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The Recruiting Rebuttal – A Discussion

By on February 9th, 2013 in Member Post 14 Comments »

Hello Auburn fans!!! I hope your day went well. Mine did!!!! It was Christmas in February!!! With that all said, now comes the second most critical phase of being a coach at the collegiate level. That is the job of coaching up the recruits (not to mention the rest of the team). But from all appearances it seems that Gus Malzahn and his staff have stabilized and exceeded (at least this year) Auburn’s football recruiting expectations. I hope this means good things for the regular season…

The purpose of my entry today is to better understand the differences in recruiting philosophy when it comes to the quantity of scholarships offered at the University level and the differences of the recruiting services. I realize a book can be written about this. And truth be told, I always get confused during recruiting season. But I was hoping to get some frank discussions that would put into laymens terms with general answers to the questions I pose.

My thinking in writing this piece is that we can stimulate great discussion among the true intellectuals of the site and get them to elaborate and clarify “the big picture” when it comes to recruiting!

Managing numbers:

My intrigue at the program level is simple. It’s always feast of famine when it comes to recruiting. Some schools go from one extreme to the other in just a few years. I think we can all recall the mess that was left for Gene Chizik in 2009 and the fact that AU’s bench was near empty. Yet, AU took a conservative approach in solving its problems.

This season demonstrated some schools that recruited in the 30s with the number of scholarships they offered recruits. But others programs recruited in the teens or low20s. Why the difference? And we aren’t talking about no name teams here. We are talking about SEC schools that had as many as SIX teams in the top ten regardless of the recruiting service.

Here is a great example of the inequity.  Let’s look at Scouts recruiting service. According to it the SEC had a tie in recruiting this year: Texas A&M and LSU are tied for #6 in the nation.

Looking at the raw numbers that the service crunches LSU pulled in 27 recruits and Texas A&M nabbed 34. First and foremost how can Kevin Sumerlin and A&M get away with spending 34 scholarships? Next, how can it be that the quality of A&M’s recruits is equal to LSUs? There is no way you can compare the numbers in my opinion.

Not trying to get too far off topic (and again, in an attempt to reinforce the idea of managing scholarships) look at UGA. They recruited 31 players according to scouts. But in rivals and ESPN the Dogs recruited 32. So you can’t say that A&M is the only rogue team in the SEC when it comes to managing its numbers. UGA has the senior coach in the league… and yet they too are following this strategy. How? But more importantly WHY??


Now, let’s take a closer look at the raw numbers that Scouts developed:

LSU had 4465 total points for the class with 4 top 100 recruits, 1 five star recruit, 17 four star recruits, and 9 three star recruits. Each of their recruit had an average score of 3.70.

Texas A&M had 4465 total points too. They also had 4 top 100 recruits, 1 five star recruit, 16 four star recruits, and a whopping 15 three star recruits. Now when averaging their recruits they had a score of 3.56.

So again how is that tied?

Now, to demonstrate the disparities or similarities of the two services lets switch over to Rivals:

Rivals ranked LSU at #6. They got a total of 26 recruits. They had 2 five stars, 15 four stars, 9 three stars and scored out an average of 3.73 per recruit with 2643 total points achieved using rivals scale.

But A&M ranked at #8. They got according to rivals 33 recruits. They also had 0 five stars, 16 four stars, 16 three stars, and scored out an average of 3.45 per recruit with 2424 total points achieved using the rivals scale.


But that is where the likeness ends. Look no further than the top five to illustrate this:

 Scouts:                                                                        Rivals:

 Ohio State (5206)                                                      Alabama (3166)

 Michigan (5113)                                                        Ohio State (2903)

 Alabama (4865)                                                        Notre Dame (2893)

 UCLA (4769)                                                              Florida (2792)

 Notre Dame (4508)                                                  Michigan (2661)

Why the difference??????

About Auburn University:

Again, I think AU did wonderful today. I am interested to know if any of you think AU will take a few more folks. Do we have anyone targeted? I think if I read the service correctly we nabbed nearly everyone we wanted. There was only a few that walked away to other schools.

The AU Comparison:

Scouts: AU ranked #13 (3284)

Rivals: AU ranked #10 (2384)

ESPN: AU ranked #11

All in all, pretty dang good for a first year coach and his untested Staff!! I think this outstanding performance bodes well for AUBURN!

I realize that I am all over the map here but I would love to get your input! Let’s discuss!!!

War Eagle!


  1. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    IMO, there are two ways to look at this. Ratings are arbitrary, made by so called experts and just like the polls are weighted on geography and who signs your check.
    The other is you have to look at the results at the top. As much as I hate to say it Nicky has had 5 or the last 6 top recruiting classes and you know what has happened in the last 4 years.
    Great players are easy to coach and great coaches make good players great.

  2. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    AU is at #8 on rivals this morning.

  3. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    And #10 in the 247sports ranknings.

  4. Orange Talon Orange Talon says:

    Rating recruiting classes is guess work at best, made from the same guess work that assigned the so-called stars to each prospect. AU has had stellar recruiting years lately and we all know how that worked out. Where was “Johnny Football” rated on NSD, a 2 or 3 star? Simply put, there are far to many intangibles associated with these young men to accurately grade/rate them prior to being thrust into the college environment. Some 5-stars will bust, some 3-stars will flourish, some will get homesick, in trouble, fail classes/school, and a laundry list of other shortcomings that no one could ever foresee much less predict.

    Recruiting classes are most likely better graded after two years rather than on signing day. Having said that, I guess you have to have some system in place to assist coaches in determining who to offer a scholarship or a spot given that they are limited to one extent or another.

    Why do the same universities finish in the top five recruiting wise consistently? I’m a firm beliver that NFL pipelines will consistently produce top recruiting classes. With few exceptions, I believe that the “cream of the crop” have their eye on the future (NFL) and choose the school that they believe will provide them with the best chance of getting there. Let’s say you,re the number 1 ranked high school player in the nation. You visit a university that has 10 National Championship trophies in the case and a record of producing multiple first round NFL draft choices year in and year out. Then you visit a university that has, say 1 National Championship trophy and a record of producing few number one NFL draft choices. Which school are you most likely to choose? Or, look at it another way. You visit a university that has better athletics success than academic success, and then a university that stresses academics over athletics. Again number 1 high school prospect, which would you choose?

    I’m very excited about Auburn’s class, regardless of where it ranked, and kudos to the staff for putting it together. I say congrats to the ones who signed the top classes and wish them luck. Will Auburn’s class produce the desired result that we all are looking for, we all are praying for? Will the number one signing class produce a National Championship?

    Don’t know, nobody does.

  5. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    Most of the coaches will say they never look at what or any other service have to say about any recruit. I have my doubts about that in it’s entirety.

    Does AU use the rivals AU site for player evaluation? No, at least I hope to God they don’t.

    Does AU use them to find where some of these athletes are? That could be a very definite maybe. They would never admit it. Let’s face it, the possibility exists that schools have been using these branch sites of rivals and as back door entry into communications, and living rooms all across the country.

    In one of the most competitive worlds in sports, namely college football, and it’s most competitive arena which is recruitment, there is the need to use and develop every single avenue of success that falls in or around the existing rules.

    • wde1988 wde1988 says:

      I think with the 2nd staff… Auburn will wicker a system that surpasses any of these sites. Like bama we will start finding the nuggets more regularly.

      My hope anyway.


  6. mikeautiger says:

    It’s subjective and political. It’s always interesting to see players stars go up when a player goes to one of the traditional powers and then watch the star go down when they go to a non favorable school.

  7. el757 says:

    I understand the desire to compare averages (3.73 to 3.45 etc.) but the total points (2643 to 2424 etc.) are also very useful. To give an extreme example, what if Meyer up at Ohio State decided each year that he was only going to recruit the top ten players in the country and he somehow managed to sign all ten each year (but only those ten). Let’s further say that Auburn continued to recruit the way it has for the past several years (solid classes of 15-25 athletes putting us in the top 15 classes). Now say that Auburn and Ohio State played in four years, who do you think would win? The answer should be fairly obvious. Ohio State would only have about 35 scholarship athletes on its entire team while Auburn would have the entire complement of 80.

    This is an extreme example showing that while the quality of athletes you recruit matters tremendously, the quantity you recruit matters tremendously also. That’s why I think it’s fair to look at TAMU and put their class on par with LSU’s because it probably is equally helpful to each program. LSU has been recruiting well for a while and did not have as much attrition. TAMU needed to fill more spots. At the end of the day, both averages and totals are helpful measures.