Monday, January 31, 2011

Impacts of Top Recruiting Classes

With so much attention being given in the last week with this year’s football recruiting classes. I wanted to look back and see just how impactful a number one recruiting class can be on the team’s following season. First, let’s take a look at what teams took home the country’s top recruiting classes. Below are the top classes for 2002 thru 2010 from the top three recruiting experts.

Year Rivals.com Scouts Inc. ESPN
2002 Texas Texas  
2003 LSU USC  
2004 USC USC  
2005 USC Tennessee  
2006 USC USC Florida
2007 Florida Florida USC
2008 Alabama Alabama Miami
2009 Alabama Ohio State LSU
2010 USC Florida Florida
 
As we would expect, the big names litter the board. Teams like Texas, USC, Florida, and LSU took home most of the crowns. There are some interesting teams in the list, who took a step backwards after getting the best incoming freshmen. Tennessee, USC, and Miami have all replaced coaches since bringing in the top classes. To add to this list, below are the last nine Teams to be at the top of the AP Poll, USA Today Poll, and BCS Champions.
 
 
Year AP Poll USA Today BCS Champion
2002 Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State
2003 USC LSU LSU
2004 USC USC USC
2005 Texas Texas Texas
2006 Florida Florida Florida
2007 LSU LSU LSU
2008 Florida Florida Florida
2009 Alabama Alabama Alabama
2010 Auburn Auburn Auburn

The first thing that comes to mind is that  over the nine years, only three teams have won the next year’s national championship. The teams to accomplish this are USC in 2004, Florida in 2008, and Alabama in 2009. While there is no question that a top recruiting class will impact the overall direction of the team, just bringing in the best high school kids in a given year doesn’t guarantee your team a Championship.

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