There has been a lot of chatter about how poorly ranked UB's recruiting class was this season. The best collection of thoughts might be the piece put together Ben Tsujimoto over at Buffalo.com
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Fortunately, there are several reasons to merely shrug your shoulders at the rankings and press forward if you’re UB. Over the last five years, the Bulls have an average ranking of 114, and the team’s overall progress was enough to warrant a contract extension for Quinn, a signal—presumably, at least—that the program is headed in the right direction.
Much of the gnashing of teeth was over rivals who had UB listed 124 our ot 124 teams on the morning when High School players around the nation were signing their letters of intent. After rivals finally saw a list of every player in the Nation the moved UB up to a tie for 123 out of 124.
But to be frank rivals is a crap service for anyone but the top 50 or so classes out there. They are always a day late and a dollar short on mid majors and to top it off they seem to just make up the ratings for guys who were not even listed on their service a few days before signing day.
Want an example of how bad they are?
Here is the list of UB offers out for this coming season. The player, position, size, home, and what services are listing them.
|Player||Pos||Size||School, City|| 247 ||Scout||ESPN||Rivals|
|Elisha Shaw||DT||6-4.5/295||Tucker (Tucker, GA)||x||x|
|Kevin Mouhon||ILB||6-3/215||Norcross (Norcross, GA)||x||x|
|Dorian Hendrix||ILB||6-1/215||Wayne (Dayton, OH)||x||x||x||x|
|Verondtae Wilkinson||OLB||6-2/220||Trotwood-Madison (Dayton, OH)||x||x||x|
|Damian Prince||OT||6-7/300||Bishop McNamara (District Heights, MD)||x||x||x||x|
|Michael O'Connor||QB-PRO||6-4.5/213||Baylor School (Chattanooga, TN)||x|
|Joey Duckworth||QB-PRO||6-3/215||Louisville (Louisville, OH)||x||x||x||x|
|Michael O'Connor||QB-PRO||6-4/213||IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)||x||x||x|
|John Lovett||QB-PRO||6-3/205||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)||x||x||x|
|Naesean Howard||RB||5-11/190||West Genesee Senior (Camillus, NY)||x||x|
|Joe Henderson||WDE||6-4/220||Shaker Heights (Cleveland, OH)||x||x|
|Odell Spencer||WR||6-0/170||Shaker Heights (Cleveland, OH)||x||x|
|Nolan Jackson-Daniel||WR||6-0/175||Shaker Heights (Cleveland, OH)||x||x|
|Cody Callaway||QB||6-2/185||Kevin MouhonJoey Duckworth||x||x|
|Kaleb Harris||WR||6-4/200||Damian Prince(Bishop Mcnamara HS)||x|
This is why I generally go to 247 for information they were the most complete in listing UB commitments going into signing day (I believe they had 12 listed when I checked in at 2am). So far of UB's 15 listed verbals 247 sports has profiles on 13 of the players, rivals only lists 6.
Rivals is a big name because of what they used to be, a big fish in an empty pond. They were one of the few sites specifically aimed at college recruiting and because of that they were able to be sloppy with their coverage of the low mid majors. Anyone who cared about their borderline indifference, like Buffalo fans, had no place else to look so why would rivlas care? But over the past 5 years things have changed dramatically.
The guys who built rivals took off then yahoo purchased the site and eventually started 247 sports. ESPN has put up their service, and scout is limping along a bit better than rivals. Then you have the smaller services like Scouting Ohio and Scouting PA. Those small services combine with social media like twitter and facebook to make a site like rivals look as detailed as some slapped together geocities page (yes I said geocities).
Ok, now with my anti rivals rant out of the way how did 247 rank us..
Ok I'll admit it, that hurts a bit. But that being said 247 does give a little more insight into what that means.
First if you go by the average recruit rank, which is sortable, were 125 which is just one spot below Northern Illinois. The highest rated team in the MAC was Toledo and their average recruit was just 7 points higher than UB's average (on a scall of 1-100).
The Pirate is right. How can these services which are all about their top 150 or so recruits really say with any kind of authority that some recruit William Johnson is a 5.4 but Jon Williamson is a 5.5?
The rankings themselves are nothing to get hung up on. The only thing that fan can use to glean any real idea at how good this guy may or may not be is to look at hte peoples who's lively hoods depend on their success.... College Coaches.
If a player is sitting on several other offers than there is a chance a buch of professionals revived his tapes, watched his games, and maybe even met with him once and they all came to the conclusion it's worth giving them 100,000 dollar education to see them play.
The other thing fans can do is to look at what happens to interest in their school when a prospect picks up other offers. UB had three players bail this season when other offers came in. One went to a service academy and that's a special case. One took an academic scholarship to be close to home even though it meant the FCS (again a special case). Only one of UB's losses this year was a player who went to another mid major team and in that case there might have been special circumstances (like the party atmosphere).
So I guess this is just my long winded way of saying "Stay Calm And Carry On". The number 124 class in the nation is not significantly weaker or stronger than anyone in the bottom 30 or so classes. Unless you're pulling in five star guys the biggest component of success at the college level is what the coaching staffs do with players after they get on campus.
Welcome to college recruiting 2013!