In light of this recruiting race to the finish, I thought I'd review the history of recruiting. I'd already known Michigan has been a dominant recruiter but I wanted to clarify my opinion.
Below is a table showing Scout's recruiting rankings for the Big Ten since 2002 (all the data they had):
Things to consider:
- Michigan hasn't ever had a class ranked lower than 19th Nationally.
- Michigan has never had class ranked lower than 3rd in the Big Ten.
- Only Ohio St. and Penn State have ever had classes that ranked higher than Michigan in the Big Ten.
- Michigan classes ranked on average in the top 10 for the period.
- Over the nine classes before this one, Michigan had 4 top classes, 3 second ranked classes, and 2 third ranked classes in the Big Ten.
While I realize this data is limited, I think it's safe to say that it is reflective of our history. I'm sure we all agree that recruiting rankings aren't perfect, however they do correlate to success. Let's hope Hokes race to the finish allows us to try to keep our top three streak alive and our streak of beating State for recruits.
BTW- I reviewed Rivals rankings as well and the results are nearly identical. Their data wouldn't copy and paste well so I stuck with Scout.
Also - Indiana is pathetic.
Edit - I replaced the table with an image of the table for size. I hope you can still read it.
1. Stock Down - Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois. I was a bit surprised to see Wiscy so high in the way to early 2011 pre-season polls. In my opinion, their defense was not very good this year, but their deficiencies were masked by their powerful offense. That same defense loses their best player in Watt. On offense they lose dominating OL Carimi and Moffett. I know Wiscy will have viable replacements, but Carimi is a likely top 10 pick. They also lose Tolzien/Clay. I have found that when you have a new QB, you always lose a game or two based on that lack of experience.
Iowa loses a ton on Defense (Clayborn and Sash) as well as Stanzi. Like Wiscy, they will be breaking in a new QB.
Illinois had a nice comeback season and promptly lost their 3 best players (all Juniors) to the NFL in Leguet, Wilson and Lasheure (forgive in spelling errors).
2. Stock Up - Not really sure who to put here. I think Michigan will be improved mainly because their defense can't be any worse. Getting Woolfolk and Floyd back and switching to a pro-style offense will no doubt help the defense. Any other team projected to improve?
3. Steady - My spartans. I think they will probably be worse record wise with OSU and Nebraska jumping on the schedule (both away games) but I think the team could actually be better if that makes any sense. Spartans lose 3 OLineman, but all 3 were mid level (that is being polite since they were 2 starts) talents . The younger replacements were all higher regarded as prospects. We return Cousins and Baker in the backfield and a quartet of Recievers (Cunningham, Martin, Nichol, Fowler) with experience. Defense loses LB duo of Jones and Gordon and will be largest question mark.
4. OSU - Will the NCAA reduce the supsensions of the tattoo ring?
5. How good will Nebraska be? Early in the year, they looked very very scary. A very good defense and a potent offense led by an exciting young QB. By the end of the year, their offense looked downright awful. Their B10 schedule is pretty brutal.
Just passing along info. MSU OL Coach visited Fisher in T.City last night. Spartans are underdog, but they obviously feel they have a shot if they are still recruiting him this hard.
Updated odds: Oregon 25%/Florida $25/UM 25%/ MSU 25%
I read the above tweet on your account and was wondering what Michigan's status was on Durham? I know he committed to Wisconsion at the beginning of the football season but then he decommitted. Does Michigan have a shot with him? I've seen this kid play numerous times (same school district as my former high school) and he's a good FB. He's the #2 FB on Rivals and the #4 FB on Scout.
He's also from the same high school and former Michigan commits B.J. Askew, Cobrani Mixon and Mister Simpson...
I personally find the act of over signing appalling. Obviously, the total number of scholarships available is a fluid situation and thus it is a difficult task to pin down the exact number of scholarships that are available for an upcoming class. But the act of signing significantly more LOI than there could conceivably be room for invites large amounts of attrition either through a large number of kids not getting qualified or through dismissing players currently on the team. Promising a student athlete a scholarship and then releasing them from the program to make room for the next class is not the purpose of the NCAA athletics.
I don’t feel I need to go into specific instances of over signing as the practice is well documented especially in conferences outside of the Big Ten. What I’m more interested in is how the practice can be eliminated. It is obvious that schools who choose to over sign gain an advantage over those who don’t, even if they aren’t breaking any rules. So, the first objective would be to eliminate the temptation for coaches to over sign. Without the promise of an advantage there is no need to continue the act.
Though my proposal might sound slightly extreme, I do feel it comes with some positive side effects in addition to the elimination of over signing. I propose that the NCAA should, for the Football Bowl Subdivision, eliminate the 85 scholarship limit and reduce the number of allowable LOI per year to 25. There are a few stipulations that accompany this proposal. First is that early enrollees can still count toward either the class of freshmen already on campus or toward the class of freshmen that will be enrolling in the fall just as they can now, provided that there were less than 25 students in the previous class. Second, transfer students count toward the year that they enroll at a school regardless of their eligibility; this prevents coaches from trying to replace attrition in the upper classes with large amounts of transfers.
The threat of losing scholarships under the APR rules is the only deterrent to large amounts of attrition. Also, under the current system schools that do a great job of retaining and graduating their students are penalized by the 85 scholarship limit because they aren’t able to take a full class every year where as schools with poor retention rates can. Yet, under this proposal schools that have lower retention rates are at a competitive disadvantage because they will have less scholarship athletes on their team than schools with good retention rates. Meaning, there is no longer any incentive to encourage attrition. Thus, I think this proposal does a great job of aligning the interests of institutions with that of its student athletes by benefiting schools that do it best and punishing schools who do it worst.
There are obviously a few reasons the NCAA and its member institutions would be hesitant to adopt this proposal and so I would like to address those now. The first issue is that this would certainly have the potential to the add costs to athletic departments, and with the rising cost of education the additional costs would assuredly grow. However, at the same time the money generated by intercollegiate athletics continues to grow, while under the current rules there is no feasible way to funnel that money to the student athletes, and thus more money is spent on coach’s salaries and facilities instead. This proposal allows for the only possible way to give more money, in the form of scholarships, to student athletes while keeping any semblance of amateurism.
Another issue with the proposal is that there is a great deal of flexibility in total number of scholarships a school could be responsible for in a given year and it could also change dramatically year to year. Under the current rules the number of football scholarships given in a year does vary but it is capped at 85. Also, there could be Title IX implications to adding scholarships in football and thus the increase in scholarships could actually be double.
Lastly, small schools might not be too excited about the proposal since they would have an increase in the number of scholarships they are responsible for, yet they haven’t enjoyed the same growth in athletic revenue that the larger schools have. It would also make them less competitive on the field since more players can go to the bigger schools leaving less of the talent pool available for the smaller schools to build their teams from.
While, I can perfectly understand how an Athletic Director would be hesitant about increases in scholarship costs I see the increases in scholarships as a good thing. What is the purpose of the NCAA if it isn’t to support the education of as many student athletes as possible? And with the outcry about how student athletes should be paid because of the increase in revenue generated by intercollegiate athletics wouldn’t this be a great way of showing that the NCAA wants to make sure that this added revenue goes towards students rather than buildings and coaches’ salaries?
There is another benefit to capping the number of signed LOI and nothing else. Schools would be more reluctant to sign fringe academic qualifiers because if they wash out, then that scholarship spot is permanently lost. This increases the priority of the student part of student athlete and encourages high school athletes to focus on their grades if they want to receive a scholarship offer. Students who do struggle with qualifying would still be able to attend a preparatory school or junior college and transfer just as they can now.
To summarize, the benefits of this proposal would be:
Eliminates the practice of over signing from the FBS
Creates a competitive advantage for schools with high retention rates
Increases the number of students receiving scholarships
Increases the importance of academics when signing recruits
Obviously, I have biases just like everyone else so I thought I should address these. First, as a Michigan fan this proposal benefits the “Big Boys” by letting them hoard talent. Second, as a Big Ten fan it eliminates the advantage other conferences that partake in the practice of over signing have. Third, I think there are too many FBS schools now so the small schools that wouldn’t have the budget for the added scholarships would probably move down to FCS which would make me happy. Lastly, while I don’t have any issue with coaches getting paid as much as they can since they work incredibly long hours in a high pressure job, I still would prefer to see more athletes granted scholarships than an increase in coaching salaries or an arms race in facilities.
I would like to note that there is nothing magical about the number 25 so decreasing that number for cost purposes wouldn’t necessarily be an issue, but I like that more student athletes would be getting scholarships.