Questioning The Rankings

I spent far too much time today researching the signing classes of the college football teams given the highest recruiting rankings by the self-anointed football recruiting experts. I came to the conclusion that the only way Alabama's class could be ranked lower than most of its SEC competition is to base the rankings on faulty data.

The problem is these experts have concluded that the VERY BEST players in Alabama are inferior to the VERY BEST players in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

The very best football players in the Deep South come from the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. (One reason LSU has improved so much is that LSU has been getting almost all the best Louisiana players instead of letting other schools, particularly Texas A&M, sneak in and grab a handful of the top players.) Look at the proportional number of players from these Deep South states who become stars in college and in the NFL.

Certainly, there are very good players from Florida and Georgia, and because those states are higher in population they will have more good players than Alabama. But unless a school is going to sign twice as many, or something like that, there is no advantage recruiting Florida or Georgia players instead of Alabama preppers. Getting 20 Florida players is not better (and more likely will be not as good) than getting 20 Alabama players, particularly in a year like this one when Alabama got almost all of the top Alabama players and the top Florida players were split among a number of schools.

Supposing the best FOOTBALL players in the Carolinas superior (or even equal) to the best in Alabama is not worthy of consideration.

(By the way, for Auburn to downplay the importance of recruiting Alabama high school football players is an insult to Alabama high school coaches, who have proved year after year after year to be excellent. It isn't something in the water in Alabama that makes Alabama high school players outstanding. It is primarily due to Alabama high school coaching. Crimson Tide coaches have recognized this for about 75 years, which is why The University has partnered with Alabama high school coaches in conducting an annual coaching clinic.)

I am interested in the recruiting rankings, but only to see what players other schools signed. Not for a minute would I consider these rankings to be anywhere close to accurate.

Why?

To make accurate rankings an infallible judge would have to see every candidate -- every high school senior football player in the country -- and then rate the Oregon offensive tackle against the Oklahoma tailback, et al. Obviously, it's an impossible task.

I still remember hearing a well-known Texas recruiting guru explain why Shaun Alexander would never make it in college. That would be the Shaun Alexander who made it quite well for the Crimson Tide and who will be playing in the Pro Bowl. And any serious student of college football can cite the five-star prep stud who washed out and/or the unknown walk-on who became a star.

As I have said many times, I wouldn't begin to try to rate prospects. My job (and the job of everyone involved in recruiting coverage for ‘BAMA Magazine and BamaMag.com) is to identify the players we think Alabama is recruiting and to monitor the progress of the recruiting process. It is our belief that the coaches (who make their share of mistakes) are the best ones to determine the worth of the prospects. After all, their jobs depend on being as accurate as possible.


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