Part 2 of the SECJams.com study on college football recruiting.
Part one of this two part study was posted yesterday on SECJams.com, and it is a must read to understand where we are going with part two. To give a quick recap, SECJams just completed a study where we looked at the success rate of high profile recruits in the SEC and five stars in the NCAA going on to have successful NFL careers. Part one covered the average recruiting stars of an SEC athlete currently playing in the NFL. In this part we will look at all the five star recruits since 2002, and their success in the NFL.
Message board junkies around the country will be disappointed after seeing the findings of this study, and might have a different view on five star recruits from here on out. Most people including SECJams staff would have told you before this study that four five star recruits would equal a great signing class, and would bring an immediate impact to your team. Truthfully, it depends on the personality of the five star recruit. Is the recruit hungry to come in and work hard for the team? Has he been told he his awesome his entire career and cannot handle the fame? Is he capable of attending classes and becoming a student-athlete? Can he handle critics, coaches, and high expectations? These are all questions that the recruit must ask himself. Some will come in and achieve great things for their university, and the other half will come in and not be able to answer any of the questions above. So out of all these pampered recruits which one athlete will you get? Will you get the hungry or the one who is waiting for good things to happen? Hopefully, you will get the hungry one, but it is a 50/50 crap shoot, and we will tell you why.
So let’s discuss five stars. As we all know by now recruiting is quantified by a star rating for every player. We at SECJams decided to do some analysis on how those stars relate to NFL players. We studied the 5 star players in the NCAA from 2002-2008 based on Rivals.com rankings to determine how accurately those ranking systems predict NFL players. The 7 recruiting classes from 2002-2008 produced 202 five star players, or almost 29 per season. Of those 202, 173 have exhausted their collegiate eligibility and are either playing professionally or have began their off field professional careers, those 173 are the focus of our study.
We discovered that 98 of the five star recruits have made at least 1 NFL start. This is only 56% of five star recruits that make it to the NFL. However, only 26 of those players have made more than 30 with Haloti Ngata (Oregon) and Devin Hester (Miami) leading the way with 90 starts each. The average class sees roughly 15 players or 50% of the class start games at some point in their career. The 2005 class has been the most productive at 16 of 28 players making 369 NFL starts to date, and is an exception to other class’ athletes that see only 2.5-7.5 starts per year in the NFL.
What does all of this mean? Well, essentially it means that 14 of the 27 five star recruits in this 2012 recruiting class will see the field and start a game for an NFL franchise. It also tells us that only 5 of the athletes in the class will go on to have a significant playing career in the NFL lasting more than a couple years with more than 30 career starts. So, message board junkies and recruiting star buffs should be careful analyzing every move that five star athletes make. Only 50% of them will likely come in and make an impact at your university, and only 18% of them will go on to play for an NFL Franchise.
So, the next time you get really excited or really depressed by your university’s recruiting class ask yourself, have you seen the athletes on the field in your teams’ uniform? The answer is no, and this study is proof that your three and four star guys are who win you football games on Saturday.