Coaching them up

Over at The Athletic, Max Olson ($$) has a piece up re-ranking the 2016 recruiting classes, based on the following metric:

The point system we’re using for this is no different than in past years. Much like the recruiting industry’s five-star rating metric, we’re using a basic 0-to-5 scale.

5 points: All-American, award winner, top-50 NFL draft pick
4: Multiyear starter, all-conference honors
3: One-year starter or key reserve
2: Career backup
0: Left the program, minor or no contribution

In doing the math, he includes walk-ons and transfers who joined a particular program in 2016.

I’m not going to bore you with listing out the entire piece (for what it’s worth, Georgia finished fifth with a 75% hit rate, which ain’t bad at all for a transitional class).  Instead, I just wanted to mention a couple of top finishers.

As acclaimed as Alabama’s class that year was — and it’s amazing — the Tide finished second to Clemson.  That class ranked 11th at the time, but finished with an astounding 96% hit rate.  Say what you will about Dabo and Clemson’s scheduling, but somebody there knows how to recognize talent, maybe better than any other program in the country.

And you’ll never guess who finished third.

3. Florida

Adjusted average: 3.19
Hit rate: 89%
Class rank in 2016: 12th
Four-year record: 34-16
Top signees: DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson, OL Jawaan Taylor, RB Lamical Perine, LB David Reese II, DE Jachai Polite

The top two classes in this revised ranking were extremely predictable. But the No. 3 spot? Here’s a little bit of a surprise. The first full recruiting class of the Jim McElwain era ended up being way more productive than expected. The players who signed in 2016 went through a coaching change during their second year in the program, but nearly all of them stayed on board. Only three signees — Jordan Smith, McArthur Burnett and Antonneous Clayton — ended up transferring prior to graduating.

In hindsight, maybe this ranking does kind of make sense? Dan Mullen inherited a group with a lot of potential and found immediate success, winning 21 games in their first two years together. The 2017 season was an abject disaster, no question, but this class played an important role in helping get the Gators back on track. This class hasn’t had any All-Americans but did produce 16 future starters, three of whom — Taylor, Polite and Gardner-Johnson — were drafted in 2019.

Didn’t think I’d see “Mullen won with McElwain’s classes” as a valid observation, but there you are.  He’s actually recruiting a little better now than McElwain did, so we’ll see how/if this continues.

25 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

25 responses to “Coaching them up

  1. Russ

    Ahhh, more fodder for the lizards. I’d love for them to be undefeated in Jax when we stomp them again.

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  2. Bigshot

    Clemson certainly knows how to recognize talent, but wouldn’t playing an easier schedule help you in this statistic?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Go Dawgs!

      At some point, we’re probably going to have to give Clemson some credit for being a great football program.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Reverend Whitewall

        LOL. A lot of people here definitely have a hard time swallowing that pill, or the one that says Dabo is one of the top 2 or 3 coaches in the country. Not many guys in the country could have built what he has built there. Is he one of the best X’s & O’s coaches? Probably not. But he may be the best program builder in the country.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Macallanlover

          Actually, they really know better deep down, but they are blinded by their (A) anti-Christian bias which absorbs so many here or, (B) it is happening so close to Athens, but not in Athens.

          Agree, he is not an Xs and Os genius, but he has indeed built a very solid program and has gotten out of the way of the talented coordinators he has hired. Regardless of how you measure it, the atmosphere must be phenomenal for both players and staff based on how attracted they are to the program, and their reluctance to leave. Sure, they benefit from the easy path to the playoffs, but they have represented themselves well when given the chance against the other teams judged to be among the best. I cannot say they have ever been the best in the country (perhaps in the 2018 year); but that isn’t what the playoffs are about. I would have to say they have been among the best and deserved their spots in the Final 4 as much as anyone. And they have done so without ever having the highest rated recruiting class, so there is something going on with “coaching them up” and keeping them happy.

          I have not liked Dabo’s act this past year with the whining about lack of respect while ranked in the Top 3 in every single poll with zero wins over a highly ranked team until they beat ohio in the semi-final game. That was way overdone, but generally he has been a model example of how to conduct himself as a HC that is under constant scrutiny. He is loved by his players, and treats the fans very well. You may not like his “aw shucks” demeanor but it worked well for Bobby Bowden, and many other college coaches, and Andy Griffith is still playing on many TV sets around the country. No one’s personal style is going to endear him to everyone. Give the guy his due, we need more like him in the college game, but please Dabo, stop crying from your position near the mountaintop, it is drowning those below….and I do not consider UGA to be below Clemson as a program.

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          • Gurkha Dawg

            I hate Clemson and can’t stand Dabo. (I’m a Christian by the way). But anyone who saw the 2019 NC game ( 2018 season) saw Clemson absolutely destroy Alabama. The game was over is the third quarter. Saban knew the game was close to over in the second quarter and went for it on 4th down because he knew he couldn’t give the ball back to Clemson without scoring a TD. I’m still amazed at that game, never seen anything like it. Maybe the Nebraska slaughter of FU in ’95. Clemson deserves massive respect for that beat down. By the way, a Clemson buddy of mine who knows some people in that program said that the coaching staff were VERY confident before the game.

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            • Macallanlover

              I said no one will ever appeal to every person, I am sure you have you reasons, and certain they are better than the ones I described. Until recently, I haven’t seen anything from him that would be cause for disliking him, but that isn’t really the point, he has run a good, and clean program as a HC, it shouldn’t be about personal tastes. We need more top programs that are run clean, and by people of character. I

              I don’t think Clemson is above UGA as a program, feel UGA would have been in more playoffs/BCS than they have had we been in the ACC. I am not jealous of them in any way, but the way it is rolling for them the past few years, they are having a ball and doing it the right way. We have so many negative, disgruntled fans, I am not sure we could ever have that. Kirby can fix the team and continue to have us competitive with anyone, but he can’t do anything about the portion of our fan base that just act terribly regardless of whether things are good, or bad. I don’t see that among their group—-yeah, a few bad eggs and crazies, but nothing the size of our vocal minority. They are really in happy valley these days. Good on them, they are doing it without acting like ohio and Bama fans. We would have some over the top arrogant ones too.

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        • Dabo without IPTAY resulted in a beatdown of epic proportions by West Virginia. He was close to being run out of little ole Clempson on a rail.

          Has he won a lot of games in an ACC that has gotten weaker over the last 5 years? Yep.

          Would UGA likely have a national title if we played in the Almost Competitive Conference? Likely yes.

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          • Will (the other one)

            He had IPTAY then. He didn’t have Venebles as DC though. I’ll give Dabo his due when he wins without that man as DC.

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            • I have to give this to Dabo. He hired Venables and got the hell out of his way. He has kept him well paid and happy to be a DC (it takes a special guy to be an excellent coordinator who doesn’t chase every head coaching job out there).

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      • PTC DAWG

        They played 2 top 10 teams last year..went 1-1…..

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        • Go Dawgs!

          I’m not sure taking a loss to a team that will probably be remembered among the greatest of all time is grounds to call Clemson a fraud…

          Liked by 1 person

        • Reverend Whitewall

          Actually they played 2 top 3 teams, went 1-1, and were the only team to beat either of the other 2. Sounds like they belonged to me……..

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          • ASEF

            Should have been 0-1. They needed some serious help from the SEC refs.

            It would be easier to tip a cap if Dabo wasn’t such a self righteous jerk. But no question he’s got Clemson sitting where Florida State was during the Bowden heyday.

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      • I give IPTAY a ton of credit for being a great alumni network if you know what I mean.

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        • Reverend Whitewall

          Love you EE, but I think fans of any of the major schools, UGA included, making claims about players being paid at other schools are engaging in a lot of pot/kettle issues. It’s like the old NASCAR saying……if ya ain’t cheatin’, ya ain’t tryin’. And we’re all tryin’.

          They’re all – maybe not directly paying the players – but working hard to maintain plausible deniability of the school’s boosters/bag men who are.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Go Dawgs!

    So what you’re saying is that Dan Mullen didn’t walk into a locker room filled with Stetson-level athletes and, through sheer force of will and coaching genius, turn them into a fighting force that already stands as the best team in the SEC East? I was told that he was the greatest coach in the history of the industry and that as soon as he started getting talented football players in Gainesville that he was going to end the University of Georgia’s football program. You’re saying that Florida already had a ton of talent on the field and that Mullen simply can’t beat Kirby Smart’s defense unless he’s got Timmy Tebow?

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  4. The Truth

    All this talk is moot as long as we continue to put that Bulldawg foot (paw?) squarely up that Gator ass.

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  5. 2675miller

    Let’s call a spade a spade. On Clempson….it is a fact that at least three of their players were taking peds. That is just the ones that got caught. So yes, with that sort of help you can take an 11th ranked class and move it up to #1.

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  6. tenesseewasnevergreat

    This statistic is flawed because it assumes that a 4 star player (i.e., a multi-year starter) has the same value across all teams. For example, a coach comes in and cleans house, “his” recruits are more likely to start, meaning that they are more likely to earn 4 stars, regardless of how good they are compared to their peers at another program. Conversely, an athlete recruited by a healthy program is going to be devalued under this metric if he has to sit behind an equally talented upperclassman for a couple of years. This model will also overvalue an athlete playing on a team that does not recruit well, in which case he can rest assured that there is a very low chance that an underclassmen good enough to take his job will come in at his position.

    I can see why this model loves Florida, though. They don’t recruit well and mediocre talent will get plenty of starts and a four star bump. Likewise, Florida doesn’t recruit well, so their starting rankings for purposes of comparison are going to be low.

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  7. Paul

    I thought it was interesting that Dabo faced Coach O for the championship this year. Both men were widely panned when hired. Very few gave either a chance to succeed. And yet, there they were. Now, I believe Coach O probably just caught lightning in bottle. We’ll see. Dabo, on the other hand, has been pretty consistent.

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