National Signing Day: 5 things to know before you lose your mind over your school's recruiting ranking
The 2018 recruiting classes will be finalized today.
Throughout National Signing Day, analysts will be busy grading and ranking. Disgruntled fans will be fussing and fretting. Some will save their angst for Twitter. (Please don’t.)
Me? I’ll do what I normally do: take a step back from the madness and try to make sense of it all.
Here are five things to remember about recruiting before you lose your mind over your favorite school’s national ranking later tonight.
1. The numbers frequently lie
The temptation is to draw a straight line from the team rankings to the final College Football Playoff poll. Unless you’re in Alabama, please don’t.
Take Washington, for example. The Huskies made the Playoff in 2016 and are a favorite to make it back in 2018.
Let’s look at the Huskies’ recruiting rankings responsible for the recent surge:
This 2018 class will be the first time the Huskies finished higher than third in their own conference — and they’ve yet to crack the top 10 nationally.
2. The 5-star QB doesn’t come with a guarantee
SEC fans have learned this lesson the hardest way imaginable.
Tua Tagovailoa came off the bench to lead Alabama to the 2017 national championship. In doing so, he not only became the first true freshman to win a national title since Jamelle Holieway in 1985, he also ended an ugly trend.
In 2016, the SEC signed two 5-star QBs: Shea Patterson and Jacob Eason. Both have left the conference.
In 2015, the SEC signed two 5-star QBs: Blake Barnett and Kyler Murray. Both left the conference.
In 2014, the SEC signed the only 5-star QB: Kyle Allen. He left the conference.
In 2013, the SEC didn’t sign either of the two 5-star QBs. But the top-rated QB who entered the league, Cooper Bateman, left the conference.
Justin Fields, who already is enrolled at Georgia, is the only 5-star QB entering the SEC this year.
Let’s hope he follows Tagovailoa’s path, rather than the others.
3. Dak Prescott was a 3-star QB
It happens every year, and it’ll happen to the 2018 class, too.
Fans fall in love with quarterback rankings. Again, please don’t. The coaches certainly don’t care.
Nick Starkel was a 3-star, the No. 36 QB in the 2016 class. He’s now Texas A&M’s starting quarterback.
Nick Fitzgerald was an even less-heralded 3-star, ranked No. 1,556 overall in the 2014 class. He’s on the verge of breaking SEC records.
Feleipe Franks was the highest-rated QB in Gainesville but couldn’t lock down the job in 2017. Jarrett Guarantano was the No. 1 dual-threat QB in his class but backed up Quinten Dormady most of the year.
These aren’t exceptions.
The rankings don’t dictate the depth chart, much less college success.
4. Some schools recruit better than they play
We all know who they are, too. Every conference has at least one, but here are the four worst offenders:
5. Freshman running backs aren’t saviors
The 2016 season was an anomaly in the SEC. Three freshmen rushed for 1,000 yards, more than any other freshman class this decade.
By class, here’s a look at the 1,000-yard running backs over the past 10 seasons (excluding quarterbacks).
- Juniors: 24
- Sophomores: 19
- Seniors: 15
- Freshmen: 10
Keep that in mind as you gush over the fact that five of the top 13 RBs in the 2018 class picked SEC schools.
Their time is coming. It just might not be in 2018.