Last year the well known and frequently followed college recruiting service Rivals.com published an article in which they revealed the names of players that made the Rivals "five-star" football recruiting lists over the previous five years (2007-2011).
The story was written by the talented Steve Megargee, one of the National feature writers for Rivals who researched the football recruiting classes from 2007 to 2011 and gave a brief analysis of each players success or failure at the college level and in some cases also provided their NFLU draft status.
We thought it would be interesting to do a more in depth statistical analysis on his reporting so that we could try to get a "big picture" overview of just how good a predictor the five-star high school recruit designation was at predicting which players would be successful at the college level.
So we start off this series of five articles by framing the big picture around the lists of players that received the coveted five star label over the last five years. In the coming days we will examine each class more closely in our series of consecutive articles.
Here is what our initial summary analysis found:
- Between 2007 and 2011 a small and select group of only 144 players received the five star rating from Rivals.com.
- The 2009 class was the largest with 33 players making the list.
- The 2010 and 2011 classes were the smallest with 26 players each.
- In 2008 there were 30 players that received the five star label while in 2007 there were 29.
So out of the 1 million or so high school football players in the U.S. in any given year only around 28 players (144/5) earned the five star designation on average over the five year period.
Based on this fact alone one would assume that almost every player receiving the prestigious five star designation by one of the top recruiting services in the Country would be considered a "can't miss prospect" that was soon going to win national awards and National Championships, right?
And, as usual, you would assume wrong. In fact, you would be very, very wrong. Which is why it is usually foolish and at times even dangerous to make assumptions based on opinions instead of analyzing the facts.
Which is why we are here to debunk the myths and to provide you the facts. Here are some of the initial facts we found by studying the Rivals.com five star recruiting lists over five years (and we hope that you are sitting down as you read this!):
- Out of the 144 players designated as five star studs only 36 players or about about 25% went on to becomes what most people would consider to be stars or impact players at the college level.
- That means that approximately 108 players or about 75% of the five star recruits over the five year period were just solid, decent or average players who did not have a major impact on their teams success for various reasons.
- As of last count at least 19 players (13%) transferred from the original school they signed a LOI with on National Signing Day.
- From the list we found that 18 players (13%) suffered major injuries that had a significant negative impact on their careers.
So what that tells us is that only 1 out of every 4 five star recruits will go on to even bigger things in college or beyond that in the NFLU. It also shows us that 2 out of every 10 five star players will either transfer to another school or suffer a serious injury that impacts their college career.
So before you go counting all of your five star recruits before or after National Signing Day you should be cautious not to go predicting their individual success or their team's potential accomplishments.
Simply put, counting on five star recruits to be difference makers has been shown to not be such a good predictor of a team's success after all.