Category Archives: Recruiting
Dude Emeritus Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy) joins host Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) for a brief apology for ANOTHER lost episode and a rehashing of the good, the bad, and the ugly (mostly good!) of Georgia’s 2017 Signing Day class.
Since podcasts aren’t a visual medium, this is the tweet Chad references when citing Ameer Speed as his favorite player in the class:
Catching some sun while waiting for NSD☀️😏 pic.twitter.com/DvoWO6lMDl
— $peed (@OG__speed) January 31, 2017
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If you’ve followed us for any time at all, 1) I’m sorry, and 2) you know we RARELY talk #crootin’. Let’s buck the latter trend.
Georgia’s offensive line has been awful for two years now, making life hard on the team’s immensely talented backs and rookie QB. I like using FootballOutsiders for a quick rundown of different factors, and Georgia ranked 103rd in the country in Adjusted Line Yards this year, which give credit to the line for the first 5 yards of any carry, the back after that.
This manifested itself on the field in watching Nick Chubb get stuffed time and time again before breaking one, and given Jim Chaney’s conservative approach in year one (not a surprise) Georgia was off schedule more often than not in 2016.
Help, it seems, is on the way. Here’s a look at Georgia’s 2017 commits, with 247 composite rankings:
Four guys rank above .94 on their scale, where .90 is a low-ranking four-star, and .95 classifies as elite. In a quick search of the Alabamas, LSUs, and Ohio States of the world…this is the best class I could find.
Ready to be horrified? This group represents 5 of the 6 most talented guys in the program (with starters Isaiah Wynn and Dyshon Sims, both of whom struggled this year, as the only regulars over .9).
In the last three cycles, only 2016 early enrollee Ben Cleveland qualifies as a top-tier talent. The rest of the names on this list are a group you’d expect to see at Mississippi State, Maryland, or some other middle-tier P5. The horrors that were the previous regime’s offensive line recruiting reared their ugly heads as Wynn, Sims, and now-departed Brandon Kublanow were the only guys who graded out as SEC-caliber starters.
Oh, and none of the guys listed above show up on any two-deep I can find.
You’ll never catch me saying that recruiting rankings are the end-all/be-all, as coaching and development (Georgia has a GREAT developer of talent now in Sam Pittman) play a larger role in the projectability of linemen moreso than any other position. But one cannot help but be psyched for this group.
With the losses of tackles Tyler Catalina and Greg Pyke, in addition to Kublanow, PT up front should be wide open. Hayes, as a JuCo, will be looked to as a day-1 starter at one spot. Wilson and Thomas should challenge Cleveland for another tackle position, and Cleveland is likely a better fit on the interior. Holdovers such as Wynn, Sims, and Lamont Gaillard should be adequate in 2017, at worst.
What does it add up to? A young line that, while talented, will need to gel quickly.
There is talent in the pipeline, finally. Its now time to cross some fingers, pray to a favorite deity, and hope that it comes together in time to allow this offense to prosper.
(Now if only receiver recruiting could make the same progress.)
For all the nice things one can say about the job Jim Harbaugh has done at Michigan, he’s not perfect.
See, a couple of typos and clerical errors cost the Wolverines a highly-touted offensive line recruit. They misspelled his name and thanked him for attending a camp he…did not attend.
Harbaugh was unable to keep one recruit, but he retained Clint Copenhaver. Wisconsin could not sway him, and one wonders why.
— Clint Copenhaver (@copietime43) August 23, 2016
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh brought in celebrities galore to his “Signing Day of the Stars” on Wednesday. What an event.
Ric Flair. Derek Jeter. Tom Brady. Jim Leyland. Todd McShay. Lou Holtz. Mike Shanahan. Something called Migos.
What a cast! My only beef with the day is that it needed more star power to be on par with the group of new signees. After all, no program has ever hauled in a recruiting class quite like what Michigan brought in under the most electric recruiter in the electric history of electric recruiters.
When all was said and done, Michigan had not only signed the nation’s top player (Rashan Gary) but also wrapped up zero additional 5-star prospects giving the Wolverines an unprecedented total of one 5-star signees. No school in the country more than tripled that tally (though Alabama and Georgia remain in the running for the services of Demetris Robertson and could vault to four 5-star signees).
This unparalleled Signing Day of the Stars finally cemented Michigan’s place as an elite program. If there was any doubt about the sustainability of Michigan’s upstart program, surely it has been squashed now. A program with as little tradition as Michigan doesn’t coincidentally happen upon as many 5-star recruits as powerhouse programs like Houston and Mississippi State. Harbaugh didn’t accidentally sign 4% of the nation’s 5-star players. He did so with sleepovers, dab-dances and khaki pants.
But it’s unfair to judge Michigan’s never-before-seen talent boon purely by 5-star players. In total, 51.72% of the players in Michigan’s 2016 class were rated as 4 or 5-star prospects. No school in the country saw a higher percentage of elite talent. Except for LSU (75%), Florida State (72%), Ohio State (72%), Alabama (71%), USC (70%), Georgia (65%), Clemson (65%), Ole Miss (63%), Auburn (57%), Miami (56%) and Texas (54%).
And boy, this Michigan class is deep. Twenty-nine total signees! Alabama, a former perennial national championship contender, could only find 24 recruits. Hell, no team in the allegedly powerful SEC could sign more than 26. Michigan had its way in recruiting wars—29 different times.
Kingston Davis, a Prattville, Alabama native, didn’t even receive a scholarship offer from the Crimson Tide because Alabama coach Nick Saban knew he couldn’t land him. Score one for Harbaugh. Sean McKeon, an already-enrolled tight end, had offers from everyone—Boston College, Virginia Tech, Air Force, Temple, Syracuse, UConn, Yale, Old Dominion, UMass, Harvard, Columbia.—but he’s all Wolverine. Florida product Devin Gil could have had his pick of Sunshine State gridiron titans, but he spurned offers from Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Central Florida and South Florida to be in Ann Harbor. Gil’s teammate Josh Metellus held offers from Colorado, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern, Miami (Ohio), Middle Tennessee State, South Alabama and one other school. Guess where he wound up? He’s going to that one other school. Guess what school that was? Surprise, surprise: Michigan.
Michigan’s recruiting class climbed from 37th last year to fourth-runner-up (but really, first place) in 2016. And the Wolverines haven’t seen a class this dominant since way back in 2013 when Michigan hauled in the nation’s fourth best class. And we all know how that turned out: Championships.
So where does Michigan go from here? Well, the next college football championship has already been won. So it’s probably time to start thinking about next year’s Signing of the Stars. I’m thinking next year this thing should be held on the moon.
That’s all I got/
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/