My original post on the topic was in response to an MGoBlog assertion that, since the widespread adoption of the spread offense in college football, there were actually more available pro-style QBs that Michigan could recruit from. I set out to prove whether or not that was true. The conclusion was that it wasn't (sort of). Commenter Jivas makes a good point (emphasis mine):
I appreciate the analytical bent, but I think the devil here is in the details. The real question isn't the *total* number of school taking commits from pro-style QB, but *which* schools. The possibility exists that more and more top-level BCS conference schools are switching to spread offenses and that competition for the best pro-style QBs **among those schools** has decreased.This makes sense: regardless of the schemes being played at various schools, BCS-caliber recruits are going to find a home somewhere. In hindsight, this was sort of assumed in my first post, which ultimately proved that pro-style quarterbacks go to a variety of schools instead of just all settling in at a specific number of pro-style programs. This, as Jivas points out, wasn't really what I was intending to discover anyway. What I'm looking to discover is whether or not the same caliber teams are recruiting pro-style quarterbacks or whether the adoption of the spread offense has left lesser schools to fight over higher-rated recruits.
Of course most of the FBS-quality pro-style QBs will find homes somewhere or another - as your charts show - but what may be happening is that some of them end up settling for lower-rated programs, which wouldn't be evident in these charts. So Brian's supposition may be correct, in that there may be less competition among top-tier BCS schools for top-tier pro-style QBs.
For the sake of easy, I looked at two sets of data: Lloyd Carr's final six years versus Rich Rodriguez's three years (beginning with 2008 and extending to 2010; 2011 has been excluded because the recruiting process is still incomplete). I tracked all of the 3-star+ recruits that committed during those time spans. The graphs are small, so click on them to see a full-size view.
5-stars. Between 2002 and 2007, there were 11 5-star pro-style QB recruits. These were taken by 10 different schools (Michigan was the only school to receive two commitments: Henne and Mallett). Between 2008 and 2010, there were four 5-star recruits, each of which went to a different school. As you would expect, 5-star recruits don't really form logjams at any school and are distributed amongst the who's who of college football (with a few exceptions): Michigan, Arizona St., Notre Dame, Georgia, Oklahoma, UCLA, Penn St., Arkansas, Stanford, USC, Missouri, and Texas. Of the four 5-star recruits between 2008 and 2010, two of them ended up at schools (USC, Notre Dame) that lured one between 2002 and 2007.
4-stars. The same trend holds for the distribution of 4-star recruits. Between 2002 and 2007, 34 different schools received at least one recruit from 56 total players; 16 schools had more than one 4-star recruit commit to them. Between 2008 and 2010, there were 39 total 4-star recruits, distributed among 30 different schools. Nine received more than one commitment. This isn't a 1:1 relation, but it's close enough to assume that competition hasn't decreased dramatically (if at all)
None of this is definitive one way or the other, and it's close enough that it's probably difficult to argue for or against a decrease in demand for pro-style QBs.
Another commenter disagreed with, well, everything from the original post. I'll address a few of his criticisms.
Brian says “more pocket guys are available”. Using rivals rankings as evidence, you yourself note “The number of recruits has increased significantly” and your data shows this is true for pro-style QBs. You could probably just stop there and say he is right.This is missing the crux of the argument. There are more recruits available as a whole (about which, more in a second), but the assumption Brian is making is that competition for these recruits has lessened because more teams are using a spread system. But given the distributions above, it's safe to say that not only are the elite recruits still being targeted by the nation's elite, but there's also equal (or near-equal) competition for lesser recruits.
You attribute the increase in listed/ranked 3-star+ QBs to: recruiting becoming a “mainstream process.” I have no idea what that means. To me, it seems that Rivals is just handing out 3 stars to more people and/or just increasing the size of their database.The reason the public prevalence of recruiting is important is because not only are services like Rivals more responsible for comprehensive lists, but players themselves now have the tools to market themselves to the world. YouTube started in 2005, shortly after which, the number of recruits spiked significantly. This isn't a solid case for a direct correlation, but it stands to reason that as recruits were able to freely and easily post videos of themselves, Rivals took note.
You take Rivals rankings to mean more supply (even though there is no logical explanation for this.) You then take the increase in supply and assume an increase in demand.I'm not really sure where this assertion comes from. The increase in prospects is an increase in supply. And the increase in teams taking commitments from those players would indicate an increase in demand. Schools don't have to take recruits from anyone, so wasting precious scholarships on players that you don't need or want is unlikely.
UPDATE: My brother made a good point about this final assertion:
The very last quote you block off and address makes a lot of sense. You're right that if there are more QBs and teams are taking more QBs that there is an increase in supply coupled with an equal increase in demand.This is right. The increase in ranked quarterback prospects is not a function of increased supply. It's actually an increase in the visibility of that supply. An important distinction.
But barring more college football teams, there aren't a lot of reasons for the supply of QBs-- especially of ranked 3-star QBs-- to have increased. You've noted that scouting has become more mainstream and more kids are getting ranked. This doesn't mean that the supply of QBs has increased. 120 college football teams in 2001 probably recruit almost exactly as many QBs as 120 college football teams in 2011. So the commenter is right, sort of: you're assuming there's an increase in demand because there was an increase in supply. In reality, there was probably neither.
Now, everyone please tell me what I've done wrong so we can do this all over again.