clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Weighted Recruiting Composite for 2015

New, 112 comments

The Weighted Recruiting Composite is back for 2015. I have expanded to 122 teams this year as I continue to add information to help you, the Tiger fan, create your own perception of our recruiting.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

If you need a refresher on how the method behind this, click here for last year's more detailed explanation.

The short explanation is that I took Rivals and Scout's Team Rankings for the past 5 years (2011-2015) and combined them together to get an average ranking between the two services. Then I weighted those averages like this: First Year players (FR) comprised 10.04% of the two deep, Second Year players (FR*, SO) 22.18%, Third Year players (SO*, JR) 22.59%, Fourth Year players (JR*, SR) 26.78%, and 5th year players (SR*, GR) were 18.41% of the two deep.

As always, this is designed to present information to make you think.  Take from this what you want but here are some "Fun Facts" right off the bat about what this composite shows, and what I conclude from this myself.

I went back through the past 9 years and looked at all the National Championship teams:

The team that won the National Championship in those years was ranked #2, #6, #1, #1, #10, #6, #2, #5, and #6 before the season started using this composite formula. Recruiting matters and recruiting rankings matter.

The last 6 National Champions are currently in the top 5. It's easier to stay Elite than to become Elite.

The last 13 National Champions are in the current top 10. Eliteness is won "on the field" but being a top 10 team here is a strong, and virtually necessary, characteristic of eliteness.

According to my definition of "Eliteness," there are currently 13 Elite Programs. 9 of those 13 Elite Programs sit in the top 11 of this Recruiting Composite (12 of 13 are in the top 20). Obviously, it is crystal clear that the programs that are perceived to be Elite attract better talent than those who lack that perception (see Synergistic Trend below).

The first table shows the 122 teams with enough data available to make their ranking legitimate by this formula (Teams making a recent jump to FBS that haven't been ranked by Rivals and Scout consistently are not included).  Each year's ranking by both Rivals and Scout is listed by year. The number under "Score" is their weighted ranking. The lower the score the better.  Elite Programs are in bold.

Recr
Rank
PreS
Rank
Final
Rank
Recruiting Composite
Weighted Scale
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Team Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Score
1 3 Alabama 1 7 1 2 1 4 1 1 2 2 4.2
2 1 Ohio St. 7 6 4 3 2 1 3 5 9 8 8.4
3 10 Florida St. 2 1 6 11 10 16 4 3 3 11 13.9
4 6 Auburn 5 2 10 8 8 13 6 8 7 3 14.9
5 14 LSU 8 8 18 6 6 9 2 2 8 12 15.6
6 9 Georgia 6 4 12 14 11 8 8 12 6 4 18.5
7 11 Notre Dame 9 8 20 16 3 5 10 6 11 6 19.8
8 Texas 4 3 2 1 17 23 17 15 12 7 20.1
9 8 USC 3 5 8 20 12 18 11 10 1 1 20.6
10 Florida 12 25 3 5 4 7 9 9 23 29 20.6
11 19 Oklahoma 13 15 11 10 16 15 14 13 14 14 26.6
12 Texas A&M 35 31 15 21 9 6 5 7 10 10 29.8
13 12 Clemson 10 12 14 17 14 12 18 28 4 15 30.3
14 25 Tennessee 14 10 17 22 24 36 7 4 5 5 31.8
15 Michigan 26 29 7 4 5 2 20 27 50 35 33.6
16 7 Oregon 11 13 16 15 19 17 21 22 17 21 34.2
17 South Carolina 17 11 17 13 20 24 16 24 19 20 35.9
18 13 UCLA 45 56 13 12 8 3 19 20 13 9 38.6
19 Miami 33 41 9 9 20 21 12 11 26 39 39.3
20 21 Stanford 22 23 5 7 51 57 13 16 18 25 46.6
21 17 Ole Miss 20 20 40 58 7 10 15 18 21 16 48.4
22 Washington 24 22 21 23 18 14 37 35 30 23 48.7
23 18 Arkansas 21 17 34 19 23 33 30 33 25 21 52.4
24 Oklahoma St. 25 18 32 24 32 25 28 14 38 40 52.9
25 Nebraska 16 19 25 49 22 11 36 34 31 33 55.6
26 Mississippi St. 34 45 30 18 25 20 35 39 16 19 57.4
27 Virginia Tech 36 36 22 26 21 34 27 36 24 41 59.0
28 UNC 19 21 44 41 28 29 29 31 28 24 61.5
29 5 Michigan St. 32 27 41 37 37 47 25 19 22 18 64.4
30 California 15 16 23 39 40 31 48 44 29 36 65.2
31 Texas Tech 18 14 26 25 46 56 42 37 40 28 66.9
32 Virginia 23 24 27 28 29 39 32 51 44 55 67.0
33 Penn St. 31 34 51 51 30 44 24 25 15 13 69.6
34 Kentucky 37 32 63 31 34 37 22 21 35 45 71.4
35 4 Baylor 46 52 45 30 31 26 35 23 43 44 72.5
36 2 TCU 26 28 37 38 30 43 50 38 34 27 72.7
37 15 Arizona St. 65 64 38 43 39 30 23 17 20 17 73.5
38 24 Missouri 57 47 31 34 43 35 39 32 27 26 75.2
39 West Virginia 49 54 48 27 31 28 38 40 33 30 75.9
40 Rutgers 27 30 24 31 50 31 60 55 53 52 79.5
41 Louisville 29 33 42 42 52 50 40 43 32 32 81.7
42 22 Arizona 56 70 46 46 37 27 28 30 41 41 83.3
43 Vanderbilt 71 50 29 45 19 19 49 50 48 74 84.8
44 Pittsburgh 59 48 47 40 35 22 44 42 66 66 88.1
45 20 Wisconsin 40 38 57 69 57 37 33 29 37 31 89.8
46 Maryland 43 55 35 36 33 48 53 61 54 47 90.7
47 Utah 37 39 28 33 44 53 67 69 41 53 91.8
48 Oregon St. 56 44 39 44 39 40 54 48 71 63 94.5
49 Iowa 30 26 43 47 53 51 59 41 58 51 97.5
50 Indiana 60 58 67 53 38 49 38 45 49 57 98.2
51 N.C. St. 87 75 53 61 47 54 30 26 35 37 102.7
52 Cinncinati 49 42 50 35 71 52 69 60 57 54 107.0
53 South Florida 64 60 49 67 49 59 39 46 58 73 110.2
54 Illinois 42 40 65 68 47 41 75 71 45 34 110.8
55 16 Georgia Tech 41 46 57 59 85 72 47 47 39 43 111.5
56 Washington State 73 57 56 50 53 45 70 58 55 38 112.1
57 23 Boise St. 53 65 54 56 62 42 65 66 64 46 114.7
58 Northwestern 88 59 61 48 53 46 68 59 55 49 117.1
59 Colorado 75 62 36 29 68 69 63 72 71 75 118.1
60 Kansas 34 37 75 95 46 55 55 63 67 60 120.2
61 Boston College 38 35 64 71 88 92 42 57 47 58 122.6
62 Syracuse 76 51 66 54 74 73 51 53 60 50 122.7
63 Minnesota 52 67 73 66 61 74 52 49 52 56 122.8
64 Purdue 94 77 33 52 56 58 72 68 69 65 124.4
65 Duke 77 63 52 63 68 70 58 67 62 70 128.6
66 BYU 63 66 62 60 71 63 71 62 67 61 128.9
67 Kansas St. 69 61 59 106 66 68 47 54 45 48 130.0
68 Wake Forest 70 73 70 73 58 61 59 64 51 67 130.5
69 Iowa St. 51 69 88 76 58 65 56 52 69 71 131.7
70 Marshall 55 43 68 88 58 71 63 65 74 80 132.7
71 Houston 74 72 60 57 50 62 78 86 90 83 137.1
72 Southern Methodist 50 49 90 64 71 75 99 75 82 79 147.1
73 Toledo 67 74 78 62 70 66 90 84 90 69 148.6
74 San Diego St. 61 93 98 72 79 64 73 70 75 68 152.1
75 UCF 39 53 91 119 74 90 74 73 63 76 156.6
76 Temple 108 97 77 55 85 87 59 74 73 95 158.2
77 Southern Mississsippi 86 78 71 70 74 81 86 100 94 92 162.8
78 Memphis 66 71 72 84 90 102 89 82 77 86 164.5
79 Tulsa 90 68 89 79 74 79 78 88 99 101 165.4
80 East Carolina 68 79 74 99 93 66 76 109 114 97 171.4
81 UConn 102 81 78 65 65 60 117 119 100 122 174.7
82 Western Michigan 103 112 108 93 103 99 59 56 78 59 178.1
83 Western Kentucky 91 86 76 118 91 95 78 83 102 87 181.1
84 Fresno St. 85 93 123 113 66 77 81 81 86 85 181.2
85 Arkansas State 96 102 69 78 108 110 86 97 80 90 182.6
86 Louisiana-Lafayette 96 99 96 102 79 78 101 90 89 82 183.7
87 Tulane 103 101 81 94 78 86 83 101 104 114 184.0
88 Central Michigan 108 76 100 75 88 76 101 113 112 78 184.2
89 Bowling Green 96 84 107 82 84 84 99 105 94 94 185.7
90 Rice 89 87 92 81 91 96 90 110 115 96 186.4
91 Ohio 100 80 80 103 103 101 103 77 110 81 187.2
92 Colorado St. 65 85 122 114 83 82 77 79 126 128 188.0
93 Louisiana Tech 84 83 97 117 81 119 84 91 78 89 188.6
94 Northern Illinois 79 90 95 105 110 91 95 103 80 72 189.1
95 Nevada 108 96 83 92 93 109 90 78 118 118 190.8
96 Hawaii 79 82 86 107 93 80 111 96 128 127 191.8
97 Miami (OH) 121 117 82 74 112 83 117 102 84 62 192.7
98 FIU 92 104 85 82 110 124 84 99 94 105 194.1
99 New Mexico 82 109 84 108 100 97 90 89 122 113 194.2
100 Mid Tennessee 94 110 112 109 97 94 81 85 85 99 195.0
101 Navy 103 103 87 90 93 98 122 87 106 101 195.4
102 San Jose St. 100 108 100 97 123 113 103 76 60 64 196.3
103 Florida Atlantic 115 120 94 112 87 106 88 93 76 77 197.3
104 Ball St. 115 114 117 91 102 89 96 80 106 84 198.9
105 Air Force 96 95 108 80 101 88 124 107 104 107 200.5
106 Wyoming 72 100 108 98 105 107 96 122 106 117 205.3
107 Eastern Michigan 120 116 100 77 116 85 107 118 118 91 207.0
108 UNLV 81 91 111 85 116 112 111 124 102 103 208.2
109 UAB 93 92 112 101 97 117 119 95 130 129 212.7
110 Utah State 78 97 117 123 105 114 106 94 127 100 212.9
111 Kent St. 83 119 100 96 105 116 111 121 113 110 213.3
112 Idaho 103 115 116 87 122 103 96 111 118 116 214.5
113 UTEP 115 105 100 86 121 118 111 104 129 121 216.9
114 Troy 113 88 100 111 97 121 121 125 110 119 220.1
115 North Texas 103 113 100 110 118 123 123 116 90 88 221.1
116 New Mexico St. 108 118 99 100 112 120 109 117 124 115 221.2
117 Buffalo 118 107 121 88 123 122 108 106 124 111 223.6
118 Akron 108 89 120 104 118 108 111 128 118 123 224.3
119 Louisiana-Monroe 113 111 112 116 120 125 103 120 94 108 227.2
120 Army 119 106 125 121 112 115 124 98 90 112 227.9
121 Massachusetts 122 121 117 122 115 105 109 126 122 124 235.0
122 Appalachian State 123 121 124 125 124 126 124 108 94 120 240.8

One of my little "Krakenisms" I've discussed before is the "Synergistic Trend" which means that overachievement on the field yields better players in recruiting which yields better performance on the field which yields better recruiting. Therefore, it is easier to maintain Eliteness than it is to break into Eliteness.  Descending from Eliteness usually involves either coaching turnover, loss of motivation/energy from coaching, or tying up the purse strings of the program by the administration of the school.

Clemson was ranked #14 last year and has moved up another spot this year to #13.  Because of the small recruiting class in 2009, Clemson has been ranked as low as #22 in these rankings under Dabo.  That ranking was heading into the 2010 season when Clemson finished 6-7.

Since, 2010, Clemson has moved up the rankings yearly like this:

2010...#22

2011...#20

2012...#17

2013...#14

2014...#14

2015...#13

We are moving upwards in recruiting at a level of consistency that is as good as anyone in the nation right now.  In fact, of the 21 schools that were ranked ahead of us in 2010, there is only one other school that has not dropped in these rankings at least for one year of this composite...and that school is Alabama.

Will this consistency pay off?

As I wrote above, no team in the past 9 years has won the national championship without being ranked in the top 10 of this composite. 8 of the last 9 NC teams were ranked in the top 6 of this composite. So if you like to gamble, you can probably get pretty decent odds on LSU or Georgia to win it all this year.


All trends are fluid and have outliers, so I'm not saying that Clemson can't win the National Championship this year.  It's just that the talent level information here does not support it. However, the same can be said for the Big 12 favorite, TCU, and they are projected to contend for the National Championship.

College Football is being decided on the field more so than ever before in its history.   Strength of schedule also matters more than ever.  It has become more likely that teams will have to ascend inside the top 10 and maybe inside the top 6 in recruiting to win the National Championship in this day and age.

Those trends also say that if Clemson wins the ACC, it is most likely because FSU is in a down year more so than Clemson elevating to FSU's level the previous 2 years. Clemson is, however, at the talent level where becoming an Elite Program is possible.  23% of the current Elite Programs are now ranked behind Clemson. Therefore, according to this composite, it can now be said that the talent is there for Eliteness moving forward.

As far as the National title picture goes, it is more likely that two of Ohio St., Florida St, Notre Dame, Texas, and USC make the playoff and face two SEC teams out of Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, or Florida over any other scenario.  If you account for the typical Eliteness bias, you can pull Georgia and Notre Dame out and add Oregon, Stanford, and Michigan State.

In the 2nd table, let's look at the ACC teams (with Notre Dame). The first column is the recruiting ranking in this composite when the current coach took over the program. The rest of the categories are the same as the first table. Each Team's Score is listed in bold in the last column. The other columns moving left to right are 2011-2015 Rivals and Scout Rankings in the same order as the first table.

Prior to
Coach
Arrival

Recr
Rank
PreS
Rank
Final
Rank

ACC

Team

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Team Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Score
13 3 10 Florida St. 2 1 6 11 10 16 4 3 3 11 13.9
9 7 11 Notre Dame 9 8 20 16 3 5 10 6 11 6 19.8
15 13 12 Clemson 10 12 14 17 14 12 18 28 4 15 30.3
13 19 Miami 33 41 9 9 20 21 12 11 26 39 39.3
N/A 27 Virginia Tech 36 36 22 26 21 34 27 36 24 41 59.0
17 28 UNC 19 21 44 41 28 29 29 31 28 24 61.5
45 32 Virginia 23 24 27 28 29 39 32 51 44 55 67.0
45 41 Louisville 29 33 42 42 52 50 40 43 32 32 81.7
40 44 Pittsburgh 59 48 47 40 35 22 44 42 66 66 88.1
60 51 N.C. St. 87 75 53 61 47 54 30 26 35 37 102.7
46 55 Georgia Tech 41 46 57 59 85 72 47 47 39 43 111.5
54 61 Boston College 38 35 64 71 88 92 42 57 47 58 122.6
75 62 Syracuse 76 51 66 54 74 73 51 53 60 50 122.7
60 65 Duke 77 63 52 63 68 70 58 67 62 70 128.6
67 68 Wake Forest 70 73 70 73 58 61 59 64 51 67 130.5
39.9 38.4

You always hear that a coach needs time to "get his players in there."  I believe this is true because as we saw in 2010, you can't run a spread successfully if you don't have WRs.  And yet, as this composite demonstrates, it is the upgrade in talent when recruiting that makes the most definitive difference.

So, I used the two far left columns above to show how each program is moving in recruiting under the current head coach.

The overall "upswing" of ACC recruiting has begun and we are a part of it.  The southeast is fertile recruiting ground and if it ends up being a mistake for the SEC to not offer Clemson and Florida State, this is why. The SEC chose to expand their footprint to the west as opposed to locking down the southeast and effectively destroying the ACC. They chose to take the money in their face instead of assuring more money in the future by locking down the lifeblood of that money, their recruiting pool

As you can see above and probably already knew, Florida State and Notre Dame are the only two teams in conference that out-recruit us.  You'll notice by the "Score" column that the gap between us and those two is fairly large (cue up the "Lonely 5-Heart Band").  These two teams make up the first tier of ACC Recruiting.

The 2nd tier here consists of Clemson and Miami. These two schools have put some distance between themselves and the rest of the conference.

The 3rd tier features VT, UNC, and UVA.  UNC, amid academic scandal and the ousting of Butch Davis, has dropped from the 2nd tier over the past couple years.

The 4th tier consists of conference new-comers, Louisville and Pittsburgh. From a recruiting standpoint, these two add more credibility to the ACC than they were given.  Adding them was thought to be a basketball move, but as you can see, the talent foundation they are working with is higher than 5 schools that were currently in the conference. With better resources than they had in the Big East, I expect them to only go up from here.

The 5th tier consists of NC St. and Georgia Tech. State is an upswing and could jump up into the 4th tier as soon as next year.  Georgia Tech is Georgia Tech. It seems like no coach can recruit there but, every coach can overachieve there despite it.

The 6th and final tier consists of Boston College, Syracuse, Duke, and Wake Forest.  I think BC is primed for an upswing as they work past the horrid 2012 and 2013 classes. Syracuse is also upwardly mobile after raising their talent level in each of the past two years.  Duke and Wake Forest are mired at the bottom where they always seem to be.  Both programs have excellent offensive coaching with David Cutcliffe and Dave Clawson both developing pro-style systems that should consistently overachieve from their recruiting ranking. Duke is already doing that, of course, and I expect Wake Forest to begin to do the same.

The 3rd table is set up the same way as the 2nd table except it shows how Clemson matches up with the teams on their schedule.

Clemson Schedule 2015
Prior to
Coach
Arrival
Recr
Rank
PreS
Rank
Final
Rank
Recruiting Composite
Weighted Scale
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Team Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Rivals Scout Score
13 3 10 Florida St. 2 1 6 11 10 16 4 3 3 11 13.9
9 7 11 Notre Dame 9 8 20 16 3 5 10 6 11 6 19.8
15 13 12 Clemson 10 12 14 17 14 12 18 28 4 15 30.3
N/A 17 South Carolina 17 11 17 13 20 24 16 24 19 20 35.9
13 19 Miami 33 41 9 9 20 21 12 11 26 39 39.3
45 41 Louisville 29 33 42 42 52 50 40 43 32 32 81.7
60 51 N.C. St. 87 75 53 61 47 54 30 26 35 37 102.7
46 55 Georgia Tech 41 46 57 59 85 72 47 47 39 43 111.5
54 61 Boston College 38 35 64 71 88 92 42 57 47 58 122.6
75 62 Syracuse 76 51 66 54 74 73 51 53 60 50 122.7
67 68 Wake Forest 70 73 70 73 58 61 59 64 51 67 130.5
N/A 122 Appalachian State 123 121 124 125 124 126 124 108 94 120 240.8

As you can see, Florida State and Notre Dame are the only two teams that out-recruit us on our schedule.  So, you might say that talent alone suggests a 10-2 season this year.  Unfortunately, we know that any given Saturday during football season can provide us fans with joy, relief, or disappointment.

A couple programs here stand out to me. The first is our feathered friends in the midlands.  Their recruiting has leveled off and one could not project a drastic increase anytime soon with the cloud of Spurrier's retirement hovering over the program.

I think that what happens on the field this year will go a long way to deciding South Carolina's future over the next few years.  At best for South Carolina moving forward, the Gamecocks bounce back and even though recruiting is more difficult to sustain than it was several years ago, CockNation stands behind Spurrier.

At worst, SC is entering a period of decline. If 2015 is another mediocre year like last year, how the SC administration handles that would be something to watch over the next 6 months. Spurrier may have too much credibility and ego to be bullied into the "coach-in-waiting" situation I think they need.

The other program is SC's bowl opponent from last year, Miami.  For the past five years, the entire span of this composite, Miami has had the cloud of probation hanging over the program. Yet, since Al Golden took over the program, they have still maintained a top 20 recruiting ranking.

With their scholarships moving from 76 to 80 this year and from 80 to 85 next year, the end is finally in sight.  I expect them to begin to catch the "Synergistic Trend" possibly as soon as this year.  I don't expect them to compete for the national championship anytime soon, but I do expect them to become the top 15 program that their recruiting will say they are.

Clemson is trending up and The ACC is trending up. As good as Clemson is in recruiting, Dabo and Company still have some improving to do to reach the National Championship level in that regard.  However, they have attained the talent good enough for the Elite Program level and The Synergistic Trend is in motion.