Roster balance will always be a challenge to college coaches. Injures and transfers lead to the premature end of many college careers. But a good, well-organized coach should be able to manage some of that attrition through solid recruiting. In an ideal world you would take a predetermined base of players at various postitions annually. Then -- depending on your forecasted need -- you would use your extra scholarships to supplement your base.
If you plan to recruit 15 players each year as part of your base that commits a program to 75 scholarships over a five year cycle. Conservatively assume that 10% of those commits will not play five years. That leaves the cycle with 68 scholarships. BCS programs allow for 85 scholarships. If BC used the 15 scholarship base, at any one time they would still have 17 more scholarships to spread out based on need, transfers or rewarding walk-ons.
If 15 is the base number, how should that 15 be dispersed. These are my suggestions:
Quarterback -- 1
Running back -- 1
Wide Receiver -- 1
Tight End -- 1
Offensive Line -- 3
Defensive Tackle -- 1
Defensive End -- 1
Linebacker -- 3
Defensive Back -- 3
Explanation: Taking a QB every year makes sense. It allows for redshirting and for being pretty straight forward in the recruiting process: "You're going to be our only QB recruit this year!" Running back is similar to QB. However, a difference is that some of the other recruits can be switched to running back if needed (DB, LB, etc). In most high school programs your best athletes have played running back or QB. So if you ever need to switch someone to either of those positions odds are he would have some basic familiarity from playing the position in his younger days.
Wide Receiver is probably under represented in the base. But my feeling is that it can be over recruited when needed with the extra scholarships. Obviously if BC ever moved away from pro-style to a more pass happy spread, I think BC would need two WRs every year.
Although I allocated a certain number for DE, TE and LB, there are many situations where they could overlap or move players around. We've seen players before who were recruited to play one position (Brad Newman) but had enough athleticism to move around to others. Dan Williams is another guy who played LB, DE and FB.
Considering I started this post because of our depleted DT situation, it might seem that taking one DT every year is not enough. But if you offset it by taking three offensive linemen each year, someone from the offensive side will be available at DT.
None of this is rocket science. Most programs manage to it. That's what makes our inability to manage to need that much more confounding. Am I missing something here? Does anyone not think we should bring in one DT or one QB every year? If you would structure the recruiting base differently, leave your suggestions below. You never know if Spaz might read it and have a eureka moment.