This article was written for Canespace by blogger '87 Canes...
The foundation of any program starts with excellent recruiting regardless of where the program is in regards to wins and losses. Recruiting is the life blood that sustains any college football program and has seemingly become almost as important to sports fans as wins and losses on any given Saturday.
Fans of college football recruiting track each recruit's height, weight, 40 yard dash and shuttle times along with their strengths and weaknesses through the many pay websites on which these tangible numbers are reported. These numbers and player evaluations made by so called "experts" dictate where a player will be ranked within what we now know as the star ranking system.
As you know, these sites rank players by position and overall talent (regardless of their respective positions) and have a direct bearing on what universities will be recruiting those players as student-athletes. These websites include Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com, and an entire legion of others. I will focus on the big three sites mentioned above.
As we all know, the recruiting season recently concluded with National Signing Day on February 4, 2010. Our beloved Miami Hurricanes received signed Letters of Intent from twenty-eight high school recruits, six of which are early entrees.
Yet long before the time the 2010 recruiting class was signed, sealed, and delivered to Coral Gables, the class had began to take shape. The so-called recruiting experts had long since linked various recruits to our team by calling them "verbal commitments" to Miami while others had expressed "a serious interest" in attending UM and had the Hurricanes in their top three or five schools.
ESPN.com has the 2010 Miami Hurricanes football recruiting class ranked #13, Rivals.com has the 2010 class ranked #24, and finally Scout.com has the 2010 class ranked #17 all by standards that each site created to gauge the success or failure of a universities football recruiting class. Individually, the 2010 class has six four-stars, nineteen three-stars, and three "OTHERS".
Can anyone tell me what OTHERS are? Apparently others mean the kids who aren’t worth evaluating. But wait a second, isn’t that the reason that these recruiting services exist? I’m just as confused as you guys are when it comes to finding recruits as a reputable recruiting service and actually evaluating those same recruits. "Others" sounds like a label placed on something when you are too lazy to do some work and find out what you are attempting to report on.
Canespace friend and reporter extraordinaire Manny Navarro wrote a piece in the Miami Herald entitled: “Shannon Likes Miami Hurricanes’ Recruiting Class, But Experts Don’t”, which was posted on February 4, 2010. Here is the link to that article:
These so-called experts are the same ones that are providing the football recruiting novice with player vital statistics such as 40 times and gaudy weight room numbers and then wrapping that all up into a neat little package referred to as the "Star System". A recruiting service would say “These are the numbers we are reporting for this recruit”, but what the same recruiting services won’t tell you are that those same players’ numbers are in question until a respective university's coaching staff can test, time and evaluate the recruit themselves.
From the end of the football season to the end of the recruiting year is a pretty intense period for every school. But, to have your schools fan base judge success or failure by how many stars each recruit has is simply outrageous. Recruiting services only add to the craziness of “we have to get this guy” or “I’d rather have this guy over that one” based on the number of "stars" next to his name mentality.
When a college coach has the right recruiting team in place and can then decide what course of action to take with a recruit, many times this action results in the coach deciding the kid is not the right fit for their program, scheme or system.
One or more of the recruiting services may have this kid rated as a five star player, a player deemed as a "can’t miss prospect". Then when the university doesn’t make a play for the player fans claim that the coach is "incompetent", or "can't land the big one" or is ineffective or worse "lazy" as a recruiter and doesn't show the high profile recruits "enough love".
This is where my main problem lies with these services. They come across as if their opinions on players are the only opinions that count, no one else has a right to question that. That mentality may have been followed under former UM coach Larry Coker but that has changed under current coach Randy Shannon who is now resposible to get Miami back to where it belongs.
The last aspect of the problem(s) that I have with the recruiting services is the way the reporters can conclude that the current regime at the “U” will change if these recruits don’t win starting right now. If patience is a virtue, then what is impatience? It is my opinion that our fan base should be more understanding of what it takes for high school kids to adjust to the speed of the college game.
It seems that certain reporters within our “U” ranks are attempting to put a damper on our resurgence into college football prominence. Even reporters that are confessed UM fans like Manny Navarro have been critical though not as much as other reporters from some of the pay sites who get caught up in the big time business and money that is college football recuiting.
Let’s resist the urge to criticize or push the current coaching regime out simply because some high profile high school recruit chose not to sign with the Hurricanes or because he may want to play at another university.
Have some faith in Randy Shannon and what he is trying to do at Miami.
I know I do.