If you have not read Woochifer's fanpost on OL recruiting yet, I strongly recommend it. In it Woochifer provides some very interesting historical perspective on UCLA's OL recruiting by pointing to the specific class of 1985. His post inspired me to do a little digging this am and look up some of the numbers on recent stand out OLs from the Pac-10.
I went ahead and looked up the first team All Pac-10 linemen from last three seasons and then matched them up with their recruiting rankings (stars) according to Scout.com. Here is what the chart looks like for the All Pac-10 teams from 2009, 2008, and 2007:
|2009||Jeff Byers||Southern Cal||Sr||5|
|2009||Charles Brown||Southern Cal||Sr||4|
|2009||Gregg Peat||Oregon St||Sr||2|
|2008||Andy Levitre||Oregon St||Sr||2|
|2008||Kristofer O'Dowd||Southern Cal||Sr||5|
|2007||Chilo Rachel||Southern Cal||Jr||3|
|2007||Roy Schuening||Oregon St||Sr||3|
|2007||Sam Baker||Southern Cal||Sr||4|
|2007||Mike Pollack||Arizona St||Sr||3|
The easiest conclusion here is that star rankings don't matter as much when it comes to OL recruiting (and it is something that we should all keep in mind as CRN, Norm Chow, and Bob Palcic put their OL class together this recruiting season). There are also other takeaways from the numbers above, which I will get to after the jump (along with some additional notes on UCLA football).
Southern Cal sticks out as the major presence in with all the blue chippers Cheatey Petey brought in with his shady ways over the years. What is really impressive is what Stanford, California and especially Oregon State did with the talent they brought in for their OL. Credit to those programs for having staff, who obviously did their homework when it comes to evaluations on the recruiting trail, and then follow up with great coaching once they were brought into the program. Hoping Bob Palcic will be able to do the same and results from last year were promising.
I would strongly caution anyone from discounting the recruiting evaluations of the professionals from Scout.com (and Rivals.com) just based on OL recruiting. Over the years we have done enough posts to show that most of the times these guys do pretty ok with their evaluations as recruiting rankings often correlate with the aggregate team results (provided those teams are getting good to great coaching).
Sticking with UCLA football, Jon Wilner from the College Hotline made the following observations about Rick Neuheisel's recent actions concerning the three players who were dismissed from the program (at least for this upcoming quarter):
Action: UCLA boots three freshmen after they were arrested for allegedly stealing a woman's purse. Two of the players were four-star recruits, one a three-star prospect.
Reaction I: Strong, swift action ... exactly what you'd expect from Rick Neuheisel. (Did I just type that!?!?)
Reaction II: UCLA's response stands in stark contrast to the messy, inconsistent manner Oregon has handled discipline issues over the past six months.
Reaction III: The Ducks, by the way, just accepted a transfer from Texas (DB Marcus Davis) who was indefinitely suspended by the Longhorns after being arrested for DUI and possession of a controlled substance. But I bet the kid can really play.
Reaction IV: Yes, it seems like every Duck has a rap sheet, like it's a prerequisite for being on the roster, but I don't think that's actually the case.
Hmm, while I agree with the initial assessment, I still think the comparison with Oregon is misplaced. As noted over last few months, we have been generally impressed with how Chip Kelly has handled some of the recent off field situations in Eugene. If anything Kelly's action stood out in remarkable contrast with what Cheatey Petey used to do while he was at Southern Cal.
So if anything, I think Pac-10 writers like Wilner should resist the easy storyline here of a program going out of control, and look a little closer on how Kelly has been handling it. It is not like we are close followers of Chip Kelly and the Ducks. Yet from what we have read to date, the details available point to a coach who is giving everything he has had to deal with their issues and has been genuinely troubled by it. His attitude again has been remarkable different and also a refreshing contrast from the sleazebags from the school "over there."