Ranking The Rankers: 2012 Class Comment Count

Brian January 19th, 2017 at 12:52 PM

An annual series that attempts to figure out which of the major recruiting services had the best read on a recruiting class. You get three points for the best, two for second, one for third, with ties adding all those up and splitting it. Note that the higher the rank the more willing I am to make a distinction between takes. #20 is different than #60; #200 is the same as #240.

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[Bryan Fuller]

No significant differences:

  • Jeremy Clark. The sites missed on Clark (if he plays well in his sixth year and gets drafted) since they didn't think he could play corner. He was a generic three star to all.
  • Allen Gant. Nobody was optimistic here. FWIW, ESPN was the most thunderously pessimistic, ranking him the #150 WR and #72 player in Ohio.
  • Jarrod Wilson. Wilson was a mid-four star to everyone; Scout put him #245 but actually had him lower positionally than anyone else. Wilson performed to his rating.
  • Matt Godin. Godin got one four-star ranking from 24/7; they rated him the #17 SDE and #11 in the state while folks who offered three stars ranked him #8 and #10 in-state and around 30th as a DT, which has twice as many guys as SDE. Those are more or less the same ranking despite the star difference. He was a quintessential 3/4 star tweener and played exactly like it.
  • Ben Braden. Generic three star to the world, and that was about right. Braden was co-Sleeper of the Year along with Chesson. Willie Henry was the best pick; Chesson and Braden were probably #2 and #3 depending on how you feel about Jeremy Clark.
  • Jehu Chesson. Also a generic three star to everyone.
  • Sione Houma. Fullback. ESPN only gave two stars but actually had him higher positionally than anyone else.

Not Applicable: Kaleb Ringer had microfracture surgery as a freshman and never recovered. He transferred to Ferris State. Sites were more or less in agreement on him in any case.

Note: ESPN only ranked out to 150 this year.

Terry RichardsonTerry Richardson

A universal four star despite his diminutive size, Richardson barely played and eventually transferred to Marshall. This was not the finest day for any of the scouting services but ESPN was the wrongest, placing him #68 in the country. 247 (#142), Scout(#183), and Rivals(#224) were more skeptical by degrees but not far enough apart to make a distinction.

1st(T): 24/7, Scout, Rivals
4th: ESPN

James Ross

Another universal four-star with not much playing time to his name, Ross flashed big talent but ended up watching for most of his career. While this was a miss by everyone, Scout(#83) and 247(#116) were the highest on him, with Rivals (#172) a hair more skeptical. ESPN wins the prize for leaving him at the bottom of their four-star rankings with an 80.

1st: ESPN
2nd: Rivals
3rd(T): Scout, 24/7

Royce Jenkins-Stone

The third in a series of four star guys who didn't pan out; ESPN(#111) and Scout(#113) were higher on RJS by a wide enough margin to ding them relative to Rivals(#184) and 247(#209).

1st(T): Rivals, 24/7
3rd(T): Scout, ESPN

344790Joe Bolden

Played a ton, but never particularly well. Ended up undrafted; Michigan upgraded with new faces after his departure. Should have been a high three star; was instead universally hailed with 247(#58) and Scout(#69) significantly higher on him than Rivals(#111) and ESPN(#142).

1st(T): Rivals, ESPN
3rd(T): 24/7, Scout

Chris Wormley

Finally someone a recruiting service underrated. Wormley was infamously dissed by Josh Helmholdt for his lack of motor; Rivals gave him a generic three star ranking that stands out as the biggest miss of the cycle. He was their #22 player in Ohio... after being the subject of a heated Michigan-OSU recruiting battle. Okay.

Everyone else offered four stars, with 24/7(#72) much higher on him than Scout (#164) and ESPN (unranked four-star). Wormley turned into a stalwart DE/DT who should be off the draft board by the end of day two. 24/7 was thus bang on.

1st: 24/7
2nd(T): Scout, ESPN
4th: Rivals

571Tom Strobel

One of the biggest busts of the class, Strobel was a four-star guy to three services. Despite being radically undersized for DT, Strobel was sent there early in his career, emerging as a redshirt junior after Michigan lost their top two nose tackles. Strobel was overrun and not offered a fifth year.

ESPN was the lone skeptic and they were very skeptical. He was the #29 player in OH and the #61 DE. Scout(#93) missed most badly, with 24/7(#198) and Rivals (unranked four star, albeit in front of Wormley) more or less tied for second.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals
4th: Scout

Mario Ojemudia

Despite a large split in opinion I think I have to punt here. Ojemudia was in the midst of a breakout season as a senior when he went down with an achilles injury in game five, i.e. the very instant it was too late to redshirt. Also he was one of the most insane burned redshirt of the Hoke era, getting spot time in nine games as a 230 pound DE.

So was he a four star and guy just outside the top 200 (ESPN, Scout) or a generic three star (24/7, Rivals)? Yes. Also no.


Willie Henry

Nobody thought much of Henry when he committed but Scout offered him a reasonably high ranking (#38 DT); the rest of the services (#59 OH, #97 DT, #54 OH) had him in the "if we gave out two stars any more this guy would have two stars" range.

1st: Scout
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals, ESPN

Ondre PipkinsOndre Pipkins

Pipkins had an ACL injury that hampered his career but was healthy enough to play the year after his injury and three years removed from it at Texas Tech, so his lack of impact was probably more about his ability. Everyone missed here; ESPN (four-star outside the top 150, #16 DT) was significantly more skeptical than the rest. Rivals gave him five stars and ranked him in the top 20; Scout and 24/7 had him just outside the top 50.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): 24/7, Scout
4th: Rivals

Erik Magnuson

Everyone except ESPN was in a tight band from #71 to #82 overall; ESPN had him a four-star and the #27 OT in the country. I was ready to punt on this since Magnuson was kind of at the midpoint but both Seth and Ace were strongly in favor of the latter ranking.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7, Rivals

Blake Bars

Rivals was the only service to offer Bars a fourth star; they ranked him the #32 OT. The next most optimistic service, ESPN, had him #54. Bars never played and transferred away.

1st: 24/7, ESPN, Scout
4th: Rivals

Kyle KalisKyle Kalis

Played a bunch; like Bolden never played particularly well. Has some chance of getting drafted late. Should not have been a five star; Scout(#35) and Rivals(#22) gave him one. 24/7 was significantly more skeptical (#61) and ESPN more skeptical yet(#132).

1st: ESPN
2nd: 24/7
3rd(T): Scout, Rivals

AJ Williams

Generic three star tight end rankings from three services. Scout offered him a fourth, ranked him as an OT, and placed him #225 overall. While Williams did have his late Harbaugh surge, the skeptics were correct.

1st: 24/7, Rivals, ESPN
4th: Scout

259059Devin Funchess

Another bad miss by Rivals in the Midwest, as a future second-round pick with obvious eye-popping athleticism got three stars from them. Everyone else offered four, with ESPN the most optimistic. He was just outside their (then) top 150 and the #5 TE.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7
4th: Rivals

Amara Darboh

Another guy with three sites in a tight range, this from #199 to #215. ESPN whiffed badly, ranking Darboh the #82 WR and a three-star. The other sites were bang on.

1st(T): Rivals, Scout, 24/7
4th: ESPN

Dennis Norfleet

Sigh. Norfleet made a terrible decision to sign up for a Brady Hoke/Al Borges joint that had less than zero use for a tiny running back, but it must be stated that he should not have been a four star. ESPN was the lone service to dump Norfleet way down their list (#80 RB, #26 MI); the other three sites had him a solid four star from #163 to #236. And they probably would have been right if Norfleet had gone to Kansas State or something.

1st: ESPN
2nd(T): Scout, Rivals, 24/7

Your 2012 Recruiting Class Rankings Winner is...

ESPN. By a landslide.

  1. ESPN: 30 points
  2. 24/7: 24 points
  3. Rivals: 18 points
  4. Scout: 17.5 points

It sucks for Michigan that they won largely because they thought a bunch of guys were overrated relative to the rest of the services; on the other hand, ESPN says Michigan has a terrific class this year. So we've got that going for us.

24/7 won the 2011 class, which had fewer points up for grabs since so many of those gentlemen were in the generic three-star void. Your two-year totals:

  1. ESPN: 39.5
  2. 24/7: 36.5
  3. Rivals: 25
  4. Scout: 24.5


I Like Burgers

January 19th, 2017 at 1:22 PM ^

Was just thinking about this the other day on some other thread about the various ranking services.  Think it was regarding the ranking of Trey Smith (top 5 to both 247 and ESPN, 30-50 to Rivals and Scout).  My feeling was 247 and ESPN had been more accurate as of late and Scout and Rivals had been more scattershot with their hits and misses.

In general, it feels like its tough to trust Scout's rankings at all with all of the upheaval over there.  Trust individual reporters...but the scouts as a whole?  Yeah, maybe not.


January 19th, 2017 at 3:24 PM ^

The thing I was noticing reading through was that this blog often refers to espn ratings as file-&-forget, implying they're less thorough at best, lazy at worst in their rankings.

Then they blow the other sites out of the water, at least in regards to Michigan recruits.

I guess you'd need just as complete a review of other schools to see if this was just a one off where espn was especially down on Hoke's 2012 class vs other sites, or if their "make a judgement and stick to it" style is actually better?



January 19th, 2017 at 1:09 PM ^

The TTB assessment of Willie Henry always pops into my head when I think about his success. The prognosticator of prognosticators... 


January 19th, 2017 at 1:49 PM ^

Ya I tend to trust Magnus, mostly because of he has earned it through dedication of searching for the hottest chick pics..  

Id be curious to know what he thinks of the new DB from MA, he seems like a gamer to me.  



January 19th, 2017 at 1:14 PM ^

And some of that is because they've ranked Michigan guys lower, but a lot of it is about genuine process complaints.  Of the 4 sites, they're the most likely to do an initial evaluation/ranking and then never update it, even when a very low ranked guy starts getting interest from big time schools incommensurate with the initial rating.  

I Like Burgers

January 19th, 2017 at 1:17 PM ^

People shit on ESPN for everything.  My favorite is when people bitch about them losing talent, when the talent they've lost (Cowherd, Bayless, Simmons) are people generally everyone loathes. Tirico is the only one who was any good who left recently, and he upgraded. So tough to fault anyone for that.

Sac Fly

January 19th, 2017 at 1:24 PM ^

People always talked about him like he was this super weapon who was misused by Borges. Even in his high school tape I never saw anything but a guy who could run really fast in a straight line. 


January 19th, 2017 at 1:43 PM ^

That's weird. I always saw Norfleet as a guy with some agility but little speed to go with it. He'd juke a couple guys, then just as you were thinking he was gonna break one he'd get chased down from behind by a LB.

I think there were better offenses for him, of course. But he was never some secret All American had he gone to Oregon or something.


January 19th, 2017 at 1:45 PM ^

I'm not sure he is/was/could have been a super weapon either, but I disagree with your assessment. I actually don't think his straight-line speed was that special; it was his quickness and change of direction that made him dangerous in space.

We'll never know if in a different offense he would have been a useful playmaker. I'd guess he would have been a solid complimentary player in a system that better utilized his skillset but don't think he could have been a true "gamebreaker" caliber talent at the Power 5 level. 


January 19th, 2017 at 1:43 PM ^

Thanks for putting this together. A little suprising that ESPN is the leader. My only comment about the ratings is that it seems that you get the same amount of points for being the least wrongest as being dead on about a prospect.


January 19th, 2017 at 2:07 PM ^

I enjoy these posts a lot just as I like to re-look at NFL drafts 3 years after the fact.  I actually did 4 diaries on this group re-ranking them over 3 time frames.  First very early in their career post 2013, then second in early 2014, then in late 2015 as most were exited or had 1 year to go.  That is not the point of THIS specific post (i.e. which rating system did the best) but it's good to see the class as a whole.

I'm rereading these now to see what I missed and hit on.  One thing I noticed is you can tell 80% of the time who is going to be good early - very few players sit around for 3 years and then make a big impact later i.e.  Mike McCray.  Post 2013 I had Richardson in bust territory, Pipkins underwhelming, RJS meh, Willie Henry way ahead of the curve, Funchess looking good, etc.

Fun reading in retrospect but yes that LB class and OL class were supposed to be fucking glorious.  I do think Ross played more than you give credit to - I think his 2nd year (??) he played all the time and started and had a ton of tackles, then mysteriously fell off.  And a year ago at this time we thought Chesson was headed to All American - that damn injury.


January 19th, 2017 at 2:21 PM ^

folks on here like to slam ESPN for being bad at rankings but they won easily (was more about their pessimism than their overranking players form the North, methinks. )


January 19th, 2017 at 2:34 PM ^

This is what I was thinking reading through. The problem is there is a big confounding variable with the coaching changes and general lack of success of the program.

I wonder if this was done for a more stable program over the last 5 years like Stanford or Ohio State, how the results would look.

Vacuous Truth

January 19th, 2017 at 2:22 PM ^

Had sort of forgotten how damn Midwestern these  Hoke classes were. Brian's comment "Another bad miss by Rivals in the Midwest" made me want to break the scoring down by MW vs. Other. Turns out that's pointless b/c the only non-MW guys to have significantly differing rankings were Bars (TN), Mags (CA), and perhaps Pipkins, if Missouri isn't considered MW by the services. 

FWIW, Houma (UT), Clark (KY), and perhaps Chesson (MO) were also out-of-region recruits. 


January 19th, 2017 at 2:23 PM ^

So in the end if the top 35ish in the country are 5 stars, 36-150 are high 4, 151-300 are low 4, 301-500 high 3s I'd look at it like this:

  • No true 5 stars but Funchess/Henry close to it
  • H4: Funchess, Henry, Wormley (thought Wormley would take 1 more step this year, just short IMO)
  • L4: Magnuson, Clark, Chesson (career rating- 2016 was disappointing), Darboh, Wilson, Bolden
  • H3: Ross, Kalis, Braden, Ojemudia, Godin
  • L3: Johnson, Norfleet, Williams, Pipkins, Houma
  • All sorts of 2s:  Richardson, Bars, Gant, Strobel
  • INC: Ringer

p.s. I show Drake Johnson in this class, for some reason not listed above in OP.


January 19th, 2017 at 2:29 PM ^

that decides whether a player was over-rated or:
just got shitty coaching, or
had multiple coaching transitions or
an obvious scheme change, or
had an injury (this post does mention them) or
had their red shirt burned too early (shitty coaching category)?

I can see who is or isn't going #1 in the draft.  
I can look at how a recruiting service evaluated a kid at the start of their junior yr of HS (and perhaps never again).

But how they went from A to B is what interests me the most.  Although I appreciate this article and the work that went into it.



January 19th, 2017 at 2:30 PM ^

Two of our receivers Chesson and Darboh were 3 stars... These guys played lights out, somewhat. I am curious of all the 5 stars that don't pan out, for the whole league.

Im disappointed in Kevin Grady and Shane Morris.