These aren’t alternative facts.
Recruiting rankings matter.
No, not every five-star athlete is an NFL Hall of Famer. And, yes, there will be a two-star recruit suiting up on Sunday to play in Super Bowl 51. Ranking individual players is an inexact science but those stories are purely anecdotal.
The fact is recruiting rankings are very real and extremely important.
Players are more likely to be drafted and teams are more likely to compete for national titles if they are ranked highly in recruiting. Again, facts. Not opinions.
Just look at the three years of the College Football Playoff Era. Ten of the 12 teams that have made the Playoff averaged a top 15-rated class over the five previous recruiting cycles. Only Michigan State (29.8 average class ranking, 2015) and Washington (26.8, 2016) didn’t recruit a top 15 roster and those two teams were smoked 62-7 in two semifinal losses.
More over, those star rankings that are, admittedly, an inexact science? Well, it’s pretty simple. Four- and five-star players are 995% more likely to be drafted in the first round than a three- or two-star prospect.
More than 3,000 players sign a Letter of Intent every National Signing Day. Only 25-30 of them get that coveted fifth star while roughly 2,500 signees are two- and three-star prospects. It’s simple ratios.
While the methodology is still wildly imprecise, the facts are these recruiting rankings matter. It’s time to stop denying climate change or yelling at people to get off the lawn and embrace the facts.
Obviously great talent doesn’t automatically make a great team. It takes great coaching, development, fan support and plenty of luck. But a team cannot be great without great talent.