Quick links:
 Latest Team Rankings
 Free Text Alerts
 Member Services
ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports

July 19, 2013

Numbers game: Projecting the top 25 classes

MORE: Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings

Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
Recruiting is a numbers game.

College coaches must deal with roster and scholarship limitations to determine which players and at what positions they target.

Analysts rank those prospects and assign a national value inside the Rivals250 presented by Under Armour.

Last year Rivals.com changed its formula as to how team rankings would be more objectively determined (view the new formula here) and monthly -- from July until January -- we will take a look at the current Top 25 classes are and where they project to finish.

With 140 members of the Rivals250 being committed, there are still plenty of points to be earned by programs from coast to coast, and the top 25 is expected to be quite fluid.

The results of the new rankings formula being applied to past classes will not been made public, but those numbers will be used for purposes of this analysis. Number of remaining spots, offers being extended, positional needs and historical references were also factored in to determining the results.

No. 1 - TENNESSEE - 21 commits, 2,140 points, 3.38 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This has been just an amazing job by Butch Jones and his staff to sell Tennessee as a viable SEC-contender. The hope for Vol fans would be that they close out strong and finish inside the Top 10. With a 3.4 average ranking I think that it is possible, too."

What the numbers say: Extrapolating the data points for this class, Tennessee has nowhere to go but down as the season moves on. If no team from outside of the current configuration of the Top 25 makes a major move, the Vols should be able to finish in the No. 10 spot. The numbers say that if the program does not add any more valuable commits and closes with just the 2,095 points that is currently has that would figure for a No. 14 finish. The math also indicates that at least eight teams from outside the Top 25 will make a run as the recruiting period closes. Therefore, it would not be a shock to see Tennessee as high as No. 8 but as low as No. 14, even if it adds another four-star or two.
No. 2 - TEXAS - 21 commits, 1,841 points, 3.19 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is not a bad start for Texas, but we have seen them start higher -- and faster -- than this class is right now. I think they are really feeling the impact of an improved Texas A&M in that they aren't just automatically getting the best kids in the state. The fans are probably hoping for a Top 15 class, but Top 20 is probably more realistic."

What the numbers say: It doesn't take advanced math to know that a team with a 3.19 ranking per recruit is going to fall as the season goes on. The average historical placement for a team with a 3.19 average is No. 19 and so that is toward the bottom of Farrell's projection. In this current top 25, Texas could finish No. 14 but not higher unless the program lands a major pledge late in the class, which it does not historically do. The Longhorns' current point total would be good for a No. 22 finish.
NO. 3 - KENTUCKY - 19 commits, 1,781 points, 3.21 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This has been an incredible job by Mark Stoops to get Kentucky to this point. This is a program that rarely is this active, this early in the process. It is never in the top five and has even climbed to the top spot for awhile. Even with a pretty full boat already, Kentucky is in on a lot of kids and they could actually improve on the ranking-per-recruit. A top 10 finish is probably not going to happen, but Top 15 is possible and Top 20 should be a lock."

What the numbers say: The headline of the year would be if Kentucky is able to finish ahead of Texas in the team rankings, and right now, the team projects to do just that. The current 3.21 ranking-per-recruit is not a great number as it would be right for a No. 19 finish, but the projections for what Kentucky can gain would place it one spot ahead of the Longhorns inside of the current top 25 at No. 13. When projecting out the players that Kentucky is still recruiting, as well as the remaining spots within the class, it safely puts this class to project at No. 19, or better.
NO. 4 - MIAMI (Fla.) - 21 commits, 1,775 points, 3.2 average
What Mike Farrell says: "Coming out this aggressively is impressive to see from Al Golden. I really think he is one of the best recruiters in the business and he is going after quality players and landing a lot of kids. There are so many talented players still on the board that this class can climb and close as the top spot in Florida. After everything that the program has dealt with publicly, making that kind of statement would be huge."

What the numbers say: Miami is not going to take home the title for Florida recruiting; it is more likely to fall some 500 points behind Florida, and narrowly be edged by Florida State when all is said and done. Despite having a better ranking per recruit than Kentucky, it is very likely that Miami will be another program that is surpassed by the Wildcats. The hot start is good for Miami, but based on the data from the adjusted rankings, this may be the fifth-best for the program in the last six years. With plenty of targets still available there is ability to stay inside the top with a bottoming out at No. 23.
NO. 5 - NOTRE DAME - 15 commits, 1,755 points, 3.67 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is the best quality class in the country right now and they have really taken advantage of the momentum from the BCS title game appearance. With the academics that have to be factored in with Notre Dame, I don't think they will be able to get in a big enough class to really close in and claim that top spot. However, there is no doubt that they should contend for a top-five spot."

What the numbers say: This class could fall a few hundred points below what happened last year, but it could still be good enough for a repeat of the No. 3 class. The average-per-recruit rankings could have the class falling between No. 2 and No. 7 as those numbers fluctuate more than point totals because of how the bonus scale is arranged. There are teams behind Notre Dame with more room to add players, but with two five-star players already in the class, there is a firm base. The top end is likely to be a No. 3 ranking with a bottom of No. 6.
No. 6 - Florida State - 18 commits, 1,752 points, 3.28 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is a good but not great start for Florida State. The star level is a little low and that means it is probably going to drop down a little. I think that Florida State could be poised for a good season on the field and that may give the Seminoles a big enough boost to stay inside the Top 10 when all is said and done."

What the numbers say: This will be the No. 2 class in the state of Florida as well as in the ACC with Clemson eventually overtaking the Seminoles. With more room and a better star average, it is likely that Florida State is able to finish ahead of upstart Kentucky. However, it will be by a narrow margin and it could come down to a single four-star commitment. The class may be able to reach its point total from last year and hold onto a last rung of the top 10, but it is far more likely that it settles between No. 13 and No. 16 and flips back and forth with Tennessee down the stretch.
NO. 7 - Alabama - 15 commits, 1,740 points, 3.53 average
What Mike Farrell says: "The real surprise is that there isn't a five-star on the board yet for Alabama, but the class still has one of the highest per-recruit-average and that bodes well for a strong finish. You have to figure that Marlon Humphrey is a lock if not a silent commit, and Alabama is still very much in the running for Leonard Fournette, Cameron Robinson and Da'Shawn Hand. I don't know if they will get any of those three, but I just don't bet against Alabama if they have a hook into someone four of five recruiting national titles and three BCS titles speaks for itself."

What the numbers say: This is the year Alabama loses its recruiting title belt, barely. The numbers say that even seven-plus months until National Signing Day, there are only a handful of teams that are in contention to win the recruiting title and that Alabama is a major player in that. Finishing at No. 1 wouldn't be a shock, but it doesn't seem like it will happen without the addition of one of the three five-stars that it is not already projected to land. Alabama has set the bar very high with recruiting, averaging 2,949 points in the last five classes. However, this year Alabama projects to finish closer to 2,700, which will be good for between No. 2 and No. 4.
NO. 8 - Texas A&M - 14 commits, 1,659 points, 3.5 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is the hot team in Texas and it is not close right now. Everything is working for Texas A&M and just because it is getting breaks, that doesn't take away from the fact that it is executing on them. Moving to the SEC, having Johnny Football, Kevin Sumlin's offense -- it goes on. I fully expect a top 10 finish and how high this class gets ranked will be determined by how many they can take. If this is a full class, it could finish in the top five."

What the numbers say: With a win over Alabama on the field and a full class of signees, that could be enough to propel Texas A&M into the top spot when all is said and done. Those are two factors that have to go in favor of the Aggies to knock the Crimson Tide off of its perch. Only twice in the last five classes has a team with a 3.5 ranking-per-recruit finished inside the top five. Therefore, Texas A&M will have to land a few more four-stars to round out its class and boost that to a more historically accurate 3.6 to 3.8 star-per-recruit, as well as add the points it will need. The floor for a team with these early data points indicates that the Aggies should finish with nothing lower than a No. 9 class but could easily find itself in the top three.
No. 9 - GEORGIA - 15 commits, 1,645 points, 3.4 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is an underrated group of coaches and recruiters and I am not sure why. Every signing day it seems like Georgia is inside or darn close to the Top 10, yet the fans seem to be upset with the staff for not doing more. I think this is probably a strong pace to finish right in that area again. Sony Michel is the star of the class but the rest of the group is very solid."

What the numbers say: Farrell nails it with his perspective as the adjusted recruiting class totals has Georgia ranked No. 7 overall historically -- and that is the pace the program is on again. The safe floor placement for Georgia would be at No. 12, and when the final pen hits the paper, this class has an upside of No. 8. Last season it concluded with 2,226 points and finished No. 12. The consistency factor with the Bulldogs leads the projection to have Georgia finish with 2,193 points. Adding an extra four-star as the last signee, as opposed to a three-star to count toward the point total, will ensure that Georgia gets to the 2,226 it had last year, if not surpass that total.
NO. 10 - Clemson - 14 commits, 1,641 points, 3.5 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is a very good class right now with a strong star average that is boosted by five-star quarterback Deshaun Watson. Clemson has been pretty good at closing as well, so I figure the same thing will hold true and there will be a battle with Florida State for the top class in the ACC. If I had to guess, I would take Florida State to finish atop the conference, but it would be close."

What the numbers say: The current pace would keep Clemson inside the top 10 and possibly move the class up to No. 9, but with a little work, this class could go to No. 7. The Tigers have the No. 14 overall program ranking with the adjusted figures and only its class of 2009 is holding it back from pushing closer to the top 10. The numbers indicate that Clemson should finish the season comfortably in the lead of the ACC with about 250 points to spare for separation.
No. 11 - MICHIGAN - 14 commits, 1,621 points, 3.5 average
What Mike Farrell says: "I think Michigan jumped off to a better start last year, but I think I am more impressed this year. The quality of player is about the same, so what I mean by more impressed is that Michigan is more diversified and it is also expanding its footprint. It is getting into some new areas and getting kids. Having a player like Jabrill Peppers on board is huge because of what he brings to the table. I think they have a really good shot at getting both of the top players in the country with Da'Shawn Hand showing serious interest."

What the numbers say: If Michigan can land Hand and continue to round out a solid class around him then it would have the recruit average as well as the bonus points to push to No. 1. As it stands right now, the projections show that the Wolverines will be in for a fight with Ohio State for the top slot in the Big Ten conference. The data indicates that the team should come close to surpassing its total points from last season when it finished No. 5 with 2,661. It doesn't need much more than that to claim a national title in recruiting this year. Set the floor at No. 5 with a ceiling of knocking Alabama off the mountain.
No. 12 - OLE MISS - 18 commits, 1,567 points, 3.11 average
What Mike Farrell says: "Following up what Ole Miss did last year was going to be near impossible, so this is actually a good start and shows that Hugh Freeze and the staff can keep recruiting. I think that what happened last year with how Ole Miss closed is going to be extremely difficult to repeat, and that is more than just Robert Nkemdiche, because they got a haul in January and February and are almost full right now. I think they will go back into the 20s."

What the numbers say: Baring something similar to the close of last year, it is far more likely that Ole Miss will slide back toward its more historically accurate point totals of near 2,000 - down about 500 from last year - and not inside the top 20. With that point today and with its current ranking-per-recruit, Ole Miss will be back into a battle for the last few spots inside of the top 25 or being just outside.
NO. 13 - OHIO STATE - 14 commits, 1,526 points, 3.36 average
What Mike Farrell says: "There are a lot of things to like about Ohio State being this high right now. This is a pretty good recruit average, there is a lot of room to add players, the Buckeyes are in on a lot of players, and Urban Meyer is one of the best recruiters in the business. I think there will be a real battle for the top of the Big Ten conference, but Ohio State is a lock for top 10 finish."

What the numbers say: The history of Ohio State recruiting, combined with Urban Meyer's recruiting history, and factoring the program is expected to be undefeated through much of the year, puts Ohio State as a mathematical challenger for a top-three finish. Most likely, the Buckeyes will finish between No. 4 and No. 8, but it could boost that top end quite easily.
NO. 14 - LSU - 14 commits, 1,519 points, 3.54 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is the program that I think is in the best position to knock off Alabama and take that No. 1 spot when all is said and done. The class is already very strong and has a great average for the recruits, but the state is just loaded and often times those kids don't get outside the boarders. With Leonard Fournette, Cam Robinson, Malachi Dupre, and so many more players that LSU may not let go, this could be an impressive, impressive close."

What the numbers say: It is pretty much a lock that LSU will finish inside the Top 10. With the history of the program with players in state, as well as the targets that the Tigers have, the numbers show that this could be a near-3,000 point class with a near-3.8 recruit ranking. The way the numbers break down this year, LSU doesn't need to land all three players to get close to 2,850 points and be in the discussion for No. 1. Set the floor at No. 6 and the ceiling at the top spot.
NO. 15 - LOUISVILLE - 20 commits, 1,515 points, 2.95 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This isn't a bad class but it is going to slide. The average-per-recruit just indicates it is not a top 25 class unless there is some work done late. I think what is really hurting Louisville is that it is being overshadowed by Kentucky, and in football, it has been some time since the two were on equal footing, let alone Kentucky having the perception advantage. What is worrisome is that Louisville didn't really get the bump from the Sugar Bowl win nor from moving to the ACC - I figured getting out of the Big East would be like escaping a death sentence for recruiting."

What the numbers say: Louisville may be able to battle and hold onto a top 25 finish but it will have plenty of competition. The Cardinals figure to finish higher than last year in overall recruiting and the pace looks to be headed for a near-1,600 point class, but that may only be enough for a No. 30 class. If there are plans on moving into the top 25, Louisville will need to add more four-star players because its current ranking indicates that the range is No. 33 to No. 36.
No. 16 - North Carolina - 18 commits, 1,407 points, 2.94 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is a really solid class for North Carolina but I don't think it has staying power. Relatively speaking, it is OK that North Carolina doesn't finish inside the top 25 because the staff is doing some really good work in Atlanta, as well as up into the mid-Atlantic. Most importantly - and this isn't really quantifiable with numbers - they are meeting the needs for Larry Fedora and what he wants to do."

What the numbers say: This is an early season ranking based on raw numbers but does not have the staying power that even Louisville is clinging to. The class is well ahead of the pace from last season and should finish well ahead of the 1,460 point total that it had. However, baring something drastic, this class will quickly slide. There isn't a safe floor or ceiling because of the range that the team is slipping into. The variance could leave North Carolina as high as No. 35 but as low as No. 46.
NO. 17 - N.C. State - 22 commits, 1,341 points, 2.77 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is a really impressive start for Dave Doeren and his staff. As a group they have really gone hard into Georgia. I don't know if this can be a top 25 class, most likely it won't be, but they are doing good work and this is a strong effort to be there right now."

What the numbers say: Without landing five-star Kentavius Street, this is going to be closer to a mid-30 to mid-40 type class. If there is a way to keep Street within the state, then there is a chance that it can be boosted into the low-30, but there is hardly any way to forecast this as a top 25 group. The current trend of the class would have it ranked No. 48. With the boost from getting Street, this class could move all the way up to No. 29. With that variance, there is no safe projection other than to eliminate a top 25 finish.
NO. 18 - RUTGERS - 20 commits, 1,340 points, 2.8 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is another Big East team that hasn't seen the bump from escaping the executioner. I think it is safe to say that the recruiting has taken a step back since Greg Schiano left and the class ranking is probably going to bear that out as well. Right now I am really impressed with what they are doing at certain spots, but otherwise there is work still to be done."

What the numbers say: There is potential for this to be the lowest totaled class in the last five classes for Rutgers - only bettering the class of 2008. There are only a few spots left to fill, few offers out, and fewer realistic targets that could give a point boost to the class. Without a player like Kentavius Street within the state that is considering the program, there is no real chance for a top 25 finish with all of the peripherals working against Rutgers. If nothing changes, this class is slotted for No. 50, but within that cluster of programs, it is only a matter of 100 points to get up to No. 42.
No. 19 - Baylor - 20 commits, 1,324 points, 2.7 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is a really good class for Baylor with three, four-star players already on board. The coaches are able to really sell the RGIII hype, as well as the other players that have been sent into the NFL recently and they are making some noise with players that historically would not have considered Baylor. This is another group that doesn't have the per-recruit-average to stay within the Top 25 and it doesn't have much more room to add either."

What the numbers say: Of the current top 25, it is trending that Baylor will finish next to last of this group and fall into the 50's. What is worrisome is that outside of the top end players in the class, the rest of the bottom actually is pulling this class down to potentially being the lowest of the last three years. Historically, Baylor has been a team that added players late and could have been viewed as a second-choice for some four-stars giving the class a late boost. This year it doesn't seem to have those same targets on the board for late in the year. A floor here is No. 61, but with the close knit group in that range, No. 45 is not improbable.
NO. 20 - BOSTON COLLEGE - 21 commits, 1,247 points, 2.67 average
What Mike Farrell says: "There is no doubt that this is the first team to drop from the top 25 but I don't think you will hear many B.C. fans complaining about that. What Steve Addazio has done here has been nothing short of a miracle. The program was near death and he has revived it and brought a lot of energy to a fan base that was stagnant at best. For a team coming off a 2-10 season to ever be in the top 25 in July is a testament."

What the numbers say: Boston College will battle to stay within the top 50 when the rankings period is over. BC's current 2.67 ranking-per-recruit would not factor into a top 50 finish and its current point total has it slotted to finish at No. 56. This should easily be the best collection of players brought into the program since 2008 as it already has nearly 400 points more than last season. Boston College is most likely to finish last in recruiting out of the current group, which is not surprising mathematically as it has been the worst of the group anyway.
NO. 21 - Florida - 11 commits, 1,213 points, 3.45 average
What Mike Farrell says: "There is great quality in this class already and there is a lot of room to add players. Florida is in good shape to add a full class and it is a candidate for the top spot among the Big Three in Florida. I think the Gators are in a great place to close strong and would suspect a top 10 finish is likely in the making."

What the numbers say: Florida is closer to trending toward its class of 2011 finish that its back-to-back top five rankings of the last two seasons. Mathematically it is looking very good for the program to claim the recruiting title within its state and push past Georgia in the SEC rankings. There is a lot of meat on the bone and a lot of offers out to highly ranked players which bodes well. The floor for the Gators can be set near No. 11 with a ceiling of No. 5, but it is safer to assume No. 8 will be a landing point.
No. 22 - Auburn - 12 commits, 1,206 points, 3.25 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This is a good class considering it is a completely new staff. I think there will be a lot of battles coming up and I don't know how many Auburn will win. One thing I do know is that this will be a top 15 class because it always is - and I am done betting against Auburn finishing in the top 10 because every time I start to count that program out of recruiting battles it wins them."

What the numbers say: Unlike Farrell, the numbers are not going to use better judgment and will put Auburn at the No. 12 class. There are plenty of chances for this to be moved up and historically that has proven to be the case with Auburn as it is a strong closer. A top 10 finish is not out of the question, but it is not as mathematically sound of a projection as many other teams. The current 3.25 ranking-per-recruit suggests that Auburn is more likely to finish at No. 16 so that is the safety range, between No. 10 and No. 16.
NO. 23 - Penn State - 13 commits, 1,176 points, 3.23 average
What Mike Farrell says: "I think Bill O'Brien is doing the best job of recruiting of any coach in the nation, bar none. After what happened a year ago and dealing with what he has to deal with, there is no way I would have predicted a top 25 class at any time. Now they won't have the numbers to stay there, but this is still a great story. I think Penn State fans should just start sorting the rankings by per-recruit stats because they are getting some really talented kids."

What the numbers say: Penn State may already have filled its class and its point total will only fluctuate based on updated Rivals250 movement. There is a chance that the program takes two more players and gets to 15, but it will not be more than that. If the numbers stay the way they are, that would make this a class that settles into the mid-50's. However, as Farrell said, the per-recruit figures could have it as high as No. 16 if the Nittany Lions were able to fill out this roster.
NO. 24 - Vanderbilt - 14 commits, 1,139 points, 3.14 average
What Mike Farrell says: "This group just continues to impress me. I know and recognize that James Franklin has changed the culture at Vanderbilt and with Vanderbilt recruiting but consistently seeing this logo in the top 25 list feels foreign. The fact of the matter is, Vanderbilt is for real and they have staying power. I don't know if a top 25 class will happen, but they won't go away quietly."

What the numbers say: It is hard to accurately use numbers on this one because of the variance based on the results under Franklin versus the history. Getting everything into acceptable ranges, it appears that Vanderbilt will be battling for one of the last spots in the top 25 until the bitter end. Vanderbilt's rankings-per-recruit and projected point totals look like the high mark would be No. 22 with the low mark settling in at No. 31. With a solid season and a strong close, the mark is No. 26, but it is dependent on how West Coast programs close as many Pac-12 programs are strong finishers and could bump Vanderbilt late.
No. 25 - Michigan State - 13 commits, 1,025 points, 3.08 average
What Mike Farrell says: "I think this should be a perennial top 25 recruiting program, but it isn't and I don't know why. The results on the field should help, and usually there are some strong closes for the Spartans, but just not consistently into the top 25. I think this is a good start and one that could contend for the top 25 all year. I think this is just a problem that I have because I have very high expectations for them and they have not met them in recent years."

What the numbers say: It will be another year of disappointment for Farrell as the per-recruit numbers suggest that Michigan State will either finish at No. 25, or it will fall back to No. 33. The variance is a little more than Vanderbilt, which is odd because the program has been more consistent. The current point total is ahead of its historical pace, but the likely top end for the class is in the 1,750 range, which could go as high as No. 23 - as it did last season - or at No. 28. There is no safe play here other than Michigan State will not finish below No. 35 if it fills its class as it is on pace for and follows its historical trajectory.

Auburn NEWS


Latest Headlines:

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos AuburnSports.com. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2007 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.