TomVH: How Michigan's Recruiting Compares
The questions about whether the Michigan position was an elite job for a coach presumably sparked the same question about recruiting. Whether high school athletes were still viewing Michigan as an elite program, and what the reason was that the Wolverines were getting passed up for other schools.
Magnus at Touch the Banner recently diagnosed where Michigan's offerees signed, and I wanted to expand on that. In his article he shows where kids ended up signing that had a Michigan offer. I wanted to look at how many total prospects Michigan was extending offers to, how many of those offered prospects ended up committed, and how those numbers compared to other top programs in the country.
There will definitely be some faults with these numbers, because I'm assuming that Rivals offer lists are 100% accurate, which they're not. To be fair though I will just go off the numbers that Rivals reports to give a consistent analysis. The chart below shows the numbers for the 2011 recruiting season, how many total offers were extended by each school, the total commitments they received, and the percentage of commits they received to the number of offers extended.
|School||Total Offers||Total Commitments||Percentage|
Again, this is all dependent on the fact that this information is either accurate, or consistently inaccurate. Either way, I don't think the numbers are that far off for each school to make a dramatic difference in the numbers. Magnus reported in his article that Michigan actually handed out 190 offers, which would drop their percentage even lower to 10.5%.
Florida State and Florida's higher offer numbers can most likely be attributed to the amount of talent and competition they have in close proximity. Rivals says there were 508 recruits in the 2011 class reporting offers from the state of Florida. That's a lot, and it explains some of their numbers. Auburn likely extended a lot of their offers before their season started, and there were still question marks about how it would turn out. I would expect their number of offers extended to somewhat decrease, although they are in heavy competition with Alabama and the southern schools.
Probably the best comparison to show where Michigan has gone is with Ohio State. Both schools recruit locally as a foundation, but have a large national presence. Ohio State has done an outstanding job, from what these numbers look to tell us, evaluating the talent that they want and getting those prospects to commit. Ohio State landed almost 36% of the prospects that they offered in 2011, which is a huge difference between the 11% from Michigan. These numbers say a few things about what has happened to Michigan's recruiting efforts. Either the Michigan coaches didn't land the prospects that they initially wanted, or that their game plan was to cast a wide net and hope to reel in some of the kids that they gave offers to.
To be fair, the argument can and should be made that there is historically more talent within Ohio, which might make it easier for Ohio State to land the kids they want. The same argument can be made that there's enough talent within the midwest that Ohio State and Michigan could each get some of the kids they offer. Let's then compare where Michigan used to be compared to Ohio State.
*I'm assuming that the numbers from 2005 are probably not very accurate because of the information that was available then. However, I'm still assuming we're comparing consistently inaccurate info for that year.
You'll notice that the numbers are much more similar, and this even given during 2007 when there was a lot of noise about Lloyd Carr retiring. That was somewhat of a tough year for Michigan recruiting wise because of the negative recruiting, yet the gap still wasn't more than 4% from what Ohio State was landing. You see the highest number of total offers given out by Michigan was in 2007 with 102, which is nowhere near the 175 RIvals reports for 2011.
Ohio State has consistently stayed below the 100 total offer mark, and has been able to land a good percentage of prospects offered. The numbers displayed by 2011, and even 2010 show us that Michigan's recruiting efforts have not only changed, but the way recruits are perceiving Michigan has as well. The data is too vague to determine if the blame lies within the people selling the program, the pitch made for the program, the overall recruiting plan, or if prospects see a better opportunity elsewhere at this time.
If Brady Hoke wants to get Michigan back to where they were, he needs to have an exact recruiting plan in place. Not only do they need to identify the needs position wise, but they need to fully evaluate each prospect before an offer is given out. That can be done through academic evaluation, athletic evaluation, junior days, unofficial visits, and what questions are asked by the coaches while talking to prospects. The recruiting game has become harder than it ever was, and the coaches need to find the battles that they can win. They need to find the prospects that fit what they're looking for athletically and academically, and focus on that specific group. Casting a wide net and spreading out your time amongst a large group often leads to recruits that haven't fully bought into the idea of your program, or are left wanting more from the relationship that is being built. Recruits want to know that they're wanted, and they also want to know that they're headed into a winning program, which leads us to the other way that Hoke can bring back the recruiting perception. On Saturdays.