2013-02-12 06:45

Here I am again.

Last week was national signing day and it went as expected regarding the hype and the media coverage.

For those who are not very familiar with this here is the short explanation.

Image a draft in the NFL without rounds and with 125+ teams choosing players out of a pool of thousands.

But here is the hook: The player decides where he wants to play, not the teams.

So for the very good players this is more a solicitation by the schools towards the players.

It all starts normally in the summer of the players’ junior year, means; he has still 1 season to play on high school level.
In the past did the player or the coach of that player build a video and some other material about that player and send it to coaches or scouting units of colleges to get the attention.
Today it is a more or less done online, even extra web pages are built to present a player.

There are a lot of college football teams out there and there a way more high schools to feed them with talents.
So the trick is to get the attention of the big college football teams, since they do provide the chance for a further career and they can give out scholarships.
Not all levels of college football do give out scholarships, so if you want a free ride, you better be good or at least make someone believe you are.

If all went well, the player gets scouted while he is playing in his senior year.
Sometimes this process starts earlier, since some talents just can't be ignored a full year or even more.

Those college do normally send out a sign of interest to players (like a letter which describes the interest or even a call or sms from a coach is possible, but all this is regulated and of cause there are violations to that regulation every year) and the really good ones normally have A LOT of schools asking them to play for them.

Most of the recruited players do sign a letter of intent on national signing day (in February, so AFTER the senior season), which is a binding paper between the college (giving him a scholarship) and the player (selecting one single school and all other are out of the race).
Some do sign this paper earlier, because they did graduate earlier and did chose the college already then.

Now here comes the thing which is ridiculous from my point of view.

This whole process is basically all over the media.
There are recruiting agencies and websites posting rankings and ratings of those players (starting with "not ranked", 2 Stars, 3 Stars, 4 Stars and 5 stars), personal information on those players, the more the better, high school info, interested colleges and much more.
On top of that there are rankings of the colleges, who do of cause announce every signed letter of intent and even when a player only commits without signing it is announced (and of cause it happens that players or universities do change their mind).
This all does climax on the national signing day, when the hyped race for the TOP recruiting class is on and at the end there is more or less a winner (of cause do different recruiting services rate players different and the list of signed players does then result in different scores .. we have a winner .. or two ... or three ...)
All those players are more or less reduced to their ranks, except when they are on TV to show their chosen college by wearing a brand new cap of them.
Sometimes even the decision announcement is presented in TV by choosing a cap ...

Now tell me, how can an 18 year old kid NOT get a total hybris by this process?
They are stars in their high school team and then they get national television time for choosing a cap ...
No wonder some of them do think there is no law they can't break without consequences.

The most ridiculous thing from my point of view is the ranking of the schools.

There is a list of all schools ranked and it's always a big thing who is #1 and who is in the TOP 25.
Because this must be a sign for a title contention in years to come or something like this.

Don't get me wrong, if you make that TOP 25 list, you probably have a lot of good players on your team.
But there is more than recruiting some probably good players (because some do not deliver, as in the NFL the early round picks).
You have to bring them all together to play as a team.

Let's take a very popular dark horse of the last few years: The Boise State Broncos.
They are a team of a very small school (in the football universe, the school itself is huge) in Idaho.
They did rise in the public eyes in the last 10 years by spectacular games and wins.
They did play in the Western Athletic Conference from 2001 on, which is a bottom level conference.
They did win the conference title since 2002 to 2010 in every year except 2007.
Since 2011 they play in the Mountain West (a mid level conference) where they won the championship 2012.
They finished in the polls since 2002: 15th, 16th, 12th, unranked, 5th, unranked, 11th, 4th, 9th, 8th and 18th. Of all 120+ Teams.
They played in a bowl in EVERY season since 2002.
They played in BCS-Bowls in 2006 and 2009 (which they won both).
They are well known for beating teams from BCS-Conferences and even if they lose, they fight to the end and normally don't lose with a high margin.
So, this is one fine football team in my book.
Some may say, a bit hyped but the DO win and the DO win often.

Ok, Ok, here comes the finishing line:
Recruiting ranking for them since 2002: 75th, 73th, 72th, 73th, 78th, 57th, 64th, 60th, 97th, 65th and 56th.

Now tell me, what's wrong in this?
According to the recruiter they were NEVER a TOP 50 team, but on the field they did not only win, the did win regularly and did beat teams, which had recruiting classes in the TOP 25.

2013 they have the first time ever cracked the TOP 50 as #46 in the recruiting rankings.

And there are of cause a lot of examples with teams out performing their bad recruiting ranking and of cause way more teams UNDERPERFORMING their excellent recruiting rankings.

For me, this is every year a media driven hype.
What I do every year is, I look at the end at the recruiting rankings and most of the time I see a few team of which I think "Well, you did again have a high value recruiting calls together, as last year and the year before. So why do you suck so much ... LOL".
More or less.
Of cause you find the national champions ranked high on that list, that's not the point. The point is, that the ranking itself does not say anything.
It was and always will be the coaching stuff which builds a team, not the recruiting ranking.

‘Til next time

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