This is a logical conclusion to draw but I wasn't exactly sure that it was a realistic one. The following is a rundown of all 3-star or higher pro-style QB recruits* and the number of schools that accepted commitments from at least one. I used Rivals' recruit search function to collect the data as far back as they had it (2002). For comparison, I added in the number of dual-threat QB recruits as well as the schools that accepted commitments from at least one of those players.
Thinking about a pro-style offense that employs slots and would fit fairly well.... What about the Patriots offense? Slot guys, undersized receivers and running backs....Obviously Tom never runs, but they could incorporate the single-wing QB runs and ISQD's pretty easily as well as roll-out run-pass option plays....Am I dreaming here? Is there any way with the Michigan connections over there that Borges/Hoke could go in this offseason pick Belichick and Brady's brains and/or outright steal some of that offense all together? What about the Eagles offense? It seems this would be a pretty good recruiting pitch - "You know Tom Brady? The Patriots? That team that crushes people all the time? Yeah - we're running their offense."
The Patriots may be pros but they don't really run a pro-style offense anymore thanks to Brady. Unfortunately for Michigan's immediate future, the things that make Brady one of the greatest QBs of all time—pinpoint accuracy and I'm-from-the-future coverage reads—are the things Robinson has in shortest supply.
Long term I'm down with what seems to be Borges's preference for a pass-slanted West Coast offense, which is a system that works and works well when you've got the right guy at the helm. One positive about returning to something resembling the old offense is that college football's tilt towards spread systems has made pocket guys more available, and Michigan's reputation was enough to lure Ryan Mallett north despite that not being the best idea in the world for him personally.
|# of pro-style QB recruits||# of schools pro-style QB recruits committed to||Uncommitted recruits||# of dual-threat QB recruits||# of schools dual-threat QB recruits committed to|
There are a few interesting data points here:
The number of recruits has increased significantly over the years. This is a logical progression as recruiting becomes more and more of a mainstream process, but the number of recruits in 2002 and the numbers we've seen in the last few years (especially for pro-style QBs) are pretty staggering.
It follows then, that the number of schools that recruit these players will also increase. The following chart shows the percentage of NCAA FBS schools that received a commitment from a pro-style QB (yellow) versus the percentage of QB recruits that were classified as pro-style as opposed to dual-threat (blue) by Rivals:
A few assumptions: If we presume that competition for pro-style QBs has indeed decreased as the spread offense became more prevalent, the above graph should show the percentage of pro-style QBs (blue line) either increasing or staying constant while the percentage of schools that receive a commitment from one (yellow line) to decrease. The opposite should also be true. Two lines increasing or decreasing at the same level should indicate a constant demand for pro-style QBs.
Also, over time, you would expect some minor, if noticeable, ebb and flow to the percentage of teams that receive a commitment from pro-style recruits (not unlike a sine wave) as schools don't need them every year. Unfortunately, I don't have enough data to display the trend.
What we see here is actually what appears to be an increase in demand and competition for pro-style QBs. After a quick eye test, it looks like the number of schools receiving commitments from at least one pro-style recruit is increasing at a slightly higher rate than the percentage of pro-style recruits. If nothing else, we can likely conclude that the demand for pro-style quarterbacks has not decreased since 2002, even with the increasing prevalence of the spread offense.
This doesn't really mean anything for Michigan, which is a program that, regardless of the recruiting competition, has been able to lure stud recruits when they want them. This was more of a fact-finding mission. Let me know if there was anything wrong with my logic/process here, as there very well might have been.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*I set the lower limit of the sample size as 3-star recruits because those are the lowest ranked recruits we reasonably expect Michigan to actively recruit and not just take a flier on.