Coming out of retirement to yell at you a little


a) The recruiting services do not hate your school, they are not biased against your school and they do not automatically drop kids in the rankings as soon as they commit to your school. Kids move up and down and rankings are volatile. When a commited kid moves up, that school's fan say "finally; he was way underrated before." When he moves down, they say "Ridiculous; the gurus are punishing him for picking (my school)." 

Try this on: maybe the gurus aren't biased; maybe you are.

b) Not every 3* kid who commits to your school is a "sleeper". Sometimes, he's just a 3*. If he ran a 4.42 with a 38" vertical, and you find yourself saying "The scouts are insane to have a kid with his athleticism ranked as a 3*," stop and remind yourself that the recruiting services already know about his 4.42 and 38" vertical. Maybe he got as high as 3* because of his pure athletic ability. Maybe other than those two things he doesn't have much to sell you on at all.

c) In 90% of cases, until a kid has played college football and established what he is capable of, the recruiting rankings and scouting analysis is all you've got (unless you're a scout yourself and have access to game film: raise your hand if that's the case). If you trust the services, then a 5* is a 5* and a 3* is a 3*. Sure quibble a bit because you've got your biases in terms of style or fit, but that's on the margins. If you don't trust the services, then don't get excited when your school lands a blue chip prospect. What's silly is when a fan base lands the 30th best recruiting class in the country, by the numbers, and the fans say "The recruiting rankings are junk; I wouldn't trade this class for anyone's except maybe USC's."

d) The other teams are not scared of you and the other coaches are not scared of you. Your rival didn't just offer that 5* corner because he saw the WRs you are bringing in. He didn't panic, thinking "Oh my god, we need more corners!" And your conference opponents are not panicking at their inevitable failure to block all your blue chip d-linemen. You just got a couple of blue chip corners in this class? Great. Don't trot out the tired "No one's going to be able to throw on us in 2 years" nonsense, because your cross-state rivals just happened to land 2 blue chip WRs and is thinking "No one's going to be able to stop our passing attack." All across the country there are blue chip WRs being covered by blue chip corners, and sometimes these guys win and sometimes those guys win.

e) Not every kid who takes a depth chart into consideration is "afraid of competition." Some of them are just being practical. It's one of the most prevalent double standards in recruiting; a kid that turns down your school because you are deep is afraid of competition, and a kid who turns down your school despite a glaring need is crazy if he thinks he is going to crack the depth chart at the school he did pick. 

f) If you had an All-American linebacker who came in at 6'3" 220 with a 4.55 40, and you just recruited a linebacker who's coming in at 6'3" 220 with a 4.55 40 ... you can see where this is headed, right? It doesn't mean anything.

g) "I want kids who want to play for (my school)" is a nice sentiment, but it's comfort food for the recruitnik. It basically means every kid who turns you down is a kid you didn't want, and every kid you landed is the kid you did want. End result: you got exactly the class you wanted. Yay!

h) on (g), see also "Trust the coaches." I trust the coaches. I love the coaches. If the coaches offered 3 QBs and they all turned you down and he went and found a "sleeper", do not insist that he is a great prospect just because you "trust the coaches". The coaches had him as Plan D. If the coaches go out in April and offer a lower rated kid *before* they offer some of the blue chip prospects, yes, trust the coaches. They must have had a reason for making the offer. But parcel your trust our carefully. It's not a universal defense for poor recruiting.

i) Do not offer up proof by anecdote; it makes you look simple. Yes, Braylon Edwards was a 3* WR. Guess what ... he's one in a hundred. Adrian Arrington, Mario Manningham, David Terrell, Marquise Walker, Steve Breaston and Jason Avant were 4*s and 5*s. I'll take my chances on the blue chip prospects instead of betting that every 3* is going to turn out to be Braylon Edwards.

j) The kid you just recruited is not "a faster Mike Hart", "a more athletic Chris Spielman" or "Vince Young, except with better mechanics." A faster Mike Hart would be ... well, Barry Sanders. IOW, one of the best backs you've ever seen at any level. A more athletic Chris Spielman would have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a college sophomore. Aim lower.

Posted: Tuesday - April 29, 2008 at 09:20 PM