The First ESPN 300 Rankings for 2016

Submitted by Saint_in_Blue on April 23rd, 2015 at 12:43 PM

ESPN revealed their first rankings for 2016 recruits.

Players of note:

Brandon Peters #142 (committed)

Matt Falcon #246 (committed)

Rashan Gary #1

Michael Jordan #110

Khalid Kareem #126

Donnie Corley #261

Lavert Hill #265

If there is anybody else of note you want added, let me know. I know we have offered a lot of kids for 2016, but I have no clue who of those are high on Michigan.

So excited for football season!




April 23rd, 2015 at 3:49 PM ^

Something funky happened to the list in the last hour or so. Swenson was not on the list originally. Also, as you can see in the OP, Matt Falcon was #246 earlier and now he's #243. They must have changed a few things, or it was an old list, or something.


April 23rd, 2015 at 12:54 PM ^

We have the luxury of all these recruiting services to tell us who is supposedly good or great. How about the coaches? Do they really watch film on all these 1000s of potential recruits out there? Rely on HS coaches they have relationships with? Utilize rankings? Camps? Magic khakis?


April 23rd, 2015 at 1:07 PM ^

The recruiting coordinators are generally responsible for identifying which film(s) to hand up to the coaches. So Chris Partridge, Chris Singletary, etc. are the main men for that. That's why there was some talk when the new staff was hired about whether the recruiting coordinator(s) had the necessary skills to do their jobs.

Otherwise, there is at least one employee who keeps an eye on the recruiting sites to identify potential sleepers, what prospects show interest in Michigan, etc.

The coaches do camps, and they also listen to coaches they trust. They also visit schools and straight-up ask "Do you have anyone you think could play at our level?"

After all that is done, the position coaches look at film of players. If it's someone they want, the head coach has to sign off on extending an offer.


April 23rd, 2015 at 1:22 PM ^

I hear this a lot but how does anyone really know?  It's usually people who are unhappy with their recruits ranking so they just say that ESPN sucks.  Has there been any analysis done on how the recruits panned out 3 or 4 years after the rankings?  ESPN might be the best at predicting all conference players and NFL draft picks for all we know.  It's amazing how many of the top guys the Under Armour game gets however.  I'm guessing they bump those players up a bit.


April 23rd, 2015 at 1:35 PM ^

I do think there is a tendency to bump up the ratings of the kids who are playing in the respective all-star games. I think Rivals used to do it with the Army All-American Bowl. I think ESPN did it with the Under Armour game.

More to your question, though, there have been studies done about the accuracy of the recruiting rankings. I'm not sure how 247 fits in because they're relatively new, but the best ratings sites (in order) are Rivals, Scout, and then ESPN, based on their college success and NFL draft position.


April 23rd, 2015 at 1:25 PM ^

How big of a difference in skill level is there between #20 and #200? Every year there are a few kids that seperate themselves with skill and athleticism, but after that it seems that the differences are minimal at best. It's the difference between a rating of 87 and a rating of 82. Meaning these kids are interchangeable as far as "ratings" are concerned.


April 23rd, 2015 at 1:40 PM ^

That's a tough question. Obviously, there are guys who are 3-stars who end up being dynamic players in college and the NFL. So any tangible cut-off I give you is going to be wrong, simply based on the fact that it's a crap shoot.

Personally, I believe there are about 100 players each year who are truly elite prospects. I don't always agree with the rankings on who they are, but I do think things get muddled once you get past 100 or so. 

Logically, I think that makes sense, too. That's about three rounds of NFL draft picks. Typically, I think fans get excited about guys drafted in the first three rounds as potential All-Pro guys, future stars, franchise guys, etc. But not many of us think of 4th rounders or 5th rounders as particulary exciting players, aside from the occasional Denard Robinson.


April 23rd, 2015 at 1:48 PM ^

Outside of tangibe measurables and the top 30-50 or so players it really gets difficult IMO to ascertain who is going to be a prime time player. 

Look at the NFL - they have 4 to 5 years more of data than college coaches.... with players playing mostly equitable competition (if you play at Clemson, 8-9 of your games a year will be vs similar athletes ...while in HS you rarely play anyone of your calibar if you are a P5 Div 1 athlete).   And they get it wrong in the NFL draft a lot of the time even with all those advantages.  

Now incorporate trying to project who is going to be mentally tough at 16 years old, who will react best the first time he actually goes up agaisnt guys of his athletic prowess day in and day out vs physically dominating everyone on the field, who can absorb playbooks, who can absorb learning via game film, whose body will adjust to more weight without losing athleticism, who will emotionally absorb pressure, who will actually balance going to school and being on his own for the first time, etc -- just hard to really project once you get past that first group of silly obscene athlete who would excel in any sport given enough time.


April 23rd, 2015 at 3:07 PM ^

None of the players on Seattle or New England were five-stars coming out of high school. Outside of the top few guys, it's nearly impossible to project how these players will translate into the next level. The rankings are fun, but they don't really mean much.


April 23rd, 2015 at 3:46 PM ^

That's a neat little factoid, but it really has nothing to do with college football. Rivals, Scout, 247, and ESPN specialize (or have arms that specialize) in following high school players to see how they project to college.

You might say the rankings are just for fun, but Alabama, Florida State, USC, and Ohio State (among others) disagree. 

And by the way, the NFL has a way of rewarding teams who do everything well (offense, defense, special teams). The Seahawks and Patriots are good teams, but they're not filled with superstars at every position. If you look at the guys in the Pro Bowl - who are deemed the best individual players - many of them were highly rated coming out of high school.

This year's Pro Bowl included Andrew Luck, Dez Bryant, Matt Stafford, Odell Beckham, Golden Tate, Julio Jones, Nick Mangold, Maurkice Pouncey, Mario Williams, Ndamukong Suh, Sheldon Richardson, Von Miller, Joe Haden, Patrick Peterson, and probably more who were 4-star or 5-star guys to Rivals. Obviously, there are Pro Bowl guys who were 3-stars, 2-stars, etc., but there's ample evidence to show that you're wrong - highly ranked players are generally better than lower ranked players, especially when looking at their impact in college.


April 23rd, 2015 at 8:08 PM ^

Look at Jabrill Peppers and then look at the rest of our defensive backs!  He was rated higher then #20 i think 247 had him as the 3rd best player in the country if i remember right.  But those rankings dont always pan out but i think he is a good example of the difference for sure.  Not saying the rest of the guys are not good at all it's just he moves at a whole different speed if you get what i am saying.


April 23rd, 2015 at 1:18 PM ^

OSU has two top 50 running backs in 2016. I want to feel bad for Mike Weber, but I just can't. Hope he has fun being a third down back / special teams player.


April 23rd, 2015 at 1:41 PM ^

To OP re: "don't know who is high on Michigan".

I am going to post a list maybe once a month of who is interested in UM via 247's "warm interest" signal.  Doesn't mean UM is top 3, or 5 or hell top 10 but with nearly 200 offers out it drops the list down significantly (~40) to guys who at least have a mild interest in UM.  Here was the post from a month ago - some changes already since then of course and Harbaugh accepted 2 commits that were nowhere near anyone's radar (and certainly are not top 300 types) as well so if he continues to focus so much on those type of recruits (3 star mafia) maybe this list won't be so useful.…