Posted: 7:21 am Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Signing day advice: Proceed with caution 

By Jeff Schultz

Recruiting: It's as unpredictable as fortune-telling.

Recruiting: It’s as unpredictable as fortune-telling.

Good morning. It’s national letter of intent day. I’ve never hidden my feelings about the obsession so many of you have with this day so it wouldn’t be right for me to be disingenuous and start now. The most positive thing I can say about letter of intent day is that it’s more palatable than April 15.

Anyway, about today: Whether you’re a recruiting-obsessed football fan of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State or Georgia Southern, here’s some unsolicited advice: Try to make it through this day with some little perspective.

If Georgia finishes seventh among SEC schools in some site’s recruiting rankings, it doesn’t mean the Bulldogs are going to be the seventh-best team in the conference next season and/or can’t win the conference championship. If Georgia State finishes 127th, it doesn’t mean the Panthers can’t win … a game.

It matters little how many “stars” Joe Bob Billy Boy has been given by Mr. Recruiting Geek In Mom’s Basement. This is a guessing game. We’re talking about trying to project what 18-year-olds will do for the next four years, when it’s impossible to know what most 18-year-olds will do even next week.

You think there are hits and misses in pro drafts? Those athletes are three to five years older and they’re scouted by staffs of expert coaches and general managers, and teams STILL get it wrong.

What matters most is how these players develop. That’s up to the respective coaching staffs and the programs they’re in. You can go to any school’s recruiting class in any season and see that many of those “5-star” guys turned out to be busts or just average while the “3-stars” wound up starting.

Does recruiting mean absolutely nothing? No. But celebrating about a “great” recruiting class is like coming home with two bags of groceries and bragging about what a great meal you’ve made.

That said, if you’re into all this, you can find all of the latest news at AJC.com/s/sports or go to our special breaking news site set up just for LOI day: AJC.com/currentatl/college-recruiting. There will be tons of free content all day.

And, yes, I will be contributing a couple of more blogs. We’re in the gap between football and baseball so I have no excuse.

Question for the masses: How serious do you take recruiting rankings?

15 comments
PigIron
PigIron

Recruiting rankings are important in the aggregate. It is easy enough to find a few anecdotal examples of outliers. For instance, the occasional 3 star recruit who went on to have a great career, or the 5 star who never saw significant playing time.


Still, if I had to bet on the outcome of a game between a school that had all 5 star recruits versus a team with all 1 star recruits, it wouldn't be a very difficult decision to make.

TheOldGuy
TheOldGuy

Kind of a hypocritical article considering the AJC has a minute-by-minute reporting web page for college football recruiting. The AJC makes money off of the advertising they sell by attracting viewers and readers with stories about UGA and GT, but doesn't hesitate to demean them. That is called pooping where you eat. Not smart.

BulldawgRick
BulldawgRick

Of course recruiting is all hype...

It sells so, YOU the media, Jeff, Chip, Mark, etc write about it....

FalconUGAFan
FalconUGAFan

Sure they matter. But I don't take it serious at all. I have much more to worry about then who is going to the school root for.


And who can imagine someone worrying about a school I don't ROOT for. No one is that lame...right?

davesbrain
davesbrain

Unfortunately, I have to take them seriously -this is college football's version of the NFL's draft.

Of course it's an unlevel playing field because some teams get all first round picks, some teams get all fourth round picks, and some teams get all the undrafted.  It won't make for a very competitive balance, and of course, the competing schools are not offering the same product.

THEBuckeye
THEBuckeye

It's all hype for dogs, that's for sure.

Dawgman034
Dawgman034

Alabama and FSU have shared the number 1 recruiting title the last 5 years and have won 4 out of 5 National Championships. They do matter.

96JB
96JB

All I'll say is David Pollack. Ended up a 3 time All American DE and a #1 draft choice after being a 2 star Fullback in high school. Recruit heart and attitude.

DrPhill
DrPhill

Rankings seem to work for Saban, but then he culls the catch each year.

Jsteg
Jsteg

Total waste of energy following this stuff.  Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were both 2 star recruits.  The experts sure got that right.   Me?  I can't wait for curling to start in the Olympics!

MaxSizemore
MaxSizemore

There are measureables (recruiting rankings) and unmeasureables (character, etc.).  Both are extremely important.

Phillipdj
Phillipdj

Lighten up and have some fun with it. There was a day when Peyton Manning spurned Ole Miss forTennessee. 3 years ago Clowney was consensus #1 overall. A kid from Texas who Mel Kiper would end up being a #1 overall draft pick and a Florida prodigy who came back from a broken leg to lead his school to the state title - they ended up occupying the place behind center at UGA for a combined 7 years.

It's the future. Enjoy it!

MtnFalcon
MtnFalcon

I agree Jeff, but it provides some entertainment. If everything swings UGA's way of the 50/50's it will be a big day for UGA.