Recruiting Issues, Part III – Just How Talented is Georgia
Last week Chad reposted some data from some of my previous research. Now, here’s a pre-Signing Day update. Note that none of this includes players in the 2016 class (even early enrollees). I’ll come back through thereafter and update with a trailing 5-year figure. Also important, this is basically an email I sent Chad. I didn’t proofread it.
- Bama – 1.0 (Literally Averaging Top Class)
- Ohio State – 4.25
- FSU – 5.25
- LSU – 7
- Georgia 8.25
- USC – 8.5
- Auburn – 8.75
- Florida – 9.25
- Texas A&M – 10.25
- Texas – 11.25
- Notre Dame – 11.75
- Tennessee 13.75
So, Georgia is fifth nationally by this measure and third in the conference (which is improvement relative to whenever I did the last round of data). But average class ranking of 8.25 is still closer to Tennessee than it is to Bama. And distinguishing between an average class ranking of 7-11 (which includes five SEC schools) is mathematically difficult given that range reflects no more than 1 ranking point movement per year (4 point range over 4 years = 1 place per year).
- Alabama – 20
- FSU – 13
- USC – 10
- Georgia – 9
- Texas A&M – 8
- Florida – 7
- Auburn – 6
- LSU – 6
- Ole Miss – 6
- Clemson – 4
- Ohio State – 4
- Texas – 4
Second best rating in the SEC but the issue here is that Georgia trails Alabama by 11 recruits. That’s a huge gap at the highest level. That’s an entire side of the ball or half a team’s starters. That’s crazy. For Georgia, the problem is that over the past four years 65 5-star players have signed with SEC teams and only 13.8% have gone to Georgia. Consider recent champions over the same time horizon:
- Bama signed 20 4-star recruits over last four years. That’s 30.8% of the conference’s 5-stars.
- Ohio State has 4 over the past four years. That’s 44.4% of the Big 10’s 5-stars.
- Florida State signed 13 over the past four years. That’s 56.5% of the ACC’s 5-stars.
The College Football Playoff has not diminished the regular season. As such, the easiest way to contend nationally is to dominate within one’s conference. Georgia doesn’t classify as “dominant” by this standard.
Obviously, the data from Bama, Ohio State and FSU is reflective of the past four years not necessarily the four years preceding a title, but Bama, Ohio State and FSU are a pretty decent Top 3 list of best programs of the past few years.
- Ohio State – 63
- Alabama – 57
- LSU – 57
- Notre Dame – 55
- Auburn – 50
- Texas – 48
- Michigan – 46
- Texas A&M – 44
- Georgia – 43
- Tennessee – 43
- UCLA – 43
Super top-heavy here. 43 is a lot of recruits in a category, but it’s also more than 25% fewer than Notre Dame, LSU, Alabama and Ohio State.
Total 4 and 5-Stars
- Alabama – 77
- Ohio State – 67
- LSU – 63
- Notre Dame – 58
- Auburn – 56
- FSU – 54
- Georgia – 52
- Texas – 52
- Texas A&M – 52
- USC – 51
- Michigan – 48
- UCLA – 48
- Florida – 44
- Tennessee – 44
Personally, this is my favorite measuring stick of talent for a major program like Georgia. The problem with raw ratings is that they take into account “volume” of recruits (i.e. how large your class is). By focusing on the top-two tiers the impact of 3-stars (many of which are special teamers – hi haterz*) and volume is negated.
Case in point: you can’t tell me Georgia’s current commitments (two 5-stars and nine 4-stars) for this year’s class isn’t stronger than Florida’s zero 5-stars and nine 4-stars. But Florida gets that volume bump thanks to 17 3-stars and is ranked ahead of Georgia.
Ignoring the 3-star players for everyone, accentuates the talent gaps between say, number 1 (Bama) and number 2 (Ohio State) over this time period show up. And you can’t really talk to me about depth provided by 3-star players, because Alabama has built depth on 4- and 5-star players.**
Based on this measure (total 4 and 5-star players), Georgia was about 2/3 as deep as Bama last year.
Also, this top-heavy measure of talent is why it’s so hilarious that Auburn sucked so badly this year and why Les Miles almost got fired and why Mark Richt did get fired. It’s also why a team like Tennessee remains a contender in the eyes of many despite having a clown for a coach.
*Notable Georgia 3-stars signees from 2012-2014 (excluding last year’s frosh class) who have yet to contribute regularly on offense or defense (some have left the program): Faton Bauta (He’s not real to me. Neither was his start.), Blake Tibbs, Ty Flournoy-Smith, Ryne Rankin, Shaq Fluker, Uriah Lemay, Jordan Davis, Josh Cardiello, Aulden Bynum, De’Andre Johnson, Shaun McGee, Paris Bostick, Kennar Daniels-Johnson, Glenn Welch, Shattle Fenteng, Rico Johnson, Detric Bing-Dukes, DeVondre Seymour, Jake Edwards, Hunter Atkinson, Shaq Jones, Gilbert Johnson. The only consistent contributors on offense or defense as 3-stars for Georgia have been Dominick Sanders, Reggie Davis, J.J. Green (before transferring), Quincy Mauger, Brendan Douglas, Jame DeLoach. Sanders, Davis and Mauger were diamonds in the rough but also capitalized on vast attrition and a generally wide open competition for playing time in the secondary. Green played in a pinch. DeLoach played as a veteran. Three stars matter, but at Georgia (and Alabama, LSU, etc.) they’re primarily the basis for special teams play and “Oh shit, everyone is hurt” situations. Again, those things matter. But the tales of 3-star players making an impact at major programs is pretty vastly over-told.
**Related to that previous note, consider Bama’s depth chart. Bama’s offense rotated starters but featured four 5-stars and six 4-stars in the rotation. The lone exceptions were 3-star senior transfers Richard Mullaney and Jake Coker. Bama’s starting defense featured four 5-stars and six 4-stars. The lone exception was Junior safety Eddie Jackson (3-stars). Bama’s total second team (offense and defense) featured five 5-stars and 13 4-stars. So 38 folks on Alabama’s two-deep depth chart were 4 or 5-star players.
For obvious reasons, I didn’t do this for every program. But the following players have to be dropped from Georgia’s talent ratings to accurately reflect the last year’s roster:
- Gary McCrae – 2015 4-star, never enrolled
- Jacob Park – 2014 4-star, transferred
- Tray Matthews – 2013 4-star (Georgia’s top recruit), dismissed/transferred
- Shaq Qiggins – 2013 4-star, transferred
- Brendan Langley – 2013 4-star, transferred
- Toby Johnson – 2013 4-star, graduated
- Jonathon Rumph – 2013 4-star, graduated
Again, every school has lost players. But when you back out those seven 4-stars, Georgia’s blue chipper number falls from 52 to 45 heading into signing day.
That’s all I got/