If you polled most of the normal recruiting junkies that have subscriptions to Rivals.com and Scout.com, many feel that when football recruits commit to schools like USC, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma, the recruiting sites will rank these players higher during their evaluations. The ones that feel that way normally are the other schools in the SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 who have seen their recruits fall in the rankings.
And while recruiting rankings really don’t mean a lot in the whole scheme of things, there really are those out there that feel it is a conspiracy theory regarding these recruits and their eventual top 100 rankings. If a kid commits to a school like Vanderbilt while spurning offers from Miami, Florida, and Florida State, will the recruiting experts across the country really take him out of the top players?
Let me first note that I know that the recruiting experts go through a ton of film for many of the top players. While they may not watch every second of video for a three star prospects, they will look at the rankings from other sites and look harder at the film of those players. No matter what, the rankings come down to a matter of opinion and that is why Rivals, Scout, ESPN, and anywhere will have a different top ten. They may look similar but that is where the opinion comes in.
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When first putting together their top 100 and 250 football recruits, the thing that these sites do look for is who is offering them. No offense but an athlete with an offer just from East Carolina is not going to be a top priority for them to evaluate. The players that they will look into the most are the ones with USC, Notre Dame, Penn State, and others knocking down the door with offers. That is how these sites put together their first set of rankings.
They are also using information that they get from camps and sources they know in the college coaching ranks. While some of the smaller schools may not want word of their offers to get out to the public, the top programs may actually enjoy it getting out. That is why they would be more likely to talk off the record to a recruiting expert from one of those sites. And that helps the recruiting sites build that first list.
But as I mentioned earlier, does it hurt a football recruit or basketball recruit to pick a lower tier school over top tier schools in the rankings? I am going to say no, it doesn’t. While the Rivals top 250 (For football) is sprinkled with players committed to schools like USC, Notre Dame, LSU, Florida State, and Miami, there are others who have picked schools like North Carolina, Stanford, Clemson, Mississippi State, Rutgers, and other schools that you would not consider powerhouses. Players from among the top 50 have committed to the schools that I previously mentioned.
When looking at the top 150 for basketball, as done by Rivals.com, some of the top players in the country have picked North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke, Louisville, Arizona, and other powerhouse programs. But the basketball recruiting experts there have not hurt players that have committed to UAB, Clemson, Minnesota, Baylor, Vanderbilt, and others. The #6 player in the country spurned offers from Memphis, Indiana, and others to play at UAB! That is a perfect example that the school does not matter a whole lot.
Overall, I think the scholarship offers from the big boys in football and basketball will help a prospective recruit get a longer look by the staff at Scout or Rivals. The same can be said about a coaching staff because they will look harder at a recruit if they have current scholarship offers. That is just the way things work. But in the end, the recruiting experts will make their decisions based on the way that athletes play, not on who is offering them. I would assume a site like that would get worried if the #20 player on their list was only being offered by low major schools.
In the end, this is a conspiracy theory perpetuated by those fans not at the major schools who get discouraged when their recruits fall in the rankings.
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