What do recruiting rankings mean anyway?

What do the recruiting rankings mean?

That’s a question I often get, and based on the spirited discussion recruiting rankings can generate, it’s obvious to me that they mean very different things to different people.
Some consider them affirmation of their own superiority as fans of a team ranked high.
Some consider them nothing more than marketing ploys to pander to the largest fan bases as their team consistently outperforms their historic recruiting ranking.
Some consider them to be gospel, while others consider them to be garbage.