Friday, February 09, 2007

Top recruiting classes 2004-2007

In two prior studies, we analyzed whether recruiting success as defined by resulted in on the field success. In doing so, we averaged the class rankings as given by Scout for the 4 years trailing 2005 and 2006. We used an equal weighting for each class rather than a weighted ranking. While a weighted ranking could be more appropriate, determining how to weight the rankings seems impossible. Certainly a freshman class might merit a lesser weighting, but senior classes too might be lesser ranked due to attrition and early NFL entries. In the end, equal weighting seemed fairest.

In the limited samples of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, average class rankings seemed significant to achievement. Of the top 50 average classes for two years (25 each year), 28 teams were ranked in the top 25 Coach’s poll at year’s end, or 56 %. As there are 115 teams in the rankings, one would expect statistically there to be only 9.2 teams in the top 25 for the two year period, so at 28 our analysis does seem to have statistical significance.

So, without further ado, the top recruiting classes on a four year basis per are –

The number after the team is the 4 year average of their class per Scout. USC, at number 1, has a seemingly incredible average class of 2.5.

First some commentary. The SEC, with 7 of the top 25 average classes, is apparently the most talent laden conference. The ACC is second with 5 teams, the Big 12 and Pac 10 tied for next with 4, the Big 10 has 3, and the Big East only 1.

Michigan is 3rd ranked, so if they are unable to get the OSU monkey off their backs, they might need to look to their coaching. With only 3 Big 10 teams on the list, look for the conference to be top heavy again.

The Pac 10 is likely also to be top heavy, with USC dominant again.

For those who have “counted out” FSU and Miami – watch out. They are still apparently talent rich at 8th and 11th overall. With the coaching changes at both schools, don’t be surprised by turnaround years.

Alabama rates a surprisingly high 14th. Maybe Saban can accomplish more next year than expected.

South Carolina is 18th, so Spurrier has the talent he needs. They will be interesting to watch.

North Carolina is a real surprise at 19th. Look for them to possibly be next year’s Cinderella.

I would imagine it difficult once again for any SEC team to compete for the MNC. Florida for instance has to play 5 of the 6 other top SEC teams, and 11th ranked FSU. That is the kind of schedule that beats you up.

Finally, based on our previous studies, we can expect several things from the teams on this list. Most every team listed will have a winning record (of the top 50 in the past 2 years, only 3 teams had losing records, and those records were only 1 game under .500).

14 of the teams listed will be in the top 25 of the Coach’s poll at year end.

And, if the past two studies hold true, one of the top 9 will be your mythical national champion.


Anonymous said...

Good review. What happened to Wisconsin? They recruited the nations best running back John Clay but now I see they have him a 4 star, maybe there's some kinda bias at work here. We all know Wisconsin is never going to end up ranked below 30th. More likely they'll finish no lower than 15th four years from now. Not that I'm a big Bager fan or anything but interesting how they were ranked so low in the past as you pointed out in previous posts. Thanks for you great research.

Mergz said...

Wisconsin was one of last year's abberrations in terms of performance v recruiting (they did much better than one might expect).

In the most recent data, their 4 year trailing class is tied for 37th overall, with an average class of 37.5 (the same as Michigan State).

Perhaps this year was a simple 1 off case of "overachievement". We will see.

If anyone else wants to know any school's ranking of the 115, I have the data.