Dancing with the stars: my take on recruiting grades
Now that the season is over, the attention of the college football world shifts to recruiting.
I spend way too much time thinking about BC sports. However, I barely pay attention to recruiting. Why? The rankings are a political farce. Injuries, attitude, coaching, growth, grades, drugs, and maturity all impact a player from his signing day to graduation.
Look at the NFL. They have much better evaluation data to work with and still miss on plenty of players. Why do we put so much weight into what guys like Tom Lemming or Mike Farrell think? These guys are salesman and self-promoters…calling coaches and players and exchanging rankings for access. Farrell is a reporter, not a good evaluator. If he was a real judge of talent he would be making real money working for a team. Lemming’s scorched earth history speaks for itself.
Don’t believe that these rankings are highly subjective? Take a look at the 2002 class. (This is the oldest data available on both Scout and Rivals.) Explain the disparity in rankings? Could it be that Farrell -- one of Rivals main evaluators-- pumped up a friendly school like BC.
|Player||Rivals Rating||Scout Rating||Comments|
|Larry Anam||***||*||Backup safety. Outplayed by younger two-star (Silva)|
|Josh Beekman||****||**||Approaching 30 starts. Awesome, consistent player. My 2005 Offensive MVP|
|Will Blackmon||****||****||Great talent. Never found a natural position at BC.|
|Ricky Brown||***||*||Key if unheralded player. Led team in tackles as Junior|
|Jeff Burns||***||*||Non factor. Busted for DUI before Boise.|
|Karin El Nokali||***||*||Never got higher than third on the depth chart|
|Anthony Gonzalez||***||Not Listed||Clutch performer. Best hands on the team.|
|Jason Lilly||***||*||Role player. Often injured.|
|James Marten||***||*||Stud starter.|
|Shadu Moore||****||****||Non factor. Cannot break into starting lineup.|
|Survival Ross||**||Not listed||Named starter in 2004 opener. Road the bench since.|
|Taylor Sele||***||*||Back up.|
|Jeremy Simpson||****||*||Suffered a career ending neck injury. Never played a down.|
|Jim Unis||****||****||Played as a true frosh. Career cut short by concussions.|
|Al Washington||***||*||Solid four-year starter.|
|Robert Ziminski||***||*||Non factor.|
As you can see, the rankings didn’t accurately forecast anything. Beekman, Washington and Brown all carried this team. Yet their rankings were inline with guys like Burns, El Nokali and Ziminski. You just don’t know what is going to happen to an 18-year-old on his leap from high school to college.
My advice: instead of worrying about why we didn’t land this guy or that, think more about player development and depth. I don’t care about what Rivals thinks of our 2004 class or if someone like Shadu Moore is a **** or ***.
How the coaches manage and develop talent is important to me. I do care about why the staff hasn’t found a game breaking receiver in nine years. I do wonder why it took so long to develop depth at Linebacker. Players make a difference. Recruiting rankings do not. Winning trumps it all. No one is going to remember who had the best recruiting class in say 1997. They will remember that Michigan and Nebraska won National Championships.