USC tops, SEC dominates recruiting past 10 years
Posted by John Taylor
College Football Talk
As part of their celebration of “Rivals at 10?, Rivals.com has compiled a list of the top schools in the recruiting game over the past decade.
And, in what should come as no surprise at all, a plethora of schools from the SEC litter the Top 25 list, while a Left Coast school is the paper recruiting champion.
Thanks in large part to four No. 1 recruiting classes during that span, USC sits atop Rivals’ Top 25 rankings for individual schools from 2002-11. Perhaps more impressive than the top classes is the Trojans’ “worst” recruiting showing: 13th in 2002, the year after Pete Carroll‘s first full season at the Los Angeles school. All told, those recruiting class rankings translated into on-field success for Carroll’s program as the Trojans compiled the third-best winning percentage in the country during the past decade.
Interestingly, the next two schools in the rankings — Georgia at No. 2, Florida at No. 3 — tied for 10th in the country in winning percentage. Florida, however, has two national titles during that span while Georgia has none, which could explain in part why Mark Richt‘s backside may be inching closer to the proverbial hot seat.
Others, however, fared far “worse” record-wise when compared to their recruiting rankings than did the cocktail partygoers.
Florida State is arguably the most striking example, finishing No. 6 in the recruiting rankings but just 36th in winning percentage. Other examples of the “coaching matters” principle include Notre Dame (14th in rankings, 46th in winning percentage), South Carolina (15th, 55th), Texas A&M (16th, 59th), UCLA (T17th, 61st), Ole Miss (21st, 70th) and North Carolina (23rd, 80th).
On the flip side, there were other schools that made more than most out of the on-paper rankings, especially Boise State and TCU.
The Broncos had the highest winning percentage of any Div. 1-A school the past decade, but just the 76th-best recruiting ranking. The Horned Frogs weren’t far behind their (for now) Mountain West Conference colleague with the fifth-best winning percentage while compiling an overall No. 61 in recruiting rankings.
Inside the Top 25, Virginia Tech had the 25th-best recruiting effort over the past 10 years but managed to finish eighth in winning percentage. Ohio State was 12th in recruiting but No. 2 overall in percentage of wins.
There were just three of the 12 SEC schools that did not make the Top 25, with Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Ole Miss being joined by LSU (4th), Auburn (8th), Tennessee (T9th), Alabama (13th) and Arkansas (24th).
Here’s Rivals’ complete Top 10 list:
1. USC (nine Top 10 classes)
2. Georgia (10)
3. Florida (six)
4. LSU (seven)
5. Texas (seven)
6. Florida State (eight)
7. Oklahoma (seven)
8. Auburn (six)
T9. Michigan (four)
T9. Tennessee (five)