4 & 5-Star Recruiting Success
Brian’s feature on “How did we get here?” with OL and more recently with LB’s is one of my favorite new features on MGoBlog. It really puts in perspective the timeline of how we got to a decently talented backup playing as our starting OL/LB (pick a position.) It put me in an analytical frame of mind, and while I’m sure this has been done somewhere on the internet, I’ve never seen it.
So I grabbed all the 4 and 5 star recruits for us off of Rivals (Scout was incomplete, listing Ryan Mundy as “NR”. Clearly this is incorrect, so I avoided Scout.) I used the timeframe of 2002-2007. 2002 since that’s the earliest data they have, and 2007 since any later would be incomplete data. 2007 has 7 players, most of which we can assess for purposes of this exercise.
Then I divided this set into 3 groups: met expectations, kinda met expectations, didn’t meet expectations (or didn’t play much or at all.) Basically, the criteria is your excitement level if I described someone’s career to you. If you’d be excited, group A. Meh, group B. Nose wrinkle, group C. (EDIT: I am grading strictly for on-the-field result for Michigan.) Examples:
· Matt Gutierrez: “Great backup, only sees the field for mop-up duty.” Nose wrinkle, group C.
· Prescott Burgess is a prime example of group B. His career? “Plays sporadically and uninspiringly for three years and has a very solid senior season.” Meh. You want more than one good year from a 5-star.
· Steve Breaston, “average wideout, all-time yardage leader in returns” Sign me up!
I freely admit that I might have messed up on some players, and data isn’t all in on others, but the overall point is still valid. Don’t get ga-ga over an individual highly rated player, because less than four in ten amounts to what you think he will.
· 5-star successes (4) – Woodley, Henne, B Graham, Warren
· 5-star tweeners (2) – Burgess, Schilling
· 5-star misses (3) – Watson, Grady, Mallet
That’s 9 total, and counting the tweeners as one-half, a 55% rate on 5-star players.
· 4-star successes (16) – Avant, Breaston, Crable, Hall, Kraus, Long, Arrington, Branch, Jamison, Johnson, Trent, B Harrison, Manningham, T Taylor, Mathews, Van Bergen
· 4-star tweeners (8) –C Graham, Moosman, Zirbel, EDIT: B Minor, Mouton, Clemons, A Mitchell, M Williams
· 4-star misses (32) – Hood, Koloziej, C Tabb, Gutierrez, L Harrison, McCoy, Rembert, Van Alstyne, J Jackson, Mundy, W Paul, Presley, Richard, Zuttah, Dutch, Gallimore, Max Martin, C Rodgers, Bass, Germany, McKinney, Schifano, Slocum, Traitor Boren, Stevie Brown, Kates, EDIT C Brown, Mixon, Patterson, Panter, Webb, M Massey
That is 56 total, 36% hit rate.
Totals for 4 & 5-star combined is 65, 38% hit rate.
So we get 11 of these types, on average, every year. And only roughly 4 will work out the way we hope.
· DT 2/0/5 29% - Lot of total flameouts here
· DE 3/0/2 60% - Our best success rate, but low overall numbers
· LB 2/1/5 31% - Lots of DNP
· DB 4/3/3 55% - Better than I thought going in, frankly. I put Trent in this group though he was recruited as a WR.
· RB 0/1/6 7% - Yuck. This is a really bad track record. Doesn’t help with Mike Hart going for 4 years, but the truth is there wasn’t ever a truly worthy backup. Minor is a great runner, but unfortunately his hands leak warm butter. McGuffie will help this out a bit in the future I think. Whoever is evaluating these guys needs to step up. They’re missing something.
· QB 1/0/3 25% - This is the Henne effect more than anything. Oh, and Mallett being a complete candyass. Not that I’m bitter.
· WR 5/1/4 55% - Clearly a strength in predicting top-flight talent that will stick around. I stuck Breaston & Bass (ATH) in here as well.
· TE 0/0/1 0% - More than anything, this says we don’t recruit top-flight TE’s
· OL 3/4/6 39% - Average. Brian always says this is a tough one to project with ratings.
· 2002 2/0/8 20% – That flat stunk. Don’t do that again. I’m amazed they didn’t go re-recruit Kelley Baraka this season.
· 2003 5/1/7 42% – Much better
· 2004 6/2/5 54% - Best year by a long shot. Branch, Jamison, Johnson, Trent, Henne, Arrington. Great class.
· 2005 3/2/6 36% – Back to reality
· 2006 2/3/6 32% – Reality gets a little worse.
· 2007 2/2/3 43% – Still a bit indeterminate. Looking good from a % standpoint, but not great from a total numbers standpoint.
· If Will Campbell comes here, plays here, and has success here, it’ll be a miracle.
· I don’t know what other schools are at for a success rate, but I think 39% is lower than I expected. These are the cream of your classes, the foundation of everything you want to do. Kinda surprising that so many names on that list never really even saw the field, much less achieve great things. Even getting to 50% would have been another 6-7 players. That’s a lot of on the field difference-making.
· Volume, volume, volume. Make sense now why the SEC teams recruit 30 players a year? I’m not saying it’s right, but I understand why they do. Guy doesn’t pan out quite right? Next!
· Think of all the great players not on this list. Harris, Adams, Hart. Hmmm. OK, point made, but at least we got many, many serviceable starters from the 3-stars. The top of the rest: Bihl, Barringer, Riley, Rivas, Stewart, Butler, Mesko, Englemon (2*), and a lot of guys on the team right now.
· What the hell are we doing with our RB recruiting? We got lucky with Hart, no mistake. If not for him, we’d have been in deep doo. 7 guys and only 1 was/is serviceable? 6 total no-shows? I’ll say it again, someone is a crappy judge of RB talent.
· Replay the years 2004-2007 in your head without Mike Hart. Here’s an icebag for your headache.
· Damn Bass’ treacherous knee.
· The 2-year span in which we got 11 total players living up to their potential, 2003-4, set the stage for our biggest success on the field over this timeframe. 2006. In the equation recruiting + coaching + motivation = success, it’s probably in that order.