Correlation Between Recruit Rankings and On-Field Success

#17 ---- he was a 5 STAR RECRUIT - Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Bumped. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.

Given that today was National Signing Day, a lot of discussions have come up about how much the recruit rankings really matter when it comes down to success on the field. Based on some articles that I will link and summarize below, I believe they really do. Note many of these were previously posted in threads but are summarized here.

The first article with synopsis of the main points.

First do highly ranked recruits pan out on an individual basis. The conclusion is pretty much yes based on the following data:

By comparing the number of incoming signees from 2008 to 2012 to the number eventually honored at the highest level, we can arrive at these odds:

Odds of Becoming an All-American, by Recruiting Ranking
5–Star: 1 in 4.
Top 100: 1 in 6.
4–Star: 1 in 16.
3–Star: 1 in 56.
2–Star: 1 in 127.
All FBS Signees: 1 in 45.

The second takeaway from the article looks at whether or not highly ranked recruits result in team success. Again, the conclusions of the article would argue in favor based on their analysis which went as follows. They ranked the teams as to how each team did in the recruiting rankings over a period of time and assigned star ratings to the teams (5*, 4*, 3* etc). The then compared the combined records of each of the star rated teams and the results were:

5 star teams avg winning% – 67.7%
4 star – 57.3%
3 star – 48.9%
2 star – 41.1%
1 star – 34.3%

So there definitely appears to be a strong correlation between recruiting rankings and on-field success.

Another chart I found of which I could not locate the corresponding article presumable from Rivals is below:



Just summarizing the numbers from the above chart:

Below is the % chance of a given recruit star being drafted in the 1st round of the NFL:
5 star – 13.0%
4 star – 3.8%
3 star – 0.8%
2 star – 0.3%

Based on the above data, I would argue that star recruit rankings are no guarantee of success, but are a pretty good predictor.

One last article that I think is important which I unfortunately can't bring forward a nice chart from the article, but it shows the previous 5 year recruit class ranking of the last 10 BCS National Champ winners. Here is the article.

The main takeaways from the article are (with UCLA comparison numbers):

  1. The average recruit class ranking for the 5 years that preceded a BCS National Champion was 7.4 - this does not mean they were the 7th best over the 5 year period, just what they averaged. UCLA is 18.4.
  2. All BCS National Champs have had recruiting classes in the top 5 the year before they won a championship with the exception of FSU last year (Rated #10) and Texas in 2005 (Rated #20), UCLA is 18. I found this surprising as I thought there would be little correlation, but the correlation might be due to the on-field success in the year preceding the championship.
  3. The worst rated class of the 5 year look-back was LSU has the #22 rated class 3 years prior to winning the championship in 2007. UCLA had a #45 class 4 years ago.

So again I think this leads to the conclusion that highly rated classes do lead to on-field success.

My personal opinion on UCLA's NSD today is simply disappointed. This is no means takes away from the wonderful young men who signed today. I think the players who signed today will make UCLA proud. I guess the best way to put it is, I'm not disappointed with who UCLA signed in this years class, I'm disappointed in not bringing in more, the ones who got away. A few more quality recruits like the ones we got would have made this class much more special and would have likely translated into better success on the field for the recruits that we did sign. I want UCLA to compete for championships, and in order to do so the data suggests we need to recruit better than either a 5 year average of 18.4 or a current year ranking of 18.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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