CF.C went back decade-plus on Washington State in search of the relationship between winning and more highly-rated recruits

THE CONCEPT seems simple: winning more games equals more higher-rated commitments, right? But how much exactly does winning affect recruiting? Cougfan.com went back a decade-plus on Washington State to see how winning more games helps bring more highly-rated commits into the crimson fold.

Winning certainly plays a factor. But in studying all the Washington State data, it’s far from a black and white proposition.

Decisions at the head and assistant coach levels, with the assistants spending a bulk of their time on the road recruiting, factor in hugely. Schools that are recruiting in down years can, very effectively at times, sell playing time.  There are always a number of ‘gets’ each class WSU coaches are sky high on who are lightly covered/rated by recruiting services such as Scout.com and others. There’s also no guarantee 4- and 5-star prospects will turn out to be studs, and that lower tier recruits won’t flourish. That said, let’s dive in.

Below is the average star rating and record from the previous year, from 2006 to the present. For these averages, if a recruit had no rating on Scout.com (whether due to transfer, late arrivals, etc., he was given a 0.5 value).

2007:
Average star rating: 2.362 (29 recruits)
2006 record: 6-6
No-star – 3
2-star – 13
3-star - 12
5-star – 1

2008
Average star rating: 2.288 (26 recruits)
2007 record: 5-7
No-star – 1
2-star – 17
3-star – 7
4-star – 1

2009:
Average star rating: 2.696 (23 recruits)
2008 record: 2-11
2-star – 9
3-star – 12
4-star – 2

2010
Average star rating: 2.673 (26 recruits)
2009 record: 1-11
No-star – 1
2-star – 8
3-star – 15
4-star – 2

2011:
Average star rating: 2.224 (29 commits)
2010 record: 2-10
No-star – 1
2-star – 18
3-star – 9
4-star – 1

NOTE: Mike Leach hired November 30, 2011

2012
Average star rating: 2.448 (29 commits)
2011 record: 4-8
No-star – 2
2-star – 12
3-star – 14
4-star – 1

2013
Average star rating:  2.603 (29 commits)
2012 record: 3-9
No-star – 1 
2-star – 10
3-star – 17
4-star – 1

2014
Average star rating: 2.771 (24 commits)
2013 record: 6-7
No-star – 1
2-star – 4
3-star – 18
4-star – 1

2015
Average star rating: 2.846 (26 commits)
2014 record: 3-9
No-star – 2
2-star – 3
3-star – 17
4-star – 4

2016
Average star rating:  2.655 (29 commits)
2015 record: 9-4
No-star – 2
2-star – 5
3-star – 22

2017 (incomplete)
Average star rating: 3.05 (20 commits to date)
2016 record: 8-4 (potential for nine wins)
2-star – 2
3-star – 15
4-star – 3

Below are two graphs: the first being a breakdown of the previous year’s win total, so the 2007 data point is really the 2006 win total.

The second is the average star rating for each class. The reason for displaying the previous year’s wins is to keep both graphs on the same timeline to see the correlation between wins and average stars. Essentially, how the 2016 season is impacting the 2017 class.


IN LOOKING AT the graphs, both the wins and the average star ratings of recruits have climbed over the years, specifically since Mike Leach took over in November 2011.

The valleys match up when Washington State was pulling off consistent 2-10 seasons and the lowest star rating was 2.224 in 2011. While there has been steady growth since Leach was brought on in the recruiting rankings, a bad year like 2014, where the Cougars went 3-9, did not derail the average star rating for following classes.

The sustained success the Cougars have had in recent years is reflected in the still-to-be-completed 2017 recruiting class, which currently averages over 3 stars per commit, over 1/2 star more than the 2007 class.

RELATED: A visual history of WSU recruiting


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