Urban Meyer uses Rivals and Scout to evaluate talent?

Submitted by bmdubs on May 8th, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Meyer also points to incoming freshmen Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott -- all four-star running backs/athletes and high school track stars -- as possible instant-impact playmakers. "I'm hoping they are exactly those kind of guys," said Meyer. "They're supposed to be. That's what the Rivals and Scout tell us."

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130508/ohio-state-urban-meyer-braxton-miller/#ixzz2SiDxIyMl



May 8th, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

The player you're thinking of is Jerimy Finch.  He was the top player in Indiana and was going to choose between Indiana and Michigan.  Then on signing day, he went with Florida.  Here's what Urban had to say about it:

"After appraising the top-100 list, I saw that he was ranked highly and I wanted to know where he was going," Meyer said.

"I knew Warren Central from my days at Notre Dame. I called the coach, and he said, 'Coach, you'll never believe this, but we just finished talking about Florida.' He played in the Orlando all-star game, and the kid loves Florida. Five minutes later, I was on the phone with (Finch). Without watching one speck of tape on him, I asked him if he wanted to come down for a visit. We thought he was a great kid and a good-looking safety, and his tape just solidified it.

"We offered him, and he decided to come. It's unbelievable because I didn't go to Indiana once the whole time."


May 8th, 2013 at 10:47 AM ^

That this is more common than you'd think. I can understand using it as a small part of a whole, but I think some staffs emphasize it a bit too much.


May 8th, 2013 at 10:57 AM ^

Coaches need to evaluate how players fit into their system/lockerroom, but being able to crowdsource the evaluation allows coaches to worry about other things, such as the actual recruitment phase.  I agree that there has to be some evaluation on the part of the coaching staff, but recruiting sites are good tools that make it a lot easier on coaches to see what is out there.

An analogy is using online reviews to pick a restaurant.  They can't tell you whether you are looking to eat steak and seafood/Mexican/Thai/Italian, but they can tell you what restaurants are usually well received.  To each their own, but most people would prefer Morton's Steakhouse over Ponderosa.  Instead of paying to sample each, you figure out what people are saying then make your call.


May 8th, 2013 at 10:54 AM ^

I mean, Scout and Rivals do have staffs of guys trying their best to evaluate how talented these guys are.  They're not lying.  With a limited staff, why not use some of their knowledge?  I mean, unless the kids send tapes or coaches know to look at certain schools, how are some guys going to get spotted?  How does Michigan find players in Utah?  I wouldn't be using this to knock Urban, if anything it's a smart move.  Obviously you don't want to depend on the rankings wholeheartedly, but what's bad about another set of eyes and another opinion?


May 8th, 2013 at 11:03 AM ^

the problem comes when someone starts on the espn watch list... then a school like OSU reaches out to said player... consequently rivals/espn/247 move player up because OSU is looking at them..


Rankings are all fine and dandy but as we've seen so far there may be a correlation at the macroscopic level, but when you get down to a player to player basis rankings mean very little...


Wolverine 73

May 8th, 2013 at 11:20 AM ^

Well, I do believe that there is a network of people associated with the university who are very into high school sports and who pay attention to local players and tip the staff to people who seem to have the talent and character to play at Michigan.  At least, I knew a guy in the Cleveland area who did this for years.  I would suspect former players who are coaches (e.g., Ricky Powers in Akron) do the same.  I would think high school coaches who have a relationship with someone on the Michgan staff do the same.  And that kids who grew up fans possibly contact the school or enlist someone to do so.  It would seem there are a myriad of ways to learn about potential players anywhere in the country without relying on Scout or Rivals.  It's a tool, but no more a tool than Mel Kiper is to NFL teams.


May 8th, 2013 at 10:58 AM ^

"The offensive line, which returns four starters, is the undisputed strength of the team."



My response, contained at approximately :21-:22

oriental andrew

May 8th, 2013 at 11:10 AM ^

maybe a little facetious, but it's also naive to assume recruiters don't use them as tools and additional data points.  This is also why I think you have some mismatches between the recruiting sites and offer sheets, where you'll see a middling 3 star with offers from all the heavy hitters, and a 4 star with fair-at-best offer sheets.  



May 8th, 2013 at 11:10 AM ^

If I were in charge, I'd want to use everything possible. That would include a network of friendly High School coaches, Scout, Rivals, 247 Sports, ESPN, knowledge of offers made by rival schools, summer camps at your school, other summer camps, knowledge of performance during the season, etc., etc. In my limiited experience (in a non-football recruiting context,) you want to do everything you possibly can to identify guys who will be a good fit for you by doing multiple things. Why not get every possible piece of analysis out there? Now, if guys rely on these services and aren't doing their own analysis, well, of course you can expect problems. I'd sure want to know about every possible recruit out there.


May 8th, 2013 at 11:29 AM ^

I can't imagine any staff not paying some attention ot the recruiting services. There are thousands of football prospects each year to sift through. At the very least, I'd expect all staffs to do a sanity check at the big recruiting sites to make sure nobody slipped through the cracks. And, why not? It's a very cheap resource whose benefits, even if only used minimally, must far outweigh the costs for any school.


May 8th, 2013 at 11:29 AM ^

It sounds like Urban was doing a "/s" thing and he probably would have given a bunch of people a big "-1" for not getting his joke.  That said, a buddy of mine runs one of the major camps, and he told me (when I was asking about the services failing to account for "late bloomers") that a majority of schools rely entirely on the recruiting services for info.  

Is that because of program/budget size?  In a lot of cases, yes.  There are other programs that fall in love with the numbers just like the fans.


May 8th, 2013 at 12:01 PM ^

To expand the discussion a little bit - 

Pertinent to the idea that someone such as Urban Meyer should use recruiting sites to steer their agenda, if you will, is the study mentioned in a University Of Kansas piece (HERE). 

What they did here is go to schools that did not have an inherent geographic / name advantage (so no Alabama or Michigan, no Califiornia or Texas schools, etc...) and asked coaches at the schools which fit their criteria a series of questions. 

According to the study, virtually everyone they talked to admitted to at least consulting sites like Rivals and Scout, either to compile an initial list of targets or to simply keep up with news about recruits. 

"“While the coaches’ answers appeared to downplay the role Rivals.com and Scout.com play in recruiting, their tone revealed the sites may factor into the process more than they admitted…” the authors wrote. “Overall, Rivals.com and Scout.com steer the agenda of recruiting in a multimillion dollar collegiate sport.”"


May 8th, 2013 at 12:22 PM ^

It's good that he is using several resources. For a while there I thought his sole evaluation tool was looking to see if Hoke had ofered them.


May 8th, 2013 at 12:29 PM ^

I am not a head coach, but I have handled some of the administrative/recruiting related information for my high school's program.  In addition to colleges employing private recruiting services (guys who keep databases, visit schools to watch practices and workouts, etc.), local universities send out questionnares to the high school coaches in their areas asking for contact information for players who might be interested/able to play at their level.  For example, high schools in Michigan probably receive mail from Michigan, MSU, CMU, EMU, WMU, Miami-OH, Akron, Ball State, etc.  I've also talked to some D-I coaches who just showed up at our school and flat-out asked about potential FBS prospects.  Also, a guy like Ricky Powers (who coaches at Akron Buchtel now) might call up Brady Hoke and say, "I've got this sophomore safety that you might want to keep an eye on."

With all of those resources in place, though, I still don't really see a problem with Urban Meyer and/or other coaches using Rivals, Scout, etc. to monitor recruiting.  There are always going to be guys who slip through the cracks of your employees, and you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't keep an open mind to players who haven't previously been on your radar.


May 8th, 2013 at 12:31 PM ^

There was a coach about 10 years ago (but I can't remember which coach) who admitted their entire scouting/recruiting was just digging up Scout and Rivals profiles and offering those kids.  I think it was a Big Ten coach but my memory is failing me.


May 8th, 2013 at 12:34 PM ^

Of course Meyer's being sarcastic. When he says, "They're supposed to be. That's what the Rivals and Scout tell us," how could this be anything other than sarcasm? I can almost see the smirk/smile on his face. And to tell you the truth, I could see Borges making a quip like that Heiko. "They must be good, because Rivals and Scout say they're good."

On a different level, that's why I hope that they continue to do they're own analysis. I like giving offers to guys like Stribling, and LTT, and making room for walk ons like Glasgow. In 2014, Bushell-Beatty & Speight & Bunting all may significantly outperform their "star rating." It is great to get guys like that who were missed or under-rated by the services.