Recruiting isn’t the primary focus here (there are plenty of other outlets for that), but in my continuing effort to try to talk some of you down off the ledge in the face of what’s generally being perceived as a disappointing signing day for UGA, here’s a reminder that all this five-star and four-star ranking business isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Back in August, we ran an article by Ken Sugiura and Tim Ellerbee under the headline “Are recruiting services overrated?” It included the following about a recruit who today has become one of Georgia’s signees:
“An odd thing happened in the world of college football recruiting last week, and T.J. Stripling, the talented player from Southwest DeKalb, certainly benefited. Stripling, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound defensive end, had gone somewhat unnoticed by the nation’s top recruiting services until word circulated that he was close to choosing among Georgia and several other top college programs. Then his stock skyrocketed. About 24 hours before committing to Georgia, Stripling made a move on the Rivals board that was interesting — jumping from not being ranked on the nation’s top 250 players list all the way to No. 28. And he suddenly became the fourth-best weakside defensive end in the nation, instead of the 16th.”
Ken’s article asked the question: “When it comes to college football recruiting, should anyone really put stock in the 3-star, 4-star and 5-star ratings handed out by the recruiting services?”
Answered the diplomatic Mark Richt: “I just think [fans] need to take everything with a grain of salt. These are just young kids who have to come and prove themselves wherever they go. There’s so many differences in the programs they come from, and it’s just very difficult to judge kids across the country and give them stars. I mean, I know the people who do [the rankings] are very diligent and do their best, but it’s nearly impossible to be really accurate on those things. … I think it’s a very inexact science, and I think the people who do it wouldn’t disagree.”
Tech’s Paul Johnson typically was a bit more blunt in assessing the worth of the recruting services: “None. Zero. Because it’s a joke. How can anybody look and even come across to say these are the top 100 players in the country. They don’t have a clue. Like they’ve looked at every high school running back and they’re going to be able rank this guy as a 4, and this guy as a 5. And if you’ll notice, the teams that have the biggest subscriptions [among fans], their guys are always the 4- and 5-star athletes. That’s the way it is.”
A longtime observer of college recruiting also points out that often the kids who commit early remain static in their ratings, not improving no matter how they perform during their senior seasons in high school, while others who keep everyone guessing till the very end can see their number of stars grow.
Just something to keep in mind amid all the wailing and breast-beating over UGA possibly breaking its string of eight consecutive Top 10-ranked recruiting classes. …
Former UGA and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Tim Worley is scheduled to be a call-in guest at 8 tonight on “The Final Word,” an Internet sports talk radio show. You can listen here. … Why would a guy willingly cover himself in peanut butter? Drake Scott, the UGA junior from Dacula who attracted national attention when he did just that for the basketball Dogs’ win over Tennessee in Athens, talks about his offbeat brand of superfandom in the Athens Banner-Herald and The Red and Black.