Monday, February 27, 2012

Average Recruiting Class Rankings: 2002-2012

I decided to try to collect data on recruiting team rankings for Michigan over the last decade or so.  Rivals and Scout are the oldest internet sites and therefore have the deepest set of data.  Meanwhile, Tom Lemming is the oldest recruiting guru, but the info about his rankings is the least accessible.  If you happen to have information to fill in some of the blanks on the chart, I'd be happy to find it.  Thanks ahead of time for any help you can provide.
Average Recruiting Class Rankings for Michigan

ESPN       Lemming    Rivals        Scout        247 Sports  
2002 N/A 9 16 19 N/A
2003 N/A 7 17 8 N/A
2004 N/A 4 5 5 N/A
2005 N/A 4 6 2 N/A
2006 11 8 13 9 N/A
2007  10 11 12 10 N/A
2008  13 12 10 6 N/A
2009  10 10 8 14 N/A
2010  14 N/A 20 12 28
2011  N/A N/A 21 29 30
2012  7 4 7 4 8
Average  10.8 7.7 12.3 10.7 22


  1. I did a similar exercise around a year ago (but I didn't use Lemming or 247).

    The average number at the bottow doesn't tell you much since 247, ESPN, and Lemming don't have a consistent timeframe with Rivals/Scout. Plus you're dropping the classes that ESPN and Lemming rated lowly, which biases things (Lemming will always look higher.)

    The Rivals/Scouts overall average is interesting, since it covers the same timespan. The results tell you that an 'average' (i.e. normal) class is ranked 10-11. Also interesting that there's no evident bias over time relative to Michigan (i.e. neither favors Michigan more than the other.)

    More interesting than averaging by source/site would be averaging by year. (Though you have to account for the unranked classes somehow.)
    To me, that's way more interesting and discussion worthy.

    I'd dump Lemming and then estimate ESPN's 2011 rank as 30 (reasonable guess since they only rank 25), then average by season for all available data.

    Using those numbers, Carr's classes averaged a rank of 10 and Rodriguez's classes were 13. The only true stinker was 2011, an outlier due to the unfortunate timing of the coaching transition. Hoke's average is either 7, or 17 if you include 2011. Rodriguez's is either 13, or 19 with 2011 included. I'd just exclude 2011 to be fair to both.

    Michigan's average ranking (10-11) has been incredibly consistent IMO. In the 11 years recorded, Michigan's average rank was 10 or 11 every year between 2006 and 2009. Otherwise, Michigan's been as high as 4th (2005) and as low as 19 (18th in 2002, 19th in 2010).
    That seems like remarkable consistency, but I wonder how other programs stack up.

    Anyway, you have to love that Hoke seems to be putting us closer to 5th than 15th. It's a big difference when you're talking about competing with the top 25 programs.

    1. "Average by year" is on the way...once I can [hopefully] fill in the missing data. I know the data is skewed by the missing classes, but there's nothing I can do about it at this point, really.

  2. It's interesting that the late Carr years and the Rich Rod years seem to have produced about the same level of talent. What's a shame is that the data doesn't go back far enough to compare the Early Carr to the late Carr era. I'd love to see if the "Carr let recruiting slide" meme is born out by fact.

    1. Can't confirm these, but FWIW, there's a message board out there that lists rivals team ranks pre-2002. In 2000 Michigan was 17th and 5th in 2001. More of the Carr 'norm'.

      The only thing that stands out (in my memory) as being exceptional in the pre-2000 era was the 1998 recruiting class which included 4 top 10-20 prospects in the country (Fargas, Henson, Terrell, and Walker). Walker and Terrell were the top 2 rated WR in the country. The equivalent of landing Beckham-Green, Stephon Diggs, Gunner Kiel, and T.J Yeldon...or something. Hopson was a 5-star sort too.

      Also keep in mind that Carr didn't really have any transition costs of note, since he just kept on going with basically the same coaching staff. He didn't have to fill any massive holes or rebuild anything (like Rodriguez did). So even if you had that info it'd be apples and oranges. But I digress...

      My Theory: Michigan recruits how it recruits - about 10th in the nation. We're going to get our share of local guys, a few national prospects, but lose out on national elites more often than not. There may be some noise to bump us to 5th or down to 15th, but in general the needle doesn't move much except as a result of exceptional seasons: the '97 national title for good and the '08/'09 debacles for bad.

      Much attention paid to what, in the end, is a fairly fixed outcome. Sure is entertaining though...

  3. The late Carr years and all the Rodriguez years do not look quite as good after attrition is considered. The recruiting services freeze their ratings on signing day, so they don't account for kids who never make it to campus or who flame out early.

    1. Yeah, despite being responsible for Molk, Hemingway and RVB, seeing the 2007 class ranked that high still looks strange to me.

  4. Here's a fun look back on the '98 signing day: Says that class was ranked 1 or 2 in the country.

  5. I would be interested to see where our average rank over these years for Scout/Rivals (11) ranks against other schools average ranks. Unfortunately, this would be pretty time-consuming. My guess is that an average rank of 11 over these years probably places us as the 7th or 8th best recruiting team in the country during those years. I also wonder what the highest average rank over this time frame would be. I'm assuming the team is USC. What do you think their average is? 5? 6?

    1. I have no idea, really. But yeah, I would imagine USC would have the top class over that span.

  6. Here's Tom Lemming's Michigan rankings from 1993 on...

    1993: 2
    1994: 3
    1995: 10
    1996: 9
    1997: 5
    1998: 1
    1999: 8
    2000: ??? (Outside the Top 10)
    2001: 2
    2002: 9
    2003: 7
    2004: 4
    2005: 4
    2006: 8
    2007: 11
    2008: 12
    2009: 10
    2010: ??? (Outside the Top 10)
    2011: ??? (Outside the Top 10)

    1. Can I ask where you found this info? I'd like to add it to the chart.

  7. 1993-1997


    Just google:

    tom lemming "Top 10 Classes" 2003

    and keep changing the year (2003, 2004, 2005, etc...)

  8. I suggest that you look at the impact on class size vs ranking. It may not matter but consider: In 2006 Michigan took only 19 players - their average score on rivals was 3.63 which tied them for 5th that year, when their overall rank was 13th. In 2005 when they ranked 6th overall (rivals) they took 23 player whose average player score of 3.48 put them 10th. In 2004 they ranked 5th over all taking 22 players with an average player score of 3.59 which put them 3rd.

    So is a small class which ranks lower overall because of its size but has a higher average level of talent better or worse for the program than a larger class that ranks higher over all but whose average talent level is lower? Just a thought.

  9. Finishing with an average ranking of 10 does not mean tenth best recruiting team.
    It's possible that no team had an average higher than us even.
    You would have to compare the average recruiting rank- and then order those averages from lowest to highest to rank the best teams by recruiting.