Back in the day the recruiting roundups that Ace would put together would show the star ratings from each site of the various Michigan targets. The problem was we kept noticing dramatic differences that weren't really dramatic. For example here's a table of guys given 5-stars by these services since the 2010 class:
Was Scout ludicrously high on M guys, or giving out more 5-stars? Actually they were all ranking not that far from each other, but Michigan just happened to get a lot of the guys in that 4-/5-star margin. It only looks dramatic because there are only five possible rankings.
This was recruiting until 247 introduced their composite rating. That composite is so amazingly useful for most "how good was he as a recruit" questions.
Since forever I've also been maintaining this spreadsheet of data on Michigan players that started as a naming sheet for some iteration of the NCAA game, and just kept gaining columns. My old way of tracking the recruiting ratings on that was to take the stars each service gave out, figuring they all roughly had the same definitions, and average them.
But that was throwing away a ton of information provided by the sites, which typically post national rankings for the top ~250-300 recruits, and in three of their cases have their own more precise star rating systems. For example Rivals's 5-star range includes "6.1" and "6.0", while ESPN (50-95) and 247 (69-102) have numeric scales with the decades roughly coinciding with the next star rating.
They also have position ratings, which don't match up since they split positions differently, but if they can all be turned into percentiles.
So far I've done all but the last bit. Matching table's above. What we end up with is not a composite system like 247's so much as a composite Star Rating system that quadruples the star precision level.
I tried to honor stars and what they mean, but I also took national rankings and position rankings into account when one site's rating spanned multiple ratings of its competitors. So a 5.8 on Rivals will be a 4.00 if he makes the Rivals 250, and a 3.75 if he doesn't. And a 3-star WR on Scout who's ranked just behind the 4-star receivers in the WR rankings is like a 3.5-star.
[After the Jump: charts until I literally break Excel]
Let's have another look at that annual bar graph I produce to compare the classes. The one on the left shows 2016 as it stands and the right is the projected class.
The "projected" 2016 class is just me guessing based on the 'crutin updates Brian publishes, figuring guys he's hinted at aren't in the class, and Michigan picks up, you know, THAT GUY plus some other guys we seem to have heavy leads for. Take it FWIW—if you've got a subscription to anything harder than Twitter you can probably make better guess than that.
You can look at the constituent rankings (still using projected for the 2016 class cause I like to count unhatched chickens shut up!)
Some things may shift once I've gotten the pos ranking percentiles to work.
Best Class Evah?
Going by cumulative stars, Michigan's 2016 class would currently be up there among the better ones in recent Michigan history. Best-ever is within reach.
That's good news since the last two classes by this measure were the weakest in that time period. That's a measure of being nearly (or exactly) half the size though. You'll also see that the classes didn't necessarily translate into better teams. The 2015 team certainly benefited from Hoke's excellent 2012-'13 classes, and 2004 and '05 played their part in 2006. Crutin matters! Also holding onto those recruits matters.
Attrition by star rankings.
I just broke Excel. :( I guess play with the spreadsheet and see what you can see.