Our annual countdown is scheduled to begin this Friday (4/6) with signees 26-23 . Subsequent releases will include 22-19 , 18-15 , 14-11 , 10-8 , 7-5 , 4-3 and 2-1 .
As always , and in order to prevent repetitive questioning , we ask that our readers acknowledge the ratings system in place which differs greatly from the usual suspects - Scout and Rivals . Below is a quick review along a few recently departed players cited as examples ...
The first 2 groupings are for players who are expected to become the core of their team over the next 3 to 5 seasons .
5 - This rating is for players who are expected to be in the fold when it comes to annual All American teams and are also expected to be in the running for first team all-conference honors over multiple seasons - Andre Smith .
4.5 - High quality multi-year starters who are among the best at their position in the SEC . These players are also highly likely be in the running for all-conference honors - Mike Johnson .
4 - Solid D-1 athletes who start and excel for 2 or more seasons - Brandon Deaderick .
3.5 - These players should become fixtures in the rotation at their position and should earn starting assingments at some point prior to the conclusion of their career - Luther Davis .
The next groupings pretty much are what they are .
3 - This rating is for signees who are expected to earn some rotation at their position while continuing to push those who are playing ahead of them - Alex Watkins .
2.5 - Players who are limited when it comes to overall ability , but should see some playing time on special teams or regularly late in games , usually against teams generally viewed as being lesser opponents - Milton Talbert .
2 - This is a rating I have always used for specialists - P/K/Ret. .
I've been asked many times over the years as to what brought this about . It's really pretty simple . (1) Back during the 1980's and on into the mid to even latter 90's just about every analyst in the business would give every specialist who received an offer from any notable program a 5 star rating . Why ? A kicker is only certain to see the field for one play per game . The same holds true for return specialists while a punter has no gaurantee of ever stepping foot on the field of play in any game . Obviously such happenings are extreme rarities and while these players are clearly very valuable assets for each and every team , I have always been of the opinion that no team should receive a boost in overall class rankings by virtue of signing a player who is not expected to contribute to the extent of any regular position player . (2) Speaking of player and class ratings or rankings ... I have always been of the belief that the higher a class is rated there is a trickle down effect resulting in more pressure for each signee . This is one of the reasons my ratings are almost always lower than any of those viewed elsewhere . There is already enough pressure on these kids as it is and there's no need for the staff here at TideFans to pile on by inflating any prospect . Simply put , we are not in the business of selling headlines which is commonly the practice in place over at Rivals and Scout . We do not wish to compete in any way with any service and will continue in our attempt to offer nothing more than honest evaluations . This may not always be in line with what fans want or prefer . Just please remember to keep in mind the more players become over-hyped , more dissapointments and shattered impression are in store . Such practices are not and never will be fair for any aspiring athlete in any sport .
1 - Sleeper types who may boom or bust - Nick Gentry , Nick Fanuzzi .
Yes , this is another rating put in place in order to drive down class rankings . Some sleepers are expected to perform better than most would expect while others simply are not viewed as being clear-cut legitimate D-1 signees . Which side of the fence a players falls on should become evident upon reading their evaluation .
As always , we both encourage and respect the opinions and contributions we receive from each and every TideFans member . Here's to Friday when 2012 signees 26-23 will be released .