clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How roster balance in college football impacts player development

Welcome to The Crootletter (sign up to get this in your inbox every morning!). I'm Bud Elliott, SB Nation's National Recruiting Analyst, and in this space I'll be sharing news, rumors and musings on the world of college football recruiting.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

I enjoyed this formulaic look at Wisconsin's needs on the offensive side of the ball for 2017. This is how coaches look at it, too: who is leaving, how many upperclassmen remain, what are the positional goals?

What does that look like for a pro-style or spread offense? We broke it down two years ago on SB Nation. A lot of roster construction is about depth, contingency plans and practice efficiency. One reason a team might want to be three- or four-deep at a position is for depth in case of injuries, but also because it allows the team to run three practice squads without dipping into the walk-ons.

For instance, if a team carries 16 or 17 linemen, its third-stringers can all be scholarship-quality players, which gives better competition for third-string defensive linemen in practice, more time for the QB and receivers, and better lanes for backs. So having a big disparity in scholarship numbers can hurt development at other positions, too.


This breakdown of all of Texas' scholarship numbers and offers is worth your time if you follow Texas or an opponent of Teas.

One of Miami's top 2016 receiver recruits has withdrawn from high school over a complicated situation. State of The U explains the situation. Speaking of Miami, SB Nation broke down an example of why programs maybe shouldn't celebrate early commitments as much as they do.

Is Ole Miss' 2016 class better on paper than the 2013 class? Red Cup Rebellion argues that it is, due to depth. I'll agree that it is on paper, but the hit rate for the Rebels' top prospects in the 2013 class is perhaps a bit unsustainable.

Maize And Brew breaks down top Michigan target Donovan Peoples-Jones, a dynamic athlete coveted by pretty much everyone. Peoples-Jones was as good as a junior as many a year older than him in the 2016 class. I like the top of the receiver class this year better than 2016, though 2016 had great depth.


If you're a recent signup or missed a day, that's OK. I link my previous Crootletters in this section.

Which states kept top talent home the most? Plus, observations about in-state recruiting across the Southeast.

I broke down how elite programs recruit offensive linemen.

LSU stole Auburn's best recruiter, who also happens to be one of the most beloved AU players of all time.

This read on the challenges of recruiting at Penn State and how James Franklin and his staff are trying to overcome is well worth your time.