Here are some things that college coaches know that you and I and every recruiting expert won't know. The first thing being what kind of man he is. They will talk to his high school coach, his teachers, his parents and the player himself much more than anyone or I will. They will also know what kind of player he is. They will get actual game tape and a lot of it. They will talk to the high school coach and more importantly opposing coaches about the player they are recruiting.
The college coach will know what type of student he is. He will have the actual transcripts. He will talk to the academic people at the high school. The student will meet with the academic department at this college and know if he can make it academically.
Another example would be the official visit. This is so important and I think it's overlooked by many. The coaches get to spend a lot of time with the prospect on their ground. They get to observe this prospect interacting with the team and see how he will fit into the chemistry of the team. They will also get the eye to eye contact where the eyes tell everything. This is very important.
Other things they will find out which are helpful is information about girlfriends they might miss, if distance is a major factor, if he is concerned about competition, if he is a self-starter and a go-getter. All of these factors are or can be important and any recruiting expert or I cannot tell you these things.
This is why rankings really don't mean much to me and should not to you either. There are too many factors that make a great football player that you cannot measure and without this information, it's too hard to predict if a player will be a star player in college.
I say this for a few reasons. When you are judging the success or failure of this current recruiting class, you need to know a few things about rankings and need. Rankings, like the system that Insiders has, are usually biased and flawed. Let me say that if I were doing the rankings, my own personal bias would be included as well. It's only natural human behavior to put your guys on a pedestal.
Why are rankings biased? Let me say that I don't think it is intentional at all. Some players you have more information on than others. There is no way that Jamie Newberg can see every film of the top players in the country. Insiders have experts in each region of the country. I am going to guess that all of them will confess to not seeing all the top players in their region.
When you have player X versus player Y, how do you rank them? Well, I know more about player X, I have seen his film, I know he has offers from schools A, B and C so I will rank him higher than player Y. I don't have film on player Y and someone told me that he doesn't run a legit 4.5. It's not that player X is better than player Y, you just know more about player X and feel more comfortable ranking him higher than player Y because you have more information on player X (sorry to bring in the algebra, I am worse at algebra than writing).
You also have to take into consideration the "hatred" bias for other schools. Again, I don't think it's intentional at all. It's only natural to think the other team is inferior. I am going to guess that I can watch highlight film of every player in the class of Michigan and find flaws in each player. I will then watch every Notre Dame player and those flaws will seem trivial or less noticeable. It's only natural and I admit my bias.
Regional bias is also something you need to consider. I have yet to talk to a recruiting expert that doesn't think the best high school football is played in his area. My subscriber (yes you) have your own biases. I have the East Coast guys saying that ND needs to forget Florida, there are plenty of good football players on the East Coast and Penn State is down. I have the Florida and southern guys screaming that Notre Dame needs to recruit the south where all the speed is. I have the Midwest guys saying that ND is a tough football team and we need tough Midwestern players to play physical and who won't complain about the cold. Now we have the West Coast guys saying that we need to use Willingham's connections in California and the West Coast because California football is where the athletes are. I think we need players from all regions of the country and that Notre Dame should focus on the best players regardless of where they are located.
In the case of a guy like Nick Borseti, here is a guy who will likely remain a 1 star on the Insiders system from now until the end of recruiting. He was ranked a 1 star because nobody knew much about him. He hasn't sent tape to any Insiders expert and he has committed. There will be no more excitement or wonderment about Nick Borseti as far as recruiting goes. He will remain a 1 star player, which will take the overall rank of this class down.
Is Nick Borseti a 5 star player? I don't know if he is but he is a 5 star player to Willingham and his staff. David Marrero is a 4 star player now. Before Jamie Newberg saw film, he was a 3 star player. I know Jamie and Chris Pool have seen Chinedum Ndukwe and the Duke is a 4 star player. I am going to guess that none of the Insiders staff has seen film of Joe Brockington. Joe will remain a 3 star player unless he sends in film.
If you must rank a class, the first thing you need to know is whom this staff really wants to sign. They know what needs they have that need to be met. They know exactly what type of player they are looking for to fill that need. Once you know that, then you can judge this class by which players they signed out of the group they really wanted. Here is where you can get closer to the actual truth in knowing how this staff did in recruiting. Even then, you have no guarantees that these players will be successful. Even coaches with all of this information make mistakes and you can't measure heart, desire and a willingness to succeed.
The important thing to understand is that the first four commitments are 5 star players in the eyes of the Notre Dame coaching staff. Notre Dame has issued about 30 actual official offers. These 30 players are the 5 star players in the minds of the Notre Dame coaching staff. There are probably another 30 or so that also would be considered 5 star players but haven't been offered for one reason or another. The first part of the game is to know who these 5 star players are in the minds of the ND coaching staff (my job). Once you know that, then you can judge this class by how many they actually sign. I predict they are going to get quite a few of them.