Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Does recruiting equal success – the case for 2005

I recently did a piece in which I averaged the recruiting classes for 115 Division I-A schools for the period of 2003-2006 to see if a high average class rank equaled success in 2006. For the most part, it did.

Scout.com keeps records of recruiting classes back to 2002, so I decided to use the 2002-2005 data to see how our previous study did for the 2005 season. If anything, the relationship between recruiting classes by Scout and success was stronger for the 2005 season than 2006.

The top average class for 2002-2005 was Oklahoma, averaging 4.25. The top 25 average classes for the 4 year period were as follows (with average class rank) –

1 Oklahoma 4.25
2 USC 5
3 Tennessee 5.5
4 Florida State 6.25
5 Miami (Fl) 6.25
6 Georgia 7.5
7 Michigan 8.5
8 LSU 9.5
9 Texas 9.5
10 Florida 10.75
11 Ohio State 11.5
12 Texas A&M 12
13 Virginia 16.5
14 Notre Dame 18.75
15 Auburn 20
16 South Carolina 20.25
17 North Carolina State 22.5
18 UCLA 22.5
19 Maryland 23
20North Carolina 25
21 Texas Tech 26
22 Arkansas 26.5
23 Penn State 26.5
24 Virginia Tech 27.5
25 Alabama 29.25

Of the top 25 average classes, 15 were ranked in the top 25 for 2005 in the Coaches’ poll. Statistically speaking, if one has 115 classes one would expect 4.6 classes in the top 25 if recruiting ranking was unrelated to success (random). With 2006’s results of 13 teams in the top 25, it appears there is some correlation between recruiting success (as ranked by Scouts) and eventual actual success.

To recap, the top 25 for 2005 were

2005 - Final Coaches Poll
Final Poll released after Bowl Games

1 Texas
2 Southern California
3 Penn St.
4 Ohio St.
5 Louisiana St.
6 West Virginia
7 Virginia Tech
8 Alabama
9 Texas Christian
10 Georgia
11 Notre Dame (IN)
12 Oregon
14 Auburn (AL)
15 Wisconsin
16 Florida
17 Boston College (MA)
18 Miami (FL)
19 Texas Tech
20 Louisville (KY)
21 Clemson (SC)
22 Oklahoma
23 Florida St.
24 Nebraska
25 California

Major busts in 2005 included Tennessee, Michigan, Texas A&M, Virginia and South Carolina. USC was ranked exactly in line with their average recruiting class of the four years prior.

After signing day, we will average the four years from 2004-2007 to see what we might expect for the coming year. In both studies, the eventual mythical national champion was ranked no worse than 9th in trailing 4 year average recruiting classes (9th for Texas, 4th for Florida). If these two studies hold true, we can expect at least 14 of the top 25 average classes to end the year ranked in the top 25 of the Coaches’ poll (likely a far better percentage than your average pre-season poll).

1 comment:

JJ Gator said...

Good point; it only proves to further debunk the myth of "Zook the master receuiter.

Speaking of which, ESPN's Mark Schlabach wrote a piece of ridiculous drivel singing the praises of Zook's efforts at "Illinoise". When I read it I nearly threw up.

The best thing Zook did at Florida was get fired as far as I'm concerned.

Now that Meyer has shown that he possesses very good aptitude both as a coach and a recruiter, we should start seeing the results change. Our 2005 class wasn't a full one due to the coaching transition, but if Meyer can keep bringing in the top classes we should see a noticeable difference.