Recruiting Doesn’t Really Matter For the Broncos

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As I read the news on the 2019 BSU Football recruiting class, I couldn’t help but get stoked beyond belief and immediately started wondering how many Fiesta Bowls we were going to win with this group.

I mean really, this class is the highest rated class that BSU has ever had. According to 247Sports, this class is ranked 50th in the country with an average recruit rating of 0.8567. That’s very impressive since Boise State was able to out-recruit more than 20% of Power 5 Schools.

We even pulled in (3) 4* recruits! Since 2007, we’ve only had (4) total.

So I decided to look back and see how our recruiting classes have risen and fallen and how the more talented recruiting classes impacted our future win total.

The Raw Numbers

Boise State’s recruiting classes have, on average, gotten better over time and seem to have broken a barrier here in 2019. In the above chart, I also included the recruiting class ratings of San Diego State and University of Washington just to give some perspective as to how we compare to a conference “rival” (that title of which we will debate at a later date) and a Power 5 team that we have quite a few ties to. (Side note: I was pretty happy to see Washington step up their recruiting with Coach Pete at the helm since 2014)

Since 2007, Boise State has typically been within the 53–69 ranked recruiting class window (except for 2008 and 2010 where the recruiting classes were ranked 87 and 110, respectfully). The rating in the 2008 recruiting dipped about 5% and I honestly can’t justify what happened (especially since the team had just won the legendary Fiesta Bowl (2) seasons before). The 2010 recruiting class rank dip was more confusing as our class rating was essentially the same as the previous year. Perhaps more highly ranked recruits spread themselves out among schools above BSU?

The Analysis

I first took a look at how each class did in their senior season. Theoretically, that should be their time to shine. They had the time to sit back and watch as underclassmen, grew into their final football playing builds, and would know exactly how BSU (and the overall college game) does things.

The results were… mostly inconclusive. There wasn’t really any correlation between the recruiting class peaks and valleys and the final outcome (4) years later. It seems pretty random with no real trend.

The only potential trend that could be seen, there was slightly more correlation between the peaks and valleys of the recruiting class rank and the final outcome (5) years later (aka their Redshirt Senior season). I thought that this was interesting because usually the highly ranked recruits start playing day 1 and use up their eligibility in (4) years (most notably in our QB and WR positions). This ever-so-small correlation is telling that BSU has had more success developing their lower ranked recruits to perform in their Redshirt Senior season.

Football teams are not only made of senior classes, so I used a weighted total average class rating (4 times multiplier on senior class rating to 1 time multiplier on the freshman class) to see if the overall team strength that year would be more indicative.

Well… that didn’t really lead anywhere either. As our classes mature and each incoming one is more highly touted than the last, our win total has not been as stable or increasing.

The Takeaways

Getting huge recruits and having them go out and win games for us on day 1 isn’t a huge part of Boise State football culture. Yes, we will see that in some skill positions or positions that are more agility based (QB, WR, Safety), but Boise State tends to take time to develop their players that are in the trenches and really win the game (RB, O-Line, Defensive Front Seven). This development process and overall coaching makes recruiting class rating such a bad metric to determine any future success.

However, I will say that Boise State is entering some uncharted waters in the next few years. As I pointed out earlier, the team picked up (3) 4* recruits this class alone. We’ve never had more than (1) in a class and never had as many even in a (3) year span. Since 2007, Boise State has not done extremely well with their 4* recruits as (1) is still on the team, (1) graduated (congrats Brett!), (1) was dismissed, and (1) transferred.

If BSU is able to utilize their talents well and the recruits can represent Boise well, then we could have something special brewing. Only time will tell.

No matter what, I’m ready to see what everyone’s been cooking up at this year’s Spring Game.


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