"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
Before signing day I took a look at how team recruiting rankings were predictive of future success. I found that good defenses almost always come with good recruits, but on offense great offense often comes without being fully stocked, although it doesn’t hurt.
This week I wanted to look more at the individual level by comparing recruiting rankings to draft success. For most positions college success is going to translate well into future draft status. Michigan might have the biggest exception to that rule in Denard Robinson (although some think he might be a top WR pick). For almost everywhere on the field but rushing quarterback, college success and production are highly correlated to NFL stock. It’s not perfect but it’s a great place to start.
The debate on do recruit rankings matter rages on. Dr. Saturday, may he blog in peace, annually refreshed his look to affirm their accuracy. Rarely do you find anything resembling an analytical take down but from even the best writers on college football can come the anecdotal dismissal. Hopefully those of us who prefer to use data have already won you over and this can be a nice look at some of the ups and downs within the overall success of recruiting rankings. If you’re there yet, hopefully you are after you read this.
The Data Sets
On the recruit side, the pool of players will be the recruiting classes of 2002-2006. All but 2-3 of those players have had their shot to be drafted between the 2005 and the 2011 drafts. I will only be looking at the players who were ranked for their position, as well. This means I have all 4 & 5 stars and the best of the 3 stars. I excluded fullbacks and specialists because the numbers are pretty low and they are mostly all 3 stars or less.
It’s All in How You Word It
There are two key arguments against recruiting rankings. The first is the one used by Bruce Feldman in his recent article on Stanford linked above. It’s the yeah but what about…argument. Ignore recruiting rankings because Stanford is good. Ignore recruiting rankings because JJ Watt is good. There of course exceptions. There are plenty of flameouts and come from nowhere success stories but this is a volume game and the exceptions don’t disprove the rule.
The second argument is the famed failure to divide. Here are two true statements:
If you are drafted, you are more likely to be a three star or less recruit than four or five star.
The more stars you have the more likely you are to be drafted.
The first statement is used by opponents of rankings but isn’t really a relevant statement. The second is the key point. If every single five star was drafted, there would still be six times more three stars and below drafted than five stars. Because four stars and above are so selective they can’t win the quantity game but they dominate the likelihood game. The NFL is full of unheralded recruits but for every five start there are literally hundreds of unheralded recruits playing college football. The pool just starts much bigger.
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
So at this point we can all agree that recruiting rankings matter, right? If you’ve made it this far you’ve earned a chart.
Percent of Recruits Drafted
|Position*||5 star||4 star||3 star|
*Position based on recruited position, not drafted position
Across all positions, each additional star more than doubles your likelihood of being drafted. It’s not only true in the aggregate but at the position level, as well. There isn’t a single position where a 3 star recruit is more likely to be drafted than a four star. And this is a self-selected group of 3 stars and not the entire pool. In almost every case, a fifth star is another large bump from 4 stars. OLB, OT and WDE are virtually equivalent between 4 and 5 stars. Even a largely college specific position like Dual-Threat QB (RQB) and undefined positions like Athlete show the same trend.
The top positions for 5 star success are Athlete, DT, ILB and Safety at over 60% and the tight end position which was a perfect 4/4 in getting 5 stars drafted.
But getting drafted is only half the story, the other is draft position.
Average Pick For Drafted Players
|Position||5 star||4 star||3 star|
At the position level, the draft spot doesn’t hold up quite as well as the previous chart, but overall there is a strong trend favoring the higher starred players. On average, a drafted five star player will be picked in the middle of the third round, nearly a full round ahead of the average four star player and another 17 picks ahead of ranked three star players.
On twitter on Friday I teased a question about which position did five stars underperform four star counterparts. There is actually a position on each side of the ball. On defense it’s outside linebackers that don’t follow the trend and on offense it’s the tackles.
I think it’s interesting that Rivals has struggled to match top high school talent at position like tackle, outside linebacker and defensive end at the rate they have at other positions. Despite the weakness at these positions, similar positions like guard, inside linebacker and defensive tackle have had their rankings hold up quite well.
Don’t get too hung up on the magic of the fourth or fifth star. They are a nice aggregation but there isn’t going to be much difference between the last five start and the first four star. The bottom line is the higher ranked a recruit is the better they are likely to be, with plenty of exceptions. Positions like tackle, weakside d-end and outside linebacker the difference between a four star and a five is almost negligible. And there are no guarantees. Loading up on top talent gives you the highest likelihood of having team success and successful individuals, but when you get down to the specific player level it becomes a crapshoot. More 5 stars players never hear their names called than ones who do. For four stars it’s still a nearly 4:1 chance against getting drafted.
Examining Line Combinations and Defensive Pairings:
Today we look at how each line preformed as a group, to see which groups have been most effective.
Before we get started just a few notes:
- Many +/- numbers, goals and assists have been left off. The Wolverines used about thirty different forward combinations this season and many of them scored one time and never played together again. For that reason those numbers have been excluded.
- To avoid huge numbers a line only gets +1 or -1 when a goal is scored. +/- are not added together
- A line can earn more than one assist per goal scored.
- This only includes CCHA play
- This is not reflective of individual points or +/- Looking at overall stats and trying to compare them to what I have will confuse you. Any attempt to add them together to prove me wrong will result in hours of wasted time.
|K. Lynch-Deblois-T. Lynch||3||3||6||+3||-3|
As we can see here the top line does the heavy lifting and it's not even close. Our chances of winning can be directly attributed to how they are playing, because as you can see after that line scoring drops.
Players like Sparks and Hyman are left off the list, because they never scored more then one point on the same combination.
From watching the games you could tell our PP is not very good. This group also used many different combinations that only scored one time, before finding a unit that kind of worked but really not that well.
This looks pretty bad. Mac Bennett and Greg Pateryn have been pairing the entire year, they seem to get a boost in the + for being on the ice with the scoring line.
Moffie and Chiasson paired at the start of the season with bad results, and Moffie and Merrill haven't been that much better.
Another weak unit, stats don't say much here because of low numbers all across the board. Merrill-Moffie is much better than Pateryn-Bennett
Dear Coach Saban,
Congratulations on your recent College Football National Championship. Your Defense was truly inspiring, if not your television ratings. We hope all is well with you and your staff. We trust that you are enjoying a well deserved break before spring practice starts in earnest.
We, the Michigan faithful, are writing to you to ask you for your wisdom and guidance in an area where you are the undisputed master of the college football world. You see, we at Michigan suddenly find ourselves in a position that, quite frankly, bewilders and confuses us.
No doubt you've heard about the recent recruiting tear that we are on. It's only March, and we've already signed 11 4-star recruits, 8 of them in one weekend! That's more than the rest of the B1G teams . . . combined. But now it is starting to get out of hand. We are on the verge of having to turn away elite recruits in March because all of our slots are filling up. Worse, we are in a position where many of the players we may have to turn away are 5-stars. It's true. We have 5-stars lined up waiting to replace the 4-stars that we just recruited.
It's just not funny any more. We can't keep up with this madness. And with Coach Hoke on board at Michigan, it's likely to become an annual problem.
Coach, it has become clear to us that there is only one answer: Oversigning.
Yes, we know we are on record as being vigorously opposed to Oversigning. It's true we have looked down our noses on the SEC in general, and on this topic in particular. But that was when it was only a theoretical concept. Now that it's a real issue for us, well you know, we can kind of see the appeal. Perhaps we were a bit too harsh. Perhaps we were a bit too judgmental. There are lots of new innovative concepts out there being tried by true pioneers such as yourself, Coach Saban. Maybe it's time for us to quit being so insular, and get caught up to modern times.
The problem is, we're babes in the woods. We're Oversigning virgins. We don't understand any of this stuff . . . Greyshirting . . . Medical Hardships . . . and don't even get us started on how you can get to a roster of 85 players by signing 25 a year for 4 years. Our heads just hurt. So we ask ourselves: "What would Nick Saban do?” As the undisputed master of Oversigning, we humbly ask for your sage advice.
Coach Saban: Please teach us how to Oversign.
We have watched in awe all these years your expertise in Oversigning. We have watched you essentially recruit 5 classes to everyone else’s 4. We have watched you masterfully clear up roster space of, shall we say, "disposable players" to keep the recruiting pipeline flowing. We have even watched you clear up space within a recruiting class for better players, before any of those players even stepped foot on campus. Now that's Oversigning mastery.
Nick, please teach us the tricks of the trade. A skill-set such as yours should not be locked away. It needs to be shared where it will do the most good.
We at Michigan are ready for your lessons. We are willing to be your loyal apprentice. We will be the Luke Skywalker to your Yoda of Oversigning.
Thank You for your consideration,
The Michigan Faithful. Go Blue!
P.S. We are truly sorry for all the grief we caused you when you were at Michigan State. We were just doing what comes natural to us. It turns out your observations about MSU always being second fiddle to Michigan were on the money. In fact, they even came up with a name for it: "Little Brother". The current regime up there can certainly relate to your plight. But it all worked out OK for you. You moved on to "greener" pastures (sorry, lame joke). I hope we can let bygones be bygones and put this unfortunate history behind us, okay?
Since the men’s basketball team is still in the hunt for the Big 10 Conference crown, I feel inspired to look back at the year when Michigan last saw it’s hoopsters as the top of the conference heap. Let’s journey back to 1986…
Ronald Reagan is president and disarmament talks with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev are in full swing. It is the time of Perestroika and Russia is less scary than it used to be as the Cold War continues its denouement.
Reagan’s popularity takes a hit as the details of the Iran-Contra scandal begin to come to light. Ferdinand Marcos is ousted from power in the Philippines and his wife’s shoe collection becomes an enduring punch line. We learn about Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi for the first time…and after we bomb Tripoli, we don’t hear from him all that much until the Arab Spring.
It is the year of the Challenger tragedy and the Chernobyl disaster. Halleys Comet paid the Earth a visit, the Dow Jones was approaching 2000 and we were joining Hands Across America. It is the year the Bears did the Super Bowl Shuffle, Buckner doesn’t get his glove to the ground, and Larry Bird tastes champagne for the final time. Jack Nicklaus wins his last major at 46, Argentina wins the World Cup in Mexico, and Mike Tyson becomes the heavyweight champion of the world.
If you were a teenager, like myself, then you probably had a crush on Alyssa Milano, and lusted after Kathy Ireland or Elle Macpherson. You learned that Tom Cruise had a “need for speed” and Ferris Bueller explained to you that ‘life moves pretty fast”. You still wanted your MTV, you watched movies on VHS, listened to music on cassettes, and didn’t know that television or music should be played in HD. Aerosmith and Run DMC told us to “Walk This Way” while The Bangles wanted us to “Walk Like An Egyptian” and Bon Jovi just liked things “Slippery When Wet”.
1986 was also a pretty good time to be a Michigan Wolverine. Men’s basketball finished 28-5, 14-4 in the Big 10 and repeating as Big 10 Champions. That’s right, there was a time when the basketball team was a repeat conference champion. Bill Frieder’s Wolverines were lead by stars Roy Tarpley, Antoine Joubert and Gary Grant. Despite their conference title, Michigan continued their frustrating trend under Frieder of falling short of expectations in the NCAA tournament. In 1986, Michigan entered as a 2 seed but lost in the 2ndround to Iowa State by 3. Louisville, lead by “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison would go on to win the tournament (the first tournament to feature a shot clock FWIW) over Duke, who were making their first Final Four appearance under Mike Krzyzewski (and featuring future Michigan coach Tommy Amaker).
On the football front, Bo Schembechler fielded one of his greatest teams lead by senior All-American Jim Harbaugh and Jamie Morris and featuring All-Americans Garland Rivers and John Elliot. The Wolverines looked like a strong contender for the national championship, climbing to as high as second in the polls before losing on a last second field goal to Minnesota on the 2ndto last game of the season. Of course the enduring memory of the season now is the Jim Harbaugh guarantee to beat Ohio on the heels of that loss and making good on that promise in Columbus, downing the Bucks 26-24 and winning a share of the Big 10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl.
Michigan would go on to lose the Rose Bowl to John Cooper’s Arizona State Sun Devils, and finish 11-2 and ranked 7th. Michigan would get the last laugh on John Cooper…or the last dozen laughs when Ohio hired him as their head coach 2 years later and inaugurating 13 years that Buckeye fans now refuse to acknowledge as happening.
The other dominant athletic program on campus was the baseball team, lead by Coach Bud Middaugh. Having featured future MLB players such as Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo and incoming players such as Jim Abbott, Michigan was winning the 5thof the 6 Big 10 titles they picked up during the 1980’s. Middaugh’s record would later be tarnished as Michigan would be placed on probation by the NCAA for violations incurred during Middaugh’s tenure.
Other Michigan sports were on the rise. Two men who now lay legitimate claims to a spot on the Michigan Coaching Mount Rushmore were early into their tenures in Ann Arbor. John Urbanchek was leading the mens swim team to the first of what would be 13 Big 10 titles over the course of his 22 years at Michigan. The Michigan hockey program under Red Berenson was only in Year 2-3 of rebuilding in 1986. Our helmets had no wings, Yost had few fans, and Tiny Jesus was a year away from even being born. Glory seemed remote and fanciful as we were mostly suffering the indignity of living in the shadow of a Michigan State team that was winning the National Championship.
I hope you enjoyed this little stroll through “recent” history, especially since a lot of you probably weren’t even born yet. Just remember that while 1986 may be nostalgia for a lot of you, for some of us it was a time where a guy could wear pastels without being looked at funny, cell phones were something found in prison, and news was disseminated on paper. Here’s to hoping that should Michigan earn a share of the Big 10 title this year, we won’t have to wait another 26 years for the next one. Go Blue!
I figured this would be the easiest way to compile a list of potential inagural class candidates. The 190 comment thread would be a difficult place to keep track, so here we can be a little more organized. Make suggestions and I'll add them to the lists. Since this is just a way to keep track of potential candidates, feel free to throw out some "maybes." Mods, feel free to edit the OP accordingly.
This may also help keep that initial thread focused on the manner in which people are elected, etc. Without further adieu...
|Van Bergen, Ryan||2011|
|Van Bergen, Ryan||Football|
At first I was like...
That's what an extreme, come-from-behind, in-your-face gritty road win will do for your demeanor. #30 Michigan slipped to a dreadful 0-3 deficit on the road against #40 Vanderbilt before a rally led by 3 court Alex Petrone and sealed by 6 court Alex Buzzi won the match for the Wolverines. Buzzi has now won two straight matches on court 6 for Michigan.
It was another slightly schizophrenic day for No. 8 Evan King at 1 court, who prevailed in three sets over No. 66 Charles Jones, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3. I have trouble understanding how one's quality of play can swing so dramatically from set to set. Regardless, King's record has improved to 7-2 in singles matches this season.
Michigan's woes on 2 court continued as Shaun Bernstein was defeated 6-2, 7-6. 4 court Michael Zhu also went down in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
Two more matches remain before Big Ten play opens against MSU March 17: at Hawaii March 1, and at Wake Forest March 10. A split would leave Michigan at 6-5 and needing 7 wins out of 11 Big Ten games to match their season record from last year and qualify for the NCAAs. It's doable with this gritty, tenacious team but a sweep would make life easier.