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Re-ranking 2009 recruiting classes

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#1
TrueGCFan

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When a coach stands up on National Signing Day and says he doesn't care where Rivals.com or Scout.com ranked his recruiting class, he's probably lying. Coaches across the country are obsessed with these rankings. Heck, some assistants -- Maryland's Mike Locksley, for example -- even have monetary bonuses tied to how well their teams perform in rankings most head coaches will publicly decry as meaningless.

Recruiting rankings mean something, and at the top, they're fairly accurate. They tend to become less accurate near the bottom because of the business model that drives the industry. Teams with large, passionate fan bases sell more subscriptions, and sites that cover popular teams employ more recruiting writers. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, players who sign with popular schools tend to get ranked higher. But even that may be changing. Stanford finished No. 5 in the 2012 Rivals.com team rankings. A few years ago, the Cardinal wouldn't have cracked the top 15, but a team that beats out USC, Michigan and Notre Dame for players will earn a high ranking.

Every year, Yahoo! blogger Matt Hinton does a fascinating study on the accuracy of individual player rankings. Team rankings are less consistent. I have re-ranked three-year-old classes every year since 2009, and the average number of teams that appeared in the top 10 of the original Rivals.com ranking and the top 10 of the re-rank is 4.25. I realize the re-rank is solely based on my opinion, but since my opinion is based on actual on-field production, few of my choices are controversial.

That said, it's difficult enough to predict how a 17-year-old will perform at 20. It's nearly impossible to predict how a group of 17-year-olds will perform at 20. So while only five of Rivals.com's 2009 classes made the top 10 of my 2009 re-rank, the accuracy at the top of the rankings is stunning. The top two teams (Alabama and LSU) in the Rivals 2009 rankings played for the BCS title, and the No. 4 team (USC) might have won the Pac-12 title if not for NCAA sanctions.


That accuracy makes up for Tennessee at No. 10. Lane Kiffin's only class in Knoxville made a lot of headlines during the recruiting process, but it has done next to nothing on the field. At the moment, only nine of 22 signees remain on Tennessee's roster. Of those, five (safety Eric Gordon, defensive tackle Daniel Hood, receiver Zach Rogers, cornerback Marsalis Teague and defensive tackle Marlon Walls) have made significant contributions, and none has become a star.

But that's easy for me to say now. Hindsight makes everything simpler.




1. Alabama

Original Rivals rank: 1


Record since 2009: 36-4
BCS bowl appearances: 2
Conference titles: 1
National titles: 2

2011 starters: OT D.J. Fluker, LB Nico Johnson, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, QB AJ McCarron, RB Trent Richardson, OG Anthony Steen, OG Chance Warmack

This class included a Heisman Trophy finalist (Richardson), the player who made the biggest difference in the BCS title game (McCarron), three members of college football's best offensive line (Fluker, Steen, Warmack), an elite cornerback (Kirkpatrick) and a playmaking linebacker (Johnson). It also included a role-playing receiver who made a huge catch in the Superdome (Kevin Norwood) and a JUCO transfer offensive tackle who started for the 2009 national title team (James Carpenter).




2. LSU

Original Rivals rank: 2


Record since 2009: 33-7
BCS bowl appearances: 1
Conference titles: 1

2011 starters: DT Michael Brockers, CB Morris Claiborne, Chris Faulk, RB Michael Ford, DT Bennie Logan, DE Barkevious Mingo, DE Sam Montgomery, WR Reuben Randle, WR Russell Shepard, OG Josh Williford

Had LSU not gotten crushed by Alabama in the BCS title game, the Tigers would rank No. 1 and the Crimson Tide would rank No. 2 because of the sheer volume of LSU contributors this class produced. But this exercise is based on results, and one Trent Richardson equals two major contributors by himself. That said, this was a stunning haul for the Tigers, and it underscores just how terrifying that defensive line was this season. A line of Mingo, Logan, Brockers and Montgomery would start for almost any team in the country, but it speaks to LSU's depth that Logan and Mingo are sometimes used as backups. (They're listed as starters here because in LSU's defensive line rotation, the backups can play as many snaps as the starters.)




3. Stanford

Original Rivals rank: 20


Record since 2009: 31-8
BCS bowl appearances: 2
Conference titles: 0

2011 starters: CB Terrence Brown, TE Zach Ertz, RB Tyler Gaffney, DE Ben Gardner, LB Shayne Skov, DT Terrence Stephens, RB Stepfan Taylor, TE Levine Toilolo

The Cardinal were on the verge of something special when this group signed. The 2008 class, which featured quarterback Andrew Luck, will be remembered as the catalyst for this era of Stanford football, but the 2009 class provided some important pieces. Gaffney and Taylor give the Cardinal two bruising runners, and Ertz and Toilolo teamed with Coby Fleener to produce a jumbo package that steamrolled most of the Pac-12 (just not Oregon). Skov suffered a season-ending knee injury against Arizona on Sept. 17, but he was the soul of the defense. He'll be healthy in 2012.




4. USC

Original Rivals rank: 4


Record since 2009: 27-11
BCS bowl appearances: 0
Conference titles: 0

2011 starters: QB Matt Barkley, OT Kevin Graf, CB Torin Harris, DE Devon Kennard, OG John Martinez, S T.J. McDonald, S Jawanza Starling

Barkley and McDonald alone would have put this class into the top 10, but two quality offensive linemen and a pass rusher (Kennard) who could be a breakout star next season make this group even better. Let's also not forget that this class included the guy who might be the nation's best returning defensive player in 2012. Unfortunately for USC, linebacker Jarvis Jones now plays for Georgia. Jones left USC in 2010 after a disagreement with the team's medical staff about whether a neck injury was career-threatening. It's tough to fault USC doctors for erring on the side of caution.




5. Georgia

Original Rivals rank: 6


Record since 2009: 24-16
BCS bowl appearances: 0
Conference titles: 0

2011 starters: WR Marlon Brown, TE Orson Charles, LB Mike Gilliard, DE Abry Jones, OG Dallas Lee, QB Aaron Murray, CB Branden Smith, S Shawn Williams

In 2011, this group helped yank the Bulldogs out of a two-year tailspin. Murray is one of the nation's best quarterbacks heading into 2012, and Smith is a two-way threat. Charles had a nice career before heading off to the NFL. Jones, Williams and Smith all could have made the same decision. They all probably would have been drafted, but they elected to spend one more season in Athens.




6. Michigan

Original Rivals rank: 8


Record since 2009: 22-15
BCS bowl appearances: 1
Conference titles: 0

2011 starters: K Brendan Gibbons, WR Jeremy Gallon, S Thomas Gordon, OT Taylor Lewan, QB Denard Robinson, DE Craig Roh, RB Fitzgerald Toussaint

Rich Rodriguez didn't do everything wrong in Ann Arbor. After all, he signed this group, which provided much of the leadership for a team that went 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl. Obviously, Robinson is the crown jewel of the class, and it appears coach Brady Hoke has figured out how to take advantage of Robinson's speed and playmaking without relying on Robinson so much that the quarterback gets maimed.




7. South Carolina

Original Rivals rank: 12


Record since 2009: 27-13
BCS bowl appearances: 0
Conference titles: 0

2011 starters: TE Justice Cunningham, DT Aldrick Fordham, CB Stephon Gilmore, S DeVonte Holloman, WR Alshon Jeffery, S D.J. Swearinger, OG Rokevious Watkins

In 2011, the Gamecocks won 11 games for the first time in school history. While defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney and tailback Marcus Lattimore deserve their share of credit, Jeffery was South Carolina's best receiver, and Gilmore was the Gamecocks' best corner. Even more importantly, Palmetto State natives Jeffery and Gilmore blazed a trail for the in-state recruits who came after them by refusing to cross the border. Jeffery was the closest, first committing to USC and then almost choosing Tennessee before the "pumping gas" tempest in a teapot. The acquisition of Jeffery and Gilmore launched a period of in-state dominance for the Gamecocks. Lattimore, from Duncan, S.C., signed with South Carolina in 2010. Clowney, a one-time high school teammate of Gilmore's in Rock Hill and the nation's No. 1 recruit, signed with the Gamecocks in 2011.




8. West Virginia

Original Rivals rank: 27


Record since 2009: 28-11
BCS bowl appearances: 1
Conference titles: 1

2011 starters: WR Tavon Austin, WR Steadman Bailey, DE Will Clarke, S Darwin Cooke, OT Pat Eger, S Terence Garvin, CB Pat Miller, QB Geno Smith

The first full recruiting cycle for coach Bill Stewart provided a nice core for a team that would win the Big East in 2011 and will lead West Virginia into the Big 12 in 2012. Smith was the centerpiece of the class. Before he took his official visit to West Virginia, Smith took an official visit to Alabama. The Crimson Tide already had McCarron committed, but John Parker Wilson had graduated, and Alabama coaches didn't yet know that Greg McElroy would grab the starting job and lead Alabama to a national title. Seeing an opportunity to play sooner at West Virginia, Smith went to Morgantown. He apprenticed behind Jarrett Brown for a season before taking over the offense.




9. Clemson

Original Rivals rank: 37


Record since 2009: 25-16
BCS bowl appearances: 1
Conference titles: 1

2011 starters: QB Tajh Boyd, LB Quandon Christian, DE Malliciah Goodman, LB Corico Hawkins, S Jonathan Meeks, OG Brandon Thomas

This class earns extra points for having the highest batting average. The firing of Tommy Bowden on Oct. 13, 2008 wreaked havoc on this class. Dabo Swinney, the interim coach after Bowden's firing, got the job on a permanent basis in early December, but that didn't stop several players -- including future Gamecock Holloman -- from bailing on the Tigers. Swinney, saving his scholarships for the 2010 recruiting cycle, signed only 12 players. Six of those players wound up starting on the team that won the ACC title in 2011. Try to find another class in which 50 percent of the signees wound up starting for a good team. You'll be looking for a long time. Boyd, the best player in the class, could have been at West Virginia instead of Smith. But Boyd decommitted from the Mountaineers and committed to Tennessee days before the firing of Phillip Fulmer. Kiffin didn't want Boyd, so Boyd wound up choosing Clemson instead of Oregon.




10. Wisconsin

Original Rivals rank: 43


Record since 2009: 32-8
BCS bowl appearances: 2
Conference titles: 2

2011 starters: RB Montee Ball, LB Chris Borland, Travis Fredrick, DE David Gilbert

This class didn't produce many starters, but it did produce a Heisman Trophy finalist (Ball) and the Badgers' best defensive player (Borland). Ball set a Big Ten record in 2011 with 38 touchdowns, and he'll be back for more in 2012 after receiving a laughably low NFL draft grade. Borland, meanwhile, won a starting job as a true freshman, redshirted 2010 after a shoulder injury and racked up 143 tackles and 19 tackles for loss in 2011.









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#2
eastcoastrazorback

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I love the re ranks, thanks for posting.  Petrino is usually really good on re ranks and I went to our 09 class just for shiggles, man we've had some attrition.  I will be interested to see what they rank after the 2012 season.  This class was ranked 16th by Rivals in 2009.  This class has seen improvements in the win column every year since arriving 2009 going 8-5, 2010 going 10-3, and 2011 going 11-2 for a three year record of 29-10.  Two bowl wins and a BCS bowl appearance.  Since 2010 this class's worst loss (as far as final BCS standings) goes to #10 Alabama.  


Alvin Bailey-One of the best Guards in the SEC
OL
Broken Arrow, OK Broken Arrow
6'5"
330
3 stars

Neal Barlow-Career ending injury
WR
Little Rock, AR Pulaski Academy
6'6"
190
3 stars

Colby Berna-Career ending injury
OL
Fayetteville, AR Fayetteville
6'4"
275
4 stars

Shauntez Bruce-Not on roster
OL
Tallahassee, FL Lincoln
6'5"
300
3 stars

Ryan Calender-Transferred to 1AA school
DE
Caddo Mills, TX Caddo Mills
6'8"
220
3 stars

Rudell Crim-Good career, finished at Arkansas
DB
El Dorado, KS Butler County C.C.
6'0"
190
4 stars

Knile Davis-Pre injury, a top 3 back in the SEC.  Hopefully he still is.
RB
Missouri City, TX Fort Bend Marshall
6'1"
209
4 stars

Caleb Evans-Career ending injury
DE
San Marcos, CA Palomar C.C.
6'4"
255
3 stars

Briton Forester-Finished his career at Arkansas
K
San Marcos, CA Palomar C.C.
5'10"
185
2 stars

David Gordon-Started as a TR FR. Kicked off team for smoking weed.
DB
Tulsa, OK East Central
5'11"
161
3 stars

Cobi Hamilton-Should be a top 3 WR in the SEC
WR
Texarkana, TX Texas
6'3"
190
3 stars

Rickey Hughey-Did not make it to campus b/c of grades.
ATH
Stamps, AR Lafayette County
6'5"
221
3 stars

DeQuinta Jones-Currently a 2-3 year starter.
DT
Bastrop, LA Bastrop
6'4"
305
4 stars

Anthony Leon-Good career, finished at Arkansas
DB
Visalia, CA College of the Sequoias
6'4"
230
4 stars

Kevin Lowery-Not on roster, couldn't find out why.
DT
Gainesville, FL Gainesville
6'3"
286
3 stars

Brandon Mitchell-Wilson's back up and a freak athlete, wish we could find somewhere to put him.  Currently playing round ball until Spring FB begins.
ATH
Amite, LA Amite
6'4"
220
3 stars

Jerry Mitchell-Has had some good moments as a Hog.
DB
Mandeville, LA Mandeville
6'1"
198
3 stars

Austin Moss-Transferred for playing time.
LB
Rockwall, TX Rockwall-Heath
6'2"
209
4 stars

Colton Nash-Back up DE
DE
Sulphur Springs, TX Sulphur Springs
6'7"
255
3 stars

Anthony Oden-Starter that was kicked off team.
OL
Chatham, VA Hargrave Military Academy
6'8"
328
4 stars

Ross Rasner-Has been a back up that got a lot of PT last year to Jerico Nelson.  Coaches have always been high on him.  Should start this year.
ATH
Waco, TX Reicher
6'0"
197
3 stars

Lance Ray-Starting KR as a Tr Fr.  Kicked off for smoking weed.
ATH
Havana, FL East Gadsden
6'2"
183
3 stars

Andru Stewart-Good career, finished at Arkansas.
DB
Visalia, CA College of the Sequoias
5'11"
190
3 stars

Travis Swanson-Rimington watch list, and preseason All SEC in 2011 should be one of the best Centers in the SEC.
OL
Kingwood, TX Kingwood
6'5"
271
3 stars

Austin Tate-Back up.
TE
Harrison, AR Harrison
6'6"
230
3 stars

Robert Thomas-Had a great 2011.  Currently starting at DT.
DT
Muskogee, OK Muskogee
6'1"
310
3 stars

Zhamal Thomas-Backup guard may have started some can't remember, finished his career at Arkansas
OL
Corsicana, TX Navarro J.C.
6'4"
315
5.0
3 stars

Terrell Williams-Coaches have been high on him at times, had a nice game against LSU.  May break the starting lineup this year.
ATH
Tulsa, OK Union
6'2"
210
3 stars

Turell Williams-Transferred for playing time.
RB
West Helena, AR Central
6'2"
215
3 stars

Ronnie Wingo Jr.-Good in open space and catching the ball out of the backfield.  Role player.
ATH
St. Louis, MO University
6'3"
212
4 stars

Darius Winston-Starter that has gradually gotten better each year.  Hopefully he'll have a break out 2012 w/ the new secondary coaches.
DB
West Helena, AR Central
6'0"
180
5 stars

By my count that's 16 players that are no longer on the team due to grades (not even making it to campus), injury, run ins with the law or Juco's fulfilling their eligibility.

Edited by eastcoastrazorback, 07 February 2012 - 10:28 AM.

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#3
bbqit

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38 players for the New England Patriots 2012 Super Bowl team was 2 star or less.

Edited by bbqit, 29 February 2012 - 08:05 PM.

Du-te la dracu 'LSU

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TheTeetFingler

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5 star players are usually attention whores with awful attitudes! Some end up being good players... Imo the majority of them are uncoachable.

Edited by grb15, 29 February 2012 - 08:21 PM.

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JohnRambo

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View Postbbqit, on 29 February 2012 - 08:04 PM, said:

38 players for the New England Patriots 2012 Super Bowl team was 2 star or less.

Makes me wonder how many 4* and 5* guys were on the New York Giants team that beat them. :trollface:

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HFS

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Auburn's 09 class produced 14 starters including a Lombardi winner and the best TE in our history.

Not terrible for a class Chiz put together in a month.
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ElephanTideis

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I think the '09 Alabama class can pass '06 Florida for winningest in SEC history if we were to get 13 wins this season.

Edited by ElephanTideis, 01 March 2012 - 02:46 PM.


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RammaJamma

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View Postgrb15, on 29 February 2012 - 08:20 PM, said:

5 star players are usually attention whores with awful attitudes! Some end up being good players... Imo the majority of them are uncoachable.

Send all you can to Bama I'm positive Saban will take his chance with them.

Good coaching is one thing but it's hard to ever overcome my boys are better than your boys.
"I didn't come to Alabama to win 10 games a year and be a contender. I came here to win championships, Conference Championships, and National Championships. I love it here because that's not just what I want, but what this fan base expects." -Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban

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bbqit

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View PostRammaJamma, on 01 March 2012 - 02:59 PM, said:

Send all you can to Bama I'm positive Saban will take his chance with them.

Good coaching is one thing but it's hard to ever overcome my boys are better than your boys.


some can see thru stars better than others. all nutt saw was the stars and nothing else.  saban gets the talent but is a great evaluator of the talent too. that is where coaching begins. seeing what the talent is and how best to coach it.
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View Postbmccall, on 01 March 2012 - 02:18 PM, said:


Makes me wonder how many 4* and 5* guys were on the New York Giants team that beat them. :trollface:


may be a lot but what did those new e players beat to get there?
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RammaJamma

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View Postbbqit, on 01 March 2012 - 03:05 PM, said:



some can see thru stars better than others. all nutt saw was the stars and nothing else.  saban gets the talent but is a great evaluator of the talent too. that is where coaching begins. seeing what the talent is and how best to coach it.

It has amazed me the amount of playing time he gives true freshmen guys that were just in hs a few months earlier. The players have changed from what the game was 10-15 years ago big time. Players nowadays have went to so many camps, 7 on 7, individual trainers they come in football smart and physically ready years ago it wasn't like that but I agree there is alot of talent hiding in those lower star kids.
"I didn't come to Alabama to win 10 games a year and be a contender. I came here to win championships, Conference Championships, and National Championships. I love it here because that's not just what I want, but what this fan base expects." -Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban

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#12
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i still think petrino does more with 3 star talent than most coaches do with 4 and 5 star talent.

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AUskip07

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View Postgchamblee, on 19 March 2012 - 04:32 AM, said:

i still think petrino does more with 3 star talent than most coaches do with 4 and 5 star talent.

We used to say that about Tubberville.
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View PostAUskip07, on 19 March 2012 - 05:04 AM, said:


We used to say that about Tubberville.
are you saying im wrong?

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View Postgchamblee, on 19 March 2012 - 08:58 AM, said:

are you saying im wrong?

I think you're saying that to compensate for not having 4 and 5 *  guys.
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