Ranking classes isn’t easy — on Signing Day, or years later

Every year, coaches stand behind a lectern on National Signing Day and blast recruiting rankings as worthless. Later, many head back to their offices and go to Rivals.com and Scout.com to find out how their teams finished in the race for the most mythical of all national championships.

Conventional wisdom dictates the only reliable way to gauge a class is with the clarity of hindsight. After a class has had two or three years to adapt to the college game and college life and to bulk up in the weight room, it should be far easier to determine which classes succeeded and which failed. Shouldn’t it?

To test that theory, I attempted to re-rank the top 10 classes of 2006 based on on-field production and potential for further production in the next two seasons. After spending the weekend sweating out my choices, I realized it’s harder than I had envisioned. In most cases, I had to judge the class based on the production of the five or six class members who won starting jobs. Remember, schools can bring in 25 new scholarship players a year, but classes need only produce an average of 5.5 position starters a season.

si.com
2/16/09