Nothing stirs debate among recruitniks more than player rankings. Because of
the subjective nature of recruiting, fans from rival schools will endlessly
argue about the winners each year. Recruiting classes are rated based on the
rankings of recruits, which leads to expectations, albeit unrealistic ones, from
fans. In this article I will discuss the various methods for ranking players and
some different perspectives on player ratings, as well as provide my own player
ratings for the last recruiting class in Virginia.
If expectations from highly ranked recruiting classes are not met with
performance on the football field, then coaching jobs can be in jeopardy. Often
other factors, such as academics, injuries, off-field problems, etc., can
decimate a solid recruiting class (for example, the UVA class from 2002-2003),
but lofty fan expectations will undoubtedly remain. Conversely, lower ranked
recruiting classes can lead to fan apathy for a program, which will result in
lower attendance and place coaches on the proverbial “hot seat.”
Whether you believe in player rankings and ratings or not, no fan should
underestimate the influence of these recruiting rankings, particularly on the
casual football fan.
Numerous recruiting services have sprung up with the evolution of the
internet, with the most prevalent being Rivals.com and Scout.com. Recruiting
rankings are often referenced from one of these sites, but fans, particularly
casual fans, often do not realize the limitations in coverage and inherent bias
of these sites.
Rivals.com was formed as a network of team sites, thus the information
gathered was directly dependent on the effectiveness of the individual manager(s)
of each team site. If a team site was marginally managed, or even non-existent,
then player data would be missing and, obviously, team rankings inaccurate due
to limited information. Coverage for players may still exist from other team
sites, but truly complete information would not be provided. Rivals.com has
established regional and national recruiting analysts who compile all of the
information and provide the overall ratings and rankings of players. Based on
the composite of the player ratings, team rankings are determined through a
formula weighing quality and quantity of recruits.
The state of Virginia...
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