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. …


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


February 3rd, 2010
3:34 pm

Florida just signed Chaz Green. Ouch !


February 3rd, 2010
3:39 pm

Christian Green is a Seminole, Chaz Green is a Gator!!! Woot Woot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


February 3rd, 2010
3:59 pm

I’ll give Georgia’s class 90. I think with 25 or 26 signee’s instead of 19 the score would have been much higher.

snellville jacket

February 3rd, 2010
4:01 pm

What really matters is each school got what they believe could help them the best. The real issue is the hapiness each student and their family has today. Hopefully that will not loose sight of the real goal to graduate.

Good luck to UGA

Da facts about recruiting in Georgia

February 3rd, 2010
4:26 pm

Metro Atlanta is a corporate area. This is to say that kids come here or grow up here but with parents from all over the USA with allegiances to many, many schools. Years ago when i was headed to UGA in the late 60s, UGA and ONLY TWO state schools attracted mainly kids from Georgia. Then, Atlanta was not as full of transplants.

Today Atlanta is 100% transplants and that is why UGA has for several years signed greats from other areas like Musa Smith, Knowshon Moreno, Matt Staford, Daniel Ellerbee, Trinton Sturdivant, Rodney Hampton, Tim Worley, AJ Green and Orson Charles and Rontavious Wooten and Marvelowu Marlon Brown and TE Fred Lynn ( MA ) and too many more to name. See??? UGA gets what they need. Always has and always will.

Yes, UGA usually gets their needs in state and in 2010 we did it again with two blue chip, highly regarded Nationnal TOP 150 players (D linemen) and some o linemen, etc. The Lassiter QB is a steal for UGA and will pay dividends in two years.

UGA is stock piled now with O talent and that is why Calhoun’s DaRickRogers went to UT. He would only be about 4 or 5 deep in the wide out rotation. His pla is a Qb and we could not offer that kid a deal, like he got at UT. No big loss is DaRick. He would only be one more of about 8 UGA wide receivers. He will not be missed.

UGA got about 90% of what they needed on DEFENSE, so I say ………..let us tee it up and play some SEC ball.

Go Dogs

Da facts about recruiting in Georgia

February 3rd, 2010
4:30 pm

One more comment:

Aaron Murray is the heir apparent at QB and was one of the top 3, 4 or 5 QBs in USA a year ago. He is from Tampa. USA gets what they need, either in Georgia or from wherever.

Go Dogs

Judge Dawg

February 3rd, 2010
4:31 pm

Other than WR the recruits fill needs and should do fine. Chris Durham will be back. Did we redshirt a WR? Samuel will help at LB. We should field a good team.


February 3rd, 2010
4:35 pm

That title sounds just like what someone who thought they would have an outstanding recruiting class, and then didn’t would say

Da facts about recruiting in Georgia

February 3rd, 2010
4:35 pm

Old Dawg, I too am tired of the sky is falling crowd. You a e 100% correct in your assessment of the 2010 frosh class. We are fine and we got our needs. One more huge, mobile, hostile, agile D lineman would be wonderful if our numbers permit it.

Go Dogs.
Class of 71 & 73

Foothills football fan

February 3rd, 2010
4:38 pm

1eyedJack-thanks for your insight (pun intended)

UGA Rocks The House!!

February 3rd, 2010
4:40 pm

UGA finished in top 5 in DE’s, DB’s on, #11 on DL’s

Scout UGA finished:
1- top 5 in number of top 100 recruits
2- #7 in average quality of recruit

ESPN UGA finished ranked #9


February 3rd, 2010
4:55 pm

I wonder if the opposite arguement to:

“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.”

Could it be that these are the teams that are winning championships and are better a player evaluation?

Tailback U

February 3rd, 2010
5:01 pm

It’s all about perspective just that simple.
We needed defensive talent and we got most of what we went after.
Does that mean I am satified ? Nope we lost out on a few guys
we will have to cotend with in the future. That being said when
you stop and think about the circumstances of a coaching change,
and a trip to the college bowl wasteland how realistically could
you have expected much more ? Some dimwit suggested we Dawg fans
should be troubled. I don’t think so! But now being a little
concerned is a different matter. And we might as well be real and
say one year out of the top 10 is a isolated incident but two
is a trend. Next year is very important to CMR’s future.
But it is without question that Georgia will again rake in the
states’s top talent with a good year. I wish spring practices
started tomorrow. Let’s go Dawgs!


February 3rd, 2010
5:02 pm

What is going on? We only signed 1 of the Top10 recruits in state? Only 7 of the top 30? UT got 2 of our Top 5 in state? How can Dooley, after only 3 weeks, beat us in recruiting? This is awful and I’m tired of making excuses.

Another Dawg

February 3rd, 2010
5:04 pm

As far as the star ratings go, I like to see higher ones. But I think everyone knows that there are 2 and 3-star players that outplay the 5-star hype. Also, these star rankings are biased toward readiness to play college ball straight out of high school. Most players won’t play as freshmen and will see backup duty as sophomores. If there was a service that predicted impact as a Junior, it would be far more meaningful.

Georgia has had top 10 classes every year and done well with them. We also had 5 top 10 recruiting classes on a 7-5 team this year. I’d certainly be happier if our classes have better rankings, but at the end of the day, it’s not till they show up on the field that we’ll know what a class is worth.


February 3rd, 2010
5:05 pm

Well over the last few years when Georgia has had solid classes it’s been very important. But auhhh, auhhh, apparently today after the last signature for the Dawgs came in, now it’s apparently much more about coaching. The talent gap between Gainesville and Athens continues to grow.


February 3rd, 2010
5:06 pm

Good point Another Dawg…that’s why I think we need to keep our mouths closed about UT signing a two star in Nance. I get your point, but we don’t need to talk out of both sides of our mouth.

East Dawg

February 3rd, 2010
5:15 pm

Mark Richt : 2-7 against Florida……………………solid


February 3rd, 2010
5:26 pm

The reason dawg recruiting ranking is down is fully the fault of UGA fans. The more you subscribe the online services, the higher you will be ranked. It’s that simple. So, don’t complain, get your credit cards ready and pay. You will be in good shape.


February 3rd, 2010
5:30 pm

I am not really disappointed about today’s additions. we lost recruits that would have added depth to positions that we primarily have filled pretty well. Overall, we only lost Rennie on defense as far a talent goes, so having a linebacker to step up should not be an issue. We seem to have some undersized LBs coming in, which should work well for TGs new D. Only concern I have is finding a hole plugging NT.

Offensively, we brought in some new lineman, which are needed since that is always a weak spot for us. We have good, young talent at WR, so those losses are not substantial, our QBs are young and unknown, The RBs are coming around, and we added one more that should help some. Offensively, we need a FB.
Defensively, we have CBs that are sophomores, a drunk monkey could replace R. Jones or Evans so there is no loss there. It looks like we will fill those gaps with a couple of freshmen anyway. Linebackers will be interesting, especially with the possibility of R. Samuel on the outside.

Forget about next year’s signees, this years team should be a big improvement over the last two we suffered over. That is if TG earns his salary.

tennesee tom

February 3rd, 2010
5:30 pm

seems like the jawga kids are leaving the pine tar state


February 3rd, 2010
5:47 pm

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. This seems to be the norm with ugag football recruiting.

Buddy El

February 3rd, 2010
6:12 pm

Well said cantondawg, cville dawg, DP,chazzo, etc.: I am ashamed for our UGA program with all these sniveling crybabies. They wanted Willie fired(me too) but did anyone think there might just be a little repercussion from the kids that became attached to their recruiter?

Buddy El

February 3rd, 2010
6:15 pm

You too Mad Dawg


February 3rd, 2010
6:48 pm

What do the stars really mean?? Who knows really, but probably not much when you don’t get them!


February 3rd, 2010
6:57 pm

The dance will not start before the music.I for one can not wait until UGA hits the dance floor.

Gator hater

February 3rd, 2010
7:11 pm

A list of Uga 5 star recruits over the Mark Richt Era. [ Marquis Elmore Bust] [Kregg Lumpkin Bust} {Brandon Miller bust}{Matt Stafford all sec}{AJ Green Sec Freshmen of year ?} Branden Smith?] Richard Samuel Bust}


February 3rd, 2010
7:51 pm

Sometimes Georgia gets overzealous seeking the “best postition player available” than getting the players right for your system. Coaching is also a problem at Georgia, let’s hope that CMR doesn’t wait too late to get rid of Bobo.


February 3rd, 2010
10:06 pm

If things don’t work out at UT, Rogers can just sit out a year and transfer to UGA (Assuming he can learn to sing and dance on the sidelines while a game is being lost, you know like the KY game.)

Ya’ll would love him again.

The Truth

February 3rd, 2010
10:29 pm

Everyone knows that GA Tech Lies and Cheats. Why would any good football player want to play there? Only a moron would go to GA Tech. End of story.


February 3rd, 2010
11:13 pm

What a riot. When you guys are top 5 or 10 you crow like roosters. When you stumble down the stretch and have 4 guys bail on you, all of a sudden stars don’t mean much. You guys are the biggest bunch of hypocrites on the planet.

Froggy the Gremlin

February 3rd, 2010
11:34 pm

Truth, Your 10:29 post heralds: “I am an idiot”

Lane Pimpin

February 3rd, 2010
11:38 pm

It is always the school that finishes with a low ranking that says stars mean nothing and rankings are a joke. Richt recruits the worse class in recent history and he is talking about the spirit and character of his recruits. What a joke. UGA will be lucky to go .500 when this class is in its senior year. Urban takes a LOA and ends up with the best class in the country. Perhaps Mark R. should take a LOA.

BS Patrol

February 3rd, 2010
11:47 pm

The Truth,
You should rename yourself The Bull crap.

FL Jim

February 3rd, 2010
11:47 pm

Stars don’t mean a thing to GA since they didn’t get any this year! You let poor pitiful tenec beat you head to head with your #1 player and they finished higher than you in every poll??? See you in Jax and it’s going to get ugly!!!

Dr. Jesse

February 4th, 2010
1:41 am

COME ON SO CALLED FANS. Dooley was great because he kept two stars for 4 yrs. We can beat anyone if we could keep top recruits for 3-4 yeras. We go after football only students and not student athletes. If we could have kept ten of our 1st rounders who were not two stars for 4 years we would dominate again. 50 3s times 4 add up to more than 10 5s and the rest for 2 years.[5^} 50x 2 =100
.[3*] 30 x 4= 120. Stars flash but grunts who know each other NEVER lose the favored games.

Argue that.

Screw the magizines. Talk to the parents and lock them on school and let the poor money hungry punks go die a slow death in the MFL [no typo}


February 4th, 2010
2:32 am

Figure it out.

If you are ranked the number 100 player in your own state, as 7 of our recruits are, you have a 1 out of ten thousand chance of being an All-America.


February 4th, 2010
6:19 am

Don’t get me wrong, I want UGA to win at EVERYTHING, but after reading about our 16th ranked recruiting class, the lowest since 2001, I went back and looked at that “disappointing” class of 2001. Several names stood out: David Pollack, D.J. Shockley, and Thomas Davis just to name a few. The point is that recruiting is an inexact science at best, and its far more important what these kids do now that they are dawgs as compared to what they did in high school. Go Dawgs!


February 4th, 2010
6:32 am

So, can anyone articulate the difference between a four star and five star offensive lineman? Four means he very good and five means he’s very, very good?

This is a lot of hooey. Look at UGA’s recruits. There are a lot of guys on D. No big name offensive receivers, rbs, or qbs. That’s cause UGA already has them. It would have been great for Da’rick to come to UGA, but how does losing one receiver bump the ranking down ten spots?

It is true, Florida and Auburn put together some good classes. But what is the difference btw 1 and 2? It is totally meaningless. I have seen too many highly rated recruits never blossom, and too many no-names excel.


February 4th, 2010
6:37 am

Da facts,

UGA has always had good recruiting from outside the state. Tartis was from France. Sanchez was from California. Those are Dooley guys (if you didn’t know). My Dad told me when he was in school there, Dooley pulled a team together with a bunch of recruits from Pennsylvania.

UGA is a nationally recognized team, a power house.


February 4th, 2010
6:37 am

The Weaver brothers were from Fla.


February 4th, 2010
6:47 am

This is not a good recruiting class for the offense again.

There are 5 you might hope turn into All-SEC or better players on defense.

On offense this year we recruited ? 0


February 4th, 2010
8:00 am

The sky is not falling folks. We are fine. CMR made the changes on D that we were all clamoring for and we will see a much improved product on the field this year. That improved product on the field will correlate into a recruiting class next year that we are more accustomed to. But after saying that THIS class is a VERY good class. It’s not the “top five” that we are used to but maybe these “four” & “three” star guys will be more coachable and not have the elitist I am a “five” star prima donna attitude that accompanies that ranking so many times. I would rather have guys with perceived great talent that can and will want to be coached up versus guys with perceived exceptional talent that think they are already there and it’s all about me and the NFL. I want guys with heart and desire that want to be a Dawg period. Let’s not overreact and predict doom and gloom in Athens because that is certainly not the case.


February 4th, 2010
8:16 am

BuLLdawg, although we did not get a lot of offense, the number was not 0. We signed two off. tackles that will help out tremendously. We did not need the help this year on the offense side of the ball. Now next year, if we have a class like this we are in a heap of trouble. I don’t think that will happen.


February 4th, 2010
8:35 am

BuLLdawg nice point but as last year we got 2 of the highest ranked QB’s in the SEC and we have a stable of RB’s and OL men in addition to a couple of good TE’s and WR’s the NEED was defense.


February 4th, 2010
9:08 am

The dawgs lost some beef this past year on D line with akin, owens and weston graduating. Also Curran and Jones gone. However, I am excited about the new look of the defense and the talent we have on this side of the ball. Offensive line is very mature and should be good and think we will do as good or hopefully better at the qb spot this year. The running game should also be clicking. So in short Ithink the dawgs should be able to compete for the east. It will be interesting and I agree that too much stock is placed on stars. If you see every college after a certain player then that is a pretty good indicator.


February 4th, 2010
9:21 am

neubi – what was the last championship the dogs won? what group do you think is maybe the most rabid recruiting nuts in the country. These services are a joke. Nobody hates (good old-fashioned) the dawgs any more than I do but, your puppies will not fail based on whether they were ranked 1st or 51st. Georgia got some fine high school players yesterday. The only thing that matters is will they make a difference in the 4 years ahead. Even the highest rated prospects have flopped, gotten injured, or held up a jiffy mart. Celebrate when (if) they have a great career at ga.

Reality Check

February 4th, 2010
9:43 am

Have you guys come to the realization that Florida’s program is light years ahead of Georgia’s?
Keep looking to Richt to “get some fire” and “turn the corner” guys. You’ll be waiting forever.

Murray County Mystic

February 4th, 2010
9:50 am

hey chazzo…UGA a powerhouse??? really??? while you are correct if the subject were women’s gymnastics, the adults are talking football here. I pray you keep Richt for a long, long time…


February 4th, 2010
9:59 am

lipstick on a pig… THis class is the continuation of the fall of the Bulldawgs. Time to get rid of Richt.