this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
I've read here and elsewhere that going to the 3-3-5 will hurt recruiting, especially D-Line. The reasons given vary, but center on the assumption that D-Line players won't want to play the 3-3-5 since they are not "showcased" (or words to that effect). I decided to take a look at the one program I know runs the 3-3-5 consistently (WVU) and see if their defensive recruiting (and especially D-Line recruiting) is consistent with this claim.
**NOTE: ALL rankings according to Scout**
Last year, their defensive line recruiting was pretty good (2 3-star DTs, a 4-star DE and a 3-star DE to go along with two more 2-star linemen). That is a pretty good haul for WVU. For comparison, they only pulled in 6 3-star or above players on offense, compared to 4 on the D-Line alone (along with 8 more LBs or secondary players).
In 2007, they got a 4-star DT, a 3-star DE and one additional 2-star DT. Defensive recruiting again was a bit better than offensive, with only 2 of 16 defensive recruits below 3-star status (compared with 2 out of 11 on the offensive side).
In 2006 they had a crappy class in general, but note that 4 of their 5 3-star or higher rated players are on the defensive side of the ball.
In summary, while the recruiting classes at WVU are generally lower quality than UM classes, within those classes, RR doesn't seem to have had a problem recruiting for the 3-3-5, especially the D-Line. If fact, it seems he had an easier time recruiting defensive players than offensive players.
Side note: It does appear true that the supers WVU (rarely) got tended to be on the offensive side of the ball--Devine, Gwaltney, Jenkins--but those were few and far between.
The recent happenings at Auburn have left a few of their commits looking for possible new homes. Louisiana receiver Travante Stallworth is still committed to Auburn, but will be taking visits to both Michigan and South Carolina. He's 5' 10" 180 pounds, and runs a 4.4 40. He's a dual threat quarterback for his high school, and has been recruited as a wide receiver by every school but one. Take a look at which school that is after Stallworth's highlight video:
TOM: So are you still committed to Auburn, since you’re now looking at other schools?
TRAVANTE: Yes sir, I’m still committed to Auburn.
TOM: When did you decide you wanted to start looking around?
TRAVANTE: I decided last weekend to take visits, when I found out who the new coach was. I just wanted to look at new schools, and make sure I was still in the best place.
TOM: Was that the main reason, or was there anything else?
TRAVANTE: Well, they fired the staff too, and I was real close to the TE/WR coach. I haven’t talked to anybody from Auburn since. My recruiting coordinator got fired, but he called me yesterday. That’s the only person I’ve talked to.
TOM: So what schools are you most interested in right now?
TRAVANTE: I’m highly interested in Michigan, I’m real interested in South Carolina, and I’m kind of interested in TCU.
TOM: Tell me what it is about those schools that stand out to you.
TRAVANTE: With Michigan there’s so much history. My coach called me two weeks ago and said Michigan is interested, and my eyes got big, because not everyone gets that opportunity. I already know what kind of offense they run, and it’s the same offense we run in high school. With South Carolina it’s still in the south, and kind of close to home. They also said I’ll get a chance to play early. Steve Spurrier is a great coach, and his son is the offensive coordinator. In their offense, they throw the ball a lot, so I like that.
TOM: What position are you being recruited at?
TRAVANTE: Everyone is recruiting me as a wide receiver, and Michigan said I can try quarterback if I want.
TOM: Are you going to make an announcement if you decide to choose schools?
TRAVANTE: I’m just trying to wait and see how everything goes, I’ll probably just wait until signing date to see where I’m going to go.
TOM: What if you go to one of these visits, and it blows you away, do you think you’ll make a decision on the spot?
TRAVANTE: Yea, if it blows me away, then yea I’ll make a decision right there. My mom is coming with me on the visits, so she’ll be there to help.
TOM: I’ve seen your highlight tape, and you look good, what do you think the reason some schools are coming onto you late?
TRAVANTE: I don’t know why they came on late. Michigan is just looking for more athletes. A lot of schools don’t have a lot of time to talk during the season, so I understand. I think my commitment had something to do with it too.
TOM: What were the reasons that you originally committed to Auburn?
TRAVANTE: I chose Auburn because it was close to home, my dad is in the military and stationed 30 minutes away. I also have family in Florida, and the last thing was the offense they were running.
TOM: You’ve mentioned a couple times about distance, and the south. Will that play into your decision?
TRAVANTE: No, distance won’t play in to it. I’m a military kid, so I’ve been moving a lot. My other relatives can watch me if I choose Michigan because they’re always on TV.
TOM: What do you say to coaches when they ask you what you bring to the table?
TRAVANTE: I’m a great kid, and I don’t get in trouble. I focus on my school work. I’m not going to be out worked on the field. My coach always tells us not to get out worked. I just want to be the best that I can be, and learn as much as I can.
TOM: What other teammates do you have that are going through the recruiting process as well?
TRAVANTE: Our running back, Michael Ford, he’s committed to LSU. Our safety is committed to Louisiana Tech. We have a LB/DL going to Grambling, and we’re trying to get another wide receiver and corner back to go somewhere. I introduce all the coaches to most of the people I play with, we’re all close so it would be nice to have someone come with me where ever I go.
TOM: When is your Michigan visit, and what are you looking for on these trips?
TRAVANTE: January 9th is the date to Michigan. I’m real high on facilities, and I already know Michigan has great facilities. I want a great degree in case football doesn’t work out. Just how the fan base is, and the people there. I want to play early too, so that will factor in as well.
TOM: A question I’ve been asking a lot of recruits is about Michigan’s losing season. How did that affect you?
TRAVANTE: The losing doesn’t affect me, because Coach Rodriguez is a great coach, and I know how fast he can turn things around. They’re trying to get their players real quick, and once he does they’re going to be real good.
Midweek update. Because no games of interest happen Thursday night this week. So, I’m posting this right now. I will admit this one is pretty similar to Monday’s.
So, so far, week’s gone well for us. There have only been four games of interest, and #25/#25 Clemson beat North Florida, #23/#21 Memphis beat Arkansas-Little Rock, and #19/#22 Michigan State beat the Citadel. Whatever.
The biggie, however, is that #24/#23 Marquette lost to #16/#19 Tennessee. This is great! This means Marquette should fall out of the polls. If we can beat Oakland, we WILL enter at least one. Which is sweet.
So, lemme plan your weekend, what to watch, where to watch it:
Well, actually, there are more priority games than non-priority games this week. But, you know, lots of important games.
Michigan v. Oakland: We win, we’re ranked. Its that simple. Also, LLP shows up. Which is cool. This one’s at the neutral Palace of Auburn Hills at 4:00pm, you can find it on FSN.
#19/#22 Michigan State at unanimous #5 Texas: Well, even though a loss by the Spartans could take them out of the polls opening another spot and further guaranteeing our entering and being ranked not too low our first week in, it’d be better for us to have Texas lose this one, because, well, we play MSU (at Crisler on February 10th. I think I’m going.), and what’s good for the Big T1e1n is good for us (for now). Should be a good game no matter how you root, catch it at 2:00pm on CBS.
#22/#20 Davidson at #13/#18 Purdue: GO BIG TEN! I’ll root for Purdue pretty hard here, because, well, the Big Ten winning is good, and, a solid Davidson loss could allow us to pass them in the polls, which would be hella tight. 4:00, CBS, just switch back and forth between this and the UofM game.
BYU at #20/#17 Arizona State: Alright, BYU is between us and a ranking in the coaches’ poll, so, them losing means they have no chance of getting the spot if only one spot opens, so, I’m pushing hard for a loss. This game is at 4:30pm, but, you’re not going to find it in Detroit. It’s on FSN, but, they’re showing the Michigan game here. Oh well.
#23/#21 Memphis at unanimous #11 Syracuse: Just another possible loss by a low-ranked team, which can help us get ranked, and not be ranked #25. 6:00pm, ESPN, also, if you’re computer-bound, ESPN360.com.
#25/#25 Clemson at Miami (FL): This one’s interesting. Either way this game goes, its good for us. Clemson loses, they fall out of the polls and there’s another spot available. Miami loses, well, they’re between us and a rank in the Coaches’ poll, and if that loss can be combined with a BYU loss, we get any open spots in that poll. So, uh, just, flip a coin or something. 7:45, FSN (even in Detroit).
Games that I care less about because the team that should win probably will:
#23/#24 Marquette v. Western Carolina, 8:30, Sports 32
#21/#24 Baylor v. Texas-Arlington, 9:30, Online
So, that’s that. With a big win and some luck, I think we could be looking at #23 or #22 next week. With a win at all, we’re looking at at least #25. Cool.
Also, #11 Colorado College plays Sacred Heart in hockey Friday and Saturday. No TV of any kind. Whatever.
Good night, Go Blue.
The Scout Top 100 list for 2010 is up, and one of the new five star recruits is Christian Lombard. He’s an offensive line recruit from Illinois, and has a hefty list of offers already. “I don’t really have a top list yet, I want to do some more research on all of them. The ones that I’ve visited will all be on my list though,” Lombard said. Christian has seen Michigan, Notre Dame, and Iowa. He is now going to start focusing more on recruiting as he goes into his senior year, and said that, “academics is number one, without an education there’s no football, next is the football team in general, and the training program, and third is the campus and everything outside of football.” The training program was one aspect that stuck out to him when he spoke with Mike Barwis. He said, “Coach Barwis is real high energy, I’ve met him a couple times. It was cool, when we were there, Braylon Edwards and Mike Hart were working out. It was cool to see some NFL players with him.” Lombard has a lot of offers from Midwest schools, but told me, “I’m not sure if distance is a factor yet, I’ve talked to the coaches at North Carolina, so we’ll just see how it plays out.” Christian came to Michigan on an unofficial visit, and got to watch the Michigan, Michigan State rivalry first hand. “It was definitely powerful. It was exciting, Michigan State had as many fans there as Michigan. That rivalry is huge, and the tradition there is pretty neat.” His footwork, knowledge of the game, and his strength are what he prides himself on, and uses to his advantage. His high school runs a variety of offensive schemes, and he told me, “We run pretty much everything, primarily a spread. I don’t really prefer a style, but I can run in a spread.” His coach has been helping him with the recruiting process, and it seems like he’ll let us know where he decides when he knows. “I’m just going to see what happens, when I find the school I think I fit into I’ll probably make my decision, why wait?”
Alright I was a day early, looks like all the Okie, 4-3, 3-3-5,nickel,dime and "time to let it work" is out the window.
Back to a guy I tried to introduce you all too, before it became a coaching clinic.
NOW THAT SHAFER IS OUT THE DOOR there is one man that I think should be heavily considered.
With the recent finalization of Monte Kiffin to Tennessee, it leaves a good defensive coordinator w/out a job.
Living in the state of Tennessee, I am forced to hear all about Vol football, and of course Rocky Top at the top of every hour. I know Vol fans credit Chavis for being the only bright spot in their 3 year downslide, or ten year depending on who is asked.
Chavis recruits speed on defense and has sent many a talent to the next level. But unlike Florida State, his players are top notch in college and carry it with them to the NFL. Line backers are his specialty and to my knowledge, we need them, and we need them to be better.
""Following the national championship season of 1998, Chavis was named the SEC's outstanding linebacker coach."
Rumors swirled a month or so ago that LSU was his destination, so I kept my mouth shut, BUT nothing has come of it. So I bring it to the Michigan fan base.
"Tennessee's defense led the SEC in 1996 and ranked in the top three five of the past seven years."
Yep thats TOP 3 IN 5 OF THE LAST 7 YEARS!!!
Whats your opinion on Chavis? If he is unknown to you These next few points might help.. I promise it will be easier to find his success that it was Shafer.
Here are a few points from his Bio.......
"Johnny "John" Chavis (born October 16, 1956 in Dillon, South Carolina), commonly known as The Chief, is the former defensive coordinator, linebacker Coach and associate head football coach at the University of Tennessee, where he has been since 1989. Chavis is the only Native American that is currently a Coordinator or Head Coach for a major college or NFL team."
"Following the 2006 Season Chavis was named as the Assistant Football Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association."
"Chavis and then Florida Defensive Coordinator Bob Stoops are credited with bring the "Zone Blitz" into College Football in the mid to late 90's."
"Following the national championship season of 1998, Chavis was named the SEC's outstanding linebacker coach."
The question was whether Positional Rating meant more than star (or Rivals' sliding scale) ratings in determining the value of a player toward success of his program.
To do this, I compared averages of recruits who entered college during the period of 2005 to 2008, and stacked that up against real results. In other words, I wanted to see if there was a greater correlation between the current BCS standings and any of several factors:
1. Star Rating
2. Rivals Rating
3. Positional rank in class
4. Number of ranked recruits
5. Team speed (40-yard dash)
6. Team size (height (in) times weight)
Since I can't figure out how to post the entire sheet, I've written out the Top 15 for each category.
For our purposes, I used only recruits that were ranked by Rivals.com. Rivals usually ranks only those recruits that it rated higher than 5.5 (which is a low 3-star).
For some positions, there were typically 90 or more ranked recruits each year, whereas for others, there was only 15 or so. I thus considered making recruiting rank a percentile, for a team that recruited a 4 star receiver ranked 70th (of 92) in his class would be penalized more than a team that recruited the 15th (last) fullback or kicker. However, I felt this -- the ability to recruit all positions -- was an important factor in the key differential between Star Rating and Positional Ranking. Plus, a successful team would be responsible for recruiting all of those positions. So instead of a percentile, I simply dropped from our list any team that did not bring in 20 or more ranked recruits in this period.
This eliminated a lot of Mid-Majors, but the only BCS conference teams to be cut were Cincy (7), Indiana (13) and Connecticut (15). It is assumed that these teams, which could not bring in more than five 3-star or higher recruits in four years, would perform below the teams included.
I also did not cover attrition (transfers, early leaving, etc.) Instead, I simply omitted the 2004 class altogether, figuring the good done by holdovers was roughly equivalent to the bad of attrition for the four following classes. I understand that this is very inexact, but I feel the results are still useful for our purposes.
Results Skewed by Southern Bias in Data
Particularly interesting was the SEC schools and their higher number of ranked recruits brought in. Among teams that had more than 85 recruits in this time, we get Florida (91), Alabama (95), Georgia (90), Florida State (88), LSU (88), Oklahoma (88), Tennessee (86) and Auburn (86). In other words, seven of nine over-recruiters were SEC schools, and all were in the South. Overrecruiting did seem to have a correlation with winning, but not as much as class rank or star rating. I posit that this represents not so much the ability of the SEC conference to recruit better talent, but Rivals.com's tendency to overrate recruits in the South. It's noteable that teams that recruited nationally like Notre Dame and Michigan were the most overrated by talent influx, while other Northern teams that had most northern recruits were largely underrated. If you look at the cut-off line for where Rivals stops their ranking, the picture becomes even more clear; the last few 5.6-rated players included in the rankings are normally from Southern states; the alphabetic list of unranked, 5.5-rated players is overrepresented by Northern players.
Top 15 -- Current BCS Standings
6. Texas Tech
7. Penn State
8. Boise State
9. Ohio State
12. Oklahoma State
13. Georgia Tech
Top 15 -- Star Ranking Only
3. Ohio State
4. Florida State
11. Notre Dame
12. Penn State
Top 15 -- Rivals Ranking Only
4. Florida State
7. Ohio State
10. Notre Dame
13. Penn State
Top 15 -- Avg Positional Rank of Recruit in Year
4. Florida State
6. Ohio State
10. Notre Dame
15. Penn State
Top 15 -- Most Ranked Players
4. Florida State
9. Notre Dame
13. South Carolina
Top 15 -- Avg. 40-Yard dash time
4. Texas A&M
5. Southern Miss
7. Ohio State
10. Georgia Tech
13. Kansas State
14. South Carolina
(Little brother is 16th!)
Top 15 -- Avg. size of recruits
2. Penn State
8. Mississippi State
9. Texas Tech
13. Virginia Tech
15. Boston College
Recruiting as a whole was shown to be a fair but imperfect predictor of overall success.
Team speed was the most overrated statistic; even removing teams without recruits at every position, the speed ratings made little mark on anything. In fact, Texas Tech (4.78) and Missouri (4.81), both of which employ speed-based offenses, were both near the bottom among teams in total team speed. This means that either speed makes little to no difference in a team's ability, or 40-yard-dash times are arbitary (or in Brian, "FAKE.")
No recruiting statistic stood out as a definitive predictor of team ability, but the positional rank of recruits did, in fact, prove to be a slightly better metric than star rating, and a much better predictor than other factors.
To look at Michigan in particular, it does in fact seem that positional ratings mattered a great deal.
Top 15 positional ratings of M recruits 2005-08:
1. Justin Boren (#1 Center, 2006)
2. Marques Slocum (#1 Guard, 2005)
3. Brandon Minor (#1 Fullback, 2006)
4. Zoltan Mesko (#2 Kicker/Punter 2005)
5. Brandon Graham (#2 Mack Linebacker, 2006)
6. Stephen Schilling (#2 Guard, 2006)
7. Ryan Mallett (#2 QB-Pro Style, 2007)
8. Donovan Warren (#3 Cornerback, 2007)
9. Jonas Mouton (#3 Safety, 2006)
10. Boubacar Cissoko (#4 Cornerback, 2008)
11. Kevin Grady (#4 Running Back, 2005)
12. Kevin Koger (#4 Tight End, 2008)
13. Antonio Bass (#5 Athlete, 2005)
14. David Molk (#5 Center, 2007)
15. Carlos Brown (#6 Running Back, 2006)
Look at all that attrition!
Among top recruits in high percentiles we include Mario Manningham, Stevie Brown, Greg Mathews, Michael Shaw and Terrance Taylor.
Then again, here's our lowest positional ratings:
1. Martavious Odoms (Receiver 81)
2. Mark Huyge (Tackle 76)
3. James Rogers (Athlete 71)
4. Chris Richards (Athlete 63)
5. Troy Woolfolk (Cornerback 59)
6. Obi Ezeh (Running Back 58)
7. Mark Ortmann (Tackle 55)
8. John Ferrara (Strongside DE 55)
9. Carson Butler (Strongside DE 55)
10. Perry Dorrestein (Tackle 53)
11. Quinton Woods (Strongside DE 53)
12. Greg Banks (Strongside DE 51)
13. Artis Chambers (Safety 51)
14. Roy Roundtree (Receiver 50)
15. Zion Babb (Receiver 49)
As you can see, these are obviously positions in which there were a lot of recruits. Percentile-wise, the lowest guys were Odoms, Huyge, Rogers, David Cone, Chambers, Brandon Logan, Quinton Patilla, Steve Watson, Woolfolk and Ezeh.
So it does seem that positional ranking means a lot, even if the player was projected at a different position. And if so, it is even more devastating that Michigan lost Bass, Slocum, Mallett and Boren before they could become top contributors. Equally devastating was Stevie Brown and Kevin Grady being busts, at least up until now.
In the future, as a fan, this shows me that my projections for future seasons needs to be looked at again, and that when evaluating recruits, their percentile means more than their ranking.
Other than that, plus the already well-established fact that the SEC badly needs to get over itself (i.e. Rivals scouts need to get over their fear of crossing the Mason-Dixon line), this analysis proves little.
Hope you were entertained.