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Recruiting Rankings = Sham

With the carnage about to ensue today in regards to recruiting there are a couple of articles in the local press as to where USC will finish today. I'll get to those in a minute but more important was the piece I saw over at the Wizard of Odds the other day that to me really says it all.

Here's the truth about recruiting rankings: It's all a bunch of horsecrap.

Everybody and their grandmother are consumed with them at the moment, but in this corner of cyberspace, we've never considered this exercise anything other than somebody trying to sell you something. Save your money, people! The so-called recruiting gurus miss more than 50% of the time.

Last season, Rivals had only 11 of the top 25 teams averaging a recruiting class of 25th or better from 2003 to 2007. Scout didn't do any better, also missing on 14 teams.

A year earlier, Rivals had 13 of the top 25 finishers with a top 25 class from 2002 to 2006. Scout had one fewer at 12.

In regards to USC it make us pump our chests out when we sign top talent. Without that talent its very hard to win let alone compete for an MNC. But as I have noted before talent will only get you so far as coaching is the key to developing that raw talent. As the talent develops you need to bring it all together so that it's firing on all cylinders. Pete Carroll is one of the best at doing just that but he is not perfect and sometimes he falls short.

I have a hard time evaluating 17-18 year old kids based on what some recruiting magazine says or by watching clips on YouTube. I just don't see it as an accurate assessment of how these kids will perform at the next level. Full disclosure I subscribe to some of the premium recruiting sites more for general name recognition and player Bio's more than anything else. I have never, because I'm not interested in doing so, written a piece about how a particular player is rated or such simply because it's just too hard to gauge how well the player will do.

Sure it's great for the ego when SC is ranked in the top 3-year in and year out but how have those recruiting classes developed or performed in the years to follow? To me that is the best gauge of good a recruiting class is. Again, as I have noted in the past I am more concerned about quality and filling needs than raking in numbers. I thought it was a mistake for PC to go after so many RB's last year as there were surely other needs that needed to be met.

I trust in Pete Carroll but he is not infallible and when he does its not hard to see how there are some who are practically throwing themselves off a building because they don't necessarily like the results. PC is already taking some heat on some of the message boards with this recruiting class and its not even signed yet. Some the overlying concerns like PC's continued flirtation with NFL is a legitimate criticism the Reggie Bush situation, as it stands now, is not.

Wolf has a pretty good article today looking at this year's class.

[F]lorida definitely pinched USC nationally, with wide receiver-safety Will Hill of Jersey City, N.J., and defensive tackle Omar Hunter of Buford, Ga., two of the biggest losses.

"When you don't land a high-ranked person across the board, it hurts you," Burton said.

USC did score some victories, however, with tight end Blake Ayles of Orange Lutheran one of the best.

"Blake Ayles, in my opinion, is the best tight end in the United States," Wallace said.

Something else happened locally. USC got caught off-guard last spring when UCLA offered scholarships to many high-school juniors USC was still evaluating. That caused USC to lose out on a couple local commitments.

"What happened was Florida sealed them off on some guys they normally get and UCLA stole a couple guys early, so it hurt," said a Pacific-10 Conference coach who did not wish to be identified.

Fair points, sometimes you need to change your approach to keep ahead of the curve, PC may have been caught a little flatfooted in regards to early commits but he definitely rebounded in regards to 2009 class. I do think his continued interest in the NFL will hurt him as long as he continues to show interest. Other coaches will always use that against him. The Bush mess will continue to be an issue until the final ruling is in so that's out of our hands.

The pride factor is sure to piss some people off as some of our local and national rivals put together some pretty good classes. (this is best article of the bunch)

USC will not finish No. 1 when the national signing day results are in, as it has in four of the past five years.

The Trojans almost certainly won't finish in the top five, as they did the other year, and may not crack the top 10, although has USC at No. 8 nationally with Florida, Miami (Fla.) and Georgia the top three.

And to make things look even worse, they'll almost surely be somewhere behind archrival Notre Dame, predicted to finish as high as No. 2 nationally, and with little separation from crosstown rival UCLA and three other Pac-10 programs: Oregon, Arizona State and Washington.

Now that's a change in the ways of the college football world, especially on the West Coast.

Over the past five seasons, if you take the top 10 recruits signed by Pac-10 teams in each of those years, USC had 40 of the top 50. The other nine Pac-10 teams divvied up the remaining 10.

Of course we all know recruiting is a dirty business as we have heard the stories of how Florida's Urban Meyer has handled things but should we really be surprised?

Some are already looking past the 2008 class and starting to focus on 2009. To me that's way too early but you need to roll with the changes.

More important for this class is that you can't count Pete Carroll out yet, he has been known to pull out a few surprises of his own.

USC expects to pick up at least 17 new players Wednesday when football recruits can sign letters of intent.

The Trojans' class could grow if several local or out-of-state players who have not made oral commitments announce they will join USC, but several recruiting experts said it would probably be Coach Pete Carroll's lowest-ranked class in five years because it lacks quantity as well as a quarterback and marquee running back.

[...]Several out-of-state players, among them defensive lineman Nick Perry of Michigan and linebacker Jerrell Harris of Alabama, also are considering the Trojans.

It should be interesting to see how the day unfolds. I will do my best to set up an open thread to watch the days activities.