On the field vs. recruiting success: The State of Michigan

Submitted by blueblooded14 on July 21st, 2017 at 3:48 PM

Was talking with a coworker about the correlation between in-state recruiting and the success of M v. MSU. I used the 247 composite and noted the top 10 Michigan recruits between '08 and '17 (the beginning of the sad times to the present). The data does show some relationship that Michigan has played their best football 3 or so years after major in-state recruiting success. There does not seem to be much of a relationship between MSU's recruiting and their on the field success. They were getting somewhere between 2-4 of the best in-state kids for most of their gilded age. It is amazing just how well MSU did over the last decade. What this has reinforced is the importance of Xs and Os over Jims (not that Jim) and Joes.

I would be interested in running a regression on this sort of data but I am not confident enough in my excel prowess to make a public attempt.


Year M Recruits MSU Recruits M Record MSU Record
2008 4 2 3-9 9-4
2009 2 7 5-7 6-7
2010 1 4 7-6 11-2
2011 2 3 11-2 11-3
2012 6 2 8-5 7-6
2013 5 2 7-6 13-1
2014 3 4 5-7 11-2
2015 2 3 10-3 12-2
2016 2 4 10-3 3-9
2017 7 2 14-0* 0-12*
Total 34 33 66-48 83-36
2018 3 1 *Speculative and not in total  




July 21st, 2017 at 3:52 PM ^

Is more to the effect of previous year's success means you'll get more in-state guys. The team with more wins in the previous season has consistently garnered more in-state recruits the next cycle.


July 21st, 2017 at 4:01 PM ^

Obviously coaching and talent skill are integral to a teams overall success, but it's more dynamic than Jims/Joes v X's and O's. MSU got lucky that both Michigan and PSU were down at the same time. Their initial rise to national success also kicked off at the same time as the transition from Tressell to Fickell at OSU in 2010/2011. The stars aligned perfectly and they capitalized on it. With the resurgence of Michigan and PSU, along with OSU's dominance under Meyer, MSU has inevitably regressed back to the mean. It also doesn't help that Narduzzi skated off to Pitt while the quarters defense has been basically figured out.


July 21st, 2017 at 4:07 PM ^

looks to me like Michigan State's on-field success was directly predicated by their improved in-state recruiting.... twice. 

Human Torpedo

July 21st, 2017 at 4:18 PM ^

Highly likely an undefeated Michigan team gets snubbed like that. I would say 15-0, but Michigan has never had a national championship team with 1 or more losses so there's a first time for everything and i say 14-1


July 21st, 2017 at 4:21 PM ^

Statistically, the most awful teams are going to have a strangely high success coefficient. Check my thinking.

The worst you can be on the field is 0-12ish, right? But you will still get somebody to come play football for you, and they will be ranked somewhere. Meaning that a team that goes 1-11 but gets the same ranking of recruits as a 0-12 team will "underperform" for this correlation.

Or we could call it the "Notre Dame Rule": awful on the field, get same level of recruits as if you were above average.

Mr Miggle

July 21st, 2017 at 4:28 PM ^

is that includes a lot of players Michigan didn't want. And some MSU wouldn't offer either. More work to compile but more interesting would be a list of in-state players pursued by both schools. If that's too subjective, then those over a benchmark rating. 

No matter the methodology, I'm sure we'll find that MSU relies on having success recruiting in-state.


July 21st, 2017 at 6:08 PM ^

It is amazing just how well MSU did over the last decade. What this has reinforced is the importance of Xs and Os over Jims (not that Jim) and Joes.

I would say that their success was based on getting really lucky with the Jimmies and Joes. Your analysis doesn't count for in-state finds like Kurt Cousins and Jack Conklin.

Their run of success was built by striking gold in really low rated players like Cousins, Conklin, Bell, Dennard, Cook and Waynes.


July 21st, 2017 at 6:27 PM ^

One thing that is not news but is consistent with some of the numbers here is that the state of Michigan itself has never been quite as integral to overall success of the program as it seems to be with Michigan State.

What might be interesting is to measure the composition of the roster by home state and see if success fluctuates any with composition. Michigan - I would think - would be far more immune to fluctuations than Michigan State and you would see where their relative lack of brand hurts them a bit.

We don't need to really worry about rankings - I don't recall a year where the average Rivals rating of players (or whichever service you use) at MSU outpaced Michigan.