Jimmystats: Shifts in 2018 Recruiting Rankings

Submitted by Seth on January 25th, 2018 at 4:12 PM


Things were lookin’ up for McKeon last year. Is that a thing? [Upchurch]

One of the things I’d like to start tracking better in recruiting data are deltas: how much each player’s crootin numbers move over the course of his recruitment. I’ve been updating my spreadsheets a bunch the last few weeks as the sites put out their final rankings, and I fortuitously backed up the data on New Year’s Day so I have a decent snapshot right now of how much the rankings moved from the end of the season to when the services redid their final rankings for this week.

Unfortunately this doesn’t include the two guys who committed last week, since I grabbed their ratings only when those announcements hit. Wanna see?


Player Pos Stars RR Nat Rk Pos Rk ☆/5
Otis Reese OLB ☆☆☆☆ 5.9—>6.0 42—>56 2 4.76
Aidan Hutchinson WDE—>SDE ☆☆☆☆ 5.8—>5.9 NR—>129 17—>8 4.58
Myles Sims CB ☆☆☆☆ 5.9 79—>103 9—>14 4.49
Jaylen Mayfield OT 3—>4 5.6—>5.8 NR 31-->17 4.25
Cameron McGrone OLB ☆☆☆☆ 5.8 238—>195 19—>16 4.14
Joe Milton DUAL ☆☆☆☆ 5.9—>5.8 189—>200 11 4.04
Mustapha Muhammad TE ☆☆☆☆ 5.8 NR 16—>17 4.02
Gemon Green CB ☆☆☆☆ 5.8 NR 37—>39 3.91
Christian Turner RB ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 18 3.90
Taylor Upshaw SDE ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 24—>25 3.85
Ben VanSumeren ATH ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 37—>34 3.81
Vincent Gray CB ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 56—>60 3.70
Sammy Faustin CB ☆☆☆ 5.7 NR 58—>62 3.69
Ryan Hayes OT ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 47 3.62
Kevin Doyle PRO ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 24 3.60
Hassan Haskins RB ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 41 3.60
Luke Schoonmaker TE ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR 36 3.52
Michael Barrett ATH ☆☆☆ 5.6 NR NR 3.35
Julius Welschof SDE ☆☆☆ 5.5 NR NR 3.00
German Green S ☆☆☆ 5.5 NR NR 3.00
Ronnie Bell WR ☆☆ 5.4 NR NR 2.95

First a few words on what we’re looking at and how to react to things. The “☆/5” is my own conversion of the ratings and position rankings the sites provide so I can judge them all against each other. It’s imperfect.

Don’t pay attention to small changes in rankings, and the further down they start the larger delta you need to discount. That’s an effect of other guys shooting up the rankings and pushing everybody below them down a bit, not a new opinion on our guy. This is normal and happens every year. You’ll note Rivals didn’t make a lot of changes among their three-stars but fiddles with the guys in the top of the rankings a lot, part of a larger tendency to focus on the headline-grabbers.

Rivals, like the other services, starts stingier with their 4- and 5-star ratings to leave room for the inevitable risers. You can prove this yourself: go on the Rivals database and count how many guys in the 2019 class have a 6.1 (five stars) or 6.0 (highest four-stars). It’s 12 and 35—half as many as any year prior. Rest assured that’ll be more like 25-30 in the 6.1 range and 70-80 who get 6.0s by this time next year. That’s how Otis Reese jumped to a 6.0 while slipping 14 spots in the national rankings—what that means is he didn’t move while data on other guys filled in around him.

[Hit THE JUMP to see where everyone moved]


The guy Rivals most changed their minds on was Aiden Hutchinson, who leapt from an unranked low four-star to nearly top 125. They also changed his weight by +18 pounds and moved him into their SDE rankings. Jaylen Mayfield got a fourth star and is ranked right behind OSU commit/#244 overall Max Wray among offensive tackles, so it appears Mayfield missed the Rivals250 by an inch. Cam McGrone rose moderately. Their feelings on Joe Milton cooled some despite his positional ranking holding firm—that may be a result of which camps/all star games he attended since it’s a relatively minor fall. All the other deltas are so small as to be barely worth discussing. Let’s go to the next.


Player Pos Stars Rating NatRk PosRk ☆/5
Cameron McGrone OLB 4—>5 96—>98 32—>24 3—>1 4.88
Otis Reese OLB ☆☆☆☆ 94—>95 115—>73 7 4.54
Aidan Hutchinson SDE ☆☆☆☆ 93—>95 167—>88 8—>5 4.50
Jaylen Mayfield OT ☆☆☆☆ 95—>94 100—>126 7—>9 4.37
Ryan Hayes OT ☆☆☆☆ 93 132—>140 11—>12 4.30
Mustapha Muhammad TE ☆☆☆☆ 93—>91 155—>227 7 4.08
Julius Welschof SDE ☆☆☆☆ 90 323—>332 12—>14 3.98
Joe Milton PRO 4—>3 90—>88 283—>402 10—>14 3.83
Gemon Green CB ☆☆☆ 88 440—>458 38—>41 3.79
Kevin Doyle QB ☆☆☆ 88 450—>467 20—>19 3.79
Myles Sims CB ☆☆☆ 88 458—>478 39—>42 3.78
Taylor Upshaw SDE ☆☆☆ 86—>87 854—>507 34—>22 3.71
Christian Turner RB ☆☆☆ 87 604—>638 31—>34 3.64
Ben VanSumeren ATH ☆☆☆ 86 660—>694 55—>59 3.59
Vincent Gray CB ☆☆☆ 86 706—>737 71—>72 3.57
Michael Barrett ATH ☆☆☆ 86 819—>842 69—>71 3.52
Sammy Faustin CB ☆☆☆ 86 820—>859 78—>86 3.52
Luke Schoonmaker TE ☆☆☆ 86 862—>895 40—>41 3.50
Hassan Haskins RB ☆☆☆ 85 962—>1044 58—>67 3.42
Ronnie Bell WR ☆☆☆ 85 1082—>1146 160—>168 3.38
German Green CB ☆☆☆ 84 1160—>1274 99—>102 3.34

So 247 had a lot more movement overall, even after you dutifully ignore the big swings in national rankings from the fill-in effect. They like to tinker with their ratings a lot more often—some of these ratings have changed multiple times in the last few weeks.

Again Hutchinson and McGrone made big leaps, with McGrone getting into five-star range. Otis Reese moved into the top 100 while hanging onto his positional ranking. Mustapha Muhammad also held onto his positional ranking but dropped 72 spots within the Top247 as well as two ratings. They also downgraded Joe Milton to a three-star and dropped him from a pile of guys hanging around the margin of their Top247 to far out of it. Jaylen Mayfield got downgraded a bit as 247 jammed their new favorites into the Top 100 but he’s still pretty highly rated here.


Dropped off the map. I have data up to when that happened but no new data since their server is now vaporized. I hope they decide to bring it back once the confused Scout subscribers are used to the merger. It’s a real bummer that we’ve lost a ranking system since Rivals and 247 tend to have disagreements it’d be nice to triangulate against a third party, and ESPN, well, ESPN…


Player Pos Stars E Rtg Nat Rk Pos Rk ☆s/5
Mustapha Muhammad TE-Y ☆☆☆☆ 86 44—>42 2 4.67
Joe Milton DUAL ☆☆☆☆ 84 111—>119 6—>7 4.44
Myles Sims S ☆☆☆☆ 83 132—>137 10—>11 4.37
Aidan Hutchinson DE ☆☆☆☆ 81—>82 287—>193 28—>22 4.22
Cameron McGrone OLB ☆☆☆☆ 80—>82 NR—>206 16—>9 4.20
Otis Reese OLB ☆☆☆☆ 82 221—>230 10—>12 4.18
Christian Turner RB ☆☆☆☆ 80 NR 20—>21 4.05
Kevin Doyle PRO ☆☆☆☆ 80 NR 18—>19 4.00
Ryan Hayes OT ☆☆☆☆ 80 NR 30—>29 3.94
Gemon Green CB ☆☆☆☆ 80 NR 45—>46 3.85
Michael Barrett ATH ☆☆☆ 78 NR 50—>49 3.75
Ben VanSumeren ATH ☆☆☆ 78 NR 52 3.75
Julius Welschof DE ☆☆☆ 78 NR 64—>66 3.72
Taylor Upshaw DE ☆☆☆ 78 NR 66—>68 3.71
Luke Schoonmaker TE-Y ☆☆☆ 77 NR 20—>21 3.70
Sammy Faustin CB ☆☆☆ 79 NR 49—>50 3.65
Jaylen Mayfield OT ☆☆☆ 77 NR 73—>71 3.60
Hassan Haskins RB ☆☆☆ 75 NR 53—>54 3.58
Vincent Gray CB ☆☆☆ 76 NR 82 3.54
German Green CB ☆☆☆ 74 NR 98—>100 3.33
Ronnie Bell WR ☆☆☆ 73 NR 207—>208 3.25

ESPN fires and forgets. Other than a small adjustment to Aidan Hutchinson you could describe ESPN’s final rankings tweak as “We decided McGrone is pretty good.” ESPN tends to rank every player and put out a good scouting report at the time of his commitment, and then they don’t move much. This makes them less useful than the others for ranking purposes but quite useful for Hello posts that come a day or two late.

What does that mean for our purposes? It probably means you can’t take their outlier position on Mustapha Muhammad as gospel since he fell across the other sites. However when a guy does move it’s got to be more than a shift (or it could be they signed up for the ESPN showcase game).


Gonna post this next one as a graphic because it lets me use all the table tools in Excel for our money chart:


(arrows don’t match heat scheme because Microsoft won’t let you flip those)

Every site moved Hutchinson and McGrone up some. The two sites that seemed to be paying attention moved Joe Milton down. The Mayfield movement seems to have been toward a middle ground between 247 and Rivals. And apparently 247 finally saw whatever Rivals and ESPN (and Greg Mattison) did in Taylor Upshaw, who’s now a high 3-star to everybody.

This is the kind of thing that will be useful after I’ve been doing it for years and can compare the deltas of recruiting rankings to success on the field. Unfortunately that usefulness appears to have a soft cap at the four star types, since getting a re-rank of the guys lower down, especially from Rivals and ESPN, is rare.


Maize and Blue…

January 25th, 2018 at 7:25 PM ^

Except for coaching change years there is only one year I can remember Michigan taking more 3 stars then 4 stars, RR in 2010.  Furthermore, these aren't high 3 stars they are primarily middle down (composite 3 stars start at 370) and we have more players ranked 600 and below then I can ever remember.  Basically we need over half our recruiting class to exceed their rankings.  If Otis Reese stays with his verbal he is Michigan's highest ranked recruit.  Ohio State has 11 guys ranked ahead of him.  In the top 250 its 18 to 6 for OSU.


January 26th, 2018 at 6:59 PM ^

But this is not the level of recruiting that levels things with OSU. Just ain’t. You can’t rely on diamonds in the rough panning out when the other guy is bringing in crown jewel after crown jewel.

Harbaugh is getting paid too much for this to continue. Hopefully his staff tweaking helps and 2019 shines.

Neg away if you must. I know the truth hurts. So does getting smoked by the Buckeyes like clockwork. Go Blue.


January 25th, 2018 at 5:16 PM ^

The fundamental takeaway here, is that humans are evaluating humans. Humans always change, so both the lens and the specimen, in terms of performance and objectivity will constantly shift. I think the real data would come from observing the recruit on AND off the field. What's he like when he's frustrated? How does he respond to coaching? What motivates him? I'll take a rabid, insatiable shithouse rat over a punk ass prima donna any day.


January 25th, 2018 at 5:43 PM ^

Thanks for the tireless work. I think this class has some solid talent. I wish Joe Milton was far more polished. He very well may be a contributor at QB, but not anytime soon from looking at his tape and camp observations.


January 25th, 2018 at 6:01 PM ^

He was brought in specifically because he's an outworldly talent that needs major coaching. He was never expected to be ready early with Peters and Dylan ahead of him.

I understand people are down on Peters post bowl performance but that doesn't change anything for Milton. It'd be nice if he comes in and starts showing growth fundamentally, along with a solid grasp of the playbook, but he still has to beat out Peters, Dylan, and now Shea.

Let him marinate...


January 25th, 2018 at 6:17 PM ^

Good perspective. I'm not giving up on Peters, or McCaffrey for that matter, but I just can't wait to see a quarterback wearing a winged helmet that can actually help us win games, not just try not to lose them. Peters brought me hope not because he looked like a competent quarterback, but that he wasn't gonna be a turnover machine. Now I hope his next step is to lead the team down the field. But our OLine is probably gonna have a say as to how well a QB can play for us.

blue in dc

January 25th, 2018 at 5:51 PM ^


I’m sure you already have a long list of different types of analysis to do, but have you ever thought about diving more into the question of how much recruiting ratings (originally typed recruiting ravings - would be good to know if they matter too :)) matter? While the general premise that 4 and 5 stars will do better than 2 and 3 stars is undeniable, there are lots of other interesting questions.

Are certain coaches better evaluaters of talent? Presumably you could look at the success rate of a coach at pucking 3 stars against an average?

Are there states or other categories where rankings aren’t as good? We like to think that our CT recruits are undee scouted and thus under-ranked any validity to that hope?

There are lots of anecdotal reasoms many of us like to tell ourselves that this class will exceed its rankings. Are we just wearing blue-tinted glasses or could there be truth to any of them.


January 25th, 2018 at 7:01 PM ^

I've done those studies many times with this database and Matt Hinton has done so with a far larger dataset in different ways every year.

Here's the latest I did: http://www.mgoblog.com/content/jimmystats-so-many-stars-stars-are-good

And here's from last week:

As Recruit Players Rnds 1-3 Rnds 4-7 UDFA+ UDFA No NFL
☆☆☆☆☆ 17 9 (53%) 2 (12%) 1 (6%) 2 (12%) 3 (18%)
☆☆☆☆½ 64 9 (14%) 12 (19%) 3 (5%) 9 (14%) 31 (48%)
☆☆☆☆ 110 17 (15%) 16 (15%) - 1 (1%) 76 (69%)
☆☆☆½ 85 2 (2%) 7 (8%) - 1 (1%) 75 (88%)
☆☆☆ 113 4 (4%) 7 (6%) 1 (1%) - 101 (89%)
☆☆ 14 - - 1 (7%) - 13 (93%)
Walk-on 26 1 (4%) 1 (4%) - - 24 (92%)

Note over half of the 5-stars Michigan has recruited (who aren't still in college) went in the first three rounds of the NFL, and half of the consensus 4-stars had NFL careers. Also note that 89% of 3-stars weren't even drafted. 

Recruiting rankings unequivocally matter in the aggregate, but the variance is large for an individual because you're projecting what a 17-year-old will be when he's been in a college weight program. Also a significant portion of players lose their careers to injury (and compared to other schools Michigan has been extremely and I mean WAY WAY WAY out there extremely unlucky regarding injuries and whatnots out of their control).

Here's another way to show it. Here's Michigan's all 1993-present recruiting team:

QB: Mallett
RB: Fargas, Grady
FB: Will Paul (rated as a DE)
WR: *DPJ*, Marquise Walker
TE: Jerame Tuman
OC: *Ruiz*
OG: *Bredeson*, Schilling
OT: Backus, Dan O'Neill
DT: *Aubrey Solomon*, Pipkins
DE: *Gary*, Rasheed Simmons
LB: Woodley, Burgess, Mouton
S: Peppers, Cato June
CB: Marlin, Donovan Warren
K/P: Hayden Epstein
Some busts and a lot of transfers in there but almost all of those guys got drafted.
Let's do that again with the least recruited (scholarship) guys in that time:
QB: Conelius Jones
RB: Tim Bracken, Drake Johnson
FB: Kevin Dudley
WR: D.J. Williamson, Jeremy Jackson
TE: Phil Brackins, Keith Heitzman
OC: Mark Bihl
OG: John Ferrara, Patrick Omameh
OT: Mark Huyge, Rueben Riley
DT: Paul Sarantos, Brady Pallante
DE: Andre Criswell, Quinton Woods
LB: Marrell Evans, Obi Ezeh, John Thompson
S: Englemon, Vinopal
CB: Adrian Witty, Tamani Carter
K/P: Andrew David
A couple of these guys were useful college players but only one is in the NFL. There are plenty of guys like that who end up in the pros but they're often the type that wasn't scouted, which is rarer these days than it was before anyone could upload a video to Hudl.


January 25th, 2018 at 6:26 PM ^

Interesting stuff. I'd be intrigued to see how it holds up over a couple of years, as consolidation of media means there will be more eyeballs but fewer voices overall for rankings. Might be interesting to see if, say, ESPN gets better about updating reviews or if, say, they just try to buy a Scout and replace their own services with it.

I'm also intrigued to see if these rankings shifts were caused by specific events, like an all star game showing or a major offer. Just to see what causes the biggest shifts.


January 25th, 2018 at 9:15 PM ^

See, I had no idea.  I thought Rivals was the one bought out.  I've come to rely on 247 the most because I like their interface.

It feels like in a couple of years there will be 2 "major" recruiting services (one run by ESPN, the other probably 247) and then a lot of smaller "niche" ones that might spring forth from the video and player-focused recruiting tools and services.  

Killer Khakis

January 25th, 2018 at 10:25 PM ^

Seth, stuff like this seperates MGOBLOG from others. This is amazing data gathered, love it! This class gets a lot of ridicule but I think there's a lot of talent and depth in this class to contribute. Keep it up, much apreciated, and Go Bue!