The continued dominance of the Southeastern Conference over the college football landscape extended to another national signing day, with three schools finishing in Rivals’ top five, and five total in the top ten. It’s a tough world in the SEC, where the cannibalistic nature of schools stealing each other’s recruits can cause quite the emotional outpouring from fan bases, and even players.
However, while ESPN.com’s recruiting service cannot stop salivating over Urban Meyer’s “record-setting” class, which includes 17 of the site’s Top 150 players, Rivals lists the Gators class at a close second, behind USC. Lane Kiffen closed impressively on NSD, but according to ESPN, it was only enough to finish at #7 in it’s top 25.
How can Florida’s haul be considered head and shoulders above everyone by ESPN, enough to call the difference “staggering”, while at the same time listed behind that of USC’s on Rivals? And how can Rivals rank the Trojans class at the top ,while ESPN doesn’t even have it in the top five? It’s a curious discrepancy that highlights the inherent flaw in recruiting rankings. These are completely subjective assessments of how 17 and 18-year old kids will perform at the next level, assessments that even the highly-paid coaches often get wrong.
So Dawg fans, (and Vols fans, and Tigers fans, and all other fans who are upset about falling out of the top five), remember that these recruiting services rarely know what they are talking about, and only time will tell whether you missed out on the next Hershel or the next headache. For every 5-star “blue-chip” recruit who flames out, there’s an unheralded 2 or 3-star waiting in the wings, ready to prove the “experts” wrong.
Two notable unintentional comedy moments from ESNPU’s recruiting special:
- Robert Smith and Tom Luginbill getting sociological on us when trying to explain the SEC’s recent dominance in recruiting. Smith, an Ohio State product, pointed to the failing economies of the rust-belt as a sign that football talent was “reverse-migrating” to the south. I don’t know about you, but I go to ESPNU for all my socioeconomic discourse.
- An unbelievably awkward interview with Florida State signee Bjoern Werner, a defensive-line prospect from Connecticut by way of Germany. The highlight is at the 3:45 mark of this video, where he attempts to do the Tomahawk Chop, and ends up just creeping everyone out: