More Evidence Correlating Recruiting to On-Field Success

This doesn't paint a complete picture, but it's more detailed strokes correlating recruiting and on-field success.



And this is exactly why I scoff at anyone calling Saban the GOAT. Sure, I think he's a good coach, but if you gave Fuente and Bud the talent pool he has, I guarantee you the team would be as good as if not better. If the FBS were high school, Saban has a 6A team and most everyone else is a 1A JV squad.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

That's a little disingenuous to say Saban is overrated just because he happens to have good recruits. Its not like, as he puts it, they just shit 5* recruits every year. A lot of time and resources goes into their ability to recruit, and allows their gameday coaching to really put them over the top, and its what makes him at least in the discussion for GOAT of college coaching, if not the top choice.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

You act as though being a great recruiter isn't one of the most important aspects of being a great CFB coach.

His talent isn't 'given' to him, he recruits like hell.

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Pump the brakes everyone. All I am saying is that I don't buy that he is the greatest Xs & Os coach ever. Is he an amazing recruiter, absolutely. My argument is simply that if some other coaches had the same talent as Saban that the playing field would be leveled. Calmete, I'm not taking anything away from his recruiting prowess.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

I mean you are kinda moving the goals posts here. First it was just GOAT coach and then you say greatest x's and o'x coach. Also on what basis do you think the team could be better if Fuente had their recruits? Seems like just baseless speculation.

Exactly how is clarifying my meaning moving the goalposts? And are you seriously telling me we wouldn't be better loaded in our 3 deep with Bama's talent? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Baseless speculation? Try common sense.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

Just out of curiosity, based on what? Where is the evidence that we would be as good if not better? And how much better could a college football program possibly be? They're as close to unbeatable as any team we've ever seen.

You said that our team would be as good or better than Bama if Fuente had Bama's recruits. That is what I am referring to. Your words. That seems like baseless speculation to me.

Florida State is a great example of having 5 star recruits everywhere and not doing shit with it. Saban keeps his team at #1 every single week of the season.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

His team has been in the national title picture every year since 2008 by the last week in November, except for 2010.

Looking at the table provided, Ohio State and Georgia basically have the same talent level and Saban has beat them head to head year after year. LSU (while down a tier in blue chippers) hasn't beaten Alabama for 7 years.

Let's give the guy his due - he's just better than everyone else from recruiting to prep to onfield results. He also took over a program coming off of suspension that wasn't even ranked and you can see what he did. Dude is good.

Saban is also very good at managing and selecting his staff.

With the exception of hiring Gary Tranquill away form VT... J/K!

But that's not what you said. You said:

And this is exactly why I scoff at anyone calling Saban the GOAT.

with the implication is that he isn't the GOAT, evidenced by the fact that he gets incredible recruits. Even if he isn't the greatest X's and O's coach (which is also debatable), that would be like saying Tom Brady isn't the GOAT QB because so much of his success is due to his preparation Mondays thru Saturdays, and only someone who can step on the field and win without preparation can be considered the GOAT.

I get what you're saying, and I'm picking apart your comment too much, but Saban is the GOAT and there's nothing to suggest that anyone would be able to do what Saban has done, even if they had the same recruits and resources.

This article is worth the read, because it explains pretty much exactly why the "hE jUsT rEcRuItS gOoD" narrative is silly, but for those of you who need it:

tldr; From the 2008 through 2015 recruiting classes (Saban's first through most recent eligible draft class at time of article) Alabama put 48% of their 5 star recruits into the NFL as 1st round draft picks. The rest of college football combined to put 17% of their 5 star recruits into the 1st round.

Just to "play it backwards", I looked up how close he was to drafting a full 22-man roster from his 26 first round draft picks.

Jonathan Allen is his only DE, so either Da'Ron Payne or Marcel Dareus would have to move over to end.

On the offense, he has only one Guard, so either James Carpenter, DJ Fluker or Andre Smith would have to step inside...

The only thing holding this back is Tagovailoa.


They did this graphic during the LSU game and came to the same conclusion. Tua was the final piece in alll-1st round pick Alabama 22

He is the GOAT and excels in all aspects of being a HC.

He's one of, if not the only coach who nails the big 3 of Recruiting, Developing, and Deploying talent.

He also is a great X's and O's coach. Widely regarded in the coaching and analyst community as one of the greatest defensive minds of all time. He still runs and tweaks his own defense. The Coordinator is primarily a play caller/manager for the defense, but they run his system and he makes the calls on major schematic installs.

Saban has the consistency of Frank Beamer at the highest level of college football. Also, Saban is the reason Alabama recruits like that. They weren't routinely picking up 5 star recruits under Mike DuBose.

"I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you you were terrible." -Justin Fuente

Tbf Saban did it in year 2 when his team wasnt that loaded. Was there talent? Sure but not enough to 11-1 or enough to eventually win a natty

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

BuT sTaRz DoNt MaTtEr iN rEcRuItiNg

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

I was about to do something like this but it was going to be like

I DoN't NeEd MoRe EvIdEnCe BeCaUsE EvErYoNe KnOwS ThIs PaWwL

Does anyone argue that recruiting doesn't correlate with success?

I believe the counter-argument is that if you have success on the field, your recruiting can get better.

You can certainly see why schools pour millions into hiring good coaches and improving their facilities.

(Also note that UCF were national champions last year.)

the classic counter-argument has been that you don't need 5-stars when you can develop 2-stars into good players. However, those great 2-stars don't turn into NFL talent like blue chippers, obviously.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

I think the arms race in college athletics has negated a lot of the truth in those classic arguments. Everyone can develop players now. The problem is that the old classic 'diamonds in the rough' that teams like VT and Kansas St used to thrive on back in the 90s are a thing of the past because recruiting has evolved to the point where there are few, if any, who legitimately fall through the cracks anymore.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

I don't think it's the arm's race as much as technology advancements. Now coaches can see tape from a player 7 hours away without even knowing who he is. That wasn't possible 15 years ago. As a result, there's significantly less value to having a recruit in your backyard.

To rephrase, the arms race give schools an advantage in LANDING recruits. Technology changes gave schools an advantage in determining which recruits to target. Now, a single coaching staff can realistic scout any recruit in the country. This was not the case 15 years ago.

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Seems like the schools believe that the arms race AND technology are factors.

It makes you long for the days when we could just wander around Hampton Roads and find hidden diamonds on just about any field.

Nowadays we have to travel to Australia to find a punter; Chicago to get an underrated QB...

Bronco Mendenhall is running around freakin' Denmark looking for gems.

You take a kid out of high school, change the training and coaching and they get better. Higher quality strength training, more detailed coaching, more specialized instruction and every 18 year old is better two or three years later. I'm all about taking 2 and 3 stars and making them better. But how about taking 4 and 5 stars and making THEM better? THAT is how you win a national title.


I completely agree with you that recruits rarely fall through the cracks anymore compared to 20 years ago, but Sam Rodgers definitely comes to mind immediately as an exception.

I'm not so sure he fell through the cracks as much as nearly no one uses full backs anymore and his height/weight combination clearly made him a full back vs. anything else.

Sam Rogers would like a word.

For every one Sam Rogers there's 100 two stars (if not more) who don't make it. You gotta play the odds.

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True, but the comment was

However, those great 2-stars don't turn into NFL talent like blue chippers, obviously.

Some do, and there are plenty of other examples.

Steph Curry would also like a word. (was a three star recruit)

But your point is well taken. They're a lot harder to come by.

There are dozens of better players out there that could have filled in the role for Rogers.

Probably not the best example, was just the first one I thought of.

There are two star recruits who made it to the NFL.

If I remember correctly, Cam Chancellor was a two-star when he committed then got a bump-up to a three before signing day.

There. That's the one I should have used, darn it.

As great as Sam Rogers was, recruits outside of Virginia have no idea who he is.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

I love Sam Rogers...but do you think VT would have won the ACC and challenged in the CFP with 20 Sam Rogers on the roster?

His attitude, committment, work ethic, etc. are unquestionable and would have allowed that team to over-achieve but there is ceiling on his talent that led to his recruting rankings.

I love Sam Rogers...but do you think VT would have won the ACC and challenged in the CFP with 20 Sam Rogers on the roster?

To be honest, I think yes. I think the issue is FINDING 20 Sam Rogers.

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An above average fullback with a knack for clutch plays that bounced around NFL practice squads for a few years isn't going to win us a title. I love Sam but the fact that he's what we're pointing to isn't good.

Recruit Prosim

I think finding 20+ players with Sam Rogers type knowledge and drive to perfect their position would be great. Sam Rogers got his shot at the NFL because of it, in spite of his physical form not meeting prototypical standards for the NFL.

I don't like pushing this argument because I admire Sam, but a team full of Sam Rogers isn't going to beat Alabama. This feels like Butch Jones 5* heart thing

Recruit Prosim

Take a look back through recruiting posts in 2014-2016, when we weren't doing so well. Lots of people telling us that "stars don't matter"

Early in the season they were arguing with the people who were saying that VT could never beat Ohio State.

A team of two stars can upset a team of blue chippers once or twice a season (tops). Can't do it 5 times in a season. There's a reason there hasn't been a single team below a 50% bluechip ratio to win a natty.

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[I don't think anyone is saying that recruiting isn't important. I think the discussions get heated because some people are defeatists and think that it's impossible for a team to improve because there are obstacles in the way. There are always, ALWAYS underdogs proving them wrong.

UMBC can and will beat a blue chip #1 seed UVa every once in a while.]

They beat 1 team of blue chippers - Auburn.


I don't think anyone is saying that recruiting isn't important. I think the discussions get heated because some people are defeatists and think that it's impossible for a team to improve because there are obstacles in the way. There are always, ALWAYS underdogs proving them wrong.

Underdogs have proven people wrong for a single game, but no underdog has proven people wrong for an entire season in college football. You can say that UCF has a natty, but its not a BCS or CFP title.

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Still, they have a NCAA Champions license plate.

If it were VT, I'd get one. You take what you can get in this world.

They declared themselves National Champions and then paid their merchandise and apparel companies to make commemorative gear. I mean I was all about the trolling of the college football world, but until we see a team like that lift the golden tubeworm, there still isn't an exception to that rule.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

They were undefeated, and the NCAA recognizes their claim.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

UCF is getting better players now too... then they were just a few years ago.

Leonard. Duh.

Get better, recruit better.

Rinse, repeat.

Which came first the chicken or the egg? You need success on the field to recruit but you need success recruiting to have success on the field. Two of the greatest orators of our time can sum it up best:

Ted, while I agree that, in time, our band will be most triumphant. The truth is, Wyld Stallyns will never be a super band until we have Eddie Van Halen on guitar.

Yes, Bill. But, I do not believe we will get Eddie Van Halen until we have a triumphant video.

Ted, it's pointless to have a triumphant video before we even have decent instruments.

Well, how can we have decent instruments when we don't really even know how to play?

That is why we NEED Eddie Van Halen!

And THAT is why we need a triumphant video.


I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"


It can go both ways. There are the true blue bloods that can recruit based solely off of their brand, financial advantages, etc. Basically as long as the coach doesn't screw things up, they're so well established that they'll always recruit at a high level. Obviously programs like Texas, Alabama, OSU fall in this category. They are the egg. They have been there since the beginning and have slowly grown into the recruiting juggernauts that we have now.

Then there are the programs that have not always been national powers but have figured out one clear advantage that they can use to get ahead. Oregon with Nike and Chip Kelly, UNC with Butch Davis and Jordan, Baylor (until recently) with Art Briles and his exciting offense. All of these schools are not historical giants, but they found one niche part of their program that was highly marketable and have turned it into recruiting success that they hadn't seen before. To me, these are more chickens. Took one or two strokes of luck and some clever marketing, and all of sudden they have skipped the standard evolutionary process and find themselves as a full fledged (relative) recruiting success story.

VT needs to fall into that second group. One of the bigger gripes I have with the program right now is that we don't really have a marketable brand. Do we want to be a flashy offensive school? Do we want to be a hard-nosed defensive school? Can anyone really say now that we have such limited access to the program? Under Beamer, everyone knew what we were. I'm not so sure that's really the case anymore. For VT to be more successful on the trail, we need to find our identity as a program, and market the hell out of it.

I like where you're going with this.

We've always had a strong defense and special teams, but lately, we seem to have lost that identity.

(Side note: do we need a clothing brand?)

Agree 1000%. Branding is key in any comeptitive market. Why are you special that will attract top talent (and customers / fans) outside of your core constituency.

As a dediacted fan, I cannot clearly articulate the VT Football brand right now, so how can you expect casual fans or prospects to do the same.

Say what you want about Beamer, you knew he was dedicated to building a hard core defense ("lunch pail), play great special teams ("beamerball"), run the ball and embrace the family / loyalty atmosphere (even to a fault). The guy branded his program nationally, as shown that's still how people identify VT. Fuente has not changed that brand but he also has not built upon it. Thats an issue.

The scary thing to me is that our biggest marketing tools that were once "cool" are basically being kept alive by ESPN. If they stopped showcasing Enter Sandman every time we were on TV, do you think anyone outside of Blacksburg would even notice? And I understand keeping the lunch pail around for continuity's sake and because Bud is still there, but to me it's far too representative of the old tenure.

Fuente needs to find what's his thing and stick with it and beat kids over the head with it until they like it. Look at the up and coming coaches around the league and see what they are marketing. Brohm has "Hammer Down", Fleck has "Row the Boat", I feel like a see a cool Dink Babers speech on sportscenter after every Syracuse win. Sure these things are corny as hell but they are free marketing and national recognition for the school. Most casual college football fans would be able to recognize these programs for these traits. If you asked someone what they knew about Fuente and VT, they would likely bring up characteristics that the old regime helped establish: LPD, blue collar, special teams. If you asked a VT fan, wouldn't their answer likely be the same?

I disagree with you on this cheesy shit. We have ours and I don't think we need to change it. ESPN is not keeping it alive, Fuente is. If you remember that article about the Transition of Frank to Fuente, there were several quotes about maintaining the same identity, but building on it. Link

Rogers also remembers an important point Fuente made in one of his first team meetings: The coach was not at Virginia Tech to tear down anything Beamer built.

The program over the previous two decades had established traditions that fit its brand; the team's "Enter Sandman" entrance and Foster's lunch pail being chief among them.

Beyond a few minor tweaks like updated uniforms and what he calls "operational" details — recruiting tactics, offseason program format, practice schedules, strength and conditioning, etc. — Fuente had no interest in altering the Hokies' identity.

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

Fuente or any other coach can always keep those things in place but it doesn't mean they'll be marketable to anyone outside of Blacksburg, especially in regards to this conversation topic. Most recruits didn't grow up VT fans. At most they probably caught a few VT games on TV. If ESPN didn't show Enter Sandman or the lunch pail, do you think many of them would even know they existed? Do you know what the University of Washington or TCU does for pregame entrances? I sure as hell don't and probably never will because as far as I know, ESPN doesn't showcase their entrance. For all I know they have a cooler entrance or even their own lunch pail. What I do know is that UW has an amazing tailgating scene on the lake and that TCU has that Frog Horn thing. If ESPN pivoted and started focusing on Skipper rather than Enter Sandman, then that's what most recruits would associate VT with. VT fans will always hold Enter Sandman I'm high regard because it's their program. But I'm not interested in attracting VT fans (for this exercise) I'm interested in attracting recruits.

This is a long-winded way of saying that Fuente needs to figure out a new and exciting way to brand himself and the program. Bud and Beamer built the foundation, now CJF needs to do what he can to take the next step.

Fuente needs to find what's his thing and stick with it and beat kids over the head with it until they like it.

Might be a topic for another thread, but to a degree, it still feels like Beamer's program. PAPN had some interesting commentary about this a week or two ago. Still waiting for this to truly become Fuente's program.

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Any idea what episode that was? I must have missed it

For context, this is before the GT game. VT talk starts around 9:25, goes on for 4ish minutes. The comment that stood out to me (disclaimer, this is out of context; listen to the whole thing if you'd like):

This team looks like it just doesn't know who they're going to be under Fuente. I'm not saying this positively or negatively, but it looks like they still have one foot in the Beamer era, you don't have that feeling of Fuente team right now.

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This was one of like two episodes i've missed all season lol, much obliged

NP. Yea, I think Godfrey's comments are fascinating, and I definitely agree that we still have one foot in the Beamer era. Might be a good off season discussion topic.

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Stick with it??

We definitely fall into the second group, we used our success to permanently increase our recruiting floor. We're a top 30-top 25 recruiting team thanks to the work Beamer and Bud did, and the brand/recognizability we built through building upon success. Obviously we want to take that even further, but the fact is that it is harder than ever to find a competitve advantage in today's game.

Just looking at your examples, Oregon is edging towards a power running, win the trenches type program, UNC runs a big 12 style spread with no defense, Baylor has pulled a 180 from the Briles tree and mostly abandoned that identity.

The continued success has less to do with sticking to the thing that made them great, and more to do with the fact that the competitive advantage they found in years past put them on the map, and now they get to leverage that success. It has nothing to do with a consistent identity, because you absolutely have to be flexible enough to keep up with changes in the sport, and everything to do with just winning football games and making money.

We're on the same page and you probably expressed it better than I did. Those three programs are indeed different now than what they were at their peak, but the characteristics I listed are still very much associated with those programs from a national perspective. And you're right, similar to Bud and Beamer, those things elevated their floor. Now it's up to those schools and VT to keep their brand fresh, especially with new head coaches.

One of the bigger gripes I have with the program right now is that we don't really have a marketable brand.

Oh we have a national brand, but we might not like it...

"Always overrated based on average wins, crumbles under the spotlight. Good on defense and special teams, terrible on offense. Enter Sandman might be the best thing about the program."

That's pretty much all I ever hear when I hear people talking about VT, be it on reddit, sports blogs, national media, or even the local radio here in Raleigh.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

I think we hired Fuente to change the bolded part.

The identity, though, was stellar defense and special teams that were always a disruptive threat.

We need to get back to that, and add an offense.

At one our development was great, players came in as 2-stars and left as NFL prospects. Now it seems like its either not working or we aren't as good at developing

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

Or the rating services got better.

but pitt lost to UCF by 30 and they have NO 5 star recruits and haven't lost a game in 23? beat the teams you have more talent is where we need to start. because we are better than BC, GT, and ODU. and with 1 loss to ND I think wed be ranked somewhere between 9-13 If I had to guess. sure recruiting blue chippers matter but so does winning games you should win.

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

But would we have won those games with blue chip guys in some of the spots on the team?

Argument works both ways - hence, chicken and the egg.

This may be a strange hill to die on, but UCF screwed the pooch when they traded in the Citronaut for the Black Knight.

Years ago, the "one of these things not like the other" in these graphics was Boise State. And Boise has a cool logo and all, but the reason everybody still remembers Boise is the smurf turf.

This is both a unique and comical identity. No matter how far from excellence Boise strays, people will always remember that at one point in time, the most powerful programs in America were intimidated to play a junior college in Idaho on the nation's silliest sports surface.

UCF might be the biggest public school in their state, but they've had 40 years of mediocrity still haven't made their way into a power conference yet. (I mean, the P6 is PRECISELY as real as their National Championship).

Now all of a sudden they catch lightning in a bottle; they've legitimately gained the attention and respect of the nation.

In 5 years when they slide back into the top half of the AAC, people will try their hardest to remember something memorable about an underdog a few years back...

Half of us will misremember it by skipping right past to that time USF was in the top ten. They did it within their first decade in the FBS, and only their second season in the Big East!

Those of us that remember the color scheme and the Bama "disrespekt" will start remembering the time Vanderbilt was actually trash-talking Bama. While they were Bama! Like, the week before they played Bama! What Schaudenfraude!

Those of us who remember the mascot was actually a Knight will skip straight ahead to when the military academies were not only good- they were dominant.

Those teams were just on a whole 'nother level...

I hope UCF can wrangle their way out of that conference. There's a part of me that really feels they deserve better. And I get it- the Knights of Pegasus is a space reference and that's pretty cool, too.

but it's never been the at the forefront of their identity. They don't even wear the Pegasus on their helmets; for some reason they're obsessed over that block font.

Their mascot is the very epitome of insecurity- they hide all the nerdy fun part of college and dress a guy up in a terrible GWAR costume that- let's face it, isn't intimidating anybody. My grandma would stare that thing down. With or without a knitting needle a fantastic coupon to Jo-Ann fabrics.

What I would definitely have remembered is the time the goofy "Hanna-Barbara-themed" space fruits ran around with their home-made National Championship banners.

What I won't remember is the time... that team that lost their coach to the Scarlet Knights... He went to Rutgers, right?... was that FIU or FAU?... you know what I'm talking about...

They are the largest single campus university in the nation. They have the potential to stay strong.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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I don't disagree. Something's going to give with the AAC, and UCF has a better case than most former Big East schools to move up. Obviously their affiliation screwed them over hard last season, and it'll happen in that conference more often than not.

I believe the Citronaut is a real opportunity missed. The Knight mascot is dumb and bad and I've come to correlate their vast, unfulfilled potential with it.

IMO its pretty easy to understand....

Recruit better >>> Better chance to be successful

Not a 100% correlation of course as there are other factors that come into play but at the end of the day, its the prospects that you recruit that are on the field and playing the games.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Is there a quick and dirty way to get to the source data? For a while I've been itching to see what the lag is for recruiting success and on the field success, but haven't seen a good way to getting to the data that didn't involve either paying or doing some web scraping (which is generally frowned upon).

Saban has done what really good ceos do. He built a program/system and a brand that is so solid he could literally go on vacation for a season and Alabama still be in Cfp imho. It's the system he put in place with game prep coaches he hired recruiting he did and the program he built.

It's like arguing an engineer versus a ceo. He doesn't even need to pick up a Pen at a certain point.

Alabama is so talented that that is probably true, but I think they play harder for Coach Saban than they do anyone else...

Maybe Im misinterpreting his statement, but im pretty sure his stat goes against the title of this thread

20 teams have signed 30 plus blue chip elite recruits, and only 12, just 60%, of the most elitely recruited teams are even in the top 25?