I'll share my own thoughts on this class over the next few weeks and we can talk development vs. ranking and system fits etc, but how did the major recruiting services rate the 23 Longhorn commitments vs. the rest of the college football world?
Let's dive in...
20th by total points (volume).
25th in average stars (quality).
A 3.17 average star rating puts Texas behind Kentucky (little Stoops signed 10 of the Ohio Top 50), Arizona State, Ole Miss & North Carolina in per capita quality. However, Texas signed 23 and that offers a volume bump.
If you're a parochial Big 12 sort and prefer more modest comparators, Texas finished second in the Big 12 to OU in both measures, ahead of Baylor and Oklahoma State. It's worth noting that the Big 12 was a miserable recruiting conference in 2014 and is in fairly striking talent decline overall (behind the SEC, PAC 12, ACC and Big 10). Who could have possibly guessed that during realignment back in 2010? Oh, that's right. I did.
A tad more optimistic than Rivals. 24-7 liked a handful of Texas recruits (Poona Ford, John Bonney) more than Rivals. I happen to agree with them though I think they also marginally inflate a couple of other players I'm less sure about.
This measure values all services equally (Scout and ESPN help the Longhorn cause a bit). This can be somewhat dubious. But perhaps there is wisdom in crowds. Or a tendency to reward brand names?
They credit Texas with the most four stars recruits (11) of any service.
Texas had one of the weakest recruiting classes on paper since the 1990s when you control for average star rating per player and balance quality vs. volume. Fortunately, the game will be played on the field and coaching and development matter. We also know that several of our prior classes were overinflated. That extra Longhorn star was always easy to find when Texas was going 11-2. Not so easy to find now as lagging indicators surface.
More troubling, however, is that Texas A&M put together a consensus Top 5 class and potential SEC raiders like Alabama and LSU absolutely killed it. Interestingly, the PAC 12 conference also proved adept at dipping into Texas for key recruits.
Shades of the mid 1990s...
A strong Texas (no pun intended) puts that nonsense to bed quickly, but Charlie Strong can only do it with on-field results and intense relationship building.
We know in retrospect that we've signed fairly disastrous highly ranked classes that were inflated by services and/or not developed by the old regime and the bottom for this class is no worse than that. With new management, I suspect the ceiling is substantially higher.
The real proving ground will be 2015 and beyond.