i can't wait to show clients how much money i have to waste
Rivals is my favorite recruiting system. Not my favorite site, and not my favorite rankings (ESPN is winning that title this year), but my favorite system. In addition to stars, they have a relatively simple system for ranking recruits:
The ranking system ranks prospects on a numerical scale from 6.1-4.9.
6.1 Franchise Player; considered one of the elite prospects in the country, generally among the nation's top 25 players overall; deemed to have excellent pro potential; high-major prospect
6.0-5.8 All-American Candidate; high-major prospect; considered one of the nation's top 300 prospects; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on college team
5.7-5.5 All-Region Selection; considered among the region's top prospects and among the top 750 or so prospects in the country; high-to-mid-major prospect; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on college team
5.4-5.0 Division I prospect; considered a mid-major prospect; deemed to have limited pro potential but definite Division I prospect; may be more of a role player
4.9 Sleeper; no Rivals.com expert knew much, if anything, about this player; a prospect that only a college coach really knew about
A 6.1 player is basically top 35; 6.0 = 35-85; 5.9 = 85-160; 5.8 = 160-300.
To put it in NFL terms, a 6.1 is a 1st or early 2nd-round NFL draft pick. A 6.0 is a 2nd-3rd rounder. A 5.9 is a middle-round pick. A 5.8 is a late round or undrafted FA type. A 5.7 is a player with fringe NFL potential, a 5.6 is an NFL longshot, a 5.5 isn't going to make it. 5.4 and below are guys that are unlikely to see snaps at U-M.
Keep in mind that the standard at Michigan is high. Jeff Backus keeps a picture of a Michigan huddle on his wall. Why? Because everyone in that huddle would go on to play in the NFL. While that's not typical, the majority of our starters on both sides of the ball should at least find themselves on NFL rosters for a season or two.
That said, I have taken the Rivals Rankings and re-ranked our players according to my current expectations. This is based on the evidence I have, which is obviously flimsy for the guys that haven't played yet. It's a combination of what I've seen on the field, practice buzz, and my gut. Using Derrick Green as an example, I don't think we've seen or heard anything at this point that would suggest he is a 1st-round NFL pick (PLEASE remember that I haven't seen him play an actual down of college football yet). The flipside is that Dymonte Thomas is already showing signs of an impact player, justifying his 5.9 ranking, while Gardner appears on his way to being a solid early-round NFL draft choice.
I have ONLY ranked the players I believe are likely to contribute this season.
|James Ross III||WLB||5.8||5.9|
No, I'm not going to explain the rankings one-by-one. What I will say is that I believe our average needs to be closer to 5.83 before we are considered "elite."
Also note that the rankings should be slightly inflated. Why? Because these are the guys that are projected to contribute to our team this season. They have gone from recruits to players, and have either demonstrated performance on the field or generated significant buzz.
You'll also notice that higher-ranked players are likely to see rankings revised downward. This is part common sense, part timing: a top-ranked player has nowhere to go but down and most of our higher-ranked players are young and not yet fully-developed.
Finally, you'll notice a few grades below 5.7 in the re-rank. If we are to be an elite team, we should not have any (other than kickers) players below 5.7 pushing for playing time.
Here are the rankings, with my projected starters only:
|James Ross III||LB||5.8||5.9|
This includes a slot WR, nickel CB, KR, and extra LB (JMFR). If we're looking to be a dominant team, I think we need an average closer to 5.88.
I will revisit these rankings after the season, and perhaps once in the middle.
Now that the amazing 2012 class is officially complete, I'm curious which 2012 recruiting class position group is everyone's favorite. I'm lumping the TEs in with the WRs to give them a chance. Here are my thoughts.
OL: Magnuson, Kalis, Bars, Braden
Helps 1st tr: Kalis or Braden, not both
Potential/likely all Big Ten: All of them
Potential star: Kalis, Magnuson
WR/TE: Darboh, Chesson, Funchess, Williams
Help 1st year: Darboh, Funchess, Williams
Potential/likely All Big Ten: Darboh, Funchess, Williams
Potential star: Darboh, Funchess (mismatch against LBs/safeties will be fun to watch)
DL: Pipkins, Wormley, Henry, Godin, Ojemudia, Strobel
Help 1st year: Pipkins, Wormley
Potential/likely All Big Ten: Pipkins, Strobel, Wormley, Ojemudia
Potential star: Pipkins, Ojemudia
LB: Ross, Bolden, Jenkins-Stone, Ringer
Help 1st year: Bolden, Ross
Potential/likely All Big Ten: Ross, Bolden, Jenkins-Stone
Potential star: Ross, Bolden, Jenkins-Stone
DB: Richardson, Wilson, Clark, Gant
Help 1st year: Richardson, Wilson
Potential/likely All Big Ten: Richardson, Wilson (also like Clark)
Potential star: Richardson, Wilson
I've left off the RBs since they don't measure up to the rest of the positions, but it will be fun to see what Borges does with Norfleet.
I think one could make a case for DL, LB and OL given both the talent, depth and need. It's hard to go against the three likely stars at LB, but I'm going with the DL. Pipkins elite talent at such a position of need along with such high end depth with 6 recruits and 4-5 players with All Big Ten or better potential puts the DL at the top. I also think Ojemudia will be awesome after a couple years.
This isn't exactly specific to Michigan, but it's a really cool dynamic graph produced with Tableau software. Simply click on a team on the top bar to view their recruits, what state they came from, how many stars they had (based on Rivals' data), etc.
For those of you who don't know, Tableau is a very useful data visualization tool. I'm an analytic consultant and we use it all the time for displaying data in an easy, digestible way to our clients. I've never seen anyone use it for public-type work, but is by far the coolest thing I've seen it used for.
Also note, I did not produce this graph. This particular graph was published by a fellow named Scott Wasserman.
Barring a late-breaking commitment—say, Alex Kozan—these are your final Big Ten recruiting rankings for the class of 2012. After Ohio State's late charge under Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes finish atop the rankings; Michigan is a relatively close second and from there it's a precipitous drop to Notre Dame and the rest of the Big Ten. You can find the previous edition of the rankings here—changes are not listed because there were far too many.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JuCos, so they are counted as unranked recruits for the sake of consistency (trust me, it makes sense when you look at the spreadsheet).
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
On to the full data, after the jump.
Both UofM and Ohio reeled in great classes this year. Several blue chip recruits on both sides of the ball.
What this means is that we'll have great position battles throughout the ranks in the years to come.
After hearing Ondre talk about Schutt, I was wondering how all the battles would pan out.
Here is a breadown: (10 point scale - 10 meaning absolute domination, 1 meaning nearly even)
Michigan OL v/s Ohio DL
Mags versus Adolphus - Ohio by 5
Kalis versus Schutt - Michigan by 6
Bars versus Spence - Ohio by 6
Braden versus Pittman - Michigan by 2
AJ Williams versus Marcus - Michigan by 4
Overall Michigan has a much stronger OL compared to Ohio's incoming DL
Michigan DL v/s Ohio OL
Pipkins versus Decker - Pipkins by 6
Ojemudia versus Dodson - Ojemudia by 3
Strobel versus O'Connor - Strobel by 5
Wormley versus Boren - Wormley by 7
Godin versus Elfein - ?? (Haven't seen Elfein in action)
Overall, I think Michigan has put together a better class in the lines compared to Ohio. While Ohio has some blue-chips in Spence and Washington, they seem to be lacking depth which Michigan brings in. This is more evident on the defensive side of the ball, where Michigan's incoming DL should absolutely demolish Ohio's incoming OL man for man.
The offensive line coming in, is probably slightly weaker compared to Ohio's DL (if we had Diamond or Garnett, we would be even or slightly better) but should hold its own with the superior coaching and more reinforcements next year.
Next up - Comparing the backfields with the skill positions
Over on ESPN, they have Michigan ranked #8 with 24 recruits signed. They are #4 and #7 on Scout and Rivals, respectively. But both of those sites show Michigan with 25 recruits. Since I do not have ESPN Insider, I can't see the individual recruits, so the question I have is, what recruit of Michigan's is missing and would it make a difference in their ESPN ranking?