Now That ‘National Signing Day’ Is Over, Let’s Look At Which Schools Make The Most Out Of Their Recruits

With the announcement from Iman Marshall that he’ll be attending the University of Southern California, ‘National Signing Day‘ has officially come to a close.

There may be a handful of recruits left that need to send in their letters via fax machine, but for the most part all of the top prospects in the nation have chosen their future schools/teams, and we can all start looking to Spring Football.

As an FSU grad I typically spend National Signing Day completely absorbed with recruiting news. For the past half decade we’ve consistently churned out top 10 and top 5 recruiting classes, so there’s a lot to get excited about. The blogs I read (from Tomahawk Nation to Warchant) virtually shut down any news outside of recruiting, so as a fan I have no choice but to match their level of enthusiasm.

Well, as I just mentioned before Iman Marshall chose USC over FSU, though it doesn’t really matter, because FSU locked up all the players we wanted/need and finished with a top 3 class and the most 5-star recruits of any team in the nation (according to Rivals). And now we as college football fans can all get on with our lives, setting our sites on Spring practices and our school’s Spring Games.

From here we actually get to see whether or not these 17-year-old boys we’ve all been obsessing over for weeks/months/years will actually pan out, and they often don’t. But when an absolute ‘lock’ of a recruit doesn’t pan out there are a lot of questions raised: was it the recruits fault? Was it injuries? Did the school push him too hard? Did the school not push him hard enough? Did he choose the right team for his playing style?

Well, without answering all of those questions specifically, the geniuses over at FiveThirtyEight applied statistical analysis to which schools/teams extract the most value out of their recruits. That is, which teams out performed the expected level of talent their recruits’ possessed on National Signing Day.

Using Actual versus Expected Massey Score, FiveThirtyEight put together two charts: one showing which teams extracted the most value from their recruits during the 2014 season, and another showing how teams faired during the years 2005-2014.

Conclusions? Well, it’s damn good to be a Wisconsin fan. You play in a conference where you’re recruiting against multiple national powerhouses, and you consistently outperform your expected level of talent.

Next? I’m perfectly okay with being right in the middle of the pack, in terms over over/under production. FSU coming in at slightly worse than expected is likely a function of the latter years of Bobby Bowden’s classes coming in and not doing much, and I fully expect FSU to move on up to positive as the Jimbo Fisher Era takes hold of those numbers. Not to mention that if your recruiting classes full of 3/4/5 star recruits are living up to their potential, well that’s enough to get you into conference championship games.

For further statistical analysis you can head on over to FiveThirtyEight by clicking HERE.