Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
You’d think after having the second biggest recruiting class of his tenure, and getting a nationally ranked athlete as well as a highly sought-after JUCO transfer, Georgia Tech head football coach Paul Johnson would think everything was just sunshine and roses in the college football recruiting world.
However, a recent interview with Atlanta Jounral-Constitution recruiting reporter Michael Carvell paints a completely different picture of Johnson’s feelings about the system.
During the Q&A, Carvell and Johnson discuss the 2014 recruiting class, the drama surrounding last year’s class (and lack of it in 2014), and (of course) Johnson’s feelings about recruits taking visits to other schools after committing – a subject that it was obvious CPJ has no intention of going into in any depth.
But what did dominate the conversation was the recruiting rankings and how Johnson seems to hold a bit of disdain for said rankings, and those who decide what they are.
"“Look it up. The same 15 schools have the same top 10 recruiting classes every year. It is what it is.” – Paul Johnson"
Johnson often bristles at the question of rankings and recruiting class ranks, but he really let go with both barrels this time.
“Do you think anybody can really, really, really tell you who the No. 56 offensive guard in the country is? Honestly? I couldn’t tell you who the No. 6 guard in Atlanta is.” Johnson continued, “Now I can tell you who the five best players are, maybe. But once it gets past four or five, then it’s a crapshoot. And sometimes the guys who are the five prospects in Atlanta don’t end up being the five best players in college.”
A fair assessment I think, while others might look at Johnson’s views as a type of sour grapes for not being able to compete on a numbers level with in-state rival, Georgia.
The often curt Johnson also picked apart Alabama’s always top ranking, stating “Alabama has more 5-stars than the whole Big Ten conference, so they are going to be pretty good. What I’m saying you don’t have to look at recruiting rankings to know that Alabama is pretty good if you watch them play.”
It’s been my contention for years that there is far too much emphasis placed on the number of stars a prospective recruit carries, or what his “grade” is at his position. I’ve seen recruits jump from zero stars to three or even four stars just based on the coaches who suddenly seem to take an interest in them.
Just like anything else, it’s all about supply and demand. When a player seems to be suddenly in demand, his rankings are going to increase, even if his level of play or stats haven’t seen any significant change.
What’s your feeling on player rankings and recruiting class rankings? Should they be changed or even done away with to a degree, or are they as helpful a tool as purported to be?
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