Tech continues to show how little recruiting rankings mean

Forget “rankings.” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is doing just fine in recruiting. (AP photo)

Forget "rankings." Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is doing just fine in recruiting. (AP photo)

Forget “rankings.” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is doing just fine in recruiting. (AP photo)

(This blog has been completed updated from earlier.)

According to recruiting “experts” — and I defer to Rivals and Scout in this area, much like I would defer to Mrs. Paul’s when it comes to being experts on seafood – Georgia Tech really stinks in recruiting.

Now, I’ve made it no secret that national letter of intent day is my least favorite day on the sports calendar. It’s how I would imagine Christmas in hell.

It’s nothing against the kids who are given scholarships. It’s about the process and the attention it’s given. As Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski accurately summarized, “We are a society of gross overstatement and exaggeration,” and that’s no more evident than in recruiting.

This is all you need to know about the “experts” recruiting rankings: In real football last season, the Yellow Jackets finished No. 8 in the AP rankings and No. 7 in the coaches’ poll. That 2014 team that went 11-3 and won the Orange Bowl was built on recruiting classes (2011-14) that Rivals ranked 41st, 57th, 85th and 47th and Scout ranked 46th, 59th, 72nd and 47th.

“We were recruiting a guy a week ago and he was a two-star,” Jackets coach Paul Johnson said. “Now one of the schools in the top five is recruiting him and he’s a four-star — three days later. That’s how that works.”

Johnson signed 27 players, the biggest recruiting class of his tenure. He’s smart enough to not make any projections but feels good about the players he signed, and, as he jokes annually, “They all come highly recommended.”

Let’s not make this out that Johnson does so much more with less than most coaches because that would suggest the recruiting rankings were accurate to begin with.

Every player in this class is a “three-star.” No fours. No fives. No top 100s.

The class ranking: 37th by Rivals, 40th by Scout.

Damn good fish sticks.

This class includes 17 players from in-state, some potential immediate impact players on defense and four players who won player of the year honors at school levels in their respective states (Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana). Most of the players had verbally committed before Tech’s season, but Johnson said the wins “helped keep the class together. We didn’t have as much of the negativity and the talk about flipping.”

Tech is riding momentum — everywhere except the rankings that don’t matter.

A writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Dan Quinn’s ascent to top job was years in making
— AJC: Forget trade talk — Dan Quinn wants Julio Jones on his team
— AJC: Falcons need players but Dan Quinn is a good start
— MyAJC: Tom Brady takes the air out of critics in Super Bowl
— AJC: Short takes: Brady rallies Pats but Seahawks bungled ending
— AJC: LIVE: Finally after ‘DeflateGate’ and chatter, a Super Bowl
— AJC: Another possible embarrassment for Falcons: Fake crowd noise
— MyAJC: There’s no confusion about pecking order on Super Bowl teams
— AJC: Dan Quinn could have final day on 53-man roster
— MyAJC: Blank speaks but remains vague on Falcons’ restructuring
— MyAJC: Tiger Woods’ problems aren’t just physical anymore
— AJC: Is it Tiger time … or is Tiger Woods’ time over?
— MyAJC: LeGarrette Blount walked out on team — and straight to Super Bowl
— AJC: Georgia’s Lockette playing for third straight Super Bowl team
— MyAJC: Dan Quinn says he’s ready for next challenge (with Falcons)
— AJC: Lynch goes into interview Beast Mode again (surprise!)
— MyAJC: Great or not, Patriots’ legacy is forever tarnished
— AJC: Seattle players say Quinn will be ‘great head coach’ for Falcons
— AJC: Brady says ‘feelings got hurt’ by accusations (really?)
— MyAJC: Hawks are closest team to rare Atlanta sports title
— AJC: Matt Ryan doesn’t believe deflating footballs is the norm
— MyAJC: Al Horford finally past injuries and frustration with Hawks
— AJC: Stall, lie, cheat — it’s the Patriots’ way, and perfectly timed
— AJC: DeflateGate: It’s time for NFL to forfeit games for cheaters
— MyAJC: Walsh-Montana still top Belichick-Brady on coach-QB mountain
— AJC: Seattle’s Super Bowl only delays Falcons’ hiring of Dan Quinn
— AJC: Oddsmaker says Braves’ win total will be ‘low 70s’ (with reader poll)
— MyAJC: Braves’ moves carry Coppolella’s fingerprints

Reader Comments 0

190 comments
BCW1
BCW1

It is all about player development in the end. Because you really don't know what you are getting to they arrive on campus and get to work. Tech's style of offense which is not very sexy and their academic standards does not attract certain type players anyway. You know you can be a great athlete and not be a good football player!

UnbiasedObserver
UnbiasedObserver

Recruiting ranking dont matter!


Heck, just look at UGA.  All those great classes, and nothing but Belk Bowl trophies to show for it.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Top Row Dawg @UnbiasedObserver Finishing behind GT is really eating you up, isn't it?  uga was probably the best team in the SEC this year.  After the SEC west wet the bed, I'd rate uga as the best overall SEC team in 2014.  GT was better, though...

Mulk
Mulk

@Top Row Dawg @UnbiasedObserver


@top row,


Any ranking system that had Missy St. at the top for 5 weeks is bogus. I'm a Tech fan and I doubt that Tech is a top 10 team. And, I know that UGAG was not a top 10 team. So, it is pointless to use RANKINGS to support a position on seasons or recruiting. UGAG was beaten 3 times last season and  beat nobody that was any good?

Top Row Dawg
Top Row Dawg

Jeff Jeff Jeff

The premise of your article is correct. Tech did have a remarkable year with a miracle win over Georgia for the second time in 14 years, and it's first major bowl win since 1966. They finished a whole spot better than Georgia in the final poll. A great year for Tech and a disapointing year for Georgia, yet only one spot better in all the polls.

I suppose this article is suppose to make Tech fans feel better about poor recruiting rankings, but let's look at the hard historical date.

Paul Johnson has averaged a recruiting ranking of 51.25 using the rivals ranking since 2008. He has finished the season ranked an average of 41.6 over 7years. He did finally land a top ten team this year. He has won two whole Bowl games. So we all agree Paul Johnson does finish ranked higher than he recruits. His "Hide the Ball Offense" is effective as long as he is ahead in the score. The two goal line fumbles and loss of 14 points greatly aided Tech in beating Georgia this year.

Meanwhile Mark Richt has averaged a recruiting ranking of 8 in fourteen years. He has finished the season ranked 14.8 on average. He has finished 8 times in the top ten, 11 times ranked, and 13 out of 14 years with at least others receiving votes for top 25. Only in 2010 did Georgia finish unranked (Along with Tech that year). Richt has won 9 Bowl games including two major and 4 other New Years Day Bowls. He has passed Bobby Dodd in top ten finishes and bowl wins.

Now we know the rest of the story. Things can be put in perspective. I for one am glad of the success Johnson had this year. It is nice to have the state to ourselves in recruiting the top players above three stars. Perhaps Tech will win it's 3rd game at Grant Field since Vince Dooley retired in 1988 (25 years), but now that instant replay is in effect (Jasper Sanks fumble), and with Georgia having the talent it is getting, I continue to like our chances. Carry On.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Top Row Dawg So much stupid in one post/  Where do we start?


"His "Hide the Ball Offense" is effective as long as he is ahead in the score."


Let's see, we trailed uga for most of the game this year.  How did that work out? Down by 9 to FSU with 2:56 left in the game and the ball on our own 3 yard line, we went 97 yards in 1:09 on 5/6 passing (no runs) and scored a TD.  Trailed VT for 3 1/2 quarters.  Had a last minute drive to beat GSU.  Was down 20-7 against UNC in 2013 and came back to win 28-20.  Many more examples, but I think you get the point...


" He has won two whole Bowl games."


CMR is 2-3 in his last 5 bowl games as well.  Same record over the last five as CPJ.  But hey, glass houses and all...


"The two goal line fumbles and loss of 14 points greatly aided Tech in beating Georgia this year."


Let's see.  GT "fumbled" on the one yard line and the play was returned for a 99 yard TD when even the SEC channel announcers say it should have been reversed for forward progress.  GT inexplicably fumbles in FG range at the end of regulation to allow uga to come back and take the lead in the game.  GTs offense outscored ugas offense 30-17 and outgained uga on the ground. If we spotted you the two fumbles for TDs, and you spotted us the TD and the field goal on our fumbles, the final score would have been 40-38 GT.  I think the turnovers evened out and allowed the better team to actually win the game...


"Meanwhile Mark Richt has averaged a recruiting ranking of 8 in fourteen years. He has finished the season ranked 14.8 on average. He has finished 8 times in the top ten, 11 times ranked, and 13 out of 14 years with at least others receiving votes for top 25. Only in 2010 did Georgia finish unranked (Along with Tech that year). Richt has won 9 Bowl games including two major and 4 other New Years Day Bowls. He has passed Bobby Dodd in top ten finishes and bowl wins."


CMR is also 12-20 against ranked opponents since 2008.  He is 2-3 in his last five bowl games.  He has been to less SEC championship games since 2008 than CPJ has been to ACCCGs.  He has had more players arrested in any one season than all of the seasons combined for CPJ.  


"Now we know the rest of the story. Things can be put in perspective"


Sure they can, how is this:  The SEC is 3-8 in Major bowl games over the last 5 years.  With such a down SEC, why can't uga beat out Mizzou, a recent transfer from the Big XII,  and go to the SECCG?  That's perspective...


"I for one am glad of the success Johnson had this year."


For someone so glad, you sure spent a lot of time belittling it...


"Carry On."


With pleasure.  You know what's funny about narratives?  Anyone can play that game.  While CPJ has proved all of the "conventional wisdom" narratives about his offense false this year, there is still a narrative going about uga under CMR that he just can't sem to shake:  CMR can't beat top 25 teams.  30-24 says it all...

Top Row Dawg
Top Row Dawg

@AugustaJacket 

You put a lot of effort into that rebuke, bringing in the SEC record and the arrest record to bolster your weak points. Georgia has been pretty good compared to others in releasing those player and not benefiting from them. I will  concede as long as the game is close, Tech can come from behind. Had Georgia gone up by 21 without those fumbles, that is when the Tech offense struggles, being forced into 21st century passing mode. It's is interesting your Bowl data cherry picks the 5 year mark. The comparison should be for 7 years and CMR is 4-3 while CPJ is 2-5.

I notice you avoided the real comparisons.........

8 top ten finishes vs. 1 top ten finish.

An average finish in the top 15 vs. an average finish below 40.

Only two wins at Grant Field in 25 years.

Again, you had a remarkable year and won a major bowl for the first time in 48 years. You finished a whole spot ahead of Georgia in the final polls. Paul Johnson has Tech playing a whole ten spots better in the final polls than he does in the recruiting polls. Notice I went this whole post without calling you stupid. Some things are self evident.



Oh yeah, Georgia went 4 -1 against final ranked teams this year.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket


@Top Row Dawg @AugustaJacket Wow.  same tired arguments a second time around... 

" I will  concede as long as the game is close, Tech can come from behind."

Show me a team that can consistently come from behind in non-close games.  I'm waiting...

"that is when the Tech offense struggles, being forced into 21st century passing mode."

Again, take a look at the FSU game.  Down 9 with 3:56 left to play, GT goes 97 yards for the TD on 5/6 PASSING without the single benefit of a run play.  Maybe we were using 20th century passing instead...

"It's is interesting your Bowl data cherry picks the 5 year mark. The comparison should be for 7 years and CMR is 4-3 while CPJ is 2-5."

Since the basis of this article was on recruiting, I went back 5 years, as that's indicative of the recruiting classes that played last year.  It's not cherry picking to report a data subset that follows the flow of logic.  What IS cherry picking is to add the extra two years to make uga look better...

"I notice you avoided the real comparisons.........

8 top ten finishes vs. 1 top ten finish. 


An average finish in the top 15 vs. an average finish below 40."


Those were conceded in the article.  No one is arguing that uga hasn't been consistently better than GT.  They should be given that they offer 5 times the majors, are twice as big, have fewer academic restrictions and are the states flagship university.  The point of the article was that GT routinely outperforms it's expectations with regards to recruiting.  uga, on the other hand, generally does not exceed its expectations with regards to recruiting.  Reading comprehension is critical...


"Notice I went this whole post without calling you stupid. Some things are self evident."


I never called you stupid, just the content of your post.  reading comprehension seems to not be a strong point with you.


"Oh yeah, Georgia went 4 -1 against final ranked teams this year."


GT went 3-1 and 2-1 vs the top 10.  uga went 0-1 vs. top 10 teams.  Who was that loss that marred ugas record this year?


30-24.

Mulk
Mulk

@Top Row Dawg


Donnan got better talent than Richt is getting now. The whole point is Tech beat your 5 star laden team with 2 star players. Maybe it will only be this year. And, you shouldn't use Bobby Dodd and Richt in the same post much less trying to compare them.

Top Row Dawg
Top Row Dawg

@Mulk

Bobby Dodd 22 years - 2 SEC Championships - 7 top ten finishes - 9 Bowl wins - Best finish #2 in AP Poll.

Mark Richt 14 years - 2 SEC Championships - 8 top ten finishes - 9 Bowl wins - best finish #2 in AP poll. ( Still got 8 years to reach 22)

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

@Top Row Dawg A few points about your rant:


1. "His "Hide the Ball Offense" is effective as long as he is ahead in the score?"  Actually, every offense is more effective when they're ahead.  


2. That "Hide the Ball Offense" obliterated two SEC teams this year (I'll leave their names out).


3. Schultz doesn't need to make Tech fans feel better about recruiting rankings.  The rankings are a trophy for the teams competing for them.  Who are those teams?  Just take a look at the rankings of school athletic budgets for the players.  At the top of that list, you have the Alabama's, Texas's and Georgia's of the world.  So, no, Tech is not competing with you for recruits.  You should stop bragging about beating Tech at a game that Tech isn't even playing.

Mulk
Mulk

@Top Row Dawg @AugustaJacket


@top row,


Sometimes, your offense only has to get you into field goal range to win the game. Sure, they may have to take advantage of their opponent's coaching decisions, but the offense did what it had to do and achieved its goal in a very short period of time. The offense has never been a problem under Coach Johnson. The defense is another story.



Mulk
Mulk

@Top Row Dawg @Mulk


Again, using a poll that favors the ESPN/SEC partnership won't work on me. Item A is that this year there is no way that UGAG was a top 10 team. But, that SEC machine keeps on churning out all these "top 10" lists.


Don't use Bobby Dodd and Richt in the same post. Hell, Donnan was probably a better coach than Richt?

wreckbone
wreckbone

I am kind of tired of hearing the Staford comparison on here about comparing programs.  Stanford enjoys top 25 recruiting every year but one in the past 6 with rankings as high as 5 and 14.  So, to compare that program to tech talking about recruiting, well that just isn't the same.  the only thing that will correct that with Johnson is only a very high level of winning.  As Johnson says winning solves everything.  I have been a Johnson fan the whole time, even grim years.  I agreed that 2 years ago we had a really good team but 2 overtime losses and close calls and the record is not good.  In '10 when Nesbitt went down Miami would have been killed that year if Nesbitt was not hurt, Va Tech also (that one was in progress)  My point is that Johnson is doing great with his recruits when you really look at it.  not the record he wants against UGA...yet....but those games were quite competitive of the losses.  The teams of the 90's that would continuously get blown out by multiple teams, Chan's teams suffered the same fate.  Even the '13 season we had a decent record with a kid that did not want to run that offense.  But Tech has been performing well because he has an offense that can score and has told us what the problems were.  He stated defense, offense not running our base stuff well, the QB not having "it."   That is how he explained these last two quarterbacks; having "it."  And boy has our fortune changed.  Many thanks to Tech  football for making our own fanbase of doubters calm down.  All we need is a larger playoff and this system would get us there with a chance to win it all more than most teams in our conference.  Look at UNC, heavy recruiting numbers always.  Still nothing from there.  they haven't even been to the Orange bowl EVER!  Johnson went there twice while UNC has gone through 2 coaches. We won't have offensive coordinator scandals and recruiting numbers are low, but I like our chances in the next few years of having great seasons. 

grh0317
grh0317

Stars matter little as CPJ has shown. Look at the dogs running with

seven and eight star players.

RangeRover
RangeRover

Just one year ago, like the previous two, many, if not most GT fans wanted Johnson replaced.  So, he finishes with three losses this year--four were it not for the utter stupidity of Richt and the obvious apathetic play of his often unprepared, dispirited team (Florida)--and he gets an extension...eerily similar to Paul Hewitt.  And it isn't like he posted this 11 win season against the SEC last season!

I liked what I saw out of GT this season, especially in some big games later in the season...but they still lost to Duke, North Carolina, barely edged out Georgia Southern, and had a close game against Wofford so let's not get too far ahead of ourselves!  So, just like Richt & UGA, it seems Johnson too every season had 2 or 3 games where his team does's show up and/or he is out-coached.

I would love to see what a Jim Harbaugh could do at GT as he did at equally academic elite school in Stanford.




TOJacket
TOJacket

@RangeRover We beat the only 2 SEC teams we played RR...................in fact, the #2 team from both divisions..................wait till you get a load of us this year.

LongBeachJacket
LongBeachJacket

EVERY GAME is important.  EVERY team wants to win, so the Jackets better be ready from Game 1 against Alcorn St.  Lets assume that they get past the first two contests with a W.  Not too much of a reach. The next 10 after that...9 of those 10 went to bowl games... UVa is going to be better (trust me...they will).  All of these are going to be tough contests. 

I have the over/under at 9 wins....hope we get to double digits (in the regular season).  10 or better = another OUTSTANDING season irrespective of how it happens....and I hope it does...GO JACKETS!!!!

Zapp
Zapp

Tech and UGA, UGA and Tech:  Gagggggj. Recruiting is about filling needs, and they have plenty on offense.  If they get some pieces on defense, then they can make run at the ACC title again, and yes it will be FSU they must beat.

Zapp
Zapp

See next reply.

DrPhill
DrPhill

Georgia Tech is one of several schools that have maintained some level of academic standard for football scholarships. The curriculum is somewhat watered down, but you don't see any recruits who have to attend Hargrave or GMC. Georgia Tech beat Georgia because Richt got outcoached. Again.

fuzzybee78
fuzzybee78

@DrPhill Watered Down my A$$…The vast majority of football players are in the "management" school which is now a highly ranked  Business School thanks to a very generous alumni gift. It is a BS not a BA degree with a minimum of 1 semester of calculus required, i believe in the first 2 years. I have that degree after spending 2 years in the engineering school, I expected a big drop off when I changed majors but was greeted with upper level Econ and Accounting instead. 


Our  freshman AA DE is a Chemistry major, wants to be a doctor. There are more than a few Engineering students who actually play which is almost unheard of at other D1 schools that play real football. 


Hey…We do agree Coach Richt…

96JB
96JB

Reading these post, it appears UGA living rent free in your heads. Geez, no mention of the ACC you belong to. Beating the dawgs this year in a close game has gotten to you guys. Enjoy your year and your conference. Read these post from a Dawg perspective. Geez.

GTBob
GTBob

@96JB Fans of teams in the ACC actually root for their teams and not the conference. Therefore it won't get mentioned much.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@96JB Oh yea.............................................We own this State!

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@96JB 

Let me see - a UGA fan comes on a blog about GT and says that GT fans are fixated on UGA. 

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

@GTBob @96JB I like the way you think as well. Hell* the entire SEC would cut Bama's throat if given the chance . Coattail riders at best. 

JacketMan
JacketMan

Tech just got it's first commit for 2016: He's Ke'Shan Pennamon

BeLiEvEiT(1moreride) @C_PERSONALITY3

Verbally Committed to Georgia Tech University #TogetherWeSwarm #GTNation @904Preps_David

51m ago

JacketMan
JacketMan

False alarm - He hadn't talked to PJ yet and it's not committable offer.

khd713
khd713

@JacketMan Hope he does well at Georgia Tech University, wherever that is.

RobertSeaman
RobertSeaman

Just to back up this story, UCF has 13 NFL players who were 2 Stars or less our of 15 total.  Most are

starters.

bobbyross1990
bobbyross1990

I really want to see Bobby Dodd packed out with old gold and white.... and yea, some navy when the mutts come to town this season. I mean, I really want all of Tech faithful to show up! Shed the red! No more of their fans taking up space in the new sections. We got to make that a home game again! No more excuses! 

juvenal
juvenal

@bobbyross1990 and 7500 to see JT's final reg-seas the next year-or at least different excuses..........

bobbyross1990
bobbyross1990

@juvenal @bobbyross1990 Believe or not, there was a time when Tech would bring the ramblin wreck to Athens. Not sure what happened there but would love to see that again. 

GTBob
GTBob

@bobbyross1990 TV happened. Once GT fans realized they could watch the UGA game without having to be around UGA fans they jumped on the opportunity.

sting_em
sting_em

I was wrong about CPJ.  However, I would like to see a year where Tech has the UGA game decided with more time on the clock.  We haven't completely controlled the game from start to finish since 1990.  That's a long time.

gtcole
gtcole

@sting_em I'm sure UGA would like to say the same thing.  Outside of 2012, all the games have been pretty close

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

@sting_em

Short memory ..... ten years later, in Athens again, GT led 27-3 at halftime en route to a 27-15 final.  Many UGA fans afterwards told me, "yeah, but we shut GT out in the 2nd half."  

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

I think we have a chance in EVERY game next year because of Justin Thomas. But looking @ the schedule, we could easily go 6-6 if the ball doesn't bounce our way.......Go Jackets!

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

Before this season began, several so called GT fans, and a couple of well known trolls, kept spouting the same tired drivel:

1.CPJ can't win with his own recruits

2.CPJ can't beat the big 4.

3.CPJ cant beat teams with time to prepare for his offense

 Here were the answers:

1.11-3

2.4-0

3.49-34

Now that he bested every artificial milestone you threw out there, you've shifted the goalposts again.  

So, for all you complainers and trolls, with the exception of @Birmingham__Jacket  who has manned up and admitted being wrong, I submit actual evidence that proves those of us who trusted CPJ to be right.  What, other than hyperbole and more complaints, do you have to offer as factual evidence to support your position?

5150POAD
5150POAD

@AugustaJacket as I said at the beginning of the season I talked to a few of Paul Johnson's former Ga Sou players and they all love, respect and had not a bad word to say.


DoubleDawg
DoubleDawg

@AugustaJacket I admit I am 100% not a believer in CPJ.  This year he made me think I could be wrong.  If he continues with this level of success I will admit that I am in fact wrong.  If he goes back to the norm it will confirm this year as a fluke. 

5150POAD
5150POAD

@DoubleDawg Look at how CPJ graduates players sends them into the world prepared plus wins football games. I love Paul Johnson's philosophy, character and style. Life isn't football it just a small part and I thought you dogs fans knew that and loved that about Richt.

DoubleDawg
DoubleDawg

@9014EAEO @DoubleDawg I was responding to a tech fan who posted about stats and wins and loses.  There was no mention of philosophy, character, style etc... or I would have commented on that. 

juvenal
juvenal

@DoubleDawg @9014EAEO it would be nice to beat uga more than once a decade, but i have decided to blame all the athens losses on poor Tech attendance....& the wins there because  i was there....(now if we can just get the nerdy students out of their studies more......)