Marginalizing Recruiting Data and Cumulative Recruiting Rankings

I've been thinking about recruiting rankings and I've always had a tough time figuring out how to marginalize the fact that ESPN doesn't rank JUCO rankings in comparison to how a team really stacks up in comparison to other teams. So what turned out to be an exercise to figure out how to "grade" a particular class without penalizing a class for taking a handful of JUCO players, who still have value to a program and don't deserve a non-ranking, has actually turned into a bit more in terms of evaluating the success or failure of a particular school's recruiting class. What this has turned into is trying to figure out what is the difference between having the best recruiting class in the nation vs.the bottom of a conference and trying to figure out what that means, or if we can even figure out what all of this recruiting data really means, if if means anything.

There's a few things to note that went on in my thought process:

  • Rivals and Scout will almost always assign some sort of grade to just about every player. It's really quite remarkable to how they are able to filter almost each and every player and assign some sort of grade.
  • Every scouting service still uses stars, but Rivals, ESPN and 24/7 also utilize some sort of grade.
  • My initial thought to figure some of this out was to take the star given to each player and divide by 5. Thus, for a 3-star player that would be 60.0%.
  • Next, I thought that the analysis for just one service was just fine, but what about utilizing as many services and grades as possible, doing the same thing above, which is to take, for example, the Rivals Rating and divide it by 6.1, which is the highest rating possible, and then get another percentage. Thus, a Rivals Rating of 5.4 would be 88.5%
  • Now, we take what ever is available, so if ESPN doesn't grade a JUCO player, then that non-grade just didn't get included into the overall average. I've never understood why ESPN doesn't rank JUCO players, maybe it's a resources thing, but after doing this exercise, I've started to think that the overall average is the grade of a class with the thought being that the more information, the better, but it could also, perhaps, be thought of the percentage of a player's chance of success. So, Rivals, Scout and ESPN are essentially saying that Malcolm Brown is near of a guarantee to have a successful college football career.
  • So, to give you an example for Texas Tech, TE Jace Amaro would be given a 78% chance of being a successful player. Of course, all of these rankings don't mean much of anything if a player exceeds expectations, but you shouldn't look at recruiting rankings as the final evaluation of a player. NFL teams, who have 3 or 4 years to evaluate a player, don't always have the best success rate.
  • I am also tired of the argument of, "Well, Michael Crabtree was a 2-star player." Well, he was and he wasn't. According to Rivals, he was a 4-star player with a rating of 5.8 out of 6.1. According to Scout, he was a 2-star player. According to ESPN, which didn't hand out stars at that time, gave him a grade of 40. Put all of those together, and you get a rating of 71.7%, which seems about right for a player that showed tremendous athleticism as a high school player, but played quarterback in high school so you weren't sure what you were going to get. That seems more accurate because there's no doubt that Rivals was more right on Crabtree, but they're not going to hit all of the time, but taking an average of the three services gives a more accurate idea of what could be expected from a player.

The next thought was that I already had the numbers for the Texas Tech classes for 2010 and 2011 and utilized Rivals, Scout, ESPN and 24/7 (I didn't utilize 24/7 in 2010), but I needed a comparison. So I took what many thought was the best nation in the country and the best in the Big 12, Texas, and one of the worst, Kansas St. Yes, recruiting rankings do not reflect wins or losses on the field. K-State and Bill Snyder own Texas on the field, but Texas out-performs K-State according to every recruiting service.

Thus, taking all of the recruiting services together, for the 2011 recruiting classes UT gets an 80.2% grade, while KSU gets a 64.5% percent. For comparison purposes, Texas Tech had the third or fourth best class in the Big 12 last year and generally thought of a top 20 or 25 class and their grade for the 2011 class was 71.5%.

Maybe this is a bit simplistic, but doing this exercise has somewhat helped me in that I've always thought that what UT does is so far ahead of what teams like Texas Tech do, or Kansas St. do on the recruiting trail, but for me, this marginalizes that thought, especially when you consider the fact that the difference between Kansas St.'s 2011 class and Texas Tech's 2011 class isn't all that great, especially if you were to think of a overall average as being the overall chance of success of each player signed. If I think of UT's class as having an 80.2% chance of success, then it makes more sense to me in that they have more near-guarantees in players that will have success, while Kansas St. has still accumulated talent, but there are more unknowns with the players that K-State signed, especially JUCO's, so the chance of success is more unknown and that needs to be factored.

To bring this back a bit back to Texas Tech, I was curious if Texas Tech was still seemingly on target with what the 2011 class did, especially with 8 JUCO players and as of right now, Texas Tech does have an average of 70.3%, so this is still probably a top 20 or 25 class, even with all of the JUCO players.

I also realize that maybe marginalizing the recruiting data (i.e. taking out ESPN's non-ranking of JUCO players) or taking a cumulative look at all of the rankings is perhaps not the best way to take this information, but this seems like a better method than just relying on just one service to declare that a player is or is not going to have success.

All of the data and tables are after the jump.

2011 Texas Recruiting Class

Player Rivals % Rivals Rating % Scout % ESPN % ESPN Grade % AVERAGE
David Ash 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 4 80.0% 80 80.0% 74.7%
Joe Bergeron 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 70.3%
Malcolm Brown 5 100.0% 6.1 100.0% 5 100.0% 5 100.0% 86 86.0% 97.2%
Josh Cochran 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 77 77.0% 74.4%
Quandre Diggs 4 80.0% 5.9 96.7% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 83 83.0% 83.9%
Taylor Doyle 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 77 77.0% 70.1%
Steven Edmond 4 80.0% 6 98.4% 5 100.0% 4 80.0% 81 81.0% 87.9%
Sheroid Evans 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 80 80.0% 83.0%
Sedrick Flowers 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 81 81.0% 83.2%
Garrett Greenlea 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 80 80.0% 83.0%
Marcus Hutchins 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 76 76.0% 69.6%
Desmond Jackson 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 5 100.0% 4 80.0% 82 82.0% 87.4%
M.J. McFarland 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 3 60.0% 4 80.0% 79 79.0% 78.8%
Chet Moss 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 79 79.0% 74.8%
Miles Onyegbule 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 4 80.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 74.3%
Cedric Reed 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 80 80.0% 83.0%
Quincy Russell 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 79 79.0% 82.8%
Leroy Scott 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 80 80.0% 78.7%
Jaxon Shipley 4 80.0% 5.9 96.7% 5 100.0% 4 80.0% 79 79.0% 87.1%
Kendall Thompson 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 3 60.0% 79 79.0% 78.8%
Mykkele Thompson 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 78.6%
Josh Turner 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 81 81.0% 83.2%
AVERAGE 80.2%


2011 Kansas St. Recruiting Class

Player Rivals % Rivals Rating % Scout % ESPN % ESPN Grade % AVERAGE
Dante Barnett 2 40.0% 5.4 88.5% 2 40.0% 3 60.0% 76 76.0% 60.9%
Marquel Bryant 2 40.0% 5.4 88.5% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 75 75.0% 64.7%
Morgan Burns 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% 2 40.0% 69 69.0% 60.2%
Jade Cathey 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% 2 40.0% 73 73.0% 61.0%
Allen Chapman 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% - - 70.6%
Lamonte Clark 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 70.0%
Kip Daily 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% - - 63.9%
Tyler Davidson 2 40.0% 5.4 88.5% 2 40.0% - - 56.2%
Hunter Davis 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 70.3%
Glenn Gronkowski 2 40.0% 5.4 88.5% 2 40.0% 2 40.0% 68 68.0% 55.3%
Samuel Harvill 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 70.0%
Tyler Lockett 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 2 40.0% 74 74.0% 65.2%
Vaikalfi Lutui 2 40.0% 5.4 88.5% 2 40.0% - - 56.2%
Nigel Malone 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% - - 63.9%
Brandon Mickens 2 40.0% 5.4 88.5% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 77 77.0% 65.1%
Mike Moore 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 77 77.0% 69.8%
Angelo Pease 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% - - 63.9%
Daniel Sams 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 2 40.0% 2 40.0% 73 73.0% 61.3%
Ian Seau 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 80 80.0% 70.4%
Shaun Simon 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% - - 63.9%
Boston Stiverson 2 40.0% 5.4 88.5% 3 60.0% 2 40.0% 71 71.0% 59.9%
Bo Tillman 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% - - 70.6%
Justin Tuggle 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% - - 70.6%
Cody Whitehair 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% 2 40.0% 74 74.0% 61.2%
Meshak Williams 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% - - 71.1%
Dillon Wilson 2 40.0% 5.4 88.5% 2 40.0% 3 60.0% 75 75.0% 60.7%
AVERAGE 64.5%


2011 Texas Tech Recruiting Class

Player Rivals % Rivals Grade % Scout % ESPN % ESPN Grade % AVERAGE
Michael Brewer 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 70.3%
Kenny Williams 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 80 80.0% 83.0%
Bradley Marquez 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 79 79.0% 78.5%
Derek Edwards 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 79 79.0% 74.8%
Marcus Kennard 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 2 40.0% 71.7%
Jakeem Grant 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 75 75.0% 69.0%
Jace Amaro 4 80.0% 5.9 96.7% 4 80.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 78.9%
Tony Morales 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 74.6%
Alfredo Morales 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 76 76.0% 69.9%
Le'Raven Clark 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 4 80.0% 3 60.0% 79 79.0% 74.5%
Matt Wilson 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 3 60.0% 70.1%
Dennell Wesley 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 2 40.0% 63.4%
Leon Mackey 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 3 60.0% 78.4%
Donte Phillips 2 40.0% 5.4 88.5% 3 60.0% 2 40.0% 74 74.0% 60.5%
Delvon Simmons 4 80.0% 5.9 96.7% 5 100.0% 4 80.0% 79 79.0% 87.1%
Kindred Evans 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 75 75.0% 69.4%
Branden Jackson 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 4 80.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 74.3%
Cooper Washington 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 70.3%
Blake Dees 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 3 60.0% 2 40.0% 73 73.0% 64.6%
Sam Eguavoen 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% 3 60.0% 75 75.0% 65.4%
Justin Cooper 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 2 40.0% 2 40.0% 74 74.0% 60.8%
Jeremy Reynolds 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 2 40.0% 3 60.0% 77 77.0% 65.4%
Ronnie Daniels 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 76 76.0% 69.6%
LaDarrin Robertson 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 77 77.0% 69.4%
DeAndre Washington 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 4 80.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 74.3%
J.J. Gaines 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 77 77.0% 69.8%
AVERAGE 71.5%


2012 Texas Tech Recruiting Class

Position Commit Ht/Wt Rivals % Rivals Grade % Scout % ESPN % ESPN Grade % 24/7 % 24/7 Grade % AVERAGE
QB CLAYTON NICHOLAS 6-3/205 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 4 80.0% 79 79.0% 3 60.0% 88 88.0% 74.3%
RB QUINTON WHITE 5-8/180 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 75 75.0% 3 60.0% 82 82.0% 69.8%
WR REGINALD DAVIS 6-1/185 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 81 81.0% 4 80.0% 91 91.0% 83.9%
WR DOMINIQUE WHEELER 6-2/178 4 80.0% 5.9 96.7% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 82 82.0% 4 80.0% 95 95.0% 84.8%
WR SADALE FOSTER 5-8/185 2 40.0% 5.3 86.9% 2 40.0% - - - - 55.6%
WR JAVON BELL 5-8/185 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 4 80.0% - - 4 80.0% 95 95.0% 81.7%
C JARED KASTER 6-4/268 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 3 60.0% 88 88.0% 71.1%
OL TREY KEENAN 6-5/270 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 4 80.0% 90 90.0% 74.5%
OL RASHAD FORTENBERRY 6-5/285 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% - - - - 63.9%
DL J.J. BYNUM 6-3/275 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 79 79.0% 3 60.0% 87 87.0% 71.1%
DL MICHAEL STARTS 6-5/285 4 80.0% 5.8 95.1% 4 80.0% 4 80.0% 80 80.0% 4 80.0% 94 94.0% 84.2%
DL ANTHONY SMITH 6-0/291 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 76 76.0% 3 60.0% 86 86.0% 70.5%
DL CHASE ROBISON 6-4/225 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 2 40.0% 3 60.0% 76 76.0% 2 40.0% 79 79.0% 63.6%
DL DESIMON GREEN 6-5/230 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 3 60.0% 89 89.0% 71.0%
DL LEE ADAMS 6-3/265 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% - - 2 40.0% 84 84.0% 67.2%
LB KRIS WILLIAMS 6-2/200 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 76 76.0% 3 60.0% 81 81.0% 69.6%
LB RYAN FLANNIGAN 6-1/200 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 79 79.0% 3 60.0% 86 86.0% 71.0%
LB WILL SMITH 6-3/220 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 4 80.0% - - 2 40.0% 76 76.0% 69.2%
LB CHRIS PAYNE 5-11/215 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 2 40.0% - - 2 40.0% 77 77.0% 61.4%
DB LA'DARIUS NEWBOLD 6-1/180 3 60.0% 5.7 93.4% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 75 75.0% 3 60.0% 82 82.0% 70.1%
DB MICAH AWE 6-0/210 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 2 40.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 3 60.0% 84 84.0% 67.5%
DB THIERRY NGUEMA 6-0/175 2 40.0% 5.3 86.9% 3 60.0% - - - - 62.3%
DB AUSTIN STEWART 6-2/200 3 60.0% 5.6 91.8% 2 40.0% - - - - 63.9%
DB BRUCE JONES 5-9/175 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 2 40.0% - - - - 63.4%
ATH KEENON WARD 5-9/176 3 60.0% 5.5 90.2% 3 60.0% 3 60.0% 78 78.0% 3 60.0% 87 87.0% 70.7%
AVERAGE 70.3%
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