Monday, February 04, 2008

Rankings Schmankings

Paul Johnson has reeled in a few new recruits the past few days:

Omoregie Uzzi, 6'3" 291lb OG, 4-star kid from Chamblee GA.
Daniel McKayhan, 6'0", 180lb, 2-star WR from Lithonia GA (video here)
Quentin Sims, 6'4" 190lb, 2-star WR from Cincy OH

In addition, it looks like Lee Butler, who switched his commit from Duke to GT, is waivering again. How about this from the article:

Because Tech runs the triple option under Johnson, the former Navy coach, Butler
agreed with Duke coaches who said, “how in the world can a (defensive back) be
the best he can be if he’s not going against top-notch receivers?”

Excellent point, because heaven knows since they've won like ONE ACC game in like 4 years, Duke is stocked with guys that will teach DB's to learn the game. Love that one. But hey, all's fair in love and recruiting.............. considering we went after him after he committed to Duke anyhow.

So let's get back to recruit rankings. Everyone knows it, but we should remind - grains of saltiness required. Look, it's fun to look at recruiting rankings and try to see where you "stack up" against other schools. However, I think there's enough proof out there that shows and and and every other ranking service are making nothing more than semi-educated guesses. It's not so hard for them to figure out the 4/5 star guys. But does anyone really expect that they can evaluate and rank all those hundreds other other players and figure out who is a 2/3 star vs 4? Come on.

Case in point. just re-ranked the 2004 classes. GT was originally ranked #35, but low-and-behold, after on-the-field results, they come in at #15, even ahead of our sisters in Athens, who DROPPED from #6 to #17. Last year David Glenn of the ACC Sports Journal ranked ACC classes in what was Chan Gailey's 2nd recruiting class. What was considered near the bottom of the ACC at the time ended up ranked as the #1 recruiting class in the ACC - based on real results and production.

It goes on and on. Recruiting services cater to an audience. They are trying to drive revenue. You don't think it's a coincidence that Notre Dame has wonderful classes every year yet somehow manage to NEVER live up to them? Money makes the world go-round. Folks, GT consistently out-performs our recruiting rankings year-after-year-after-year-after-year-etc-etc. We just don't have quite the audience of Texas, Michigan, etc, etc.

Having said all that - the services get a lot correct - just mainly the players at the top of the lists. Beyond the truly elite players, it gets REAL fuzzy........ and of course there are other factors that determine "success" after four years - strength/conditioning programs, academics, the "system", good coaches, talent evaluation.

In hindsight, I think it's fair to say that Chan Gailey was an outstanding evaluator of talent. That doesn't always mean he got his guy, but he knew how to pick out a lot of those supposed "2 star" guys and magically turn them into 4/5 star wonders. Andrew Gardner was a 2-star guy that only Duke and Vandy wanted to take a chance on and now 2 all-ACC teams later, look who's talking. There are plenty of examples.

I only ramble on in order to make the point not to get caught up in stars and numbers. On paper this class looks like it has a chance to be a decent one. On paper it has a lot of potential. On paper it looks very consistent across the board. In the end games aren't played on paper. Don't sweat the rankings too much. Just have fun with them. And when your Clemson friends gloat about their top 5 class ranking, just tell them how much fun it will be whooping them again, only this time with a new coach and a new system.