Recruiting "gurus"... can they be trusted?

Submitted by chewieblue on April 28th, 2011 at 10:02 AM

The other day, Brian posted a nice piece on the recruiting class of 2006.  Well done and made some great points:

http://mgoblog.com/content/reviewing-2006-recruiting-class-top-50

One of Brian's points there was that the 5 star guys are most likely the best bet (as they should be), but that even from that group there are some misses.  That's the nature of recruiting.

We tend to put a lot of stock in recruiting rankings and the like, and that's understandable since it's all we have to go on.  But I think that college coaches don't rely on these services nearly as much as we the fans do, because they know something most of us don't... a lot of the guys doing the evaluating are clueless. 

Take this Bill Greene character from scout.com.  I live in Ohio and have first-hand experience with him.  The guy stocks chip machines for a living, never played the game and is a HUGE Ohio State fan.  He travels the state of Ohio and kisses kids' asses at HS games and then writes random things on Al Gore's internet.  Having heard his rap in person, I basically write off anything he says.

If Bill Belichick writes an article about molding a successful, goal-oriented team, I'm very likely to read it.  I have a great mechanic, but if he writes an article on the same topic I probably won't take the time to peruse that one .  Now take a guy like TomVH.  I don't personally know that Tom has a lot of football background, but any guy who reads the BOATLOADS of info he does and then comes to a consensus as an opinion, is worthy of earning a thoughtful reader's respect.  Tom's approach is very different than the "scouts" I've had experience with who sneak around high school games, ask the kid for an autograph or to take a picture with him and then head home to type in a random (usually agenda-driven) thought about a kid, only to be seen as an expert.

My only point is that we all realize you have to be careful about believing what recruiting / scouting sites say about a potential signee, but shouldn't there be some way to find out if the scouts know anything about football and have an opinion that's worth listening to?  

 

Comments

Dreisbach1817

April 28th, 2011 at 10:07 AM ^

Is a big business because there is tons of interest.  But it's not an exact science.  It's 17 and 18 year old kids.  But so long as people continue to express strong interest in recruiting and recruiting updates, there will be an industry willing to opine on recruiting news.  That's called supply and demand.

Hardware Sushi

April 28th, 2011 at 11:02 AM ^

It isn't an exact science. NFL player personel spend countless hours evaluating their seven draft picks each year and still make plenty of mistakes.

Sometimes evaluating a player's physical ability and potential can be tough, even before adding in something like that player's work ethic and propensity for breaking the law to the equation.

Beavis

April 28th, 2011 at 10:08 AM ^

"My only point is that we all realize you have to be careful about believing what recruiting / scouting sites say about a potential signee, but shouldn't there be some way to find out if the scouts know anything about football and have an opinion that's worth listening to?"

Wait, your only point ends in a question mark.  So, therefore, you have made no point at all.

Insert "We are all now dumber" speech from Billy Madison here.

Kramer

April 28th, 2011 at 10:10 AM ^

I'm not sure I'd consider TomVH a scout, I think he's more of a reporter.  He is to recruiting scouts as Adam Scheftler is to Mel Kiper, IMO.

Mitch Cumstein

April 28th, 2011 at 10:13 AM ^

I don't recall TomVH doing much analysis on the prospects themselves.  More reporting news on their decisions and meetings/visits they have with schools. He does an excellent job staying objective and treating all recruits equally regardless of scouting rating or whatever. 

MichLove

April 28th, 2011 at 10:19 AM ^

the prospects do analysis on TomVH's reporting and he always gets a 5 star rating

TomVH does as TomVH pleases... and does it well

Ok i keed but the MGoWorld does appreciate all of Tom's hard work - he keeps us informed on pretty much a daily basis of the recruiting happenings.

spacemanspiff231

April 28th, 2011 at 10:19 AM ^

I can't stand that guy.  Nothing he says can be trusted.  You know who he picked the other day in an article on ESPN for the Panthers to take number 1 overall??  AJ Green.  Now this isn't the absolute worst of picks as AJ Green is a stud.  But he's not a number 1 overall pick and certainly not the best pick for the Panthers.  He only says they should pick AJ Green b/c he is friends with Jimmy Clausen's father and knows he might be the only thing that could save Clausen's pathetic career.  Kiper repeatedly said that Clausen was the best QB in the draft last year and that he should've gone in the first round.  Then when the first round went by without Clausen being picked, he moaned and groaned the entire time saying every team was foolish for passing on him, then repeated this in the second round.  And guess what.  Everybody that laughed at him then was right.  I hate Mel Kiper.  The guys is an ass clown.

MichLove

April 28th, 2011 at 10:23 AM ^

that isn't what every analysis says - they always praise Mel's work ethic and research done on EVERY player in the draft. If you listen to Mike and Mike they tell stories about when they worked the draft and in the 6th and 7th rounds Kiper would have an entire breakdown of kids from no name schools... without using notes!

It's fine for you to hate him but don't say he is no good at what he does cause that is just not the truth.

EDIT: and his last mock draft has Cam going #1 so you can drop the AJ Green to Carolina argument - and not to mention everyone agrees that AJ Green is a stud.

theyellowdart

April 28th, 2011 at 10:44 AM ^

 

Just having dedication and knowing the stat sheets on kids doesn't make him good at what he does. 

 

 The issue most have with him is busting a lot on guys he had a high opinion of.  And since he was very high on Mike Williams (#1 overall prospect to him) Charles Rogers and Joey Harrington, Lion's fans have a difficult time forgetting his busts.

MichLove

April 28th, 2011 at 11:28 AM ^

I agree but at the same token if he was really good at "scouting"/predicting he would be working for an NFL team in the scouting department. His job is as a Draft Analysis and that I think he does very well

aaamichfan

April 28th, 2011 at 11:03 AM ^

Mel Kiper is alright at memorizing details and his general schtick. But if scouting NFL draft prospects is all a person does for a living, I'd hope he is able to talk about players in the 7th round of the draft.

spacemanspiff231

April 28th, 2011 at 11:41 AM ^

A mock is different from what a person thinks a team should do.  He has Cam mocked to Carolina b/c he thinks that's who they'll take.  But he said he thinks they SHOULD take AJ Green.  Also, he's bad at what he does despite the work and effort he puts in.  Just b/c he has a good work ethic doesn't mean he knows what he's talking about.  And even if he did know what he's talking about, he doesn't provide objective analysis as my above post illustrates.

EDIT: The fact is, Mel has never played football, he's never coached football, he's never been involved in an NFL front office.  He's just a fan with an overinflated ego.  If you put him in an NFL front office, you'd get a clone of Matt Millen.

BlizzardOfOz

April 28th, 2011 at 10:19 AM ^

 Agreed.  TomVH does an excellent job keeping up with all the potential recruits and where they stand in the process.

Magnus does more analysis of talent and future potential of recruits.

mongoose0614

April 28th, 2011 at 10:13 AM ^

So if a high school football coach works somewhere else for money he must not know jack squat.  Sam Webb started cutting hair so he must not know anything either.

The fact is that those jobs do not pay squat.  They are done because like hs football coaches, they love the work.  

Bill Greene does not select who is a 4 or 5 star either.  He provides input and all the scouts get together for input.  

OSU fan has as much to do with ratings as UM fan does.  You will never take the fan out of it.

One final note.............to compare 2006 to 2011 recuiting by the services is not a fair analysis. The landscape has changed and there is now a lot more information available so the information IMO is far more accurate.  There will always be misses because you are dealing with 17 year old kids, some of which may have matured early or not matured at all physically.

 

 

jg2112

April 28th, 2011 at 10:43 AM ^

Now take a guy like TomVH.  I don't personally know that Tom has a lot of football background, but any guy who reads the BOATLOADS of info he does and then comes to a consensus as an opinion, is worthy of earning a thoughtful reader's respect.  Tom's approach is very different than the "scouts" I've had experience with who sneak around high school games, ask the kid for an autograph or to take a picture with him and then head home to type in a random (usually agenda-driven) thought about a kid, only to be seen as an expert. 

This is a joke, right? You do know how Tom got his start as a "recruiting analyst," don't you?

And as was said up the board, Tom does no thoughtful analysis, he just calls recruits and their families to ask them about their trips, their interest, and their decision timelines.

aaamichfan

April 28th, 2011 at 10:50 AM ^

Other than downgrading players that are Michigan leans, I think Duane Long does a very good job of evaluating prospects. He's the only "guru" that I really even pay attention to.

jamiemac

April 28th, 2011 at 10:57 AM ^

So, wait. It is a bad thing when a reporter like Bill Greene goes to countless game after game to watch the kids play and then actually interviews said players, his coaches and opposing coaches in person to get color and commentary for his story?

good grief, sometimes I wonder if the failures of the news media these days have more to do with the new consumers than anything else

 

King Douche Ornery

April 28th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

The problems with the media pretty much are the problems of the news consumers. GREAT point.

The infrmation explosion has proven one thing: People can't handle that much information. Gone are the gatekeepers who decided what and how much news was news.

Tater

April 28th, 2011 at 11:11 AM ^

As the old saw goes: "if you see the Buddah on the street, kill him."

There is no such thing as a recruiting "guru."  People who provide recruiting info, free or paid, are simply people who have an interest in recruiting and spend varying amounts of time researching it.  Some, like Tom VH, do a great job without pounding their chests and telling everybody how great they are.  Some spend more time telling people about their odorless feces than doing research.

If you average out the top ratings, you can get a pretty accurate idea of what a player's potential is.  Ultimately, though, no recruiting person has a crystal ball, and none of them can predict whether a recruit will actually fulfill his potential.  There are just too many variables once a recruit gets to college.

chitownblue2

April 28th, 2011 at 11:24 AM ^

I don't think this is an apt comparison. Tom isn't nor, do I think, claims to be a scout. I haven't seen him give player evaluations, or projections.

FWIW, there are countless studies done online that strongly suggest that recruiting rankings, on the macro-level, are a good indicator of success.

ish

April 28th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

The other day, I was looking outside.  It was cloudy, but not raining.  The local weather guy had assured me that by that time of day there would be precipitation.  Now I've had first hand experience with weather.  I've seen weather of all types.  So I don't think that this weatherman knew what he was talking about.  I mean if a professor of meterology was to tell me it was going to rain, I might bring an umbrealla.  But a local weather guy?  My only point is, do we really ever know what the weather is going to be?

bryemye

April 28th, 2011 at 11:54 AM ^

Personally, I think it's amazing we have these kinds of resources at all. Remember, these guys are pretty much just staring into the depths and beginning to order things. There's not much of a skeleton there to work with. The fact that they get relatively close is itself amazing.

I'm sure if they were as good at evaluating talent as Bill Belichick they would be doing something else for a living. Namely, coaching at a high level.