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Of course Alabama's No. 1 in 5-year recruiting rankings, but Baylor's the most improved power

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Which teams are rising and falling in two- and five-year recruiting rankings?

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National Signing Day 2016 is officially in the rear view mirror. We had our pomp, our circumstance, our Hudl film analysis, our gnashing of teeth about the whims of 18-year-olds and their parents.

While there are always a few surprises in the days or weeks following Signing Day, almost all of the work on the 2016 recruiting class has been done.

For the purposes of my S&P+ projections, I calculate two-year recruiting ratings. Here's how:

  • Because these ratings are used for all 128 FBS teams, I've found that a blend of Rivals ratings and the 247Sports Composite tends to work the best. Neither service tends to have ratings for everyone signed by some of the mid-majors, and splitting the difference, so to speak, creates the best correlations (for me) between recruiting success and on-field success.
  • I also use a blend of teams' point totals (which are how the recruiting services determine their overall class rankings) and per-recruit averages. Recruiting services tend to have a cutoff, so that teams signing 32 guys don't end up getting a significant advantage over teams that sign 23, but I've found that incorporating averages still suit my purposes better.
  • These two services and two data points are whirred together to create a percentile average for each school in each class. For 2016, for instance, No. 1 Alabama's percentile average was 98.7 percent, No. 64 Kansas State's was 46.0, and No. 128 Kent State's was 7.8. That gives you an idea of the range.
  • Average the last two classes together, and voila! Two-year averages. You can do the same for five-year averages.

Here are teams' 2016 ratings, five- and two-year percentile averages and rankings changes.

Team 2016 class Rk 5-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
5-year Rk
2-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
2-year Rk
Alabama 98.7% 1 98.2% 1 0 97.3% 1 0
Ohio State 97.9% 2 95.5% 4 0 93.5% 5 4
USC 97.7% 3 97.5% 2 0 96.4% 2 0
Georgia 97.7% 4 94.0% 6 0 92.8% 7 3
Florida State 97.7% 5 96.3% 3 0 96.3% 3 0
Auburn 96.7% 6 94.9% 5 2 94.2% 4 1
LSU 96.6% 7 93.9% 7 -2 92.5% 8 -1
Clemson 96.3% 8 91.6% 14 0 92.9% 6 6
Ole Miss 96.2% 9 85.9% 20 1 89.0% 15 6
Michigan 95.5% 10 92.9% 9 2 89.1% 14 0
Texas 94.4% 11 92.4% 11 -2 91.3% 12 3
Tennessee 94.3% 12 90.4% 15 -2 92.4% 9 -3
Notre Dame 93.9% 13 93.8% 8 2 92.0% 10 1
Texas A&M 92.6% 14 92.5% 10 8 90.2% 13 -5
Michigan State 92.5% 15 83.9% 21 3 88.0% 18 4
Florida 91.0% 16 92.3% 12 -4 86.3% 20 -7
Baylor 91.0% 17 74.9% 30 9 79.9% 27 5
Miami 89.8% 18 88.6% 17 2 86.0% 21 -2
UCLA 89.7% 19 92.2% 13 3 91.7% 11 -7
Oklahoma 89.3% 20 88.7% 16 -4 88.8% 16 0
Penn State 89.2% 21 79.5% 26 1 88.1% 17 3
Oregon 87.5% 22 87.3% 19 -2 86.5% 19 4
Arizona State 87.2% 23 77.6% 28 7 84.9% 22 2
TCU 87.1% 24 72.0% 35 3 77.1% 31 18
Mississippi State 86.5% 25 77.9% 27 2 82.8% 23 6
Team 2016 class Rk 5-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
5-year Rk
2-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
2-year Rk
Stanford 83.8% 26 88.3% 18 -3 82.3% 24 -7
Nebraska 83.1% 27 79.9% 24 -1 78.9% 29 1
Washington 83.0% 28 77.5% 29 -3 78.2% 30 4
Arkansas 81.7% 29 73.8% 31 2 81.0% 25 3
North Carolina 78.6% 30 80.6% 23 -1 80.2% 26 -1
Pittsburgh 78.5% 31 71.9% 37 9 71.9% 35 7
Duke 77.9% 32 61.4% 52 4 71.5% 37 7
South Carolina 77.3% 33 83.5% 22 -2 79.4% 28 -10
Wisconsin 76.5% 34 72.9% 34 2 73.9% 33 2
Kentucky 73.8% 35 73.8% 32 -1 71.9% 36 -9
Virginia Tech 71.1% 36 79.8% 25 0 75.0% 32 -6
California 70.3% 37 72.0% 36 -8 71.1% 38 8
Oklahoma State 70.2% 38 71.7% 38 -6 68.7% 40 -7
Houston 69.3% 39 47.3% 68 3 51.3% 61 18
Missouri 68.6% 40 73.0% 33 -3 73.6% 34 -3
Texas Tech 68.2% 41 66.4% 42 -1 66.7% 41 6
Northwestern 67.5% 42 66.3% 43 1 64.2% 46 -6
Louisville 67.3% 43 69.7% 39 -5 69.1% 39 6
Arizona 66.2% 44 65.3% 44 5 64.4% 44 -3
Iowa 65.8% 45 61.9% 51 -1 60.9% 49 7
Utah 65.7% 46 65.0% 46 -1 64.6% 43 8
Oregon State 65.5% 47 59.4% 54 -1 57.6% 52 11
South Florida 63.0% 48 63.4% 49 3 57.4% 54 -4
NC State 61.4% 49 64.0% 47 4 64.3% 45 -6
Maryland 61.1% 50 67.1% 41 2 62.5% 47 -11
Team 2016 class Rk 5-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
5-year Rk
2-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
2-year Rk
Colorado 60.3% 51 55.3% 56 2 59.3% 50 11
Minnesota 59.4% 52 52.6% 58 7 57.5% 53 6
Syracuse 56.7% 53 50.8% 63 5 51.7% 59 1
West Virginia 56.6% 54 63.2% 50 -3 65.1% 42 -4
Georgia Tech 55.5% 55 65.1% 45 -3 62.2% 48 -11
Wake Forest 55.4% 56 51.5% 62 1 53.0% 58 7
Washington State 54.4% 57 55.0% 57 5 55.8% 56 -1
BYU 53.1% 58 46.8% 70 0 47.0% 66 4
Rutgers 51.8% 59 60.0% 53 -5 51.6% 60 4
Vanderbilt 51.4% 60 67.8% 40 0 58.8% 51 -3
Central Florida 50.6% 61 52.0% 59 0 55.3% 57 -5
Indiana 50.4% 62 56.9% 55 0 56.4% 55 -1
Iowa State 48.3% 63 48.9% 65 1 46.1% 68 -1
Kansas State 46.0% 64 51.7% 61 -1 50.8% 63 -5
Virginia 44.6% 65 63.9% 48 -11 51.1% 62 -19
Boston College 42.7% 66 48.2% 66 -2 50.2% 64 -11
Temple 42.6% 67 34.6% 73 6 42.7% 69 2
Boise State 42.3% 68 47.1% 69 0 49.1% 65 -3
Memphis 40.1% 69 25.7% 88 1 35.0% 74 11
Cincinnati 39.7% 70 49.7% 64 -7 42.5% 70 -2
Colorado State 36.3% 71 26.0% 86 1 33.5% 76 13
Illinois 34.1% 72 51.9% 60 -6 46.2% 67 -10
Western Michigan 33.2% 73 27.5% 83 2 33.1% 78 -5
UNLV 30.2% 74 22.5% 95 10 27.7% 86 22
East Carolina 29.3% 75 32.0% 75 0 35.2% 73 3
Team 2016 class Rk 5-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
5-year Rk
2-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
2-year Rk
San Diego State 29.0% 76 32.8% 74 0 32.8% 79 -5
Kansas 28.6% 77 42.6% 71 -4 33.4% 77 -8
Marshall 28.5% 78 37.9% 72 0 34.3% 75 -3
SMU 28.4% 79 31.6% 76 -3 30.3% 82 4
Fresno State 27.5% 80 30.7% 78 4 35.5% 72 3
Purdue 27.3% 81 47.7% 67 -6 35.6% 71 -5
Connecticut 27.0% 82 30.7% 77 0 28.6% 83 7
Florida Atlantic 26.7% 83 25.8% 87 7 32.2% 81 1
Southern Miss 26.5% 84 27.5% 82 2 26.9% 88 10
Central Michigan 25.7% 85 21.4% 101 5 25.6% 91 19
Western Kentucky 25.5% 86 25.1% 89 1 25.4% 92 1
San Jose State 24.5% 87 24.6% 90 5 32.3% 80 -3
Miami (Ohio) 23.2% 88 20.2% 105 4 25.7% 90 24
Toledo 22.9% 89 27.3% 84 -4 27.6% 87 0
Arkansas State 22.7% 90 27.3% 85 1 27.8% 85 3
Louisiana Tech 22.6% 91 28.2% 81 0 28.6% 84 -4
Tulsa 22.6% 92 30.5% 79 -3 26.0% 89 -6
Hawaii 21.8% 93 21.4% 100 2 21.9% 102 16
Massachusetts 21.7% 94 16.2% 116 11 22.0% 101 14
New Mexico 21.3% 95 20.4% 104 -3 20.8% 106 7
Middle Tennessee 21.2% 96 21.3% 102 -3 24.8% 93 1
Georgia Southern 20.7% 97 19.8% 106 -2 24.2% 95 -11
Bowling Green 19.8% 98 22.4% 97 -1 21.8% 103 -3
UTSA 19.8% 99 23.0% 94 -3 22.5% 98 13
Nevada 19.2% 100 23.1% 93 5 22.9% 96 0
Team 2016 class Rk 5-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
5-year Rk
2-year avg
(2016)
Rk Change in
2-year Rk
Troy 19.0% 101 18.0% 110 3 20.5% 107 10
South Alabama 18.7% 102 20.5% 103 -3 22.6% 97 10
Tulane 18.4% 103 29.1% 80 -2 24.6% 94 -13
North Texas 18.1% 104 18.2% 109 2 22.3% 99 10
Buffalo 17.7% 105 16.3% 114 4 19.3% 114 -10
Ball State 16.5% 106 18.5% 108 2 19.8% 111 -5
Texas State 15.9% 107 23.7% 92 -4 20.4% 109 -8
Navy 15.9% 108 22.4% 96 1 19.9% 110 -32
UTEP 14.7% 109 13.8% 125 1 15.8% 122 6
UL-Lafayette 14.6% 110 21.4% 99 -6 20.5% 108 -5
Florida International 14.5% 111 22.1% 98 -6 21.4% 105 -3
Utah State 13.3% 112 19.0% 107 -4 21.7% 104 1
Appalachian State 13.0% 113 16.8% 113 4 18.4% 115 -18
Eastern Michigan 12.8% 114 15.2% 119 0 16.0% 120 3
Rice 12.5% 115 24.5% 91 -8 19.5% 112 -20
Old Dominion 12.0% 116 15.0% 120 2 19.4% 113 -22
Air Force 11.7% 117 15.0% 121 0 14.5% 125 -1
Georgia State 11.5% 118 10.9% 129 0 15.9% 121 1
Northern Illinois 11.4% 119 14.7% 122 -6 17.0% 117 3
UL-Monroe 11.1% 120 14.6% 123 0 16.9% 118 1
Charlotte 10.9% 121 16.8% 112 -4 22.3% 100 -5
Ohio 10.4% 122 17.7% 111 -4 16.8% 119 -7
Wyoming 10.1% 123 15.9% 117 -5 17.3% 116 0
Akron 9.7% 124 16.2% 115 -1 15.5% 124 -25
New Mexico State 9.3% 125 15.8% 118 -3 13.0% 127 0
Idaho 9.0% 126 12.8% 128 -4 12.9% 128 -2
Army 8.9% 127 13.6% 126 -1 13.7% 126 -1
Kent State 7.8% 128 14.5% 124 -4 15.7% 123 -2

From a projections standpoint, the most interesting part of this exercise to me is the change in averages from one year to another. That tells us which teams' projections (and, in theory, on-field play) will be most directly affected by recruiting. So, really, what tends to matter most from a projections standpoint is the comparison of a team's 2014 class to its 2016 class.

  • Largest positive change in five-year rankings: UMass (+11), UNLV (+10), Baylor (+9), Pittsburgh (+9), Texas A&M (+8), Arizona State (+7), Minnesota (+7), FAU (+7), Temple (+6)
  • Largest negative change in five-year rankings: Virginia (-11), Rice (-8), California (-8), Cincinnati (-7), NIU (-6), UL-Lafayette (-6), FIU (-6), Purdue (-6), Oklahoma State (-6)
  • Largest positive change in two-year rankings: Miami-OH (+24), UNLV (+22), CMU (+19), TCU (+18), Houston (+18), Hawaii (+16), UMass (+14), Colorado State (+13), UTSA (+13), Colorado (+11), Memphis (+11), Oregon State (+11)
  • Largest negative change in two-year rankings: Navy (-32), Akron (-25), Old Dominion (-20), Rice (-19), Virginia (-19), Appalachian State (-18), Tulane (-13), Georgia Tech (-11), Georgia Southern (-11), Boston College (-11), Maryland (-11)
  • Five best two-year averages for Group of 5 teams (and BYU): No. 54 USF (57.4%), No. 57 UCF (55.3%), No. 61 Houston (51.3%), No. 65 Boise State (49.1%), No. 66 BYU (47.0%)
  • Five worst two-year averages for power conference teams: No. 77 Kansas (33.4%), No. 71 Purdue (35.6%), No. 68 Iowa State (46.1%), No. 67 Illinois (46.2%), No. 64 Boston College (50.2%).

While Texas stole a lot of headlines with its late charge of commitments, the Longhorns basically duplicated 2015's recruiting effort -- they ranked 12th in these percentiles in 2015 and 11th in 2016. That's impressive in its own way because of Texas' lackluster on-field results (5-7 in 2015), but maybe the biggest story from a projections standpoint comes in the efforts of other Texas schools.

Baylor's 2016 class ranks 17th in these percentiles, and the Bears' five-year ranking improved more than any one else in the power conferences. They have been a national player with decent recruiting, and now their recruiting is downright good.

Meanwhile, 2015's most successful on-field mid-major and former mid-major, Houston and TCU, signed wonderful classes. The Cougars' class ranked 39th despite the handicap of mid-major life, while the Horned Frogs ranked 24th, which raised their two-year average considerably. Considering they've gone 23-3 over the last two seasons and their recruiting just improved, there's reason for excitement in Fort Worth.

These numbers are used for my S&P+ projections, which are in turn used for my offseason preview series (which, believe it or not, begins next week). The projections come together using what are basically three factors: recent performance, returning talent and, as a hint of what will be replacing the departed talent, these two-year recruiting rankings.