in town for free camps
You get both ends of the spectrum --
9:00 EST: The 2014 version of Penn State at Michigan (clap clap - execute!)
10:00 EST: Big Ten Elite: 1997 Michigan Football.
If you take your time getting the channel changed to BTN, you'll miss our first B1G victory of 2014!
A look at the recruiting rankings of Harbaugh's 2010 Orange Bowl team (and a thought about Andrew Luck)
Last week I posted a diary in which I looked at the recruiting rankings of Coach Harbaugh's 2007 and 2008 classes at Stanford. This is a summary of what I learned:
Despite only having one consensus four-star, Stanford's 2007 and 2008 classes produced five first-team all-Americans, eight first-team all Pac Ten players, two second-team all Pac Ten players, and four honorable mention all Pac Ten players (note that I counted Owen Marecic as both a first-team all Pac Ten player, an award he won as a FB, and an honorable mention all Pac Ten player, an award he won as an LB).
Coach Harbaugh's recruiting picked up in 2009, with that year's Stanford class including nine consensus four-star players. Stanford's 2010 class also included several consensus four-star players.
Stanford's 2010 Orange Bowl wining season was the peak of Coach Harbaugh's time on the Farm (they finished the year ranked No. 4), and I wondered how much the 2009 class and the 2010 class were responsible for Stanford's success that year. Did the lowly-ranked 2007 and 2008 classes create a decent foundation for the program with Stanford only making the jump to elite status once the cavalry arrived in the form of 2009's and 2010's highly-ranked players?
The answer to my question, to a surprising extent (to me anyway), was no. The starting line-up for Stanford in 2010 (the starters for the Cal game, anyway), which I list below, included only four four-star players (I bolded their names). Seven spots in the starting line up, meanwhile, were filled by players who were either two-star recruits or unranked at the time they entered college (I underlined their names).
QB – Andrew Luck – R/Soph – **** (0.9768)
RB – Stepfan Taylor – Soph – **** (.8961)
FB – Owen Marecic – Senior – ** (0.7745)
LT – Jonathan Martin – R/Soph – *** (0.8620)
LG – Andrew Phillips – R/Senior – *** (0.8264)(inherited from prior staff)
C – Chase Beeler – R/Senior – *** (0.8558)(transfer from Oklahoma)
RG – David DeCastro – R/Soph – *** (0.8847)
RT – Derek Hall – R/Senior – *** (0.8333)(inherited from prior staff)
WR – Ryan Whalen – Senior – walk-on, seemingly no recruiting ranking/stars
WR – Doug Baldwin – Senior – ** (0.7778)
TE – Konrad Reuland – R/Senior – **** (0.9780)(transfer from Notre Dame)
DE – Matt Masifilo – R/Junior – *** (0.8889
NT – Sione Fua – Senior - *** (0.8778)
DE – Brian Bulcke – R/Senior – ** (no 247 ranking)(inherited from prior staff)
ILB – Owen Marecic – Senior – ** (0.7745)
ILB – Shayne Skov – Soph - **** (0.9514)
OLB – Chase Thomas – R/Soph – *** (0.8641)
OLB – Thomas Keiser – R/Junior – ** (0.7444)
CB – Richard Sherman – R/Senior – *** (0.8389)(inherited from prior staff)
CB – Johnson Bademosi – Junior – ** (0.7333)
SS – Delano Howell – Junior – *** (0.8877)
FS – Michael Thomas – Junior – *** (0.8484)
Starting line ups don't tell the whole story of a season, of course, so l looked at other contributing players, which I defined as anyone with 100 or more yards rushing, anyone with 100 or more yards receiving, anyone with 20 or more tackles, and the second team offensive line (note that second team center was a “Player X or Player Y” situation). This group included three four-star recruits and four players who were either two-star recruits or unranked as they entered Stanford.
RB – Anthony Wilkerson – **** (.9378)
RB – Tyler Gaffney – Soph – **** (.8955)
RB – Usua Amanam – R/Fresh –*** (0.8742)
QB – Alex Loukas – R/Junior – *** (.8241)
RB – Jeremy Stewart – Senior - *** (0.8000)
TE – Coby Fleener – R/Junior – *** (0.8333)
WR – Griff Whalen – Junior – walk-on, seemingly no recruiting ranking/stars
TE – Zach Ertz – R/Fresh – **** 0.9090
WR – Chris Owusu – Junior – *** (0.8708)
SS – Taylor Skaufel – Senior – ** (0.7852)
ILB – Max Bergen – R/Junior –** (.7444)
LB – Chike Amajoyi – Senior –*** (0.8294 )
LT – Tyler Mabry – R/Junior – *** (0.8368)
LG – Matt Bentler – R/Junior – ** (0.7889)
C – Sam Schwartzstein – R/Soph - *** (0.8273)
C – Kahlil Wilkes – R/Fresh - *** (.8620)
RG – Kevin Danser – R/Fresh - *** (.8600)
RT – James McGillicuddy – 6th/Senior - *** (.8667)(inherited from prior staff)
Summary: Coach Harbaugh took Stanford to the No. 4 ranking in the country with seven four-star players, eleven two-star/unranked players, and a host of three-star guys making up the bulk of his team. Two-star/unranked players outnumbered four-star players in the starting lineup by seven to four...Note: I'm treating Owen Marecic as two players here, because he started on both offense and defense.
A brief editorial: Finishing No. 4 in the country with a team that is more two-star than four-star is pretty remarkable in my eyes. I'm inclined to give Coach Harbaugh total trust when it comes to recruiting right now. He's earned it.
A final, somewhat tangential thought: I can imagine someone saying, "But he had Andrew Luck!" And there was undeniably a certain amount of fortune in that. But it's worth noting that Luck's offers before Stanford offered him were Texas A&M, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas, Nebraska, Purdue, Northwestern, Duke, and Houston.*1 Alabama would later offer Luck, but coaches like Bob Stoops, Mack Brown, Pete Carroll, and Les Miles apparently never did.
Luck was admittedly an unusual recruit. At one point he named a top five of Stanford, Purdue, Northwestern, Virginia, and Rice. It accordingly didn't take much to see that he was among the best chances a school like Stanford had to land a four-star quarterback. But Harbuagh still had to understand that Luck was worth the four-star hype and worthy of going "all in" for, which is how Luck's high school coach described Stanford's approach to their recruitment of Luck. *2 My conclusion about Luck, then, is that it's not fair to assert that Coach Harbaugh papered over the flaws in his two and three star team with an all-everything player at QB who was obviously going to be an All-American. Unlike Terrelle Pryor, for example, Luck simply wasn't considered that when he was in high school, and at least some insight was required in picking him as your potential future quarterback.
Am curious to see if the board has a consensus on what recruiting rankings they use.
I've always used Rivals even though I signed up with Scout today so I could read Sam's stuff.
ESPN is really lazy to me with theirs. Their team sites went under a couple years ago, which speaks volumes of what others think of their rankings/insider info. I do like Tom, though.