Blue chip ratio 2019

Bud Elliott updated his blue chip rankings for 2019. For those who don't know, blue chip ratio is the ratio of 4 & 5 star recruits to 2 & 3 star recruits. There has never been a team who has won a national title in the modern era without a blue chip ratio >50%.

No source to share (article was emailed via banner society/SBNation's free email list). Rather than quoting the entire email (I'm happy to do that if the mods prefer), I'll share the highlights:

Entering 2019, 16 teams are above the 50% Blue-Chip Ratio:

  • Ohio State 81%
  • Alabama 80%
  • Georgia 79%
  • LSU 64%
  • Florida State 61%
  • Clemson 60%
  • USC 60%
  • Penn State 60%
  • Michigan 60%
  • Texas 60%
  • Oklahoma 60%
  • Auburn 58%
  • Washington 54%
  • Notre Dame 54%
  • Florida 53%
  • Miami 51%

As far as new entrants go...

Washington, Florida, and Miami are new to the Blue-Chip Ratio club this year. And each team arrived in a slightly different way.

  • Chris Petersen has slowly built Washington from a 22% BCR in 2014 to 23, 26, 30, 40, and finally 54 this year.
  • Florida was last a member of the club in 2014, dropped out for four seasons, and is back thanks to a strong 2019 class.
  • Miami's 2019 class was not great by any measure, but having the destitute 2015 class drop off is enough to boost the Hurricanes' four-year average over the mark.

Break down by conference...

The SEC has the most BCR teams (five), followed by the ACC and Big Ten (three each), Big 12 (two), and Pac-12 (two). Notre Dame also made it. Due to the number of teams meeting the threshold this year, this looks much more balanced between the conferences than previous seasons.

Still, 16 teams is a lot. The average number of BCR teams in the previous five seasons was 12.

Who is sitting on the bubble...

[There is a] lack of teams in the 38-48 range, a mark that usually suggests a team might be just one class away from making the jump. Texas A&M, Stanford, Tennessee, and Oregon are the only 4 in that range right now.

Biggest risers and fallers...

The pool of teams examined here are those who had at least a 20 percent BCR in the previous year...

  • Up: Washington (14%), Florida (11%), Georgia (10%), Oklahoma (7%), Penn State (7%)

Petersen's Huskies are this year's best example of how winning games can turn into better recruits.

  • Down: UCLA (-13%), USC (-11%), Florida State (-6%)

One comment that really stuck out to me, as I think it was pretty eloquent...

Some teams simply do not have a shot of signing elite prospects and must instead find diamonds in the rough. That's a strategy that can produce wins and conference titles, though perhaps not Playoff rings.

Coaching and development are extremely important. But by NCAA rule, coaches get just 20 hours per week with their players. Only so much development is possible. Talent acquisition is by far the most important element, especially when trying to compete for the biggest prize.

What this means for VT...
By my back-of-the-napkin calculation, VT has 19 four star players on the team right now, which is a roughly 22% blue chip ratio. One caveat - Bud's calculation is (slightly) more complex; he doesn't include transfers or walk-ons, so rather than dividing 19 by 85 players, it may be a smaller number (thus a higher blue chip ratio).

If you're looking for something (sort of?) positive, I'll refer you back to these comment above:

Petersen's Huskies are this year's best example of how winning games can turn into better recruits.

Chris Petersen has slowly built Washington from a 22% BCR in 2014 to 23, 26, 30, 40, and finally 54 this year.

Winning can help improve recruiting, HOWEVER we must note that as UW started winning, their revenue increased too (source):

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


BCR aint played nobody Pawwwwl

There has never been a team who has won a national title in the modern era without a blue chip ratio >50%.

This might be a dumb question, but how is the "modern era" defined?

I second this question. I'm also curios as to what our BCR was in the 99 season and what our historical BCR has been or if that is even calculable.

Left this out of OP since it was already super long, but to answer your question:

Put simply, teams who win the title have signed more four- and five-star recruits than two- and three-stars over their previous four signing classes. This has been true for essentially as far back as modern recruiting rankings have existed (depending on how you define "modern," or roughly back to the classes that led to super-talented USC and Texas national champs of the mid-2000s).

From what I've gathered from misc. message boards, it's thought that the recruiting services weren't that accurate until 2003/04ish, and made another noticeable improvement in accuracy around 2007/08 (when smart phones became more mainstream, allowing scouts/coaches to easily share information about players)

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And the breakthroughs have happened a few times since then as well. 247 joined the fold in the 2010's, the number of sponsored camps increased dramatically. The level of exposure for recruits, number of people working full-time in the industry, and the amount of tape available to anyone who wants to see it is through the roof without how much the recruiting industry has grown.

I believe modern era is generally defined as since they added an actual title game instead of just a final poll, but obviously there could be many interpretations

Free Hugh

I'm surprised A&M didn't make the BCR, but they absolutely will in the next year or two.

Needs to be over 50% to be where we want to be

Currently at 22%

Yeah, feels about right

This is my school
This is home

I would like to see the minimum ratio to win a BCS/NY6 bowl

Free Hugh

I feel pretty confident in saying it's either UCF or Boise

Boise. Multiple times, spread out over multiple years.

This was a quick guess based on team name alone and then using rankings easily available on 247 and rosters from Sports-Reference, so it's completely possible I missed other teams, player ratings were higher on other services, or players weren't properly listed on rosters.

2014 Boise St - 1 4*
2013 UCF - 2 4*
2011 WVU - 3 4*
2010 TCU - 3 4*
2009 Iowa - 3 4*
2009 Boise St - 0 4*
2008 Utah - 1 4*
2007 WVU - 3 4*
2007 Kansas - 0 4*
2006 Louisville - 3 4*
2006 Boise St - 1 4*
2005 WVU - 0 4*

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I feel like this data needs to throw out the annual pity appearance the G5 has been getting as we play the regular season under a completely different set of circumstances

Free Hugh

I only used the teams that won a BCS/NY6 game, which is exactly what you had asked.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

My mistake

Free Hugh

Great post. Blue chip ratio is an even better way to assess the roster and recruiting than class rank.

What has been VT's BTCR for the past 10-15 years?

It would be tedious to calculate... It's not quite as simple as just adding up total 4/5 star recruits in the 4 years prior to each season; you have to account for attrition and roster size. Someone else can do the math if they're willing. I tweeted Bud Elliott, I'll report back if I get a response.

EDIT: Ouch...

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VT is not anywhere close so I don't publish that one.


Hopefully the new DC hire helps to change that fact.

I was hoping to have something to compare Fuente's tenure to and see if recruiting is actually improving.

As I stated the numbers in another thread, there are over 60% more blue-chip recruits in 2018 and 2019 than their 2005 and 2006 counterparts. So tallying up blue-chips and BCR would not necessarily be fair to Beamer for a straight numbers comparison. I'll find the exact numbers.

In 2006, according to the composite, there were 236 4 and 5 stars (blue-chip recruits).

In 2019, according to the composite, there 385 4 and 5 stars.

That's an increase in total blue-chip prospects by 63%, that's a pretty big difference. So I really don't think it's fair to compare those recruiting classes on the basis of number of blue-chip recruits.

Though I do agree with the part that you are largely correct about identify and evaluating more three star recruits as well.

To add two more years: 2005 had 226 total blue-chip recruits and from 149-226 they were all rated .9000.... which just screams lazy revised or directly inputted grades. Overall, I just don't want to use their data for years they weren't operating full-time.

2018 class had 376 blue-chip recruits.

tldr; 2006 to 2019 is a 63% increase in total blue-chips and 2005 to 2018 is a 66% increase in total blue-chips

Edit: Here's a more specific example to show the difference in ratings and number of blue-chip recruits from the peak Beamer era to the current (Fuente's) current recruiting environment

In 2005: There were 20 BC corners and 14 safeties.
In 2018: There were 34 BC corners and 25 safeties

In 2005: Cam Martin (ended up at WHIP) was the 24th ranked safety and was a low three star .83ish
In 2018: Chamarri Conner was the 24th ranked safety and was a low four star .8975

I agree that VT's 'croots back in the day had a ratings handicap compared to 'croots of today. It would be interesting to see the comparison knowing the handicap exists because if the BCR stays the same or increases only marginally, it would indicate there really hasn't been improvement and might even indicate that the real BCR has dropped.

It would also be interesting to track it since the introduction of 247, just to see how Beamer> Fuente trended.

2020 tho... oof...

Between 2006 and 2019, the number of P5 programs has increased from 58 to 65, and the number of FBS programs has increased from 119 to 130. Though there are still more blue-chip recruits per school, at both the top-end and overall, the increase is lessened somewhat by having more schools to spread out to.

Most of those G5 schools added are irrelevant to the distribution of BC recruits, they are barely moving the needle in regards to increasing distribution. Seven more P5 programs might a little bit, but we're talking about 149 more BC recruits, that's a lot of recruits to go around, not to mention they have never been evenly distributed amongst all the P5 teams anyway. We were always in that mid-top tier of P5 school who always got some 4*'s but not a ton. There were multiple ACC teams last year, even with all these extra BC recruits, who had <5 BC recruits on their roster. I'm pretty sure Wake Forest had zero IIRC. The reality is direct Fuente to Beamer comparisons in regards to raw numbers of BC recruits is just an incredibly flawed comparison because many of these .89 fringe 4*'s we're crediting Fuente with would not have been 4*'s in the 2000's, simple as that. That's not to knock on Fuente, but it's really annoying to me when that "total 4*'s" number gets thrown around as some kind of all-encompassing defense to all criticism of our current recruiting, reasonable or otherwise. That's not an anti-Fuente point, it is an "I hate when people use flawed information or logic" in discussions point.

And... as you stated previously... many of the 3-star recruits signed by Beamer back in the aughts would be 4 stars today.

^^Very important point.^^

I'm not saying that you can directly compare Beamer's recruiting to Fuente's recruiting. I was just pointing out that the percentages are slightly less skewed than how they were presented on the surface, even though there are definitely more blue-chippers going around and we should be bringing in a few more as a result.


Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!


I tweeted Bud Elliott, I'll report back if I get a response.

This is my school
This is home

I knew it wouldn't be happy, but I was hoping for more informative.

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Holy hell, UDub is a $130m+ revenue school?

Damn. Money has taken over the game and left us holding our junk on the sidelines.

Bingo, until we up our revenue game I am afraid we will be in the 20s/30s of BCR. Hopefully long term the ACCN, coupled with a new Nike deal, and increased enrollment will eventually (10+ years) put us in the conversation


Being in a tech hub will do that for you.

2022 Season Challenge: Wrasslin'
Previous Challenges: Star Wars (2019), Marvel (2020), Batman (2021)

Our football spending was neck-and-neck with them until sometime around 2014-2105

Quickly compared the revenue streams from 2017 and they outshine us by about $9m in ticket sales, $14m in licensing/sponsorships (thanks nike, thanks weaver), and their donor contributions over double ours, about $20m in Washington's favor.

Free Hugh

Pac-12 Network launched in 2012. Took them a couple years for the money to start making an impact. And yeah, the member schools have been getting a little over $30m per school in payouts from that network over time....


This is my school
This is home

If I recall correctly, UDub made the playoff in 2017.

I bet our ticket sales plummet this year.

Every email from VT seems to desperately be saying: "Please come see us play Wake and Pitt! Please!"

How full the Wake and Pitt games will be largely determined by our record heading into November. Wake might end up being pretty full for Bud appreciation day anyway.

Udub made the playoff in 2016.

Do you mean the Pitt game? Which may be empty student section due to thanksgiving.

We need to pick lane Stadium up and move it to Richmond

Free Hugh

We need to pick lane Stadium up and move it to Richmond

Please don't turn my 2 hour drive into a 5 hour drive. SWVA fans are fans too.

It's nice for you guys but you guys are a pretty significant minority of our alumni. Like 90% (I'm just guessing I don't actually know) live in Richmond, Hampton Roads, or the DMV and those alums probably also tend to have higher paying jobs and could bring a lot of revenue to the program.

Free Hugh

Richmond isn't home. Blacksburg is home.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Virginia is home.

Free Hugh

Not really.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

No... I was an out of state student. Right after graduating I moved again. The only place in the state of Virginia that I have any emotional attachment to is Blacksburg. One of my favorite parts about going to games is that I get to spend a whole weekend in Blacksburg; I can come in early and hike McAfee's Knob, go to home place, go to cabo, get a rail at TOTS, crabby patty at Sharky's, and wonder through the parking lots like I did when I was a student.

I like visiting other team's campus's/stadiums, and it's great when we have a neutral site game in Atlanta, and I can host all my VT friends, but it's always a different type of special when I can return Blacksburg.

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That's a super fair response and I relate to that. But if you had attended the hypothetical Virginia Tech Richmond campus, home would be Richmond, so that argument really only works for those who have passed, not necessarily those to come.

Free Hugh

Here's to Blacksburg
Whose fields are fertile & rich
We don't need any turds from your high flyin birds
You yankee sons-a-bitche/s

Unless they're in form of HokieClub donations....

Eww, gross.

UW is the middle of Seattle - and the increase in construction and the money pouring into Seattle since 2014-15 is huge.

Amazon, Microsoft, Costco and Starbucks are among the biggies, but there are lots of other corporations hq'd there. And there are a lot of UW grads working for those companies.

Boeing too. It would be nice to capitalize on Virginia's growing economic centers

Free Hugh


Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

That northern campus will help the school and some specific academics but not really athletics or branding

Free Hugh

But Amazon pays corporate workers well. The idea is that if students start working there they'll give back to the program pretty quickly.

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It was extremely expensive to live in DC/NOVA before Amazon announced. By the time they start employing people it will be even more so. There's little to no extra money to spare for Hokieclub for people who make entry level salaries.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

I'd really love to see the breakdown in donor money % contributions from highly-skilled workers (engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc.), especially those living in very expensive big city/surrounding areas, and from entrepreneurs who are now multi-million/billionaires (sometimes) living in pretty low cost areas.

There is obviously strength in numbers, but there are several schools like A&M and Texas that have legit 1% oil-rich donors pumping money into the program. Also, most of the biggest Clemson, South Carolina, and Georgia donors I know live in (relatively speaking) low cost of living areas and either started some kind of uber-successful local business or the like or are independently wealthy through family means.

For most schools it's almost certainly a combination of the two, but I've always thought our skilled labor force, many of whom find themselves in very expensive areas like NOVA/DC are not exactly the kind of people who are able to shove game-changing type money into the program. Like I said though, large numbers of alumni + a culture of giving back to the school could definitely make up for what we may lack in 1%er-type benefactors, and probably is a more reliable base of giving than relying on a handful of elite donors.

This was mostly me thinking out loud, so I'm pulling these assumptions off the dome or from various past knowledge/articles read. I would just really like to see a well done piece examining the culture and some breakdowns of college athletics donorship.

I think you could make a simplistic assessment by charting the top grossing schools, the area with their largest alumni base, that areas median income, and the average cost of living/cost of a house in that area. I'd be interested to see that breakdown.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Agreed. People become well off getting an engineering or business degree (or any other degree, I don't want to discriminate) and going to work for a top company. You become rich by starting your own successful business.

Free Hugh

Or you fail miserably and lose everything.

Get rich or die trying

Free Hugh

Semi-related - I highly recommend the book Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John. Its a memoir written about a season spent traveling with Alabama fans who drive RVs to EVERY bama game. It's really about what it means to be a fan of sports team, and anyone who spends hours each week (or day) on TKP will be able to relate.

Anyways, one of the fundamental questions that Warren tries to answer is (paraphrasing) 'who are these people who are willing to spend so much time and money traveling and watching Alabama football games?' He never succinctly answers the question, but he shares stories from a variety of people; students in frats, people who were never students, people who are financially independent, people who's entire discretionary spending goes towards Alabama football, etc.

Anyways, I would also be curious to see if there were any trends between if donors are alumni, what their careers are, where they live/COL, and donation amount. I bet it would be tough to find common trends across fan bases.

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That northern campus will help the school and some specific academics but not really athletics or branding

Free Hugh


Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

That northern campus will help the school and some specific academics but not really athletics or branding

Free Hugh


Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..


Free Hugh

It's been said.

Twice already.

By you.


We will.

Didn't Washington also legalize a cash crop as well

Just to bring all this UDub info together:

Great campus in the middle of Seattle (great city)
Pac12 Network money rolling in
Huge tech corporations (and other corps) headquartered in/around Seattle (big time donors possible)
Legalized maui-waui
48k student body

Tech has a great campus and a nice small town feel about it, and other stuff
(not putting it down, just saying they're so different they can't really be compared)

I don't understand how legal weed impacts the athletic department's revenue?

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Well then it's settled - the only way to land BC's is for VA to legalize cannabis.

Increased state tax revenue could mean more money available for higher ed which could mean UW wouldn't have to ask donors for money for academic pursuits but instead could focus their requests on athletic pursuits.

Or college kids like weed, so more students apply, more can be admitted, more fees/revenue as well.

All of this may be bologna, just trying to connect possible dots...

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

Also lots of jobs in every facet of the business so more grads are likely employed more quickly and being paid more as a result of the new industry

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

We might not have had to deal with some recent dismissals if weed were legal in the VA

This is my school
This is home

Someone else said that above (cash crop legalized in WA) and I included it as a point made, but I think the reasons given by others are valid, especially that players and students in general won't be prosecuted for it. Not sure if it affects AD revenues, but it's a fact.

My only addition to the points is that UDub has a much larger student body, which definitely affects revenues positively in the near term from fees and in the future from increased alumni, but I don't have exact figures.

I am really impressed with how CP has built UW up.

It's really Kwiat impressive.

If VT could ever mirror what he has done with that program I'd be so damn happy. Crushing both recruiting and player development.



Free Hugh

Chris Petersen

Oh gotcha

Free Hugh

Everyone knew that CP could develop players, but I don't think anyone expected him to recruit at this level. Would be interested to take a closer look at his hiring strategy - curious if he hired people who were proven recruiters on day one, and how he handled any staff replacements over the last 5 years.

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I actually thought Petersen was a really good recruiter getting guys to go to Boise, guys who otherwise would have been going to Pac10 schools, so he was already a decent recruiter. Then he was lucky enough to follow Sarkisian who had already started building the Huskies program back to powerhouse levels before he left for USC.

Almost all of the coaches he's hired have Boise St ties and I think only 1 coach even had P5 position coach experience based on a quick look. I think people underestimated that Seattle is a major, desirable city with access to talented west coast players at a time when the traditional PAC 12 schools have been unstable.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.