Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Do Our Players Really Stink?

Today, the Times-Picayune has an article featuring the travels of Tulane recruiting coordinator Doug Lichtenberger. I don’t think it is particularly insightful- just a newsy, yet breathless- he drives thousands of miles! in rental cars!- report on just how much traveling he does.

But I was semi-interested in this bit:
Before the Internet, May used to take on a more serious and frenetic tone. Because there was always the chance that a good player could slip through the cracks and go unnoticed, recruiting coordinators and coaches had to be more diligent in their scouting.

But now recruiting is a year-round job for colleges, and with Web sites such as and, most of the top players in every recruiting class have been identified, ranked and evaluated.

Most colleges subscribe to national recruiting services, which give them lists of the top players at each position at high schools across the country. And because of this major football powers like LSU, Southern California and Notre Dame go into each season with commitments from at least four or five highly sought-after recruits.
Now, I don’t subscribe to any of those “services”. And I do not like to comment on recruits' abilities outside of obvious public recorded facts.

But I know a lot of folks seem to believe that the stockpiles of “one-star” and “two-star” recruits that make up our classes are not indicative of the true talent level Tulane brings in: these services don’t know what they are talking about.

The fact the services enjoy wide subscriptions among the I-A community seems to contradict that assessment. And clearly, the four star recruits that make up Auburn, the two/three star recruits that make up USM, seem to smoke Tulane.

I suppose I tended to think these services could follow the top few dozen players, marry them up with some facts about schools were interested, and create a semi-interesting player ability index. But it seems that these I-A programs seem to value their input. And since I-A football is a serious business run by serious adults, who aren’t rewarded for wasting their time in talent prospecting; there must be some merit to these national recruiting services.