ESPN Big Ten Rankings

Submitted by WhatTheFekete on February 3rd, 2011 at 9:43 AM

While I realize that none of these rankings actually ever seem to make a difference BUT

A grade of B- and 7th in the conference, seems more than a little harsh.  

Although State, Iowa, Penn State, Illinois also got a B- which puts us all into a tie for third based on the letter grade rankings.



February 3rd, 2011 at 9:55 AM ^

i started listening to 97.1 bc of valenti and foster bc for a while they were really funny..but now i cant listen to them for the life of me. karsch and anderson are actually hilarious and entertaining. 

97.1 has gone so down hill bc of the mornign show and valenti and his attempt at a shock jock. he does it just to piss people off and if cbs were paying attention they would change the show


February 3rd, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the 97.1 morning show is just atrocious? I was under the impresison that radio stations were supposed to put their best personalities on #1 in the morning and #2 on the way home from work. I can see how Valenti and Foster are appealing to some, but for the life of me I can't see how anyone enjoys listening to Stoney and Bill. They're not funny. The girl (Rachel? or whatever her name is) is terrible. Probably one of the most awkward, unfunny radio teams I've ever heard. Karsch and Anderson are wayyyyy better. I prefer 89X in the morning, even though I have to turn it off everyone once in a while because they're NSFH and insultingly filthy.


February 3rd, 2011 at 12:50 PM ^

Sparty has their best year in two decades then sucks balls against Alabama...this leads to...nothing much in recruiting excepting Lawrence Thomas. We change coaches, enact "the god damned process" and still, god damned still have a substantially superior class to the Sparty.

Rivals>ESPN but TomVH>Rivals



February 3rd, 2011 at 6:46 PM ^

Come on, under that line of thinking there's no reason to follow recruiting rankings at all. 

It's no wonder why the teams with the best recruiting classes also have the best teams on the field.  We out-recruited MSU for years, and almost always beat them on the field.  We've had a tough couple of years, but if we continue to out recruit MSU, we'll certainly beat them on the field more often than not.


February 3rd, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

If you called in and said "mike huge state fan but state sucked this year at recruiting" he would agree with you now if you called in and said"mike huge michigan fan but state sucked at recruiting this year" he would explode and disagree with you and tell you how bad michigan did, instead of his school.


February 3rd, 2011 at 9:52 AM ^

and really its just funny to me. im not a recruiting expert, but when every other service has michigan anywhere from 21st to the 30s nationally, how can espn have michigan 7th in the big ten. its really comical bc that should place us well below the 30s nationally. 

espn is espn, i wouldnt take it seriously bc its pretty much a worthless assessment. 

Hugh Jass

February 3rd, 2011 at 9:53 AM ^

ESPN got it about right.  No ESPN top 150 guys in our class (not that i necessarily believe their top 150 is accurate) plus fewer recruits than the others who rated a B-.  With that said we filled some needs and we move on.


February 3rd, 2011 at 9:58 AM ^

does their ranking based on if they think the school filled their needs, not always if the school got the best talent available. 

so apparently they are saying that we didnt fill the holes. whatever, i pick the other services vs them in recruiting knowledge


February 3rd, 2011 at 9:53 AM ^

ESPN rankings become more and more of a joke every year. I just try not to pay attention to them. At least scout and rivals are somewhat close, but ESPN I think uses a monkey and a dart board to rank the recruits.

Like everything else ESPN does I think they only have a group of people who do ALL team's recruiting. They have general knowledge but not enough to make truely informed opinions about the most specific of things. Rivals and scout have multiple people working at and grading each team's recruits. ESPN just wants the money in recruiting without doing any of the work.


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:02 AM ^

I tend to trust Rivals the most for recruiting on Football - not that I am a big anti-ESPN guy but they don't but the same amount of resources into recruiting that Rivals and Scout do. I think Hoke getting the 21st ranked class on Rivals and 27th ranked class on Scout is more important than ESPN's grade.

Hoke did an outstanding job of filling up this class and I can't wait to see what he can do with a full recruiting year. GO BLUE!

Benoit Balls

February 3rd, 2011 at 10:02 AM ^

it seems like they are basing their rankings mostly on how many players that school got that were on the ESPN 150 list.  Sounds like ESPN is trying to justify their rankings with more made up rankings that show how good their first set of made up rankings were. A self fulfilling prophecy as it were



February 3rd, 2011 at 12:50 PM ^

They also only talk up kids who played in their all-star game (Under-Armour, I think), so I tend to think their analysis is more biased. I mean, I love Demar Dorsey, but they had him as a top-15 player when everyone else was like "good 4* kid." But he did play in their game, which helped.


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:04 AM ^

I don't put much stock in ESPN's recruiting rankings.

But, looking at our class, as compared to say, OSU or Nebraska (as well as some of our prior classes as compared to the respective classes of those schools), it is obvious that we will be playing those schools as a talent deficit for the next few years.  Traditionally, our recruiting was about even with OSU, hence the approximate 50/50 distribution in wins / losses over the past 20 years.  And, traditionally, our recruiting was ahead of schools like PSU, Iowa and MSU, hence our dominance over those schools.

Now, we are recruiting way behind OSU and Neb, reducing our chances of beating either of these schools in the upcoming year or so.  Not saying that we won't / can't win - obviously, these rankings only go so far.  But, OSU / Neb will be playing with a talent advantage for the immediate future.

As for PSU, MSU and Iowa, we should match up approximately equally with them (talent wise) over the next year or so, with the x-factors such as Denard / the Big House helping us to win more games than we lose.



February 3rd, 2011 at 10:29 AM ^

Not being snarky, I seriously don't understand your point.  

My point was that over the next few years, the talent deficiency in our classes, as compared to OSU, Nebraska (and I will also add ND), is going to hurt us.  

You seem to agree, as you state that we will see the effects of our 2011 class in a few years. I think that was what I was trying to say - that over the next few years, not now, this class (as well as 2010, and 2009) will not have us on equal footing with the elite teams that we will play.

As for now, well ND, OSU and Nebraska have been recruiting lights out for the past 4-5 years, while we have not, so even for this year and next year, we will be putting up largely 3* and low 4* talent against 5*, high 4* and low 4* talent.  

Of course, the usual caveats about recruiting rankings not being 100% accurate, sleepers, some 3*s that turn out amazing, etc., apply, but as a general rule, a team with higher ranked talent will have a better chance of winning.

By the way, this is not intended as a criticism of either RR or Hoke - just stating the facts.


February 3rd, 2011 at 11:13 AM ^

Rivals' team rankings over the past years:


2010: #22

2009: #28

2008: #30

Avg: 26.6


Penn State

2010: #12

2009: #24

2008: #43

Avg: 26.3



2010: #20

2009: #8

2008: #10

Avg: 12.6

Since we'll be fielding teams that are almost entirely made up of 2008-2010 recruits I don't understand your assertions that we will not be able to keep up with these teams in the "next year," "immediate future," etc.


February 3rd, 2011 at 12:03 PM ^

I see your numbers, but a few points:

1.  The seniors who would be playing this year would have been players from our 2007 class.  While these are not listed, there was a TON of attrition drom these classes during the first part of the RR era, and some of that attrition was the higher ranked talent.

EDIT:  You got me thinking about this, so I did some checking.  That class had 2 5 stars - D. Warren and Mallett - both gone.  With these two kids alone removed, that class drops off by a lot.  As for the 4 star talent, we lose T. Clemons, A. Panter, M. Webb and M. Williams, with our only remaining 4 star talent remaining being RVB.  Even the 3 star talent from this class has been decimated (Babb, Chambers, Helmuth, Horn, Rogers, Sagasse) due to transfers or players being forced to play rather than redshirt early on.

2.  The numbers that you provided are the numbers at the close of the class.  They do not account for the kids in those classes - Dorsey, for example - that did not make it onto campus, or the kids - Vlad and Turner, for example - that transferred out (again, not uncommon during the past few years).  These were some of the gems of these classes, and having their stars removed would no doubt affect the rankings significantly.

EDIT:  More checking.  Our 2008 class had zero 5 stars, but was in fact, 4 star heavy.  From that class, however, we lost Withersoppn, Brandon Smith, Dann O'Neil, Sam McGuffie, Taylor Hill and BooBoo.  We also lost 3 stars such as Feagin and Wermers.  The number of 4 star transfers undercuts this class' ranking.  Same exercise for 2009 class.  4 star transfers, such as Tate, Vlad, LaLota and Turner would bring down this class' ranking by a good amount.

3.  Class size - if I recall, some of our recent classes were large in number, but lacking in high-end talent.  If this is the case, we might rank higher than our talent, as the rankings weight quantity.  Not sure on this last point, though.

Also, where are OSU and ND during these time periods?  I presume that you did not include them because their classes would, in fact, show that they were way ahead these past few years.  

I suspect that looking at the starting rosters of Michigan compared to some of these teams would best make my point.  While it is too time consuming of an exercise, I would suspect that out of our 22 starters this coming year (whomever they are), we have way less 4* and 5* talent than either OSU or NS, probably less than Nebraska, and probably around the same amount as Iowa, MSU and PSU.  Would you agree with this speculation?


February 3rd, 2011 at 2:23 PM ^

Straw man? He asked about notre dame and said that data wasn't included because their classes were higher ranked, therefore we surely have done poorly against them the last couple of years. Perfectly logical. Wait....what?


February 3rd, 2011 at 2:48 PM ^

I said that we would be at a talent deficiency.  And we were.  That doesn't mean that we will lose all of those games - it means that we have a greater chance of losing those games - all things being equal.  

Now that Weis is gone and Kelly is entering his second year, I look at that ND - with all of that talent at Kelly's disposal - as a scary team that we could lose to.  Again, not saying that we will, but for the next few years, we will be at a talent disadvantage.


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:05 AM ^

I think that the most important thing with this recruiting class is what we learned about Hoke.  

1. Defense is the priority!

2. He can recruit.  I am excited to see what he does next year after having a full year to recruit.  


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:11 AM ^

I assess ESPN's recruiting prowess like this: I don't go to Meijer to buy a TV or a piece of high end electronics. They simply can't help me make an informed decision or have the best products. If I'm looking to buy a TV I'll go to a local TV shop or an ABC Warehouse or something more esoteric. Big box stores and big box sites are great if you want everything in one place but not necessarily of high quality.  They do everything okay and nothing well. They're TV shows, websites, radio shows, analysts are alright...mostly because of its convenience. Its easy to get to and navigate. If you want higher quality you need to go to a specialty site.


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:23 AM ^

It's going to be interesting to see if we ever rank on par with the SEC now that ESPN has a contract with them.  I wouldn't get to worked up about ESPN's rankings.


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:28 AM ^

Hopefully this is the last year where we use the "filling needs" excuse.  Not that it isn't a valid justification for the past few years, but that is the biggest difference between where we are (where OSU is) and where we have been in the past.

Defensively this class ranks strong (haven't taken the time to figure out how strong), and likely top 10...  That was our greatest need, and we filled it pretty nicely.

Hopefully going forward we focus on "best player" and "best athlete" and go after top recruits. It feels like there is some stability in our leadership/staff, and clearly a focus.  You cannot be a top 10 class if you don't get top recruits.  Next class will have around 20, so won't be rated top 10 either against schools with 25 recruits...  but what we want to see is the USC model - get 5* guys, fill out with 4* guys and decide if any 3* guys are worthy...  That's the ticket...


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:37 AM ^

Their take just seems ... odd.  How did they conclude that DE was a "position of focus?"  And, having done so, why on earth did they choose to highlight Keith Heitzman?  Nothing against Keith, who seems to be a good character and someone who will represent the team well, but for now he is one of the most underwhelming recruits in the class.  He's at the bottom of their own list, for @#$%'s sake.

I think it would have made a ton of sense to highlight Barnett, who clearly filled a "position of focus" and has, on paper, the most cred in the class.  What do I know, though?

The same could be said for Poole and Kellen Jones.  WTF?


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:40 AM ^

You guys do understand that most of the guys we landed were universally low-ranked, yes?  The shock and horror that a mediocre class is getting mediocre grades seems a bit misplaced.  Fault the rankings all you want, but pretending like all of our guys are actually super underrated 5*s that Rivals/Scout/ESPN all got it wrong on is delusional.  


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:43 AM ^

three stars. Welcome to Homerville. Hoke will do better next year, but this has been an a pretty  unseemly display.

The signs have been there for a year or more, but I would say that mgoblog officially jumped the shark when the herd all went over--with a great thunder of hooves--to Hoke with a bovine mania. Suspending judgement would be a more thoughtful stance, obviously, but I guess that even people with elite educations need to pray at some altar.


February 3rd, 2011 at 2:03 PM ^

I read threads where 4 out of 5 comments were "OMG Hoke is the most awesome recruiter!!!" I kept reading to see who had been signed but it turned out that the only news was that Hoke had extended an offer to someone.

I'm not going to criticize Hoke excessively, as you note he had very little time to recruit for Michigan. However, I found his offer to a 3* DB who was a Minnesota commit puzzling considering the DBs we recruited last year and the DBs who were already on board this year.


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

2007: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State

2008: Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois

2009: Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan

2010: Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State

2011: Ohio State, Nebraska, Iowa, then Michigan.

A 4th place finish in the Big Ten for UM this time.  Hoke did good job - the best he could under the circumstances of "The Process".

There are very good reasons why Ohio State and Penn State have been ruling the roost in the Big Ten the last several years. Two of them are called defensive coordinators Jim Heacock and Tom Bradley.  The other reason is called kicking the crap out of Michigan in recruiting 4 of the last 5 years.

I'm sure UM recruiting will improve in 2012.  Superior coaching and player development are going to be critical.

I imagine winning Big Ten titles is a lot easier just by winning the recruiting battle ever year.  For now, Ohio State is sitting pretty (again).



February 3rd, 2011 at 10:48 AM ^

A B- is not bad considering we lost out on the following guys and replaced them with mostly 3* guys due to the late CC:
<br>Dee Hart
<br>Kris Frost
<br>Anthony Zettel
<br>Dallas Crawford
<br>Wayne Lyons
<br>Jake Fisher
<br>Avery Walls
<br>It would be nice to hear Brandon acknowledge that they way he handled the CC process negatively effected recruiting. I give him a D on the process, hopefully the result (Hoke) ends up an A.
<br>I don't think anyone thinks this recruiting class deserves an A.
<br>On PAPER, this class has mostly good commits (3*) with a handful of great commits (4*). To me, this looks like B/B- class.
<br>Hopefully they develop into stars and only then can we truly grade this recruiting class.
<br>I am Hokefullly optimistic that our 2012 class will see us return to landing mostly 4/5* guys!
<br>Go Blue!


February 3rd, 2011 at 10:48 AM ^

The recruiting rankings mean little until the players develop. Look at the reflection of the All Big Ten first team selection in regards to their individual recruiting rankings. If that doesn't work look at Boise State, TCU, Utah, Iowa, Wisconsin ect. Michigan is young, I see this class as a support system that can hold a lot of red-shirts and develop over time as needed.

My name ... is Tim

February 3rd, 2011 at 12:12 PM ^

While the recruit rankings don't matter meme has been more than hashed out on this board for the past few weeks, what TRULY does not matter, is what ESPN, Scout, and Rivals do with the list of players, star-ratings, and signee totals by turning them into a list of recruiting class rankings.


It's important that we lost out on 4-star Willingham and gained 4-star Barnett. It's not important that that combo may have moved us ahead of Iowa's class or behind Ole Miss'.


February 3rd, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

Look at a school like Boise State or TCU whom more or less gets three and four star recruits but ultimately it comes down to how good is the coach that can utilize and mature these talents.  Obviously they don't play the same conference talent but, I don't think as much stock needs to be put into our recruiting grade as we need to look at the upside for the talent we recruited.  I feel that with our new staff we will be looking much stronger as we have coaches that should be able to maximize the potential all these guys have to offer. 


February 3rd, 2011 at 5:22 PM ^

David Brandon: F

Brady Hoke: A+

This year's class: C

Luckily, the cupboard is stocked very well, and Hoke can afford to get off to slow start as long as he brings in a great class next year.  I disagreed with the firing and the hire, but I still think Hoke did a great job in the amount of time he had.  If what he was able to do in less than three weeks of recruiting is any indication, he just might bring in the number one class in the country next year.

If Jimbo Fisher can get the number one class at FSU after they floundered for ten years, why not Michigan next year?  The media and many HS coaches will be in Hoke's corner.  He has Mattison to help him recruit.  The facilities are now upgraded.  There are a lot of positives in Ann Arbor now, and next year is supposed to be a great one for the midwest.  

Even getting back to the top of the Big Ten would be great for the program, and is doable.  I think next year will be good enough that this year won't hurt.