Sunday, February 11, 2007

Uninformed Analysis of our recruiting class

First, a few comments.

Recruiting is a bizarre business, and really tough on those of us who are in the business of uninformed analysis. If I go to a game, I may be uninformed, but at least I saw the game, right? Well, I have not seen these guys play. I have no real idea how good they are.

Even more importantly, I especially have no idea how good they are going to be. And you know what? Neither does anybody else. Picture yourself as a HS Senior. Was it clear to everyone involved at that time what you were going to accomplish in your senior year in college? I highly doubt it.

Our vision of recruiting is clouded by a lack of objective information. This week, every team revealed recruits that are going to lead them to a conference championship..if you ask them. Each has produced a highlight video that demonstrates (so you can SEE IT!) that a conference championship cannot be avoided. (Ours is here). As we know, in more cases than not, this cannot be true.

In the same vein, no Coach walked out Wednesday and said that his recruiting class was not what they hoped and that while anything could happen, it is hard to see this group of players ever amounting to anything.

Also, scouting services (rivals, ESPN, CSTV, etc), are notoriously unreliable on BCS schools. They are worthless on mid majors. Then, add in the propensity of players to overstate the potential interest of big schools, the propensity of big schools to overstate their interest in order to keep options open with Player A while they try to recruit Player A+, and you simply have something that is impossible to really evaluate.

The only way to evaluate a recruiting class is when it is done competing, as we try to do here from time to time.

With that in mind, off we go. I have tried to at least ballpark what kinds of things we might see from the players on our squad. I try to look for something specific to hang my hat on. Such as great stats. Or, some kind of validation. I particularly like to see all-conference/region/state players, because that means that people who saw the kid play or who competed against him liked him. I find it hard to believe we recruit kids who weren't even all-conference, but it happens and they play. That system isn't perfect, either.

I have three categories:

  • STAR
  • Tweener (Between Star and Contributor)
  • Contributor/NEI (Not enough information).
I'm an optimist, so I'm not going to say today that anybody isn't going to contribute. I assume if they play as we expect they will contribute, but they may encounter academic problems, or simply not develop.

Most likely Star: Nate Brown. #54 in country. Highest rated QB to come to BG in recent years. Much like O4, he can redshirt next year, back up AT for his Sr. season, and be ready to start as a redshirt sophomore. This was a great guy to line up, and I understand he was higher rated than O4 or AT.

Other Likely stars:

Eric Ransom: Huge JUCO numbers. May have only fallen to us due to injury in second season. Reported to have game breaking ability. This guy could be an immediate difference maker.

Glen Stanley: All-state in Florida as a junior, and big numbers in his senior season. Lots of TFL and fumbles caused. Appears to have been a productive player in a competitive state.

Sinisa Vrvilo: We need this guy BAD! He's Croatian. JUCO all-american with a career long of 55 yards.

Mark Wooldridge: All-Ohio as a junior and a senior, and was all-ohio second team his freshmen and sophomore years...had 1,708 yards and 18 TDs as a senior. Also a solid defensive player, if we choose to put him there. (Note, though, that Ransom will start as a junior, so the earlier classes can always use depth).

Chris Young: Reportedly Had Interest from Kentucky and Mississippi. He was second-team all-state in Florida playing for a good program.

Willie Geter: All-Dade County (junior and senior) and all-state in Florida. Are you kidding me?

Tweeners--between stars and contributors

Jerrson Davis: Don't know what to make of this guy. Coach is high on him and looking to have him contribute right away, and he was all-state in high school, but he basically didn't play in JUCO ball at all--redshirted and then saw "intra-squad action." I have a hard time understanding how that happens, and then he's good enough to play here.

Gary Wright: From Miami, he was defensive MVP of his conference's all-star game. Big sack and fumble caused numbers his junior and senior seasons.\

Kevin Alvarado: Highly decorated HS career, and clearly a very good player in the state of Indiana. Still, he's from Indiana.

Josh Dodge: All-area in Florida, and second team all-state. Big boy (290) who apparently looked good on film at the announcement. Olineman don't get stats, but this guy could be the real deal.

Ray Hutson: All-state/region/etc, and a top blue chip recruit in Michigan. Could be a very good player. Bio is light on his measurables, (TDs, etc), so I am putting him here.

Andrew Johnson IV: Was all-league and all-metro. Not much on his personal achievement. All-state basketball credential bodes well.

Nick Torresso: All-area in Chicago area, and had good numbers on the D-Line in terms of making big plays--TFL and forcing fumbles.

Derrick Williams: All-district and second team all-state in LA. Only question mark is why he was without an offer so late in the process.


Ben Bojicic: May well be a good player but he doesn't seem to have earned much recognition outside his school. At 273 pounds, he did letter in tennis.

Darren Branch: A HS DT, but only 230, he was second-team all conference and honorable mention all-district. Could well be a good player.

Preston Burrell: Was a player on a really good team in Holland, MI, but there's no recognition beyond his HS letter, and nothing on his own stats. Was ranked in top 50 blue chip players in Michigan.

Adrian Hodges: No external recognition, but he did make 45 catches and 6 Tds as a senior. People who have seen his footage are high on him.

Nick Iovinelli: We need a consistent punter after last year. Average only 36 yards/punt.

Anthony Smith: Apparently he looked good on tape, but we have about zero info on him as a player.

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