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Cautionary Tale from recruiting rankings


One the greatest developments of the internet boom this century, especially in the sports world, is the explosion of the recruiting services.  And let’s not lie, when it comes to college basketball recruiting, Kentucky fans eat up those services as much as any fanbase in the country.  In general, guys like Evan Daniels have an easier job evaluating talent because of the AAU circuit, while football’s summer scene is not as organized.  Which brings me to this fact: BE CAREFUL WHEN USING THESE SERVICES TO EVALUATE A FOOTBALL RECRUITING CLASS. 

We all know Joker and Co. have been putting together “the best recruiting classes in school history”, but that is largely based on stars next to a guys name.  But as Boise State, TCU, and Utah are proving, that doesn’t always make a great team.  Look no further than 2009, when Kentucky recruited highly touted guys like Dequin Evans and Ryan Mossakowski, along with Morgan Newton.  Evans was a starter for 2 years, but never made a serious impact.  Mossakowski never could get past Newton on the depth chart, and Newton himself has struggled to be a great college QB.  But, that problem doesn’t just rest with Kentucky.  As you see above, Newton was ranked the 14th best dual-threat QB in the Class of 2009.  Take a look at how the 13 guys ahead of him in those rankings have ended up:  

#1 Russell Sheppard: no longer plays QB for LSU, but instead is a wide reciever.  Was suspended for the first 3 games of the 2011 season. 

#2 Tyrik Rollison: transferred from Auburn after his freshman season, now at Sam Houston State

#3 Geno Smith: became the WVU starter last season, has thrown for 30TD and 6 INT in just over a season as a starter.  BUT, he has yet to rush for a single touchdown and only has 8 yards rushing through 2 games this season.

#4 Kevin Newsome: Sat the bench for the first 2 years at Penn State and is now searching for a transfer. 

#5 Tate Forcier: started freshman season at Michigan, going 5-7.  Was benched behind Denard Robinson for sophomore season and then transferred to San Jose State.

#6 Cody Green: Was backup QB first two season at Nebraska, has since transferred to Tulsa

#7 Nathan Scheelhaase: redshirted 1st season, became starter his 2nd season, leading Illinois to a 7-6 record, continues to be starter this season (2-0), has over 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in 15 games

#8 Shavodrick Beaver: benched first 2 seasons, transferred from Tulsa

#9 Casey Pachall: redshirted in 1st year, backup to Andy Dalton last season, starter this season for 1-1 TCU, has thrown for 457 yards and rushed for 56 through 2 games this season

#10 Jordan Reed: redshirted 1st year at Florida, moved to tight end last season

#11 Raymond Cotton: transferred after redshirting at Ole Miss, now at South Alabama

#12 Blaine Dalton: was arrested and dismissed from Missouri before ever playing, now a walk-on at Florida International

#13 Jordan Luallen: did not play 1st season at GaTech, transferred to Cincinnati, has not played this season

Only 3 of the 13 are currently starters at quarterback.  And Geno Smith is really not a dual threat.  8 of the 13 guys have transferred to other schools, and another 2 are no longer playing quarterback, including the top dual threat QB in the entire class.  Morgan Newton may have actually been the 2nd best QB of this group, and he was a 3-star prospect according to Rivals. 

Do recruiting rankings matter?  Of course.  When Alabama signs 15 5-star guys, that does give them an advantage over the schools that sign zero.  But of those 15 5-star players, maybe 4-5 actually become key contributors.  The rest flame out too, but you don’t hear about them because of all the talent around them.  But at Kentucky, if their top recruits don’t pan out, it leaves a huge gap in the program.  The point is, be careful.  Be excited when your team signs 4-star guys, but until they hit the field, there is no way to predict.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

20 Comments for Cautionary Tale from recruiting rankings

  1. UK Fan
    3:29 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    good info, thanks bti

  2. Morgan NOT Mossakowski
    3:33 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Recruiting are based mainly on potential and marginally on production.

    To quote David Turner (UK’s D-line coach if you are only a basketball fan): “Potential is a fancy way of sayin’ you ain’t done it yet.”

    Some guys never do. Some guys become Randall Cobb. Remember where Tom Brady was drafted? You know the guy who threw for 500+ yards last night? On a local level where is Brian Brohm? (Answer the UFL)

    Morgan’s not Tom Brady but he may not be Brian Brohm either.

  3. Zack
    3:36 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Nice job, BTI.

  4. IndyCat644
    3:38 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    BTI with a post that doesn’t blow goats…nicely done sir!

  5. mores
    3:38 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink


  6. Jason
    3:42 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Interesting. If Randy Sanders can do it with Hartline, it’s only a matter of time before he does it with Newton. Be patient.

  7. SexnNursinHomes
    3:47 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    my only question BTI, What about the other years? Your sample size of 1 year is a lil’ small. kinda like a midget’s penis.

  8. walter sobchak
    3:49 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Good post. In defense of Dequin Evans tho…he had a really good JR year. If I’m not mistaken he was pre-season 1st Team All-SEC last year, but obviously he didn’t have a stellar SR year.

  9. shields eyes
    3:55 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    I agree with SNH. That year just looks like a crappy year for quarterbacks.

  10. James Marshall
    4:01 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Those are only the dual threat QBs. There is a whole different list of pro style QBs who are the bigger names.

  11. Beatle Bum
    4:04 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Supposedly, many of the committed players for UK for the 2012 class have camped at UK and, therefore, have been identified by the staff. This, many are hoping, means there are less chances taken.

  12. Loki Van Coonter
    4:08 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    You could also just as easily argue that was just a terrible year for QB recruiting. Your sample size is way too small to make these kind of sweeping statements. Go look at the year before and read the list:

    Terrelle Pryor (Oakland Raiders)
    E.J. Manuel (starting QB FSU)
    MarQuies Gray (starting QB University of Minnesota)
    Robert Griffin (starting QB Baylor)
    B.J. Daniels (starting QB USF)
    Darron Thomas (starting QB Oregon)

    Not to mention that Dual Threat QB’s are, in a lot of cases, recruited specifically for a position change if they don’t work out at QB. Just a very poor hypothesis designed to support a predetermined conclusion.

  13. Surprise
    4:10 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    BTI please give us one post where you dont make a huge generalization based on a VERY limited amount of information. Look at other years of the same position, the top ranked players have been very successful. Here’s a quote you may want to think about (I realize that may be a tall task), but anyway “Correlation does NOT infer causation.”

  14. Always > U ..ofL
    4:14 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Sweet article – agree with it except the part about DQ Evans not making an impact. Led the team in sack his first year and was voted by players as a captain. Even thought his senior year was rough due to injury he played a huge role as the team glue, especially on defense when the guys making most of the plays were quiet. Evans, it seemed to me, made a huge impact on the overall work ethic of the team too but all that is said simply based on what I recall hearing from last year. Still, great article.

  15. SexnNursinHomes
    4:15 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    I wonder if BTI researches midget penis that he finds in the year of 2008 that midget’s penis went from 1.5 inches to 2.0 inches. Does that mean midget penis is getting bigger? no. it doesn’t. because in 2006 midget penis got up to a whopping 3.5 inches. So basically what I’m saying. when researching midget penis, research ALL the years of midget penis growth.

  16. Anthony Eifler
    4:30 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Like #10 states take a look at the pro-style (read actual QB) list

    Dual threat QB’s are basically ATH’s that play QB in high school.

  17. Kanter Banter
    4:37 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    GOOD ARTICLE BTI!!! never thought I’d see it. Weak year for QB!…shows how bad UK is. None of the ones ahead of him made it…but he does! Yep, he plays at Kentucky

  18. John
    4:37 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    So sick of hearing that the last two years have “the best recruiting classes in school history”. Load of Crap. Even if true, which it isn’t, it would be by the skin of their teeth. As BTI rightly suggests, its probably ranked high only because of these madeup rankings that mean nothing. You can’t tell me the last two classes of recruits are better than the the teams in the 1970’s or even the early 1980’s.

    And certainly a couple of Rich Brooks’ classes sure look better in retrospect than these playmakerless classes.

  19. kd
    6:31 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Even if it is called the best recruiting classes in school history doesn’t mean crap we can’t compare our best classes to Al, FL, LSU, GA,TN,SC,aub,Mst. Even if there classes by there standards are low.

  20. Nice Try
    12:02 pm September 14, 2011 Permalink

    Once again only post half of the story. Lets get some rankings of all qb’s not just duel threat. Duel threat qb’s usually just beat people with their legs in high school since they are just faster.