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The numbers show Patrick Mahomes’s presence in the Super Bowl will elevate Texas Tech recruiting

We looked at the recruiting numbers the year before and year after a young quarterback makes it to a Super Bowl. Here’s how their NFL success affects their alma maters.

Kansas City Chiefs Media Availability Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Recruiting is a complex task with a seemingly endless number of variables influencing the decisions of 17-year-old kids, and the only certainty in identifying the perfect pitch is that no prospect is the same.

Still, we can list a few common factors recruits often mention when explaining why they chose whichever school they ended up committing to, like relationship with the coaching staff, championship pedigree, conference prestige and proximity to home. But does post-collegiate success make any impact on a recruiting class?

Patrick Mahomes is only a few years removed from college and the both Texas Tech athletic department and fan base alike have milked every ounce of his success that they possibly can, claiming almost exclusive responsibility for any and all positive things he’s done in his NFL career.

It’s fine. Everyone does it, and at a school like Texas Tech, where we have been roasted for 20 years about how our quarterbacks don’t translate well to the NFL, I think the Red Raiders deserve the occasional humble brag.

In any case, I went back and checked the recruiting class rankings for the alma maters of Super Bowl quarterbacks (both winning and losing) ages 26 and under - I feel like that’s a good cutoff for when people stop associating you with your college and focus more on your pro team. For example, the first thing that pops into your head when someone mentions “Tom Brady” is never going to be “former Michigan quarterback” but “New England Patriots quarterback.” He’s too far removed from his days in Ann Arbor, so it’s not like any 17-year-old recruit is going to sign with Michigan just because he won the Super Bowl in 2019.

Here are my findings, using the 24/7 composite recruiting rankings during the Rivals era (1999-pres.):

Super Bowl-winning QBs and the recruiting rankings of their alma maters

Quarterback Age School Year Super Bowl won Prev. class rank New class rank Difference
Quarterback Age School Year Super Bowl won Prev. class rank New class rank Difference
Tom Brady 24 Michigan 2002 3 5 -2
Ben Roethlisberger 22 Miami (OH) 2006 99 76 ^23
Aaron Rodgers 26 Cal 2010 37 15 ^37
Russell Wilson 25 Wisconsin 2013 65 32 ^33

So the first thing I noticed is that there are only four quarterbacks in the Rivals era who won a Super Bowl at age 26 or younger. Either way, we can see in three out of the four instances a tremendous improvement to the recruiting classes at their alma maters. Michigan was already a recruiting power, ranking in the top-5 both before and after Brady won his first Super Bowl. Every other school on this list, however, saw a substantial jump in the quality of prospect they brought to campus.

Super Bowl-losing QBs and the recruiting rankings of their alma maters

Quarterback Age School Year Super Bowl lost Prev. class rank New class rank Difference
Quarterback Age School Year Super Bowl lost Prev. class rank New class rank Difference
Rex Grossman 26 Florida 2007 2 5 -3
Cam Newton 24 Auburn 2015 6 9 -3
Jared Goff 24 Cal 2019 42 36 ^6

The first thing I noticed here, is, wow, I still can’t believe Rex Grossman made it to a Super Bowl. Gah that dude was terrible.

Aside from that, two out of the three examples here are just like the Michigan problem - the schools were already elite recruiters, so not much changed. But Cal received a small boost after Jared Goff made it to a Super Bowl, and you have to wonder if it would’ve improved even more had he won it all.

The major takeaway with both of these tables is that you can almost guarantee the recruiting class won’t get worse after Mahomes finishes his Super Bowl run, regardless of whether or not the Chiefs win. It does appear a victory over the 49ers would provide a healthy boost to the Tech recruiting class for 2021 - we have some evidence for that, at least.

An improved recruiting class couldn’t come too soon, either, as the Red Raiders pulled in just the 62nd-ranked class in the country in 2019. If Mahomes pulls off a victory today and history repeats itself on the recruiting side of things, we can **expect** a top-30 class in 2021, right?

Right?