Recruiting, still, not what it's cracked up to be
Here’s an idea.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 college football recruiting classes going back 10 years.
As you may know, many outfits create such lists, so we’ll use one that takes most of them into account, the 247Sports composite rankings.
Here they are, 1 through 10, going back a decade:
2023: Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, Miami, Southern Cal, Oregon, Tennessee.
2022: Texas A&M, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Texas, Penn State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Michigan, Clemson.
2021: Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, Georgia, Clemson, Oregon, Southern Cal, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Oklahoma
2020: Georgia, Clemson, Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Texas, Florida, Michigan.
2019: Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Michigan, Florida, Clemson.
2018: Georgia, Ohio State, Texas, Southern Cal, Alabama, Penn State, Clemson, Miami, Oklahoma, Notre Dame.
2017: Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Southern Cal, Michigan, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Auburn, Notre Dame.
2016: Alabama, LSU, Florida State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Auburn, Southern Cal.
2015: Alabama, Southern Cal, Florida State, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Ohio State, Auburn, Clemson, Texas.
2014: Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Florida State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Southern Cal.
Now let’s do this.
Give 10 points for first place over that span, 9 for second, 8 for third and so on.
It won’t be a perfect representation of recruiting success the past 10 years because the difference between finishing 11th and 35th when outside the top 10 can be immense. But it’s not bad and here it is, kind of, sort of, wrapping up a decade of recruiting in one 10-program list:
1. Alabama (93 points)
2. Georgia (74)
3. Ohio State (66)
4. LSU (54)
5. Texas (38)
6. Southern Cal (32)
7. Texas A&M (31)
8. Florida State (28)
9. Clemson (23)
10. Oklahoma (19)
Now, a few things:
• Though LSU ranks fourth and OU 10th, the Sooners have been to four playoffs and the bayou Tigers only one.
• Though Texas ranks fifth, the Longhorns have never reached a playoff, nor won a conference title over that span. Additionally, they’ve posted just one 10-win season, no nine-win seasons, two eight-win seasons and four losing seasons.
• Though Texas A&M ranks seventh, 25 of its 31 points have been accumulated over its last five recruiting cycles. And while the Aggies went 9-1 during the 2020 COVID season, they’ve still lost 17 games the last four seasons, going just 18-15 against SEC opponents along the way.
• Though Southern Cal ranks sixth, it’s still lost 40 games the last nine seasons, never been to a playoff, won just one conference crown, suffered two losing seasons, a six-loss season and a five-loss season.
• Though Clemson ranks only ninth and only twice has landed top-five classes — fifth in 2021, second in ’20 — it’s nonetheless appeared in six playoffs, consecutively from 2015 to ’20, played for four national championships and won two.
• Though Ohio State ranks third and has landed nine top-10 classes since 2014 (only Alabama and Georgia have landed 10) and seven top-four classes since 2014 (only Alabama and Georgia have landed more), it’s been to just one more playoff than OU, winning one national championship in five playoff tries.
• Of course, Alabama and Georgia have reigned supreme over the recruiting rankings and have a bunch of national championships to show for it — Alabama 3, Georgia 2 — but if we’re looking for recruiting rankings to match up to on-field success, the Tide and Dawgs are the exception and not the rule. And still, a case can be made Georgia’s underperformed, reaching just three playoffs.
Also, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, recruiting’s not all it’s cracked up to be, especially around here, the poster children for which are Rhett Bomar, Trey Metoyer and Spencer Rattler.
Nevertheless, a big and not unentertaining recruiting reporter spat took place in Soonerland this past week when Williams Nwaneri, the 2024 class’ No. 1 defensive end and No. 3 overall prospect, according to 247Sports, out of Lee’s Summit (Mo.) North, verbally committed to Missouri rather than Oklahoma or Georgia.
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