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Recruiting Ranking Comparison

Now that most of the recruits have signed, how do the recruit rankings compare to where they were in the summer?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Washington at Washington State Photo by Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Back in July I looked at the recruiting rankings on 247Sports. This is going to be a look at the changes in recruiting by teams since July now that most of the recruits have signed.

Most of this analysis is going to concentrate on the average rating of the recruits since it ignores the differences in class size. This is especially important in this analysis since some of the rankings back in July were heavily influenced by how many recruits had committed back then; some didn’t have many commits in July while others (like UW) had a good portion of the class committed by then. Along the same lines, back in July there were many programs that didn’t have a single commit; this analysis just compares the ones that did have commits back then.


Here’s a look at the recruiting rankings and averages for the Pac-12 teams.

Pac-12 Recruiting Comparison (July to Dec)

School Current Commits Current Rank Current Avg July Rank July Avg Chg in Rank Change in Avg
School Current Commits Current Rank Current Avg July Rank July Avg Chg in Rank Change in Avg
Oregon 27 11 90.69 14 91.37 3 -0.68
USC 20 15 91.1 13 91.7 -2 -0.6
Utah 20 22 88.46 45 87.46 23 1
Washington 20 27 87.91 23 87.23 -4 0.68
UCLA 14 38 89.07 82 88.13 44 0.94
Arizona 22 44 86.06 37 86.09 -7 -0.03
Stanford 16 45 87.68 29 89.35 -16 -1.67
Oregon State 18 51 86.51 54 85.74 3 0.77
Colorado 16 53 86.9 44 85.58 -9 1.32
Washington State 22 59 84.91 56 85.11 -3 -0.2
Arizona State 18 60 85.87 88 85.22 28 0.65
California 10 84 86.1 71 86.31 -13 -0.21

The ‘Deion Effect’ is obvious here. Colorado suddenly became a destination for higher-rated recruits since Deion Sanders was hired; their average rating improved from 85.58 to 86.90, and it’s possible that it may go up more between now and February.

But you’ll notice that while their average went up, their ranking went down. This is due to the fact that their class is still relatively small compared to most other programs (just 16 commits). That indicates that the rankings (1, 2, etc.) are not always a good indicator of a recruiting class. The “Points” can be better when judging a class at or near the end, but it can be heavily influenced by class size, especially early in the recruiting cycle.

Utah’s average has also increased as well. Winning 2 Pac-12 titles in a row is validating that program as one of the best in the West and they are getting higher-rated recruits now.

UCLA got a big bump as well, led by the flip of 5-star QB Dante Moore (from Oregon). Their improvement in rank, however, can be attributed more to just having more commits now than back in July.

At the other end is Stanford. Another poor season and losing their coach dropped their average from 89.35 to 87.68-although that is still better than most of the teams in the Pac-12.

Surprisingly USC’s average also dropped some, although their average is still very good (2nd in the Pac-12 and 11th among all teams).

And while you can see that Oregon’s rank improved (going for #14 to #11), their average recruit rating did not change much. In fact, it actually dropped slightly from 91.37 to 90.69 since they’ve added more 3-stars than 4 and 5-stars since July. Their average is still good; 15th best in the country. (Note that these numbers are after the decommitment of Peyton Bowen.)

Most Improved

Colorado’s improvement was great, but it wasn’t the best among all of the teams. Looking across all of college football, here’s a table with the teams that improved their recruiting average the most since July. You may be surprised which teams are not on this list.

Most Improved Since July

Team Current Rank Current Avg July Rank July Avg Rank Chg Avg Chg
Team Current Rank Current Avg July Rank July Avg Rank Chg Avg Chg
Ball State 95 81.57 85 80.22 -10 1.35
Colorado 53 86.9 44 85.58 -9 1.32
TCU 18 88.75 22 87.53 4 1.22
Hawaii 113 82.17 102 81.03 -11 1.14
Fresno State 91 83.97 99 82.86 8 1.11
Syracuse 69 85.34 74 84.3 5 1.04
UTSA 58 85.2 69 84.19 11 1.01
Utah 22 88.46 45 87.46 23 1
Teams with the biggest improvement in average recruit rating between July and December

This table only includes the teams that improved by 1 point or more. There were a few teams that were close including East Carolina (0.98), UCLA (0.94) , BYU (0.92), Kansas (0.92), and Maryland (0.90).

Two Pac-12 teams did make the list, Colorado and Utah, which were discussed above.

Ball State is at the top, but their average is still low for a FBS team.

TCU’s improvement is probably a combination of their new coach and how well they did this season.

Hawaii is on the list likely due, at least in part, to having a new head coach this year.

You’ll notice that improvements in average doesn’t always improve a team’s rankings as a couple teams had their rankings drop despite improvements in average. Again, that is likely due to differences in the number of commits-either in July or now (or both).

Most of the teams that improved the most had relatively moderate or low averages back in July (below 86); and most still are not ranked in the top 50. There weren’t a lot of the top teams (from back in July) that improved their averages much in the last 5 months.

Biggest Drops

Here are the teams at the other end of the spectrum-the ones whose averages have dropped the most since July.

Biggest Drops Since July

Team Current Rank Current Avg July Rank July Avg Rank Chg Avg Chg
Team Current Rank Current Avg July Rank July Avg Rank Chg Avg Chg
Jackson State 122 84.17 105 87.73 -17 -3.56
Kent State 111 81 114 83.28 3 -2.28
South Alabama 107 83.18 109 84.89 2 -1.71
Stanford 45 87.68 29 89.35 -16 -1.67
Liberty 105 84.28 95 85.49 -10 -1.21
Iowa 39 86.57 25 87.76 -14 -1.19
Louisville 30 89.78 16 90.93 -14 -1.15
Oklahoma State 63 85.97 60 87 -3 -1.03
Teams whose averages have dropped the most since July

The team at the top stands out since it’s drop is significantly higher than the rest: Jackson State. That shouldn’t be surprising since they lost their charismatic head coach (to Colorado). Kent State dropped the second-most, and they lost their head coach, too. And Stanford also lost their head coach, so their drop shouldn’t be a surprise. Louisville’s average was, and still is, higher than it has been in over a decade-even with the drop. Iowa’s drop can be attributed to a 5-star OT flipping to Alabama in the last week.

Final Thoughts (for now)

The vast majority of the teams (about 80%) did not have their average change by more than 1 point (up or down) since July. This appears to be consistent despite additional commits, decommits, and changes in ratings for recruits. This was true for UW despite getting late commits from a couple of 4-star recruits (Lyons and Presley) and getting decommits from Kienholz and Lefotu.

There are still some recruits who have not signed yet, but by my count it is less than 10% of the top recruits in the country. The changes between now and February will most likely not cause the recruiting rankings to be meaningfully different than they are now (at least in terms of average ratings).

I haven’t done this kind of tracking before-and even if I did, the changes due to the early signing period, early official visits, the Transfer Portal, and NIL would likely have altered how and when recruits commit. But if this is typical going forward (until there is another major change), then fans should have a good idea of how their team’s recruiting class will look by the end of the summer-at least in terms of the quality (average rating) of recruit that will be signing. And that makes sense. Teams like Alabama are going to continue to get some of the top recruits while teams like WSU will not. The biggest changes after that are likely to come from coaching changes. Losing a coach could drop a team’s average, but getting a better coach could also raise the average.