Lessons from the Recruiting Class of 2003
[Before I get too far into the class of '03 let me quickly explain how I think recruiting factors into winning. I think a third of a program’s success is about recruiting and evaluating players. I think another third of a program’s success is training and coaching the players once they get on campus. The final piece of the puzzle, in my opinion, is the actual gameday coaching and strategy. Obviously this theory cannot be confirmed but something has to explain programs like Ohio State, Virginia Tech and even BC, outperforming their recruiting rankings.]
The Class of 2003 is BC’s winningest and produced numerous contributors who have helped BC football over the last five seasons. Looking closer shows that even our best recruiting class still had misses and that they were not the sole reason for our 2007 success. (Only 70% of the recruiting class even played this season and you could argue that a handful of them regressed).
So remember this chart as we gush about Jags’ first full class in a couple of weeks. Clear lessons:
1. One class does not make or break a program.
2. It is often very hard to project who is going to be a star and who is not.
3. The recruiting rankings are not perfect indicators.
Scout ranked this class 27th nationally. Rivals ranked BC 24th
|Player|| Rivals |
|Played in 2007||Comments|
|Tom Anevski||3||3||Yes||Contributor and part-time starter in 2006 and 2007.|
|Justin Bell||3||2||No||Battled injuries throughout his career.|
|Dorien Bryant||4||3||No||Never played for BC. Went to Purdue after a stint in prep school.|
|Andre Callender||4||3||Yes||Contributor for three seasons. Blossomed into great player as a Senior.|
|Kevin Challenger||3||2||Yes||Started as a Junior and Senior. Solid possession receiver his final three seasons.|
|Gosder Cherilus||3||4||Yes||Started all four seasons.|
|Jo-Lonn Dunbar||3||3||Yes||Two-time captain. Critical player his final three seasons.|
|Ryan Glasper||3||2||No||Four year starter. Used up eligibility prior to 2007.|
|Ty Hall||3||3||Yes||Contributor and part-time starter over four years.|
|Trey Koziol||3||3||No||Battled injuries.|
|Ray Lankford||3||2||No||Rarely played.|
|Nick Larkin||3||3||Yes||Important contributor. Three-year starter.|
|Taji Morris||3||2||Yes||Rare contributor as a FR, SO or JR. Very nice season in 2007.|
|Brad Mueller||3||3||No||Rarely played.|
|Paul Peterson||3||2||No||Critical part of 2003 and 2004 seasons.|
|Ryan Poles||4||3||Yes||Another late bloomer who was having a great season until getting hurt at Notre Dame.|
|Tyronne Pruitt||3||2||Yes||Two-year starter. Important part of 2007 season.|
|Matt Ryan||3||3||Yes||Key leader for the past 2.5 seasons.|
|Kevin Sheridan||3||2||Yes||Started in 2006. Rarely played in 2007.|
|Jamie Silva||2||2||Yes||Contributed as a redshirt freshman. Key starter his final three seasons.|
|Ryan Thompson||3||3||Yes||Contributed throughout his career. Diminished role in 2007.|
|DeJuan Tribble||3||3||Yes||Key starter his last three seasons.|
|LV Whitworth||3||2||Yes||Started his first three seasons. Diminished role in 2007.|
|Danny Zepp||3||2||No||Rarely played.|
A few more thoughts on this class…
-- Ryan and Peterson were both fall back plans. TOB and staff swung for bigger fish and missed. And both were expected to sit behind Quinton Porter. They embody how hard it is to evaluate QBs and how important a Quarterback can be to a successful season.
-- Even once a kid gets onto the field you cannot always predict how they will develop year to year. Sheridan, LV, Challenger and Thompson all saw diminished roles this season. Gosder regressed. Callender and Poles looked like new players as seniors.
-- There is something to be said for managing your roster. Dunbarr was brought in as a RB and moved to LB. Remember this when our 2008 recruiting class is filled with a bunch of QBs, RBs and DBs. Some of those guys will play other positions.
-- Redshirting is not fool proof. Everyone loves to tout redshirting. We’ve benefited from it, but did an extra year of seasoning help Zepp or Mueller or Lankford? If a guy can play, he can play. And not everyone gets asked back for a 5th season.
In the offseason I may dig deeper into recruiting and try to make sense of this inexact science.