An informational post about the Rivals 100 players Michigan has recruited since 2002 got me thinking, and in this relatively quiet period, I decided I wanted to dig a bit deeper.
The question I set out to answer: How do these guys turn out? At what rate do top recruits become top players in our program? And how does that compare to other programs?
Given limited time, I compared us to only one other program: Ohio. I used Rivals 100 data for position, stars, and rank. The "Impact" data point is my subjective interpretation of a player's career impact; 3 is a high impact player (Solid starter to All-B1G type), 2 is a role player (contributor to starter), and 1 is a low impact player (did not produce for whatever reason). These ratings are NOT based on talent or careers at other schools--only the player's impact where they signed their LOI. Players who have not yet had the opportunity to demonstrate a rating are designated "n/a". Players with an asterix have not yet signed. And yes, some of you will argue with me, but my overall ratings are close enough to make some good starting points for conversation. Here is the data, followed by conclusions:
|Derrick Green (*)||RB||5||8||2013||VA||n/a|
|Henry Poggi (*)||DT||4||70||2013||MD||n/a|
|Shane Morris (*)||QB||4||81||2013||MI||n/a|
Let's start by looking at Michigan's "gets". There are some definite correlations. A higher national rank does indeed give a player a higher likelihood of making an impact. Of the 36 players who received a rating, nine were 3's (high impact), eight were 2's (role players), and 19 were...not so good. That gives Rivals 100 players during this period a 25% chance of being great, a 22% chance of being okay to good, and about a 53% chance of not being helpful at all. Basically, it's about 50/50 on whether or not these kids make a positive impact at Michigan.
That said, of the nine players who were 3's, 6 were five-star players. Two more five-star players made a 2 rating (Burgess & Campbell), and many would argue Burgess was a 3 (erroneously, but they would argue). That means roughly 80% of your five-star players end-up solidly contributing, and of the two that didn't--Mallet and Grady--only Grady was a complete bust, as Mallet went on to SEC stardom.
Of the 20 players who were 1's, 10 were ranked 80th or lower nationally, and only six were ranked higher than 40th.
I think it's important to consider that this time period includes two tumultuous coaching changes and a year of "lame-duck" coaching from Carr. I do not believe it will be representative of our success going forward, but it's the data we have.
|Theodore Ginn, Jr||DB||5||2||2004||OH||3|
Ohio's data gives us 35 rateable recruits to our 36. They show a similar correlation, with higher rankings and five-star players much more likely to be 3's. Of their 35 rated players, 17 were 3's, 4 were 2's, and 13 were 1's. That means roughly half (49%) of their rated players were 3's, and about 37% were 1's. Interestingly, many of their 1's were players who had trouble with the law--an issue that was much less prevalent with Wolverines.
The comparisons are pretty obvious: Ohio has gotten much more production out of their top recruits. This is, no doubt, partially attributable to mostly consistent coaching through the period by one of the best in the game (even if was a lying cheater). Ohio also had higher-ranked recruits--their average national ranking is 45.9 to Michigan's 55.2--and were much more geographically concentrated in Ohio and the midwest than Michigan's players.
Another interesting bit of data is that position does not seem to make much of a difference. LBs are probably the most successful recruits, but it matters very little. National ranking seems to correlate with impact regardless of position.
Going forward, my expectation is that roughly two-thirds (60-66% would be good) of Rivals 100 recruits end-up as solid contributors or better for Michigan, with about half becoming impact players. Unfortunately, the lower rankings of this year's four Top 100 recruits (Morris is 81 and Kugler 82) would suggest they have a smaller chance of being successful, while Poggi is most likely to be at least a contributor and Green has a 50/50 chance of being great. If Green finishes his career as a 3, and we get two 2's out of the other three, it will have been a very good year. If there are two 3's, it's a great year, and if there are two or three 1's, things didn't go so well.
I do believe our success with top talent will say a lot about or staff and look forward to revisiting this in 2016, when Hoke has had a full five-year cycle to demonstrate how well he can maximize talent.
EDIT: After some honest thought and good criticism, I bumped Will Campbell up to a "2". It's a "meh" difference statistically, but he probably earned it this year.