I stumbled upon an old Bud Elliott article on recruiting from way back in the beginning of the year (Feb 18) on the SBN mothership: Who's recruiting at a championship level?
Bud Elliot took a look at all national champion winners since the advent of the star system of recruiting and computes the following simple ratio:
blue-chip recruits ÷ scholarship players
Blue-chip recruits are by definition players rated 4 or 5 stars by recruiting sites (I think it's a composite ranking of the major ones like Scout, Rivals, 247, etc) and account for roughly the top 300 national recruits. As there are roughly 10,000 recruits signed each year to play college football (at the FBS level-yikes!), you can see how rare blue-chips really are (approximately 3%). Now, the star rankings have not been around for very long starting in the early 2000s, however, since 2005 they can be precisely tracked (I'll take this to mean that all the major sites had star rankings of players going back 4 cycles).
So, what's the magic ratio?
at least 1:2 or 50%
This means that each of the past 11 national championship teams had more than half their rosters stock-pilled with blue-chippers. Put differently, if the entire team was on a football field and I threw a football into the mass of bodies, the chances of it hitting the head of a blue-chip recruit are 50% (assuming I can throw a football and that it actually hits someone). Some programs like Alabama, though, take this to an absurd level and have over 70% blue-chip recruits!
Looking at recruiting classes using this ratio, I believe, is a more accurate method in evaluating class worth than simply looking at the rankings. This is because the recruiting class rankings are points-based so large classes get more points than small classes. For example, consider team A and team B. Team A is ranked 10, Team B is ranked 11. But, team A has 32 players mostly 3*s whereas team B has 15 players with a solid ratio of blue-chippers. Also, the 4vs5* can seem arbitrary sometimes with 5* players not looking better than 4* players. The point though is 4* and up are all elite players so it's better to not get too caught up trying to distinguish between them.
Bud's post actually has a ton of good info in it and it is worth a read. I'll summarize a few of points I found interesting below. Here are the past 11 national champs and their ratios:
|Tejas||60%||but if look back one year it jumps to an eye popping 82%|
|Florida State||56%||Lack of institutional and community (eg Tallahassee PD) control|
According to Bud, those 11 teams above are the only blue-chippers. Who's next? He lists 6 teams:
|UCLA||41%||Bud says it's 40% better than last year and has largest increase|
Bud had this to say about UCLA:
No coach has been able to transform his roster's talent level over two years more than Jim Mora has. Ridiculous: 40 percent more blue-chip players in the most recent two signing classes than the previous two. And the three-year trend is great as well, with major outlier year 2011 dragging down the overall roster, much like with A&M and Clemson. The Bruins should be a contender for the Pac-12 crown. UCLA is currently 18/1 to win the title, good for the seventh-best odds.
When you exclude the 11 elite teams and look nationally, our 41% ratio is actually very good as very few programs are in the 30-49% range. We are essentially on the cusp of elite territory. Bud notes that our recent two years 2012 and 2013 was 40% better than in the previous two 2010-2011, which would translate to roughly a 24.6% ratio. So, what Rick Neuhisel did for us in recruiting was bring in a respectable number of blue-chippers with a select few who actually turned out to be true game-changers (Brett Hundley, Anthony Barr, Dantone Jones having the biggest POW factor--we can add a few more names but the ratio would still be small). How close are we to that elite ratio of over 50%?
Let's take a quick peek at the current (on using Scout and not composite) 2015 class.
|Scout's UCLA 2015 recruiting class: 16 players||11th|
|11 blue-chip||three 5* and 8 4*|
|5 scholarship (non-blue-chip)||five 3*|
Looking at the traditional star average, we have 3.88* which is the second best in the 2015 class (guess who is first with 3.9*). The blue-chip ratio is a very healthy 69% for the 2015 class. Remember Bud used the ratio spanned over 4 recruiting cycles, so I cannot compute the correct number for 2015 including previous 3 year data. But I can get a quick approximation. If I give 3/4 weight to Bud's 41% ratio for the composite 2014 data and 1/4 weight to the Scout 2015 68% ratio, the ratio improves to 48%.
Beer&Math's approximate 2015 blue-chip ratio is 48%
Inching closer and closer to elite territory.
Of course, we can blow this whole thing open by busting into the CFBP this year. It stats by beating Stanford on Friday, then avenging our earlier loss to the Ducks in the P12CG, then...