Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Talent and Recruiting

(Hat tip Phil Steele, sorry no link available)

Some of you are probably familiar with Phil Steele's publication which is a goldmine for data for a college football fan (or for those who like to place a few bets).

He publishes composite rankings of recruits. Here are the rankings form 1998-2004:

1998
1. UM 2. ND 3. UCLA 4. PSU 5. FSU 6. NC 7. UGA 8. UF 9. OSU 10. ALA 11. TEX 12. NEB 13. LSU 14. TENN 15. USC 16. WIS 17. S.CAR 18. MSU 19. OK 20. SYR 21. IOWA 22. STAN 23. ASU 24. COL 25. MINN

1999
1. TEX 2. ALA 3. A&M 4. OSU 5. LSU 6. UM 7. ND 8. UGA 9. MIA 10. MissST 11. ARK 12. BC 13. MSU 14. UCLA 15. UF 16. FSU 17. AUB 18. KSU 19. GT 20. NC 21. TENN 22. SYR 23. USC 24. S.CAR 25. ASU

2000
1. UF 2. TENN 3. FSU 4. PSU 5. TEX 6. ND 7. ALA 8. OSU 9. MIA 10. MSU 11. USC 12. ASU 13. AUB 14. OK 15. UM 16. STAN 17. UCLA 18. COL 19. NC 20. NEB 21. WIS 22. SYR 23. A&M 24. LSU 25. GT

2001
1. FSU 2. UM 3. TEX 4. LSU 5. ND 6. MIA 7. TENN 8. OSU 9. OK 10. NEB 11. PSU 12. UCLA 13. USC 14. WASH 15. STAN 16. VT 17. ARK 18. A&M 19. UF 20. PU 21. WIS 22. KSU 23. UGA 24. IOWA 25. CLEM

2002
1. FSU 2. TEX 3. OSU 4. TENN 5. ND 6. MIA 7. USC 8. OK 9. UCLA 10. UM 11. UVA 12. PSU 13. UF 14. S.CAR 15. MSU 16. UGA 17. COL 18. WASH 19. MissST 20. BC 21. A&M 22. LSU 23. STAN 24. NEB 25. AUB

2003
1. USC 2. UF 3. ND 4. UM 5. TENN 6. MIA 7. LSU 8. OSU 9. TEX 10. OK 11. A&M 12. UVA 13. UGA 14. MARY 15. NC 16. NCS 17. VT 18. WIS 19. FSU 20. IOWA 21. STAN 22. BC 23. UCLA 24. ALA 25. NEB

2004
1. USC 2. OK 3. MIA 4. LSU 5. TEX 6. UM 7. UF. 8. FSU 9. OSU 10. PSU 11. UGA 12. TENN 13. ORE 14. A&M 15. CAL 16. MSU 17. ND 18. MARY 19. MIZZ 20. ALA 21. WASH 22. NEB 23. OkST 24. UVA 25. S.CAR

So for the relevant years
UCLA: 3, 14, 17, 12, 9, 23, NR (SI/Scout: 24)
USC: 15, 23, 11, 13, 7, 1, 1

Averages:
Total: UCLA: 14.57, USC: 10.14
Last 5: UCLA: 17, USC: 6.6
Last 4: UCLA: 17, USC: 5.5
Last 3: UCLA: 18.67, USC: 3
Last 2: UCLA: 23.5, USC: 1

Now a couple of things should be immediately clear:
(1) UCLA has had top 25 talent for each of the relevant periods.
(2) UCLA has had top 20 talent for each period except the last two recruiting periods, and even so, those players are at most true sophomores.
(3) USC has higher average rankings, top 10 talent for each of the periods. But that is comparable talent.

So, UCLA has very good talent, among the best in the country. There are teams that have performed better with worse recruiting rankings.

Compare starters at several key positions:


Drew Olson

PrepStar All-American and No. 6 quarterback in West ... Rated No. 16 quarterback in nation and four-star rating by PacWest Football ... Four-star prospect by Max Emfinger ... No. 15 quarterback prospect by Max Emfinger ... Tom Lemming All-American (No. 93) and No. 15 player in West ... Rated No. 14 quarterback in nation by Tom Lemming ... Rated No. 4 quarterback in West by PacWestFootball.com ... Rated No. 46 player in Far West (CA/HI/NV) by SuperPrep ... Member of Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 ... First-team All-State Small Schools (Cal Hi Sports) ... Orange County Register Fab 15 second team ... Member of Las Vegas Sun Super 11 second team


Matt Leinart

His 2000 honors included Parade All-American, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Student Sports Senior All-American, Prep Star Dream Team, Student Sports Top 100, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-Western Region Super 30, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Las Vegas Sun Super 11 first team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Gatorade California Player of the Year, Cal-Hi Sports All-State second team, All-CIF Southern Section first team, All-CIF Division I Co-Offensive MVP, Los Angeles Times All-Orange County Back of the Year, Orange County Register All-Orange County first team and All-Serra League as a senior at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana (Calif.)


Maurice Drew
Parade All-American ... A four-star selection by rivals.com ... Rated No. 1 all-purpose back nationally by rivals.com ... rivals.com also ranked him the No. 7 prospect in the West and No. 54 nationally ... PrepStar All-American ... SuperPrep Elite 50 (No. 27) ... SuperPrep All-American (No. 3 running back) ... SuperPrep FarWest Offensive Player of the Year and No. 5 prospect ... Rated No. 3 running back in West by PacWest Football.com ... All-West selection (No. 65 prospect) by Tom Lemming ... TheInsiders.com four-star selection ... Ranked No. 6 nationally at running back by TheInsiders.com ... Max Emfinger six-star selection as all-purpose back ... Member of Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 ... Selected first-team All-State by CalHiSports.com ... Named State Running Back of the Year by CalHiSports.com ... Named Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West honorable mention


Reggie Bush

He was named a 2002 Parade All-American (and the top running back), USA Today All-USA first team, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Student Sports All-American first team, Tom Lemming All-American, The Insiders.com All-American second team, Tom Lemming Super Team, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Top 100 Dream Team, The Sporting News Hot 100, FOX Sports 50, Tom Lemming Top 100, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Tom Lemming All-West, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Orange County Register Fab 15 first team, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-CIF San Diego Section first team, San Diego Union-Tribune Offensive MVP and All-Grossmont South League Offensive MVP pick as a senior running back at Helix High in La Mesa (Calif.).


Marcedes Lewis

Parade All-American ... SuperPrep Elite 50 (No. 4) ... SuperPrep All-American (No. 1 jumbo athlete) ... Rated No. 2 player in Far West (CA/HI/NV) by SuperPrep ... PrepStar Dream Team and No. 1 tight end in nation ... Member of Student Sports Hot 100 (No. 30) ... Rated No. 1 tight end in nation and five-star prospect by PacWest Football ... Rated No. 1 tight end in West by PacWest Football.com ... Ranked No. 22 nationally in TheInsiders Top 101 ... Five-star prospect by Max Emfinger and member of All-America team ... No. 1 TE prospect by Max Emfinger ... Tom Lemming All-American (No. 33) and No. 6 player in West ... Rated No. 2 tight end in nation by Tom Lemming ... The Sporting News Hot 101 (No. 35) ... Ranked No. 30 nationally by Student Sports ... Second-team All-State (Cal Hi Sports) ... First-team All-CIF Southern Section ... CIF-SS Division I co-Offensive Player of the Year ... All-CIF SS Division I first team ... Member of L.A. Times All-Star Team ... First-team L.A. Times All-Southeast/South Coast ... Member of Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 ... Orange County Register Fab 15 first team ... Member of Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team (nine votes) ... Long Beach Press-Telegram Dream Team ... Member of Las Vegas Sun Super 11 ..


Dwayne Jarrett

2003 Parade All-American, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Top 100 Dream Team, Super Prep All-Northeast Offensive MVP, Prep Star All-East and New Jersey Offensive Player of the Year pick as a senior wide receiver and defensive back at New Brunswick (N.J.) High.


Look, I'm more than willing to concede that $C has more talent. Their recent recruiting rankings demonstrate that. But there is no doubt in my mind that UCLA has plenty of talent. There are plenty of teams (probably about 100 or so) in IA ball that UCLA is more talented than. There is no question in my mind that we have enough players and enough talent to beat $C. Recruiting rankings and a look at some of the accomplishments and accolodes of our players demonstrate that. $C is a talented team, a very good team. But we have enough talent to play with anyone.

Again though, apologistas don't like facts.
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