Bud Elliott’s back with his Blue-Chip Ratio/National Title Contenders projection for 2017.
It boils down to teams that sign more four- and five-star recruits than two- and three-stars, over the previous four recruiting classes. That’s an exclusive club, usually consisting of the top 10 percent of FBS programs. All of the national champs over the last decade-plus have accomplished it, and often, the team taking home the trophy has signed many more elite players.
Clemson took home the title in 2016 after signing 52 percent blue chips in the 2013-16 classes. In 2015, it was Alabama with a 77 percent mark. In 2014, it was Ohio State at 68 percent. In 2013, it was Florida State at 53. And on and on.
As my colleague Bill Connelly has said, winning in college football takes talent acquisition, development, and deployment. I agree. But Gene Chizik has a national title, while Mark Dantonio and Gary Patterson do not; acquisition is by far the most important element. By NCAA rule, coaches get just 20 hours per week with their players. Only so much development can be done.
At 63%, Georgia is fifth on Bud’s list.
It’s no surprise to those of us who have been tracking the program since Smart’s arrival that he’s been laser-focused on talent acquisition and in that regard has been a step up from his predecessor.
Kirby Smart inherited a good Georgia roster from Mark Richt, but his first two classes are humming at 74 percent, while Richt’s final two were at 53.
That would seem to bode well, although I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed by the fact that Alabama’s four-year percentage is six points higher than Kirby’s pulled in his two-year run. It would seem that he and his staff are going to have to coach a little to win an SEC title or two.