Monday, June 7, 2010

A Brief Note on the Subjectivity of Recruiting Rankings

Last Tuesday, I took a look at the current Alabama commitments in the Rivals 100 rankings.

The following day, Rivals followed up by releasing the their next 150 ranked prospects to complete the Rivals 250. Among them were an additional 5 verbal commitments to the Crimson Tide: DT LaMichael Fanning (#113), WR Marvin Shinn (#119), WR Bradley Sylve (#177), DE D.J. Pettway (#221), and LB Shannon Brown (#228).

Of Alabama's 11 current committed high school prospects, 8 are now counted in the top 250 players in the country according to Rivals. So the post-national championship recruiting bump seems to be showing up on schedule. On the third day of Rivals' star rating deluge, they released what basically amounted to an "honorable mention" group of the remaining Four Star prospects. None of Alabama's 3 unranked commitments were given an initial 4* grade by Rivals.

One of those players was a TE from Mississippi by the name of Malcom Faciane.

I mention Faciane because he's a classic example of how wildly divergent these recruiting rankings can be. I mean, we're all smart people here, so there's no need to rehash how these evaluations are inherently subjective and how difficult it is to project success from one level to another, especially in these early rankings where so much is determined by if a kid camped at the right place at the right time to get noticed. However, there's generally some degree of consensus regarding who's on the national radar and who isn't. But every now and then you come across a real head-scratcher like Faciane. Rivals apparently didn't think he was among the best 300 or so players in the country, but a quick check of the ESPN 150 rankings will show Faciane clocking in at #76 overall. That's a 200+ spot swing, at least. So who screwed up?

I went to to mediate the situation, but couldn't find Faciane anywhere in their top 300 prospects. So Rivals and Scout seem to be in agreement that Faciane is, at best, a solid but unspectacular prospect. Maybe Faciane's coach is buddies with Tom Luginbill. But wait. Maybe Rivals and Scout just have their heads up their rear-ends and are, in fact, missing out on a can't-miss prospect. Only time will tell, I guess.

But you gotta admit that's weird.


Kevin said...

I definitely agree. And even when everyone agrees that a guy is one of the best prospects (cough...Mitch Mustain) a lot of times they don't pan out for various reasons. Ranking football prospects and recruiting the right guys in general has to be one of the hardest things in sports. Not only do you have the difference within each state in terms of the quality of High School Football (Georgia alone has 5 classifications that very greatly in terms of competition level), you also have to know how each guy fits into your system, whether or not he can make the grades at your school, figure out if he's a knucklehead and many other things.

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