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February 14, 2012

More "Stars" than those that are "Super"?

Including Isaiah Crowell, four Rivals 5-star recruits played for the Bulldogs in the Outback Bowl. 
That's one more than the Giants and Patriots had COMBINED on their Super Bowl rosters.

Just prior to the Super Bowl, this article was posted at Rivals.com, breaking down its recruiting rankings for both the New England Patriots and New York Giants' 53-man active rosters. 

On a personal note, I feel Rivals' "star" system and ranking process can be somewhat flawed; there are a couple other football recruiting sources/experts I prefer.  Nevertheless, I found its linked piece on the two Super Bowl teams relatively intriguing.  So much in fact, like most anything else, I attempted to apply it to UGA football.

Georgia finished its 2011 season with its own 53-man active roster of sorts; 53 different Bulldogs just happened to see playing time in the Outback Bowl.  Like in the article, I divided these players into their recruiting "star" rankings according to Rivals:

No stars (6)
PK Brandon Bogotay, ST Taylor Bradberry, ST Cory Campbell, SN Ty Frix, ST Connor Norman, ST Blake Sailors
Two stars (1)
P Drew Butler
Three stars (17)
OL David Andrews, WR Michael Bennett, DB Sanders Commings, WR Chris Conley, DB Marc Deas, FB Bruce Figgins, OL Kenarious Gates, DL Kwame Geathers, OL Cordy Glenn, OL Ben Jones, FB Alexander Ogletree, DB Bacarri Rambo, RB Carlton Thomas, LB Chase Vasser, LB Kosta Vavlas, PK Blair Walsh, DB Shawn Williams
Four stars (25)
OL Justin Anderson, DB Brandon Boykin, WR Marlon Brown, OL Chris Burnette, TE Orson Charles, LB Michael Gilliard, LB Amarlo Herrera, DL John Jenkins, DL Abry Jones, LB Jarvis Jones, WR Tavarres King, TE Arthur Lynch, RB Ken Malcome, DB Nick Marshall, WR Malcolm Mitchell, DB Corey Moore, QB Aaron Murray, LB Alec Ogletree, LB Christian Robinson, DL Garrison Smith, LB T.J. Stripling, DB Damian Swann, DL Mike Thornton, LB Cornelius Washington, TE Aaron White
Five stars (4)
RB Isaiah Crowell, LB Ray Drew, DB Branden Smith, RB Richard Samuel

Although not surprising, what first caught my eye is of the six Bulldogs who had no star value prior to their arrival to UGA, all of them played solely a special teams role against Michigan State.  Furthermore, evidently roughly half of Georgia's kickoff coverage consisted of no-star players. 

And some of us wondered why the Bulldogs had such a difficult time covering kicks all season...

At any rate, if Georgia's 6 no-star players, 1 two-star, 17 three stars, 25 four stars, and 4 five stars are averaged, that equates to 3.26 stars per "active" Bulldog player.  In comparison, the players on the New England roster, who were college recruits from 2002 and later (36 of 53), had a lowly recruiting average of only 2.44 stars (and thus the reason for the "underdog" article).  

The New York Giant players who, according to the piece, "were held in higher regard as recruits [than New England's]," did have a higher average, but it was still less than three at 2.97 stars.

Realizing Georgia had a good amount of turnover in player personnel from 2010 to 2011 and this could translate to a significant difference in perceived talent, I figured the Bulldogs' star value for its final "active" roster from the year before -- the participants in the 2010 Liberty Bowl.  Georgia did indeed have turnover from the losing 6-7 season of 2010 to the next.  Of the 53 players who appeared in the Outback Bowl, only about half (27) had played in the Liberty Bowl loss to Central Florida.  Still, the 2010 Georgia team had an average recruiting ranking of 3.18 stars, or nearly the same as the following season's squad.

At first, I had a rather difficult time comprehending all of this.  You mean to say the last two Bulldog football teams, one of which had a losing year, were more highly regarded as recruits, on the whole, than the players that made up supposedly the two best teams in all of professional football?

I think it's safe to say that if you were to take any "active" roster of a college football team that annually ranks in Rivals' top 10 to 15 nationally, its average stars per player would be roughly 3.0 to 3.5.  Likewise, if you were to take an active roster of any random NFL team, my guess its average recruiting stars per player would be similar to that of the Super Bowl-winning Giants, or at least a quarter of a star lower than the college team's average.

What do such results suggest?  Probably just about anything from college teams need to somehow hire a Tom Coughlin or  Bill Belichick as their head coach to take advantage of the extraordinary talent they're apparently signing, to Rivals' recruiting rankings are a bunch of bunk and darts might as well be thrown at a dartboard in designating star values to most high school players, to the results are mere circumstances and suggest absolutely nothing at all.

Perhaps the only thing clear is of the combined 29 four- and five-star Bulldogs that appeared in the Outback Bowl, a whopping 25 will be returning for the 2012 season.  And that, considering how talented these players were coming out of high school and according to Rivals, could only be a good thing... I guess.

1 comment:

Fed up said...

I'd like to see this comparison done on the current 2012 UGA team. Just to see if it is better or worse. By the way Dick Sam 4 has not performed well at all for his aforementioned five star rating.