Thursday, June 14, 2007

Recruiting 101 - More on star rankings

Rivals put out its list of 3-star players yesterday, and all of LSU's recruits who did not get a 4-star ranking got a 3-star ranking. Here is a list of current commitments and their rankings. This is a mild surprise, but not a big surprise if you consider two facts:
  • LSU is considered a top program
  • One factor the recruiting services consider in making their ranking is the quality of program recruiting the players.
Therefore, because LSU took a commitment from these players, they must be pretty good. There's a certain element of self-perpetuation there. Of course, it also makes a little sense to do it this way. Let's say you run a recruiting service, and you have two players Player A and Player B. You scouted Player A for two games and watched some film, determining him to be a 4-star player. You did the same with Player B and determined him to be a 2-star player. However, Player A has no offers from BCS schools except for Mississippi State and Mizzou while Player B has offers from Oklahoma, Nebraska, and every SEC school. If you're intelligent, you probably question your own rankings.

The thing to keep in mind about this is that the schools watch these players a LOT more than the services do. The services aren't there in the camps. The services don't see as many of their games as the coaches. The services scout EVERYONE, but because they don't have an endless list of scouts, they only each recruit a few times. The coaches only closely follow a couple hundred players, hoping to get commitments from 25 to 30 of them. Each of those few hundred gets a LOT of attention from the coaches.

The recruiting services tap into that attention the coaches give by relying at least in part on what those coaches think about the players, which is manifested in making an offer or taking a commitment. It's simply another way of gathering good information about a recruit in an economical way.

Of course, we've discussed that 2-star recruits and small school recruits sometimes do very very well, which of course means that recruiting services and coaches are often wrong, or that players are sometimes late bloomers. The system if far from perfect, and everyone is basically trying to be fortune tellers anyway. That same discussion also established that while all that information sometimes leads people to the wrong answer, it often leads to the right answer.

Anyway, the bottom line is that LSU has three 4-star recruits and six 3-star recruits right now. That will change as these players go through their senior years. The rest of the class will more heavily concentrate on out of state recruits (only 1 commitment is out of state now), and will probably have a higher average star-rating than the current group. We will see though.

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