How much do recruiting star ratings really mean?

Georgia signee T.J. Stripling. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Georgia signee T.J. Stripling. (Jason Getz / AJC)

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. …

BULLDOG BITES

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.

159 comments Add your comment

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
1:30 pm

UGA was #5 recruiting 2010 but moved down to #9 losing several recruits including Telvin & Da’Rick. I’m disappointed that the coaches couldn’t secure these top recruits. Tenn.,Bama,Auburn,etc. all took most of our top 25 state recruits. This has to be a blow to the Dawgs fan base and a blemish on Mark Richt’s career.

I was wondering why all of the SEC teams had 22 to 27 recruits signed and UGA had only 18. What’s up with that ?

Who is gonna replace Rennie Curran ?

Why do the Dawgs sign these 6″ corners every year to go against the SEC’s 6′5 receivers ?

5 players stolen from UGA today but UGA steals not one player from another team. What the hell are these recruiters doing ? Golfing ?

4th Place SEC East Dawg

February 3rd, 2010
1:31 pm

Agreed. We usually gets tons of star recruits and usually suck.

SOUTHGADAWG88

February 3rd, 2010
1:34 pm

We have a great class of kids coupled with the RS from last year look for 7-8 freshman to play a lot this year.We do have to humble down some on our recruiting in state.There have been some grumbling for a few years now about the UGA staff being a bit arrogant on the recruiting trail.What I mean by arrogant is a late to offer a lot of prospects…kids feeling like coaches not showing them enough attention and in a nut shell acting as if the offer alone was enough.I know it’s seems silly but it really is like a courtship…some know they want to be with you right away(those are the easy ones)some like you but want to be pursued(the majority) some that you like more than they do you(those are the hardest to get)and finally those who have no interest in you at all and vice versa.You have to expect to lose a few out of state kids when you fire coaches…those guys form stronger bonds with their position coaches.As for the Rogers deal who know?I’m still looking for Marlon Brown so I don’t know if he saw himself getting enough balls thrown his or not.We are stocking up on big bodies and that is a welcome change.Good luck to all the young men who sign to play ball today..It’s a once in a lifetime experience.

CvilleDawg

February 3rd, 2010
1:37 pm

Mark ingram was only a 3 star out of high school and so was knowshon moreno…

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
1:38 pm

The five stars do mean a lot. It means that those players were the best at their positions against other top talent. A three star player can turn himself into a 5 star player and vice-versa but 8 times out of 10 the experts are right.

The bottomline is that UGA didn’t get most of the top 25 in-state recruits. Even worse is that they signed with other SEC schools ! Damn….

Tide Rising

February 3rd, 2010
1:41 pm

There is some truth to what Bill says. How do you really know if this defensive end is truly the 4th best def end in the country? How do you really know if he’s not the best or the 20th best when his college career is all said and done? So there will be 4 and 5 stars who will eventually flop (Fred Rouse and Willie Williams) and 3 stars who will eventually be immensely successful like a David Pollack or David Greene.

That being said there is still a surprising degree of accuracy with these recruiting svcs. A study last year showed that former 5 star recruits have a 45% chance of going in the nfl draft in the first 3 rounds, for 4 stars it falls to something like 15%, for 3 stars it falls to something like 5% and for 2 star athletes to eventually make it to being drafted in the 1st 3 rounds of the nfl draft several years later the odds are less than 1 %.

There is also consistency and a direct correlation in general between top recruiting classes and end of season results. The same teams that constantly garner top 5 classes like the USC, OU, Texas, Florida, etc. are the same teams that more often than not finish in the top 10 most years. Not every year but most years those teams are up there.

Bottom line. There are flops and disappointments among 5 star recruits and 3 star recruits who end up as top draft picks. But overall there is a strong correlation between the average player’s star rating and his future NFL prospects 4 years later and this has been backed up by several studies.

dap01

February 3rd, 2010
1:44 pm

Our weakest link in our team has been the coaching. We could have continued to have a top 5 class every year but we would not be successful until changes were made.

I would rather have a 15th ranked class with excellent defensive coaching than what we have had the last couple of years.

Go Dawgs!

Middle

February 3rd, 2010
1:44 pm

If the recruiting services and rankings aren’t a good barometer of talent and having a good recruiting class isn’t important then why don’t we see the likes of UK, MSU, Vanderbilt, and the rest of the bottom of the other top conferences consistently in the Top 25 (BCS, AP, USAToday, etc.)?

Somehow, the teams that consistently bring in supposedly questionablly rated talent, as suggested by Bill, Richt and Johnson, are the ones that are consistantly at the top of the end of year and preseason rankings. Obviously the evidence isn’t there to suggest that these ratings have any merit at all, right?

CvilleDawg

February 3rd, 2010
1:45 pm

I mean like a 3 star outside linebacker we signed named demetre baker runs a 4.4 forty, we just have to be optimistic about this season and the future, sure we’ve been let down year after year but our time will come soon, I love the fact we have a veteran o-line coming back and both running backs thats gonna be just as good as last year..plus, I see this defense becoming headhunters.

dan

February 3rd, 2010
1:45 pm

Good point Bill. And while we’re at it, I think the NFL combine is a total sham. And as we know, guys like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper are NEVER wrong!

Middle

February 3rd, 2010
1:48 pm

Tide Rising, you made my point exactly but with more evidentiary support. Well done.

Tide Rising

February 3rd, 2010
1:49 pm

CvilleDawg,

Knowshon was a 4 star in at least one recruiting svc. Mark Ingram was a 3 star in one and I think eventually moved to 4 star in the other but for most of his recruitment was only 3 star in both.

I think like Bill mentioned Ingram probably got moved to 4 star at the end of his recruitment in one of those moves by the recruiting svc to interest Bama fans and hence get more Bama fans to sign up for their service out of excitment. This does happen all the time like Bill said where a recruit moves from a 3 star status to 4 star just by virtue of committing to a school where a lot of fans subscribe to the recruiting svc that follows that school.

It is true though that evaluating talent better is what made Saban offer Ingram. Before being offered Ingram had scholly offers only from Mich state, Iowa I think, and several mid size programs but he had no offers from Michigan or Ohio State which are the big boys in the big 10. Terrance Cody was only 3 star in 1 or both svcs. I think Saban does in fact do a great job of evaluating 3 star guys that really are much more worthy than their 3 star status.

Richt probably has been pretty good also and had guys like Thomas Davis who was initially only 3 star. I think it was Richt and not Donnan who recruited him although I’m not 100% sure.

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
1:53 pm

Signing these players is a sales pitch. You have to assure these recruits that your goal is a National Championship EVERY YEAR ! Somehow I think the laid-back Richt doesn’t tell the kids this. Sure, only one team can win the championship every year but that means 129 schools lie telling the kids this pitch. It doesn’t matter though, all the kids want to know is that this is your ultimate goal.

Texas dominates recruiting in Texas,Bama in Bama,USC in cali,,LSU in LA.,Penn St. in Penn.,UF in Fla., but Auburn and Tenn. dominate Ga. recruiting. Something is bad wrong here !

CvilleDawg

February 3rd, 2010
1:55 pm

This class seems like a sleeper to me, we’ve recruited so many defensive players instead of offensive and I love the fact we’ve signed garrison smith and mike thornton. as for the d-ends stripling is a beast as i’ve seen and players like fields and morant are kind of darkhorses. For me i’ve always looked at the brightside of things not the downfall as you can tell.

Dunkley

February 3rd, 2010
1:58 pm

“DawgsForever, by some publications UGA has outrecruited Florida.”

Lay off the booze

cantondawg

February 3rd, 2010
2:02 pm

Mcdaviddawg and Herschel Talker,

Difference between a LOSER AND A WINNER

Losers complain about everything and never offer a solution. They are very annoying to listen and read about.
They are only looking to find fault but can never offer an alternative solution.

Winners continue to support and encourage even through tough times.
Winner look to find solutions and never try to blame people. Instead of pointing fingers they make decisions

It’s obvious what you two guys are.

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
2:03 pm

Its hard to look at the brightside coming off a 8-4 season and seeing your SEC rivals out recruit you. I’m thinking some 7-5 seasons are ahead. But the opportunity to sign top recruits was right there for UGA. They whiffed.

chazzo

February 3rd, 2010
2:04 pm

Screw the polls and rankings and any form of speculation. Dawgs are deep at every position and deep with young athletes. They are getting the guys they need in the spots they need. So you lose a five star receiver. Georgia has five on roster that can hang with anyone and at least two that are all-SEC one that is all-world. Rankings are for obsessive jackasses and some of the other AJC crew that likes to bad mouth the dawgs every chance they get.

cantondawg

February 3rd, 2010
2:04 pm

Mcdaviddawg and Herschel Talker,

All you guys ever do is rip CMR. Why don’t you tell us who we should hire in his place and give reasons. I’m looking for a good laugh today and want to expose you two for the idiots that you are.

Tide Rising

February 3rd, 2010
2:07 pm

robdawg08,

Texas does dominate their state. Funny thing that they say in Texas is that Texas selects who it wants and everyone else recruits everyone who’s left over which is gonna be about 350 D-1 prospects after Texas makes its selections.

Georgia typically does dominate its state from what I’ve seen but there is so much talent and some of it that gets away that it may not seem that way to dawg fans. This year was just a bad year as far as nailing down the very top 3 or 4 guys like Rogers or Mack Brown, etc. There is so much talent in the state of georgia though that I wouldn’t sweat it if I were you guys since you still got a decent haul.

Tenn and Auburn grabbed a lot of your talent simply because those programs offer immediate playing time due to low scholly numbers. Kiffin left UT in a mess with only something like 70 players instead of the usual 85 on scholarship and same thing with Auburn. That stuff tends to even out though and next year UGA will probably nab most if not all of the top 4 or 5 instate guys and probably end up top 3 nationally.

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
2:09 pm

UGA has one five star receiver, A.J. Green.

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
2:11 pm

Tide, Richt’s guarantee when he was hired was that the “Top recruits will be Georgia Bulldogs.” The SEC is so competetivive now that recruiting is the biggest difference in winning or losing.

CvilleDawg

February 3rd, 2010
2:12 pm

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
2:03 pm
Its hard to look at the brightside coming off a 8-4 season and seeing your SEC rivals out recruit you. I’m thinking some 7-5 seasons are ahead. But the opportunity to sign top recruits was right there for UGA. They whiffed.”

Well, honestly robdawg we recruited who we wanted besides losing robey who was 5′7 and da’rick rogers. Remember a running game wins the game and with the way the o-line and the backs looked finishing off last year I say we have a good season ahead of us this year, hell I hope richt puts munzenmaier and chapas in the backfield again and pound the ball up the middle over and over again.

DP

February 3rd, 2010
2:15 pm

These ratings are absolutely irrevelant. The so-called expert recruiting services are way too consumed with the real and imagined talent of high school ball players. Let them make it to college and then everyone can see what they can or can not do.

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
2:18 pm

Honestly we lost 15 of the top 25 in-state players and two at the last minute today. Chapas & Nunzenmaier are blocking backs for King & Ealey.
I guess we will see…

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
2:20 pm

The ratings are only irrelevant for UGA and Notre Dame that don’t live UP to the top 10 recruiting classes. It seems to be dead-right for Florida,Alabama,Texas,Penn St.,USC,LSU,and Oklahoma. Top classes and top 10 teams on the field most every year.

1eyedJack

February 3rd, 2010
2:21 pm

At least we don’t have to cry over that pitiful roster of midgets Tech just signed.

CvilleDawg

February 3rd, 2010
2:23 pm

yeah and thats what they said about jacob hester at lsu a few years back, richt moved munzenmaier to running back at spring practice last year. are you sure your even a dawg fan..? because your attitude blows.

DP

February 3rd, 2010
2:25 pm

Correction – These ratings are irrelevant.

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
2:28 pm

My attitude got blown today. But to most of you Richt could run over your dog and he would still be the All-Mighty King Richt ! I want us to recruit and sign our top talent. But I’m not Dawg fan for complaining. Hell, at least I care.

Dunkley

February 3rd, 2010
2:29 pm

Mack Brown from Martin Luther King High School was asked this question and this was his response :

Mack, if you didn’t pick Florida, where would you have gone and why?

I would have gone to Georgia. It’s my hometown and I grew up a Bulldogs fans

Pitbull

February 3rd, 2010
2:33 pm

It’s not the stars. It’s the heart and desire.

Remember Terry Hoage. Nobody recruited him and Vince gave him his one remaining scholarship because Terry called and asked for it.

Jake Scott played before recruits were ranked by stars.

Terry Hoage and Jake Scott were the two best defensive backs UGA ever had.

Both played in the NFL. Terry played for 13 years and Jake was a Super Bowl MVP.

CvilleDawg

February 3rd, 2010
2:34 pm

no, I dont look at richt as some king..im just not gonna get all shook up about it because I actually believe in the whole georgia staff and team to get it done this season, can’t help that im gonna love the georgia bulldogs no matter what.

CvilleDawg

February 3rd, 2010
2:37 pm

one other thing we need some updates on christian and chaz green!

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
2:42 pm

Pitbull, for every 10 or 12 Hoage,J.Scott,and J.Rice who become great from nothing there are thousands of D.Marino’s,P.Manning’s,etc. that were great from high school thru the pro level and five star recruits.

d1reality

February 3rd, 2010
2:44 pm

“Tide, Richt’s guarantee when he was hired was that the “Top recruits will be Georgia Bulldogs.” The SEC is so competetivive now that recruiting is the biggest difference in winning or losing.”

All the top SEC schools are recruiting well. THE DIFFERENCE IS COACHING. That is why BAMA is #1, the Gators own UGA, and coach MR’s has consistently brought in “top10″ recruits, but his dawgs are invisible in the final national rankings. COACHING = WINNING

Mike L

February 3rd, 2010
2:45 pm

UGA has had a lot of top recruiting classes by signing one or two homerun choices such as Stafford or Moreno. They missed on the big signings this year, so maybe they can win with small ball. You have to hit for average too. Most of those crappy defensive backs UGA has had over the last few years were 4 and 5 star players. They busted out.
By the way, I hope they brought a scale and measuring tape on recruiting visits. Im tied or 6′0 200 lb defensive backs showing up at school at 5′9 170 lbs.

Spike

February 3rd, 2010
2:46 pm

Listen, Tech poindexters no matter who we recruit they will still beat your sorry arses. UGA-30. ACC Champs-24. Glad it still hurts, even on signing day. HHAHAHHAHAHH

timthebrave

February 3rd, 2010
2:46 pm

What I don’t get is we missed out on 1 five star reciever and we go from 5 to 17 in ranking for recruits. We are solid on recievers, rb and qb so I am more worried about defense for this year.

TxDawg

February 3rd, 2010
2:52 pm

ESPN #9
rivals #16
scout #19/20

who knows how each kid will do ( Arthur Brown #1 LB @the U is done). That is why they play the
game. Let’s see what happensin two years. Let’s GO DAWGS!!

WonderDawg

February 3rd, 2010
2:53 pm

“Thousands of D Marinos, P Mannings”??

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
2:57 pm

Ok wonderdawg, must I list all the five star college recruits that were also stars in the NFL from 1972 to 2010 ? Well, I’m not.

Bling and blang

February 3rd, 2010
2:59 pm

Granthams first job with Stripling is to make him cut his nappy head.

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
3:01 pm

I’m watching ESPN. Rivals has us at #16 ? Big disparity from ESPN’s ranking.

I am Kayne West and Taylor Swift's Grammy's suck

February 3rd, 2010
3:05 pm

Enter your comments here

I am Kayne West and Taylor Swift's Grammy's suck

February 3rd, 2010
3:09 pm

i just want to punch CPJ every time i hear him speak; what a unpolished goob.

mcdaviddawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:21 pm

To cantondawg, acceptance of less than the best from our outragiously paid coaches is not supporting the team. To pretend this is an acceptable recruiting class is just stupid. We will rate the 7th best class in the SEC. We could have signed more players but apparently couldn’t find any that wanted to come to Georgia. Many of these players want to be coached up with hopes for the NFL. Chances for this are better almost anywhere than under Richt. I honestly don’t know what the man does. And for you who like to call names, I went to my first game as a small boy in Columbus for a Georgia Auburn game. I supoport the team with contirbutions and go to home and away games. I bet many of you don’t go farther than your TV. I want the best and I see schools on the rise all around us, but not us. The work ethic by Richt and is help is rotten. I want us to be on the top level but wwe’re heded down fast. Richt couldn’t get there with top talent what will he do with less. Last year was awful, we were not without a lot of talent. Watching the games last year, I watched Richt closely, until the very end at Tech and Auburn, he would not say one word to his coaches or his players. Just stood any watched with the earphones which may or maynot have been connected to anyone. Finally against Tech he got involved when hsi job was certainly up for conversation. He’s a born again loset.

Old Dawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:28 pm

Bill, great post. Like I said on another story earlier today, UGA targeted defensive players early in the recruiting class, that’s what they focused on and that’s what they signed. They also got some talent for the O Line, and a good possession receiver. Plus a hard-nosed running back.

Quite frankly, I’m tired of the “sky is falling” crowd. No team can win conference titles every year and national championships are difficult to pull in. I know that with other teams from the SEC taking the BCS in recent years, many Dawg fans want to capture some of their magic. It’s a difficult and challenging task.

But not winning a title isn’t the end of the world, especially if you’re posting winning records and bowl games. That’s a sign that the program is on solid ground … even if some folks think the sky is falling.

icedawg

February 3rd, 2010
3:30 pm

The whole recruiting scene is a bad joke. It has given the guys that invented and run these self-made, self-appointed services celebrity status. It has made the whole high school sports scene a three ring circus. Most of the recruits will end up being ordinary. But the media loves it because it knows that this kind of stuff appeals to the sick pride in people. My team is better than your team. Nanananananah And of course, if the media can convince advertisers that they have viewers it can make them money. Pride and money. Definite idols.

robdawg08

February 3rd, 2010
3:33 pm

Richt just sugarcoated the recruiting losses on ESPN interview. I’d like to see more FIRE from Richt as a coach. Get in a player’s face after a stupid out of bounds late hit ! His cool demeanor is great for 85 % of the time but you need an iron fist at times.