star recruit by Scout having dozens of offers, including many of the top programs in the country. Three star or not, that recruit is a 4-5 star to the coaches.

      One service rates the players by how they project to the NFL, not how they will fit the college game. Why should we care? How mature is the recruit? How much heart and work ethic does the recruit have in the opinion of the HS coach who has watched him closely for 4-5 years? Why is a punter/kicker, who will play a key role, and may determine dozens of games’ outcomes with a college, limited to 3 stars? Are you saying that Ray Guy contributed what the average 3 star does? Or that Auburn’s getting Carlson as a placekicker was only worth what a 3 star is projected to give any given team?

      Not saying the ratings cannot be indicative of results when there is a large gap, but the difference in teams between 10-15, for example, may be meaningless and make them interchangeable. Probably even more so between teams rated 50-60. Just a guess, but I do know this class for UGA looks pretty good, as it stands now. That is reason for optimism, but no guarantee.

      Like

      • Cojones

        Good one, Mac, especially the star averaging comments. Star averaging is used to let the fan get a little thrill to the lower parts when visually comparing to other teams, but the take on the best players really goes, as you say, to coaches’ opinion, not recruiting services(rs) hierarchy.

        Stars are perceptions of subjective rs people in many circumstances who are trying to recruit an audience. Rivals opted to a lowered rating a couple of years ago in order that the 5* stands out, but that makes the recruit basket of goodies look smaller and fans don’t appreciate that as much as the star ave so Rivals retains that measurement as well. Then there is the re-ranking during their HS years and teams move mysteriously up and down.

        Listen to what the coaches have to say as to how each individual helps the team and you won’t be as disappointed in the recruits and end up judging them too harshly by their not living up to your recruiting services expectations.

        Like

    • Windogger

      You also have to wonder how Vandy every beat us?!

      Like

  3. Gaskilldawg

    UGA signed more recruits than all but one SEC east team over the past five years? Can’t be true because it contradicts what I read in a fan forum.

    Like

  4. The Quincy Carter of Accountants

    “If the 2013 class is removed, then the gap between Georgia and the rest of the SEC East is even greater.”

    Well good news! It pretty much was.

    Like

  5. TimberRidgeDawg

    2013 was a killer. Not just from the well documented attrition and lack of production but there were 33 signees in that class. There were only 69 scholarship players on the 2012 team. We may as well have been on probation the way the roster was being managed. When the 2013 basically whiffed, that showed up last season in a big way with a lack of upperclassmen leadership and depth on the two deep and we’ve payed for it for the past two years. Richt won 10 games before he was canned but other than the win record that team was a canary in a coal mine from a talent perspective with their struggles for what occurred last season and his recruiting on the OL or lack thereof has always been a puzzle. Maybe he felt his scheme could overcome it.

    Kirby is filling the roster with his guys and seems to be getting the Jimmy’s and Joes. Now we start finding out if he knows what to do with them. We’re still going to be paying for the prior administration’s lack of OL recruiting though since those guys usually need a couple of years to mature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PTC DAWG

      The roster mismanagement up to 2012 and the debacle that was the 2013 class is the crux of the issue we are facing now. I can see the correction…does Kirby have the “Coaching Chops” to match the recruiting, that is still to be determined.

      I am interested in the next two-three years for sure.

      Like

  6. Atticus

    And how many of those recruits were elite offensive lineman?

    Like

  7. My daughters give you props for this post’s title.

    Like

  8. Otto

    Roster management isn’t just # of players or averaged number of stars, it is filling needs.

    http://patrickgarbin.blogspot.com/2015/01/living-low-on-hogs.html

    Like

    • Otto

      I see a few comment above about the OL vs RBs, and other skill positions, Patrick researches a good article on the OL.

      Like

    • Atticus

      Correct, you can sign five 5 star RBs but if only 1 LB then you may be highly ranked and its not a balanced class. Our OL recruiting has been a joke, almost for the entire time Richt was the coach. But the rosters #s were ridiculous too, just look at 2012 when we had ZERO depth at LB or DL against Bama and couldn’t get one stop in the 2nd half. And he picked 3 straight QBs that were’t elite despite Ramsey and Park’s rankings.

      Like

      • Otto

        You could also recruit a QB who played only out of the shotgun in HS, and expect him to play against SEC front 7s as a true Fr. from under Center.

        Like

      • Cojones

        Yeah, but Bobo seemed to make them into an effective O-machine. Nice to see Andrews in at C for the Pats so early.

        The question should be asked as to why Chaney can’t get as much out of them (low-star O-line) as Bobo obviously did in spite of their star rankings.

        Like

        • PTC DAWG

          Bobo might be a better coordinator than Chaney..Murray as a JR/SR may have been better than Eason as a Freshman…remind me again what we won with Bobo?

          I’m still not sure why folks aren’t content to see where this new regime leads us instead of continually running them down.

          Like

  9. Uglydawg

    “All other teams in the SEC East are recruiting at or below their five year averages for talented players”.
    This may look like good news, but it’s not. The SEC East, shares their recruiting base with the ACC. The SEC East is (has been) supplanted by the ACC as the power conference up the southeastern coast.

    Except for A&M, I can’t think of another SECW team school that has another major conference school in their home state. (And I’ll say that I’ve probably missed some here…I don’t mind being corrected..I have a wife)

    Florida has plenty of competition for players, with two ACC power schools in the state with them.
    Georgia has NATS, with Clemson hugging the eastern boarder.
    South Carolina has to deal with Clemson.
    Kentucky has Louisville
    Tennessee..none..but they have almost no instate talent..arguably less than any other SEC school to draw from.
    Vandy…Tennessee with real books.
    Missouri..no other major football power in their state.

    The SEC West?
    Alabama..two majors in state, but both SECW. Auburn is in very fertile ground but, like UGA, has a lot recruiting competition. And ‘Bama doesn’t need to be discussed.
    Mississippi…2 SEC W schools..
    Louisiana…virtually no competition for instate kids.
    Texas A&M…Huge competition for huge number of kids in a huge state.
    Arkansas..Kind of like Louisiana..not another major conference represented in the state, but like the Mississippi schools, a lower population which means less players.

    Bottom line is I think the ACC has started to eat the SEC East’s lunch…or at least a good portion of it.
    Also, I’d like to see a flow chart of how many kids from SEC W states end up on SEC E teams, compared to how many kids from SEC E states go to SEC W teams.. I’ll bet it’s skewed quite a bit towards the latter.
    And what’s driving that? That would be an interesting study.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kids from AR, LA, MS, and AL to schools in TN, GA, FL, SC, KY? Your guess will be right: It will be fewer because generally those west states have lower – some decreasing – populations of HS students where the east states are – or at least have been – growing in those numbers for the last 15 years. Especially FL and GA. That answer is just simple demographics of the states in question. It’s why Alabama recruits heavily out-of-state for students in places like Georgia, Maryland, Virginia…

      What I would like to know is where Tech/Clemson/FSU fit in this picture along with Auburn.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Uglydawg

        I thought of, and even mentioned the lower state populations..but that won’t explain everything…why so many eastern kids head west. . But the real gist of my post was that, due to increasing exposure and success of the ACC, more kids are going..and it’s getting worse…and that, by and large, the SECW schools don’t contend with having the ACC on their lawn. Excepting TAM, and Auburn’s close proximity to FL and GA., they have little out of conference competition. That probably more than makes up for the population discrepancies between the regions. UF probably has the most competition..with FSU and UM. (Plus a lot of other notable if not exactly power schools in the state).
        There are exceptions, ins and outs, and holes all in this argument, but I still think the ACC has hurt the SEC E and it will get worse (“All SECE schools at or below the 5 yr. average”) before it bottoms out.
        I think much of it has to do with coaching upheavals at SC, UF , and maybe TN and a couple others.

        Like

    • Georgia has NATS…

      Come on now – Tech is no real competition to Georgia for elite in-state recruits. Georgia has about as good a home state situation as LSU, but has to fend off more out of state schools.

      Like

      • Otto

        I wouldn’t put UGA as good as LSU but close. The Louisiana talent is loyal to their home state, and who is going to rob that talent Mississippi schools who have a smaller budgets/stadiums than LSU? Georiga’s power house High Schools in the south of the state are easy drives to Auburn, FSU, and Florida.

        Like

      • PTC DAWG

        Clemson, Carolina, UT, Bama, AU, FSU just to name a few.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Uglydawg

        By and large I agree with that.t. But they have gotten some kids, one in particular, a kind of famous receiver out of Sandy Creek, that Georgia wanted and needed. The point on mentioning GT, though, is that they are in the ACC. .and they have given us trouble lately. Lose again and things will go a little differently on their recruiting fortunes.
        But I agree..by and large we go after a different set of kids.
        Point is, the SEC east is faltering somewhat in recruiting (exception UGA, than Goodness!) and the ACC is getting better. I don’t like saying it, but its true.
        .

        Like

    • Otto

      Clemson’s scheduling helped change their program. They went from ’91 to ’09 between ACC Championship. Granted FSU did enter the ACC but UGA dropped Clemson as regular opponent with the SEC expansion, ’08 Clemson started trying to schedule SEC games with Bama in Atlanta. They also played SEC teams in Bowls in ’06, and ’07. Since ’09 they played home and aways with UGA, Auburn, and in the dome against Auburn. Clemson has to recruit SEC territory to win and Georgia is their 1st target.

      FSU has stepped away from having 2 head coaches, L’ville has hired coached that win. The ACC is enjoying a nice up swing and the SEC is going through a turn of the coaching carousel. It will all come around.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Uglydawg

        Yep..and that is why I started my original post with the premise that the decline in recruiting for the SECE is not good news for Georgia, even though Georgia’s recruiting is going very well. When Georgia wins the SECe..possibly running the table..you KNOW what’s going to be the talking point of late autumn.

        Like

        • Uglydawg

          and not just this year and next year, but for years and years to come because it takes a long time to turn a squadron of battleships around.

          Like

  10. DawgPhan

    So many excuses.

    Like

  11. Hal Welch

    One very important component to this chat though, is almost always overlooked… The implosion of both the ’13 & ’14 recruiting classes mentioned above. Take the same data points, then research how many of the other schools kids didn’t finish at that school. Read the linked article, it’s baffling…

    https://www.bulldawgillustrated.com/class-gutted-uga-football/

    Like

    • DawgPhan

      Yes no one has ever mentioned the 2013 class. You are the first. Awesome contribution. I am not sure how any of us got around before you showed up with some amazing insights. That really is spectacular.

      So according to the article UGA had what many of the humps over at BI would consider the worst recruiting class in the history of recruiting classes and it just killed our team. When compared to the gold standard of Alabama, the numbers arent that bad.

      21 compared to 16 for the 2 classes doesnt seem like the difference between losing to Vandy and playing for a national title. your mileage may vary.

      Every school loses players from classes 4 years ago. its a thing that happens. What happened at UGA was no different than any other school.

      Like

      • PTC DAWG

        The problem with the 13 class is how far we were behind the 8 ball after the 12 class..literally playing a class behind our rivals…when the 13 class faded…there was no fall back plan.

        Like

      • Hal Welch

        Why would you be such an ass? Ann ignorant one at that. The class wasn’t bad, the class is gone.

        Like

  12. Mayor

    There has been a theory around for quite a while that under CMR Georgia would just out-athlete teams and that was how the Dawgs won. When they came up against a team with equal or better athletes the Dawgs were toast. Under CMR it appeared we always got out coached sometimes even when Georgia won the game. There seems to be some merit to that argument. Think about it–when was the last time under CMR that the Dawgs won a game where they weren’t favored?

    Like

  13. Got Cowdog

    Bad horse.(Whack) Bad horse.(Whack-whack)
    There is a certain futility in continually readdressing things that have already happened, although history is a certain thing and as such a comfort for many when the future is not.
    I myself shall embrace the pathos of a future yet defined as it will soon be upon us most certainly.
    Cum gaudio ante tempus amplexandi!

    Like

  14. It seems everyone uses these 2 recruiting classes to rationalize their point of view on the season. Those who seem to give the coaching staff a pass for the results this year point to this as a reason to say no matter what 8 wins was the ceiling for this team. The other side that wants to place blame at the coaches’ feet seem to want to rationalize away the attrition as something the coaches should have worked around.

    The answer as usual is somewhere in between. The staff inherited a roster that had deficiencies, and some of those deficiencies couldn’t be schemed around (center and left tackle). Some could have been (in particular, wide receiver) with some creative game planning or change in tactics (the o-line as a unit), but for whatever reason, weren’t. OTOH, the staff needs to be called out for games where the coaches did a poor job of preparation, game management, and boneheaded decisions.

    Like

  15. hailtogeorgia

    How is it surprising that only one school in the SEC East has signed more players than Georgia over the last five years? The 2013 class was huge, and a large piece of that class moved on, meaning we’ve had to sign even more players in subsequent years to make up for that than we would have been able (or need) to sign otherwise. Seems like basic cause and effect, no?

    Like

  16. I looked at this and thought, wow how did Vandy win any games?

    Like

  17. Pingback: About that o-line recruiting | Get The Picture