Happy Hump Day, DawgNation! The College Football Playoff Committee released an updated Top 4 yesterday. Clemson remained at No. 1, followed by Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame.
It inspired me to do a little research into just how much recruiting rankings translate into on-field success. How did each of those programs do on the recruiting trail? In the spirit of these rankings, I decided to research where each of these schools recruiting classes ranked over the past five seasons. I’ve compiled the ratings below, according to 247Sports’ class rankings, and also added an average five-year ranking to provide a bigger picture.
Clemson: 2015 (8), 2014 (17), 2013 (15), 2012 (15), 2011 (10) Average – 13
Alabama: 2015 (1), 2014 (1), 2013 (1), 2012 (1), 2011 (1) Average – 1
Ohio State: 2015 (7), 2014 (3), 2013 (2), 2012 (5), 2011 (7) Average – 4.8
Notre Dame: 2015 (13), 2014 (11), 2013 (5), 2012 (18), 2011 (9) Average – 11.2
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Alabama claimed the top spot over each of the past five years. What is surprising, however, are the rankings for Clemson and Notre Dame. Of course, there are other outside factors in a team’s success: injuries, schedules and development, just to name a few. But based on Alabama’s preeminence, the rankings may matter in the SEC.
To give a reference for fans, here are UGA’s class rankings over the same time period.
UGA: 2015 (5), 2014 (8), 2013 (12), 2012 (8), 2011 (6) Average – 7.8
1. 4-star commit could start looking elsewhere
Deejay Dallas, a 4-star athlete, committed to UGA at Dawg Night in July. When he first committed, Dallas was viewed as either a receiver or defensive back prospect. Since then, he’s begun playing quarterback for Glynn Academy, which could present problems for UGA. It appears Dallas likes playing quarterback, and even drew comparisons to a former Auburn signal-caller.
As signing day draws closer, pay attention to UGA’s receiver and defensive back class. If there it looks like the depth chart will be too crowded, Dallas may start having second thoughts about UGA. There are currently five commitments at receiver and a few top targets still left on UGA’s board.
2. Top target confirms visit and narrows list
Willie Allen, a 4-star offensive tackle for the Class of 2016 and one of UGA’s top remaining targets, shared some interesting information with ESPN’s Jeremy Crabtree on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-7, 300-pounder still plans on taking his official visit to UGA on Dec. 11. He also told Crabtree that Alabama is no longer in the mix and will not receive a visit. That’s good news for UGA, but there are a few SEC schools that Allen still plans to visit before all is said and done.
Ben Cleveland, UGA’s top-rated offensive line commitment, told DawgNation recently that he thinks the school is in a good spot with Allen. UGA has both Cleveland and 5-star quarterback Jacob Eason working to get Allen to join them next year. All three will take their official visits together.
3. OL prospect schedules his official visit
4-star offensive lineman Landon Dickerson told DawgNation on Tuesday he has scheduled his official visit to UGA.
UGA was included in Dickerson’s top six when he released the list in September, but there may be an issue. There are currently three offensive linemen already committed to UGA, and rumors that a fourth may be silently committed. If the rumors are true, that leaves one spot.
There might be a couple of remaining linemen targets who are higher on UGA’s board, but that doesn’t worry the 6-foot-5, 293-pounder. He’s heard from UGA about the numbers situation.
4. How did last week affect the recruiting process?
While rumors swirled around the program last week, UGA’s coaches were trying to keep the status quo. UGA receivers coach Bryan McClendon discussed after practice Tuesday just how much last week affected the players the team is recruiting.
“You get questions,” said McClendon, who is also UGA’s recruiting coordinator. “So you’ve just gotta make sure that you’re up front with people, and doing your best to kind of education them with what you know, and everything else that goes there.”
In yesterday’s Rewind, we told you how Jeremy Pruitt reached out to one commit amid the rumors, but McClendon was the man coordinating it all. He shared his insights into the supposed tension in the staff, and even talked about the control Mark Richt has over the program.
5. Auburn “trying hard” to flip DT commit
Tyler Clark, a 4-star defensive tackle who committed to UGA back in May, told 247Sports’ Keith Niebuhr that Auburn is “trying hard” to flip him.
This news about the 6-foot-3, 290-pound prospect out of Americus Sumter County South (Americus, Ga.) shouldn’t make UGA fans worry too much. Clark has been open about his relationship with Auburn and has visited the campus several times. It’s clear that Auburn wants the state of Georgia’s No. 20 prospect to flip, but that has been the case for a while now. Tyler’s father, Tommy Clark, told DawgNation recently UGA shouldn’t be worried about his son’s loyalty.
“I don’t think Georgia fans have anything to worry about,” he said. “I mean, Tyler is a true Bulldog. He has been since he’s been a young boy.”
The UGA commit relayed the same message to Niebuhr. Auburn and UGA have had some memorable recruiting battles over the years, but fans shouldn’t be too worried about Clark jumping ship at this time.
6. Nation’s No. 1 athlete weighs in on coaching rumors
Major coaching changes will destroy a program’s recruiting class, but can speculation do the same? 5-star Mecole Hardman, Jr., the nation’s No. 1 athlete and top priority, spoke with UGAsports.com’s Jake Reuse about his reaction to last week’s coaching rumors.
It appears that unless something actually does go down, Hardman knows what’s just talk and what isn’t. The Elbert County product told Reuse “A rumor is what it is.”
That wasn’t all he had to tell Reuse, however, and UGA has other problems besides rumors when it comes to Hardman. The 5-star was at last Saturday’s Alabama-LSU game, and now has some important updates.
William McFadden covers UGA recruiting for DawgNation and is an SEC multimedia reporter for SECCountry. Give him a follow on Twitter for sports news and opinions you probably won’t agree with.