Posted: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 27, 2013
By Hank Rippetoe
247 Sports is the only recruiting service that makes an attempt to rank the college football recruiters. This is one of the things I like about the site. I am not sure about the methodology and wonder if there might be a better way of doing things. This is where I need help for those who are interested. Your thoughts will be much appreciated.
I've been building a data base on the SEC recruiters to use next year, and at the same time I'm giving a critical look at 247 Sports methods of ranking. If it seems right, I plan to expand what I plan to do to include the major conferences.
My hypothesis, as of now, is that the rankings are flawed. Often, they don't capture all of the recruits that a recruiter has hauled in and they give two coaches credit for a single player in many instances.
Here's how they accomplish that feat. Let's look at Vince Marrow's recruits. What you see is a list of recruits and their date of commitment. The two columns on the right are offers according to Rank By Offers which is more comprehensive than the list that 247 Sports offers up.
|Total||Vince Marrow||Kentucky||SEC Rank 13|
|Commits||Tight Ends Coach||247||Top 25|
|8||Commitments||247 Rating||Composite||Rivals Rating||Offers*||Offers*|
|Average Star Rating||3||3.25||3.375||15.25||2.25|
Now, compare Marrow to Derrick Ansley's recruits.
|Total||Derrick Ansley||Kentucky||SEC Rank 75||Rank||RBO|
|Commits||Cornerbacks Coach||247||By Offers||Top 25|
|5||Commitments||247 Rating||Composite||Rivals Rating||Offers*||Offers*|
|Derrick Kelly Jr.||6/18/2013||3*||3*||2*||1||0|
|Average Star Rating||3.00||3.20||3.00||14.20||4|
If you click on each recruit, you can see if the coach the sole recruiter or if he had some help. 247 shows a primary recruiter and a secondary recruiter if the primary had help. If you click on Darius West, for instance, Marrow needed no assistance. If you click on Mike Edwards, though, you will find that Derrick Ansley was the secondary recruiter for Marrow's primary status. So, should Ansley get full credit, other than recognition for Edwards? In fact, Ansley is the secondary recruiter for all five shown credited to him.
Here's how 247 Sports ranks the recruiters:
In order to create the most comprehensive Coach Recruiting Ranking without any notion of bias, 247 Sports Coach Recruiting Ranking is solely based on the 247 Composite Rating.
Each recruit is weighted in the rankings according to a Gaussian distribution formula (a bell curve), where a team's best recruit is worth the most points. You can think of a team's point score as being the sum of ratings of all the team's commits where the best recruit is worth 100% of his rating value, the second best recruit is worth nearly 100% of his rating value, down to the last recruit who is worth a small fraction of his rating value. This formula ensures that all commits contribute at least some value to the team's score without heavily rewarding teams that have several more commitments than others.
(You can read the complete explanation by 247 Sports here, but you'll have to click on the little information "i" icon in the blue circle. It is worth doing this because you can see where they got all their explanation and graphics from by clicking on this.)
Well, isn't that special? It takes a special formula to create a bell curve. I don't know about you, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know the there is a distribution of talent from bad to good with most players falling somewhere in the middle (a bell curve). Is this "complification" for the purpose of confusing you and me by making it seem that what they do is difficult?
If they want to rank the recruiters in this fashion, I suppose that's okay, but then you're forced to look at their player ratings and rankings for the built-in biases. I submit there are biases in their rating system. There may be biases by all of the services. That, however, is another article for another day (coming soon). I just want you to look at this and make your own mind about bias. You will note that Rank By Offers and Rivals are pretty much in agreement while the other services are all over the place. Does the table inspire confidence in the 247 ratings and rankings? Yeah, me too.
As I see it, there are two ways to make things more realistic. First, you could include only those players where the coach was the primary recruiter. If so, Edwards would not be included in Derrick Ansley's profile or his ranking as a recruiter. Another way would be to give each coach credit for a half recruit. By doing so, Coach Marrow would have 7.5 recruits to his credit and Coach Ansley would get credit for the other half of the recruit.
The question, then, for you as a reader is which method would you choose or would you do the same as 247 Sports? I'd like your thoughts because it will help me determine how I'm going to rank the recruiters for A Sea of Blue.