Recruiting in the big picture: How are we doing?
Spartan football is off to another sound recruiting start with nine commitments, and I’ve been considering, here in the Big Ten’s mid-summer doldrums, who the real recruiting competition is at MSU’s middle, or upper-middle, BCS level. I’ve looked into Rivals’s rankings from the past four recruiting class lists (2006-2009) and put up their average by school from those years below.
My assumptions, in terms of which teams fit this list, include one that most of us can agree on: We’re simply not at the level of OSU, Florida, USC, etc. at this point. So, I’ve put aside teams who are consistently in or near the top ten in polls and recruiting classes, but I’ve included formerly top teams that are in a wobbly phase now, like ND and FSU. I’ve left out AA because, frankly, I’m bored with them.
Meanwhile, I have not included teams like UNLV, Iowa State, Indiana, Buffalo, New Mexico, UNC, Duke, and Rice, or even recent upstarts like South Florida and Connecticut, who in the big picture have clearly not been top-50 teams. I’m also struck with a number of recent underachievers in both wins and the polls relative to their recruiting successes: ND, FSU, South Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee, UCLA, and Nebraska. And, two super-overachievers: Boise State and Utah.
Closer to home, MSU with an average of #35 in Rivals recruiting rankings over the four years has played more or less to the predicted level, with last year making up nicely for a painful fall under Bobby and John L.
In the broader Big Ten I think Iowa, #46, is an out-performer due to great coaching, but to me it looks like MSU is now in the process of passing them with a much better recruiting base and now equal-to-better coaching. Personally, I would not want to have Iowa’s recruiting challenges, but we’ll see how it shakes out.
Meanwhile, Purdue appears to be in a serious struggle with recruiting. Wisconsin is clearly sliding, while it seems like Minnesota is on their way up but a little behind us right now. And, I’ve left out Northwestern and Indiana due to weak football traditions and a lack of recruiting power.
Here is the list of the average (rounded to whole numbers) of Rivals rankings from 2006 through 2009, with apologies if those excluded step on toes. It’s late July; seems like time for speculation to begin in earnest. Is there anything in this or other data that suggests to you where we are relative to our closest competitors and what’s next for a Dantonio-lead program?
SCHOOL RIVALS 4-YEAR AVERAGE
Notre Dame 10
Florida State 10
South Carolina 16
Texas A&M 27
Arizona State 31
Oklahoma State 33
Michigan State 35
Texas Tech 39
West Virginia 43
Boston College 47
Oregon State 49
Brigham Young 64
Texas Christian 71
Washington State 72
Boise State 75