*** I've listed in alphabetical order the 14 teams in the SEC and the number of combined 4 and 5 star recruits each team signed for years 2003 to 2012.
*** I used Scout.com's player recruiting rankings to come up with the number of 4 and 5 star players each team signed.
*** My analysis doesn't take into consideration what players wound up not making it to campus, what players wound up getting hurt or which players wound up quitting the team during their career.
*** Because a team, due to some players being redshirted, consists of 5 recruiting classes, I will use five classes when analyzing each season. In other words, the 2012 season will include recruiting classes for the years 2008 through 2012. The 2011 season includes classes from 2007 to 2011. And so on.
*** I chose 2007 as my starting point to compare teams.
*** Basically, what I'm doing is looking at a team's won-loss success based solely on the number of 4 and 5 star players a team signed during a particular period.
Back to the numbers. I realize the numbers don't mean too much by themselves. There are certain things that stand out, especially when you start noticing the teams with consistent double-digit signee signing classes.
As an example, Alabama, since Nick Saban became the head coach in January 2007, has averaged almost 17 four and five star signees a season beginning with the 2008 class.
Auburn, since their national championship season two years ago, has pulled in 17 and 12 four and five star recruits.
Florida, over the course of the last six seasons, has normally had a big year, usually signing 20+ four and five star recruits, then averaging about 10 per year the following two seasons.
Georgia and LSU are consistently in the 11 to 14 four and five star signee range per recruiting season.
Most of the other teams in the league are signing less than 10 four and five star players per season. Vanderbilt is at the bottom, averaging less than 1 signee per year.
While those are interesting stats, to put them into perspective you have to combine classes to see a pattern develop. That's where the five-year recruiting classes come into play.
The next table will include the combined number of 4 and 5 star players each team signed during the previous five seasons for the seasons from 2007 to 2012.
In other words, the number of 4 and 5 star signees listed for Alabama for the year 2012 is the total number of 4 and 5 star players signed during the years 2008-2012 (see table above for the individual numbers by year). For 2011, it will be the total number signed for years 2007-2011. For 2010, it will be for the years 2006-2010. And it will continue like that for a total of 6 seasons, 2007-2012. I'll do the same for each team.
The final number on the righthand side of the table is the average for each of the six seasons.
As you can see, a trend is starting to develop.
For the most part, the teams with the most 4 and 5 star signees the previous five years are also the teams that are winning the most.
In fact, six of the top eight teams in the above table are currently ranked among the top 10 in the latest BCS poll. And those same six are also ranked among the top 11 in the AP poll. Combined, they have a 63-9 won-loss record this season.
The two other teams (Tennessee and Auburn) have a lot of 4 and 5 star signees but aren't ranked. And they also fired their coaches, partly due to a combined 7-16 overall record and an 0-15 SEC record this past season. But I digress.
The table below shows on the left-hand side the 4-5 star signees ranking average by year in the order shown in the above table. On the right-hand side of the table is the won-loss record/ranking of each team based on SEC games only. They are both for the seasons 2007-2012.(Because Texas A&M and Missouri have only played 1 SEC season, they will be listed at the bottom of the table.)
Basically, this table compares the teams' recruitment of 4 and 5 star players to how they did in the real world of wins and losses.
|Ole Miss||26||Mississippi State||19-29|
|Texas A&M||34||Texas A&M||6-2|
Alabama, which is 4th on the list with a 55 four and five star signee average, has the best overall SEC won-loss record during the 6-year period, 41-10 (I've included all games against SEC opponents, regular season and post-season).
LSU, which is ranked 2nd with an average of 65, also has the 2nd best SEC W-L record, 36-15.
Florida, ranked 1st with 75, has the 3rd best W-L record, 35-15. And Georgia, ranked 3rd with 60, has the 4th best W-L record, 33-16.
(I'm not including Texas A&M among the top 4 due to this being their first season in the SEC.)
The 5th (Tennessee, 50) and 6th (Auburn, 49) ranked teams on the list underachieved and had, respectively, the 9th (18-31) and 7th (23-26)best SEC records during that period. The coaches for both teams (Derek Dooley and Gene Chizik) were fired either during or after the just-completed season.
The next ranked team, 7th ranked South Carolina (31 4-5 star average), had a record of 27-22, the 5th best W-L record during that period.
The other teams are as follows:
Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Kentucky have had 2 or more coaches during the 6-year period, some more successful than others. Arkansas and Kentucky fired their current coaches at the end of this season. Arkansas' John L. Smith, an interim coach who replaced Bobby Petrino, was 2-6 in his one season while Kentucky's Joker Phillips was 4-20 in three seasons.
Here's an interesting fact. As you know, the SEC has won the last 6 national championships. The number of 4 and 5 star players they had signed the 5 recruiting years leading up to their national championships were 68 (Florida), 68 (LSU), 75 (Florida), 51 (Alabama), 53 (Auburn) and 71 (Alabama).
Basically, based on the above stats, if your team has a good to great coach (or at the minimum a QB that is a legit Heisman Trophy candidate) and a minimum average of between 10 and 11 four and five star signees per season for five seasons, then you can start thinking about the possibility of your team being in the picture when it comes to competiting for a national championship. And even if your team winds up not being a legit contender, it should at least be competiting for a top-10 finish nationally.
Tuesday, in part-2 of this series, I'll show how each SEC team has done against teams that were similar to them in 4 and 5 star talent and how they did against teams that had signed more 4 and 5 talent than them.
Wednesday, in the final part of the three-part series, I'll show how each of the 2012 SEC coaches have performed against all the other SEC teams based on their and their competitors 4 and 5 star talent level.