FanPost

Wrapped Up In Recruiting

After the recruiting deadline passed this spring I reflected back on the events that occurred from that day and since national signing day is this Wednesday I thought I would share. I really found it interesting how emotionally wrapped up we can get over an 18 year olds decision. (I will admit over the years I have been upset over a recruit's decisions and Nusser has had to bring me back down to reality. I had to fight it again this last year, so do not worry I am part of the "we" category) So I want to dig into recruiting deeper to see if there is any reason why we should get wrapped up in an 18 year olds decision.

I decided to look at the different recruiting classes over the past 3 years. I examined the classes and their correlation with how teams finished in the BCS standings. Here is how I evaluated it. Let's say a player is a 2008 recruit, which makes his freshman (or redshirt) year the Fall of 2008, sophomore year (RS) Fall 2009 and the Fall of 2010 would be his 3rd year in the program. The 3rd year is when (most would agree) a team starts to reap the rewards of its recruiting class.

As you can see below, I listed the recruiting class rankings and the teams BCS rank that year. In 2008 Alabama had the #1 recruiting class and was ranked 16th in the nation. Three years later Alabama wasn't even ranked in the top 10. I thought maybe it was because players left for the NFL, but I was wrong, many of the 2008 recruits--like Mark Ingram and Julio Jones--were still there. Now if you look at TCU in 2008 they were almost the opposite of Alabama. They had the #144 recruiting class and three years later finished third in the nation.

Take note, the only school in the 2008 top 10 recruiting class to finish in the BCS top 10 (three years later) was Ohio State. In the 2009-10 season only two schools from the 2007 top 10 recruiting rankings finished in the BCS top 10. I also listed WSU and UW recruiting ranks for fun, UW being the fun part.

2010-11 BCS Standing

Recruiting

2008 Recruiting Rankings

BCS

Rank

Rank

1

Auburn

18

1

Alabama

16

2

Oregon

23

2

Notre Dame

N/A

3

TCU

114

3

Miami

N/A

4

Stanford

43

4

Ohio State

6

5

Wisconsin

26

5

Georgia

N/A

6

Ohio State

4

6

Michigan

N/A

7

Oklahoma

13

7

LSU

11

8

Arkansas

24

8

Florida State

23

9

Michigan State

56

9

USC

N/A

10

Boise State

64

10

UCLA

N/A










14

Washington




74

WSU



O



2009-10 BCS Standings

Recruiting

2007 Recruiting Rankings

BCS

Rank

Rank

1

Alabama

22

1

Florida

4

2

Ohio State

16

2

USC

14

3

Boise State

57

3

Texas

5

4

Florida

1

4

Tennesse

N/A

5

Texas

3

5

LSU

21

6

TCU

73

6

Auburn

22

7

Oklahoma

30

7

South Carolina

N/A

8

Nebraska

21

8

Pittsburgh

15

9

Iowa

37

9

Oregon

11

10

Virginia Tech

25

10

Michigan

N/A










29

Washington




54

WSU













2008-09 BCS Standings

Recruting

2006 Recruiting Rankings

BCS

Rank

Rank

1

Florida

2

1

USC

4

2

Texas

3

2

Florida

1

3

Oklahoma

7

3

Texas

2

4

USC

1

4

Georgia

13

5

Alabama

18

5

Notre Dame

23

6

Ohio State

13

6

Penn State

10

7

Virginia Tech

31

7

LSU

11

8

Mississippi

15

8

Oklahoma

3

9

Oklahoma State

16

9

Auburn

N/A

10

Penn State

6

10

Michigan

N/A










35

Washington





45

WSU


The schools that finished in the top 10 in recruiting over the last three years did not consistently (more than two years in a row) finish in the BCS top 10. In fact, it is hard to finish in the BCS top 10 three years in a row period. LSU, Michigan and USC are the only schools to finish in the top 10 in recruiting three years in a row. These charts also show you how bad Michigan performed during this time. The recruits for Michigan evaluation process was either off or the players didn't fit RichRod's system at all. I did find it interesting how good of a job TCU and Boise State did in evaluating talent and developing that talent. A lot of people think it is because of the weak conferences that they play in, but these two schools have proven that they can play with the top BCS programs.

On the flip side, in 2007 UCLA had a top 10 recruiting class and three years later they were a disaster. All these different examples might suggest that the recruiting system is flawed. I would not go as far as to say the system is flawed, but a part of the evaluation process could be wrong. (UCLA could have also had good recruiters and bad coaching) A player who commits to USC can go from a 3-star to a 4-star just because a major BCS school was interested. This is not usually the case when a 3-star player signs with WSU or TCU. Chester Su'a is the only WSU recruit that I can recently remember who has gone up in ranking after he committed to WSU.

How else can we judge if recruits are being evaluated effectively? Let's look at the CFN All-Freshman team. In the charts below I have assembled the 2008, 2009 and 2010 CFN All-Freshman teams. I also listed what star they were ranked, what position they were recruited as, if they redshirted and if they were the #1 over-all recruit that year.


2010 CFN All-Freshman Team













Offense






Name

School

Recruited As

Red Shirt

Star

#1

QB

Aaron Murry

Georgia

QB

X

5


RB

Marcus Lattimore

South Carolina

RB


5

1

RB

James White

Wisconsin

RB


3


WR

Marquess Wilson

WSU

WR


3


WR

Robert Woods

USC

WR


5

1

TE

Gavin Escobar

SDSU

TE

X

2


OL

Lucke Joeckel

Texas A&M

OT


4


OL

Seantrel Henderson

Miami

OT


5

1

OL

Jon Halapio

Florida

OG

X

3


OL

James Hurst

North Carolina

OT


5


OL

James

Tennessee

OT


3


K

Ross Krautman

Syracuse

K


2


KR

Andre Debose

Florida

WR

X

5










Defense






Name

School

Recruited As

Red Shirt

Star

#1

DL

Rossevelt Nix

Kent State

FB


2


DL

Justin Washington

Arizona

DT

x

2


DL

Damontre Moore

Texas A&M

DE


3


DL

Junior Onyeali

Arizona State

DE


3


LB

Shaun Lewis

Okalahoma State

OLB


4


LB

Kevin Pierre-Louis

Boston College

OLB


3


LB

Jackson Jeffcoat

Texas

DE


5


DB

Brian Blechen

Utah

OLB


3


DB

Xavier Rhodes

Florida State

WR

X

3


DB

Tony Jefferson

Oklahoma

OLB


4


DB

Ricardo Allen

Purdue

CB


3


P

Kirby Van Der Kamp

Iowa State

P


2


PR

Terrence Mitchell

South Florida

CB


4










2009 CFN All Freshman Team






Offense






Name

School

Recruited As

Red Shirt

Star

#1

QB

Andrew Luck

Stanford

QB

X

5


RB

Dion Lewis

Pittsburgh

RB


3


RB

Ryan Williams

Virginia Tech

RB

X

4


RB

LaMichael James

Oregon

RB

X

3


WR

Eric Page

Toledo

WR


2


WR

Alshon Jeffery

South Carolina

WR


4


TE

Orson Charles

Georgia

TE


5


OT

Michael Philipp

Oregon State

OG


4


OT

Barrett Jones

Alabama

OT

X

4


C

Dalton Freeman

Clemson

OG

X

4


OG

David DeCastro

Stanford

C

X

4


OT

Tanner Hawkinson

Kansas

TE

X

4










Defense






Name

School

Recruited As

Red Shirt

Star

#1

DE

Aldon Smith

Missouri

DE

X

3


DT

Jerel Worthy

Michigan State

DT

X

3


DT

Kawann Short

Purdue

DT

X

3


DE

Nick Perry

USC

DE

X

4


LB

Luke Kuechly

Boston College

SLB


3


LB

Vontaze Burfict

Arizona State

MLB


5

1

LB

Manti Te'o

Notre Dame

SLB


5

1

CB

Stephon Gilmore

South Carolina

S


5


S

Rashard Hall

Clemson

S


3


S

John Boyett

Oregon

S

X

3


CB

Josh Robinson

UCF

CB


3


P

Jeff Locke

UCLA

P

X

4










2008 CFN All Freshman Team






Offense






Name

School

Recruited As

Red Shirt

Star

#1

QB

Russell Wilson

NC State

QB

X

2


RB

Jacquizz Rodgers

Oregon State

RB


4


RB

Darren Evans

Virginia Tech

RB

X

4


WR

DeAndre Brown

Southern Miss

WR


5


WR

AJ Green

Georgia

WR


5


TE

Kyle Rudolph

Notre Dame

TE


5

1

OT

Matt Reynolds

BYU

C


3


OG

Mason Cloy

Clemson

C

X

3


C

Ben Jones

Georgia

C


3


OG

Cordy Glenn

Georgia

OT


4


OT

Elvis Fisher

Missouri

OT

X

3










Defense






Name

School

Recruited As

Red Shirt

Star

#1

DE

Marcus Robinson

Miami

WLB


4


DT

Lawrence Guy

Arizona State

DT


4


DT

Marcus Forston

Miami

DT


5

1

DE

Brandon Harold

Kansas State

DE


2


LB

Travis Lewis

Oklahoma

MLB

X

4


LB

Chris Marve

Vanderbilt

MLB

X

2


LB

Sean Spence

Miami

WLB


4


CB

Janoris Jenkins

Florida

CB


4


S

Earl Thomas

Texas

CB

X

4


S

Trent Hunter

Texas A&M

S


4


CB

Daquan Bembry

Marshall

CB

X

2


PK

Philip Welch

Wisconsin

K

X

2


PK

Bryan Anger

Cal

P

X

4










35

4 Star or higher






33

3 Star or Lower





In 2010 there were more 3-Star recruits and lower on the All-Freshman than in the previous two years. In 2008 there were nine 3-stars and lower, in 2009 there were 10 and in 2010 there were 15. This chart shows that just because a player is a 3-Star and lower doesn't mean that he cannot become a great player. If the recruitment evaluation process was perfect these charts should be loaded with 5-Star recruits. Only 11 out of the 68 players listed are 5-Star recruits. You can also see that in the last two years the defensive line has been the hardest to evaluate. It was almost 50/50 between 4-stars & higher and 3-Stars & lower.

What does all this tell me? That ranking recruits is not full proof and that just because a team has great recruiting class does not guarantee success. For instance, LaMichael James was 3-Star recruit and was ranked a 3-Star because of his size. If they evaluate players like James just based on that, these recruiting services are ranking players more on NFL talent than college talent. A great example is Adrian Peterson, everyone knew he had the talent to play in the NFL and that is what made him a 5-Star recruit. The reason these scouting services have to evaluate this way is because it is hard to evaluate based on what kind of offense or defensive scheme these players might play in. They have to evaluate all players on the same evaluation system because there is no other way to do it. This can make the recruiting system seem flawed because once a player gets to college certain players are going to thrive in the system they are in. Would James be as productive in USC's offense as he is in Oregon's? Would Colt Brennan have broken the touchdown record playing for Penn State? Don't get me wrong, there is value in these recruiting websites, but they have to judge players on the same scale and not what system "they think" these recruits will thrive in. And to add to this, I don't think scouts are able to cover every high school player in the nation (or outside the country) effectively and evaluate every player in the same way. Scouts look at things differently than other scouts. They also sometimes have to evaluate off of crappy video or video that only show highlights, not all the lowlights. There is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to evaluating high school recruits.

After doing all this research I am not getting myself emotionally attached to a recruit, especially if he changes his mind like Nembot and Cleveland did in years past. I was not upset as much as I think I was bummed because of how much effort Wulff and Co. had invested into these guys and then to see them (at the last minute) leave for what they see as greener pastures. We need to focus on the ones who make their decision to come to WSU, the kids who decide to make a commitment to be Cougs. This year, if there are recruits like Sankey who don't choose WSU, we should all care less and move on. Go Cougs!

This FanPost does not necessarily reflect the views of the site's writers or editors, who may not have verified its accuracy. It does, however, reflect the views of this particular fan, which is just as important as the views of our writers or editors.

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