ESPN raises the wrong questions
This article on ESPNBoston is generating a bit of buzz for all the wrong reason. BC guy Brad Zak used the Haden situation to ask "is BC not the place to develop top talent?" I hate to be so blunt -- especially towards a BC guy -- but this is beyond stupid. If you want to measure BC's ability to develop top talent, you should probably use Wins and NFL Draft picks as a measurement, not how some teenage recruit panned out. In fact, Haden's situation should be more of an indictment against the flawed and foolish recruiting rating system so many fans are slaves to. It has been a while since I stated my case about recruiting, so let's use this article and Haden's issues to take another look.
First let me say that recruiting is important. You need good players to win and you need to sell potential recruits on your school. But overlooked in recruiting is eyeing talent. We give too much credit to the evaluators at Rivals, Scout and ESPN. They don't know anything. Sure they have some measurables and if all the big powers are going after a kid, it is probably safe to say he is good. But there are so many other factors in play, that using the recruiting systems as anything definitive is dumb. I always fall back to the NFL. Look how many top picks become total busts even though the NFL teams are able to make more informed decisions when they select their players. You also need to look no further than your real life experiences. If you've ever hired someone or worked in recruiting, you know how challenging it can be. Someone who looks great on paper or was great in job A doesn't always fit with job B. It happens.
Then there is just the unplanned. Who knows what would have become of Toal or Haden if not for injuries? You can't plan on a guy like Montel Harris stepping up and exceeding his recruiting rankings. That is not BC's fault. If Haden transfers and becomes a star at his next stop, I won't use that as an indictment against the staff either. Sometime players develop at different rates. Take Andre Callendar. After his second season, few would have predicted the dominant performance of his senior season.
But don't use my theories or anecdotes to judge the process. Use the recruiting services themselves. Below are the four and five star recruits from Rivals' database going back to 2002.
2002 -- Josh Beekman, Will Blackmon, Shadu Moore, Jeremy Simpson, Jim Unis
2003 -- Dorien Bryant, Andre Callender, Ryan Poles
2004 -- Brandon Robinson, Brian Toal (five star)
2005 -- Andre Jones, Pat Sheil
2006 -- Richard Lapham, Jordon McMichael
2007 -- Corey Eason, John Elliott
2008 -- Mike Goodman, Josh Haden, Okechuckwu Okoroha
2009 -- Dillon Quinn
If you look at this group and their careers, how can you put much weight into the star system producing stars? Some never stepped on campus or left shortly thereafter. Some had unfortunate injury situations and others just weren't that good. What's more interesting are the names that aren't on the list. Where's Matt Ryan, Herzlich, Silva, Tennant, Castanzo, Kuechly, etc?
I am glad ESPNBoston is covering BC but this effort missed the boat. Maybe as a follow up, Zak should ask who is evaluating the evaluators?