A look at football recruiting

Btn_football_medium
I think many of us believe the Kentucky has upgraded their football recruiting.  We see Brooks getting mostly 3 star players these days, but how do we compare with the rest of the SEC?

Here are a couple of tables, the one on the left sorted by average "star" ranking and the one on the right sorted by average "Rivals Ranking" for the ranked recruits in the SEC for 2009 so far.  Here's how this all shakes out:

Quartile School Avg. Stars Avg. RR Count
Quartile School Avg. Stars Avg. RR Count
1st LSU 3.9 5.84 10
1st LSU 3.9 5.84 10
Florida 3.71 5.81 6
Georgia 3.67 5.83 12
Georgia 3.67 5.83 12
Florida 3.71 5.81 6
2nd Tennessee 3.5 5.76 10
2nd Tennessee 3.5 5.76 10
Auburn 3.4 5.72 10
Alabama 3.38 5.75 8
Alabama 3.38 5.75 8
Auburn 3.4 5.72 10
3rd MSU 3.31 5.69 13
3rd MSU 3.31 5.69 13
Arkansas 3.17 5.62 6
Arkansas 3.17 5.62 6
Ole Miss 3 5.56 5
USC 2.86 5.59 7
4th USC 2.86 5.59 7
4th Ole Miss 3 5.56 5
Kentucky 2.8 5.52 10
Vanderbilt 2.75 5.53 4
Vanderbilt 2.75 5.53 4
Kentucky 2.8 5.52 10

Hmm. Doesn't exactly look like UK is setting the world on fire based on these numbers.  Of course, this is nothing like precise -- the class sizes vary wildly, none of the unranked recruits are considered, and there is a long way to go for almost every school before 2009 is done.  This also says nothing about Coach Brooks & Co.'s ability to evaluate talent that the scouts have underrated or missed.  What this is for is just to give you a directional idea of how far Kentucky has to go to catch up with the rest of the SEC. 

Keep in mind that 3 or 4 of the classes are comparatively small right now, so there is quite a bit of margin for error.  But you can see that it is highly unlikely for UK's class to rise above the 3rd quartile in these measures.  That places us firmly in the bottom half of the SEC, and if you look at the teams in there with us, you will find the ones that we have been traditionally very competitive with (with the exception of Spurrier's Gamecocks, who for some reason have our number despite not being tremendously more talented).

I wrote back last year that it is a monumental task to build a program in the SEC, and despite Kentucky's success over the last two years, we see here in somewhat stark relief just exactly what I was talking about.  Even successful bowl appearances and a quarterback who was mentioned at one time as a possible Heisman contender did not substantially change how we are perceived by the 4 and 5 star studs.

The next question I would ask is how is Kentucky doing year over year?  This table gives us an idea since 2004 (when Rivals began assigning Rivals Ratings):

Year >= 3 star >=5.4 RR
Delta Star Delta RR
2009 8 10 -1 -2
2008 9 12 -1 1
2007 10 11 -3 -8
2006 13 19 9 10
2005 4 9 -7 -4
2004 11 13 -- --

Players without RR considered min for star rank

Now this looks a little more promising.  While 2004 looked like a great class on paper, a surprisingly small number of the most highly-ranked players ever made it onto the playing field.   2005 looks pretty weak, but a number of those players, including Zipp Duncan, Braxton Kelley, Jeremy Jarmon, E. J. Adams and Tim Mastay have contributed significantly.

But the thing I like best is that Brooks is starting to become consistent in getting better players.  We still have a long way to go in 2009's class, and it could get significantly better pretty easily.  Generally speaking, the higher rated the player, the more likely he is to be physically ready to contribute right away.  Brooks and his staff have done a great job at developing the lower rated guys, but by consistently bringing in more talent, the UK staff is placing us in a position to be competitive in the SEC by improving our ready depth from year to year.

We still have a very long way to go to compete anywhere near the top of the SEC, if we ever can.  But the longest journey begins with one step, and right now it looks as if our recruiting is stepping in the right direction.  Going .500 in the SEC should be our next goal, and while that looks pretty improbable this year, it looks a lot more doable in the near future.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join A Sea Of Blue

You must be a member of A Sea Of Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at A Sea Of Blue. You should read them.

Join A Sea Of Blue

You must be a member of A Sea Of Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at A Sea Of Blue. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker