Recruiting and the Portal

bamaslammer

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Jan 8, 2003
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I've been following recruiting since Saban arrived, I know when we have a less than banner year we like to talk about the fact that stars are not everything, and we can find plenty of examples of that, then when we have a massive haul of 5 star guys we can pull out the stats that pretty much say the teams with the most 5 star guys are pretty much going to be in the playoffs more often than not, and in the playoff era this is mostly true. But in the last two years the NCAA went from restrictive player movement to an almost free market. It's a complete unknown as to how this is going to effect the sport, For the Quarterbacks it's clearly been a good move for both the player and the schools as you see teams (like LSU) that had virtually zero chance of ever developing a QB snatch one off the market and win a natty. But what I believe we are going to see as this storm comes fully ashore is that you are not going to be able to judge a recruiting haul when you sign them at all, because we all know there are guys who are willing to work hard and force their way onto the field and there are guys that are going to try once and if success does not come immediately will just hit the portal. Again for QB's this isn't always a bad thing, I could even see it for an OL possibly, but for everyone else, if you were any good you'd probably be rotating in, and if you're not rotating in, it's probably not the coaches fault. Plus if you always know that portal is there. Are you really working as hard as you would if you thought this was your only option? Human nature is hard to change.

I believe the invisible character of a recruiting class is actually going to become really important, I believe we may see some schools sign really amazing classes but have them crippled by attrition, and like Saban has been saying since day one, you can't judge a recruiting class for several years. I hope that Saban has found some really sold guys who are both talented and simply do not know how to quit. They still gotta have those stars, but a five star player playing at po-dunk junior college because he wouldn't wait his turn is pretty much no use to us.
 

4Q Basket Case

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Character always mattered, but I agree with you that it matters even more now that it ever did before, for precisely the reasons you cite.

On star ratings though....those things still matter. A lot. Any time you're trying to predict human performance, there are no perfect indicators. I draw a parallel with ACT scores.

We all know kids who made 25 on the ACT, worked their butts off, and ended up as honors graduates.

We also know kids who made 32, smoked acres of dope / drank oceans of beer, didn't go to class and ended up flunking out.

What we forget is that the opposite also happens. Some 25s slack off. Some 32s work their butts off. It's just that because of the initial expectations, those stories aren't nearly as compelling. So they don't stick out in our minds as much.

Point being, if you're talking about a specific individual, nobody can predict future performance with certainty, regardless of ACT score, number of recruiting stars, or whatever other predictive measure you might want to use.

But let the law of large numbers kick in. Give me a classroom of 32s, and taken as a whole, our academic performance will run circles around a classroom of 25s, also taken as a whole.
 
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bamaslammer

All-American
Jan 8, 2003
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www.kirkwoodhouse.com
I agree, more stars are better. We can't win championships in this era without five star talent. But in each championship we had some roll players who were less than that, most didn't start right away, but worked themselves into being good or even great players. I'm sure we could all spout off examples. One of my favorite is Bradley Bozeman he was a marginal 4 star guy, probably a 3 star if he didn't get a scholarship from Saban, blew a knee his senior year, Saban stuck with him and it took him about 3 years but was a more than solid starter who got better as he played and is a starter in the NFL today. Another example is Reggie Ragland, he was one of the top linebacker recruits in his high school class but it took him 3 years to get any playing time. But by time he got his opportunity he was ready and is also in the NFL today. I fear players like that will hit the road before they ever reach their potential and we won't have anything other than freshman to take their place, as we saw last year freshman, even highly rated ones are not ready to play just because they put on the jersey. Managing expectations has never been easy but the portal is making it so much harder.
 

CajunCrimson

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I agree, more stars are better. We can't win championships in this era without five star talent. But in each championship we had some roll players who were less than that, most didn't start right away, but worked themselves into being good or even great players. I'm sure we could all spout off examples. One of my favorite is Bradley Bozeman he was a marginal 4 star guy, probably a 3 star if he didn't get a scholarship from Saban, blew a knee his senior year, Saban stuck with him and it took him about 3 years but was a more than solid starter who got better as he played and is a starter in the NFL today. Another example is Reggie Ragland, he was one of the top linebacker recruits in his high school class but it took him 3 years to get any playing time. But by time he got his opportunity he was ready and is also in the NFL today. I fear players like that will hit the road before they ever reach their potential and we won't have anything other than freshman to take their place, as we saw last year freshman, even highly rated ones are not ready to play just because they put on the jersey. Managing expectations has never been easy but the portal is making it so much harder.
Levi Wallace is another
 

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