Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More on pro-style QB recruiting

Previously: Is there less competition for pro-style QB recruits? and Pro-QB recruiting competition UPDATE

In an effort to answer whether or not there's more available pro-style QB recruits now because of the widespread adoption of the spread offense, I've reviewed all of the committed recruits between 2002 and 2010, and divided them into two groups: 2002-2007 (pre-Rodriguez) and 2008-2010 (Rodriguez's three years at Michigan). None of my previous studies were particularly conclusive, but a commenter suggested that I take a look at how the top-tier teams in the BCS recruited 3-star+ QB prospects to get a general sense of Michigan's competition for the high-end players. The following is a list of the 30 schools chosen:

Alabama BYU Georgia Tech Ole Miss UCLA
Arizona St. Clemson Miami (FL) Penn State USC
Arkansas Colorado ND Tennessee Utah
Auburn Florida Nebraska Texas Virginia Tech
BC Florida State Ohio State Texas AM Washington
Boise State Georgia Oklahoma Texas Tech West Virginia

Teams were chosen by with the help of this records generator. They were sorted by winning percentage between 1960 and 2010. Michigan was excluded, as were most non-automatic qualifying schools (with the exception of Boise St. and BYU as they solidified themselves as national powers in recent years, as well as Notre Dame). I can't verify the legitimacy of the records generator, but a quick sanity check says that it's probably right or close to right. This is a fairly subjective list regardless, so the accuracy isn't necessarily make-or-break.

The following is a chart of these schools' recruitment of 3-, 4-, and 5-star commits, separated into the time frames noted above:



3-stars 4-stars 5-stars
3-stars 4-stars 5-stars
Total prospects 156 56 11
124 39 4
Recruited by top 30 56 31 8
32 20 3
% of top 30 35.89% 55.35% 72.72%
25.81% 51.28% 75.00%

As usual with this series, a relatively small sample size should be noted. With that in mind, the numbers between the two time periods are fairly similar. There's a notable drop-off in the recruitment of 3-star QBs between 2008-2010, but 4- and 5-star commitments are almost identical between the two ranges.

An interesting data point is that between 2008 and 2010, Florida, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia all failed to recruit a single 3-star+ pro-style QB. Even still, the overall percentages stayed close to the same. Between 2002 and 2007, they accounted for nine 3-star recruits (5.76%) and six 4-star recruits (19.35%). This explains some of the dropoff in the recruitment numbers between the two ranges.

Going forward, Georgia Tech is unlikely to recruit more pro-style QBs, but Florida, Nebraska, Va. Tech, and West Virginia are all trending toward (or flirting with) pro-style offenses. We can likely assume that they'll continue their recruitment of these players in the near future. But even if they don't, the competition for these recruits is still high enough that I think it's difficult to say that competition for these players has noticeably decreased. (If someone can easily do a statistical significance analysis of these numbers to say whether or not they're significant, it would be appreciated.)

UPDATE: Another explanation for the drop off in top-30 schools recruiting may have to do with the increase in the total number of prospects. In the first data range, there was an average of 26 3-star, 9.33 4-star, and 1.83 5-star prospects each year. In the second data range, there were 41.33 3-star, 13 4-star, and 1.33 5-star recruits per year. The significant increase in 3- and 4-star prospects can account for some of the dip in top-30 recruiting in addition to the the five schools noted above not recruiting a single pro-style QB in that time frame.

Very likely, these numbers are just as inconclusive as the previous two studies, but they're interesting nonetheless. Though there may be a slight fall off in the recruitment of some pro-style QB prospects, I don't know that it's fair to say Michigan will have any less competition for the higher-end players or even your generic 3-stars.

Let me know if you see any issues with the numbers or process and I'll try to revise it again.


Lankownia said...

Again, there's no rational reason why the supply of High School QBs would have changed.
There is also no reason for the number of QBs needed per school to change significantly. Yet, your numbers show the top 30 programs recruiting 55 pro style QBs in the last 3 years and 95 over the previous 6 years. So per year, the number of pro-style QB recruits in the top 30 has actually gone up.

Is this a sign of anything significant? No, because, as you discuss, the number of QBs being listed is going up. The reason for that is obviously a change in ranking methodology.

At each attempt you keep running into this same hurdle of inconsistent methodology. I don't think there's anyway of getting around this hurdle if you keep using the same data pool.

It's like comparing SAT or GRE scores after they've shifted the scoring system.

You need to explicitly look at each school, classify all their QBs as pro-style or not and then try to gauge a shift in approach if any exists. This is obviously pretty labor intensive, but not impossible so, if you really care to prove your point.


You started going in the right direction by mentioning how certain schools dropped off from recruiting pro-style QBs. Were there a corresponding number of schools who went the other direction (i.e. from running QBs to pro-style - like Florida is preparing to do)?

It seems like the list of programs (from your list of 30) that have converted from pro-style to dual/athlete/running QBs over the last decade or so includes:


The schools that have gone from running/dual to pro-style are:
WVU (assuming an Oklahoma State offense, though I'm not sure what they ran before Rodriguez)
Florida (though, before Meyer they were pro-style, so depending on your timeline, there's no change)

So, that would tell you that the competition for pro-style passers has decreased among the upper tier of teams that UofM would presumably compete against.


Anyway, it may all be a moot point. It seems that Michigan is continuing to recruit "dual-threat" quarterbacks. The "pro-style" transition may be conjecture that is proven false.

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