Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Recruiting Classes

Today is recruiting day. I'm not an expert in this stuff, but I got curious about previous recruiting classes and how well they lined up with how teams finished this past college football season. There's a table below. As you can see, looking at the 2012 and 2013 classes as ranked by Yahoo Sports, the predictive power is at best ... okay. TCU performs far better than you'd expect based on its class rankings (in 2012 it was #37 and in 2013 it was #30). Bama is often the #1 in class, but 2014 didn't turn out as well as Tide fans might have liked. Notre Dame had a top class in 2013 but looked awful this past season. If I had time and the interest, I'd dump a larger data set and try to massively correlate recruiting rankings with final football rankings. Way too much work.

2012 Recruiting Ranking
2013 Recruiting Ranking
2014 Final Ranking
1. Alabama
1. Alabama
1. Ohio State
2. Texas
2. Ohio State
2. Oregon
3. Florida
3. Notre Dame
3. TCU
4. Ohio State
4. Florida
4. Alabama
5. Stanford
5. Michigan
5. Florida State
6. Florida State
6. LSU
5. Mich. State
7. Michigan
7. Mississippi
7. Baylor
8. USC
8. Auburn
8. Georgia Tech
9. Miami (Fl)
9. Georgia
10. Auburn
10. Florida State
10. UCLA

Let's look at Georgia, given I work at UGA. The dawgs finished 9th this past season. They finished, according to Yahoo, with the #12 class in both 2012 and 2013, so I guess you could argue a #9 ranking means they slightly overperformed. The 2014 class was #7, for what that's worth. Call it even.

Using ESPN's data, you can see below how Georgia has done over time, as high as the #4 class in 2006, as low as the #13 class in 2007.

Finally, using a different site, I wondered who had the worst recruiting class this year. The winner (or loser)? UAB, which may be killing its football program. It's ranked #137, just below Western Illinois.


I ran a correlation of the 2013 class rankings (Yahoo Data) versus the 2014-2015 season final rankings. It's not great, r = .42.  I had to cook the data a bit as some schools with top classes didn't finish in the top 38 teams. In those four cases (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt), I ranked them all 39th. A scatterplot of the data is below. I didn't bother flipping the data, so low = better.

1 comment:

Russell Portier said...

You should correlate two years out - so many recruits redshirt a year, I'm guessing you'll see a bigger impact from a recruiting class 2-3 years down the road.