Though to be honest, not all was quite lining up the recruitniks way.Made a graphic pic.twitter.com/qtnSdph8nO— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) April 29, 2016
So who's right? Let's look a little closer at few other little tidbits:More 2-star/unrated prospects just got drafted in the first round than 5-stars...and that’s somehow a triumph for star ratings? Huh?— Samuel McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) April 29, 2016
Let's look at Michigan State, who's 2011 recruiting class was ranked 32nd nationally and 2012 class was ranked 33rd...and had an unranked player (Jack Conklin) get drafted with the eighth pick overall. Five Spartans were drafted this season alone.Carson Wentz and Jared Goff received a combined three FBS scholarship offers, per 24/7, and are now projected to go 1-2 in the NFL draft.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) April 20, 2016
Let's look at Texas, with top three recruiting classes from 2010 through 2012. Six Texas Longhorns have been drafted the last three seasons COMBINED.
So is it the REALLY the Jimmies and the Joes? To some extent, yes. But I personally subscribe to the theory that coaching plays a bigger factor. And let me be a little more specific: some coaches simply do a better job of evaluating prospects than others, and then do a better job of developing them. Recruitniks do track on this a bit, as players targeted by recognized successful coaches do get a boost in their star rankings. But it is clear that some coaches (i.e Nick Saban) do a better job of selecting top notch talent and developing it than other coaches (i.e. Mack Brown).
highly ranked recruits, only to get fired after four seasons because his teams weren't very good.
Today, some people want to transfer most of the credit for Bo Pelini's early success at Nebraska to Callahan's recruits. They may have a point, but it's mitigated because of the way Callahan's players failed with him on the sidelines.
I'm not going to tell you that recruiting isn't important - it is. But it takes more than highly ranked recruiting classes to win. Recruitniks will point to Alabama, Florida State and Clemson as proof of the power of recruiting, but they miss the point. I'm pointing towards the head coaches of those programs as the reason for their success. Why do Alabama, Florida State, Clemson and Michigan State win?
It's because of their coaches. They do a great job of selecting players and developing them into a team.
Why are teams like Texas so inconsistent? It's because of their coaching. Sometimes they guess right on their recruiting and do enough development to win games. Sometimes they guess wrong, and fail miserably.
It takes both. But it's not enough to just recruit four and five star players coming out of high school. You have to identify players who can become stars down the line. They may start out as five star high school players --- or start out as unknown players, like Jack Conklin or Carson Wentz. Or Andy Janovich, for that matter. It takes both, but it starts with coaching.