Feedback Requested: Potential Rating System

Feedback Requested: Potential Rating System

May 23, 2011
Denard Robinson – Image via

I have been toying with creating my own ratings system for a while, and the increased readership here at Touch the Banner – although far short of being a college football blogging juggernaut – has made it a more realistic option.  I’m somewhat flattered that people trust my analysis and observations to the point that some are requesting even more information, but this is just as much an entertaining endeavor for me so I can look back at my ratings in a few years and see whether I was in the ballpark.

Moving beyond all that, I’m requesting any feedback you might have on the rating system I’m proposing below.  The 5-star systems used by Rivals and Scout make very little sense to me (sometimes the 30th-best player and the 300th-best player both have a 4-star ranking), and ESPN’s 100-point scale is somewhat ridiculous, too (even though ESPN has 100 points to play with, virtually all recruits seem to fall within the 77-81 range on the scale).

Therefore, I’m proposing using a rating system loosely based on . . . EA Sports’ NCAA Football series, because everyone understands it and there’s more opportunity for differentiating between prospects.  Here are my thoughts for rankings:

100 = Prospect could immediately be star in the NFL
90-99 = Prospect has high likelihood of developing into All-America or first round NFL draft pick
80-89 = Prospect has high likelihood of being an all-conference player or mid-round NFL draft pick
70-79 = Prospect has high likelihood of being solid starter in college or fringe NFL draft pick
60-69 = Prospect has high likelihood of being a career college backup or occasional starter
50-59 = Prospect has little chance to make an impact at FBS college level
0-49 = Prospect has little chance of tying shoes without falling down

Please leave comments or e-mail me if you have any suggestions for tweaking the rating system, or if you just want to say, “Looks good, so get on with the ratings!!!!”

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  1. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    I feel like one of the biggest problems with rankings is too much based on NFL potential. We want to know how the player is going to be when they are in college. I'd cut out the NFL future.

  2. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    @ Anonymous 8:14 a.m.

    If yours is a common sentiment, then I might cut that part out. I feel like college teams are SUPPOSED to churn out NFL players, because that's what a lot of the top programs do and the elite kids play college football to get to the NFL. So I think it's relevant to note whether kids have NFL potential.

    Other thoughts are welcome on the topic, though.

  3. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    I have no problem with using NFL potential because it can be a common metric for all college players. After All-American in college, you reach All-Conference which is a far less common metric because of differences in conference strength (exaggerated example of All Big Ten vs. All MAC).

    I like the numbers more than the stars for reasons that you said. You also hit the nail on the head saying that ESPN doesn't use their entire scale (this is common among most scales of this type because psychologically people associate anything less than 60 or so with failure.

    Although your scale uses more numbers, it will basically be a 50-100 scale, so you won't really use 0-50. I'm not sure if this can be fixed, but I am definitely interested in you creating a ranking system…just use more numbers than ESPN!

  4. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Personally, I agree with you Magnus. While of course we want to know what type of player a guy will be in college, top college programs are supposed to churn out NFL prospects. I think a kids NFL potential is very relevant in this situation.

    Magnus, have you thought about perhaps breaking things down a little further? Clearly this would be more time consuming (I'm sure you're a busy guy), but just the basics like for receivers say a score for speed/explosion, hands, and route running. Qb's could be like arm strength, accuracy, footwork, pocket presence. Etc. for other positions. Just to go along with the overall rating.

    I'm not saying you should do this by the way (as I said, it would likely be more time consuming). I was just wondering if you had thought about it at all.

  5. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    @ Anonymous 8:46 a.m.

    I don't really plan to rank all recruits. It might just be Michigan commits or kids who are strongly considering Michigan. I don't have the time or inclination to rank a few hundred kids, so my interpretation of "all-conference" is, essentially, could he be All-Big Ten material?

    Yeah, the 0-100 scale is still a little iffy because I won't give out many rankings of "33" or "18", but I think the benefits of it being easy to understand outweigh the negatives of having 0-50 go largely unused. And even on those EA Sports games, it seems that rankings in the 40's or below are saved for non-FBS schools and/or walk-ons.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  6. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    @ ironman4579 8:47 a.m.

    I did think about it, but I thought it would likely be too time consuming. I have to keep in mind that I don't have game film of these kids, so unfortunately, much of my analysis has to come from gleaning athleticism from highlight films. It's difficult to judge all those things (hands, route running, etc.), so that's why my judgments are somewhat rough at times. If I don't have good film to learn about a kid's hands, then I'd have to leave the "Hands" category blank and I just feel like that could totally foul up the calculations.

    So I'd rather just give an overall narrative of strengths/weaknesses and then affix a single number to rate the player.

  7. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    I like this approach. I think what will help you the most is making your scale easy to understand. One of the biggest frustrations with the other services is the lack of clarity on how many of each rating they give out, what the rating means, how it varies by position group, etc.

    You've done a great job starting out with the scale as described above. I think another useful legend would be to rank past players from either recent recruiting classes or perhaps Michigan's entire roster. That helps put all the rankings in context.

    Another question you'll have to ask yourself is what annual distribution you use. Is each recruiting class independent or are they related? Meaning, do you force yourself to use a normal distribution every year even if the top prospects aren't deserving of that highest ranking?

    Personally I want all recruits on the same scale. If it is a down year I want that reflected in their rankings. I don't want there to be the same number of >90 rankings just because you force yourself to assign that many per recruiting class.

  8. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    @ Adam 9:52 a.m.

    I might do some retroactive ratings for the past couple years (2010-2011, maybe 2009), but I don't want to go too far because I'm afraid the ratings will be colored by what they've done in college. For example, Denard Robinson's run at a Heisman might put him in the 90's, but anybody who has followed my thoughts over the past couple years knows that I wasn't extremely high on him as a quarterback when he came out of high school. I think it might create a conflict of interests.

    I definitely will not have X number of 90's, Y number of 80's, etc. If I don't see any potential All-Americans/first rounders in a class, then all prospects will probably be ranked in the 80's or lower. For example, I probably wouldn't rank any of Michigan's 2011 commits in the 90's.

    Thanks for the feedback. I like your thought process.

  9. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Great idea – my comments are only meant to help, not criticize:
    1) If you are going to a 100 point system then why only use 50 points – everyone below 50 is irrelevant as it stands. I guess you could say that a 50 is a pretty good football player but just not FBS material….
    2) Of course the 100 point system has a certain elegance and recognition factor. What about a system based primarily in what you have but with one more classification between first round draft and mid round draft:
    90 – 100 = same
    80 – 89 = add "BCS all conference" and "high NFL pick"
    70 – 79 = "Solid starter & lower round NFL pick"
    60 – 69 = College starter – possible NFL free agent
    50 – 59 = career backup or occasional starter
    40 – 49 = little chance to make FBS impact

  10. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    @ Jbibiza 10:20 a.m.

    I guess I'm just not a big fan of the connotation of labeling certain kids "0" or "15." And I guess I'm a little bit guilty of the same thing as the 5-star system is (they don't give 1-star ratings, for example), but if the total possible score is 100, then getting a "3" would be pretty demeaning.

    Your suggestions are well received. We'll see how it develops.

  11. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Echoing what others have said here, I think using the whole scale (0-100 / whatever) would be a refreshing change of pace from Rivals ("where all players get at least 2 stars on the 5-star scale" … stupid *and* low-resolution) et al.

    I look forward to seeing the first batch. Keep up the good work!

  12. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    I realy value your insight on players and games and enjoy the blog, but you asked for feedback … 🙂

    1) It seems like a solution looking for a problem (i.e., people asked you to use a number, and now you are looking for something to measure). I'd go the other way: Start by discussing what people want to know, and then what can be quantified. Once you know that, you can choose the best way to represent it. Here are some ideas: Upside (maximum potential), likely production (what you expect them to do), playing time (how many years/games they'll play), NFL potential, etc.

    2) A hundred point scale is much higher resolution than is needed. Can we really differentiate between a 57 and a 58? If you look at professional surveys and rating systems, you'll notice that most use 5 point scales; I think there are studies indicating that people aren't good an finer distinctions. Even on a 20 point scale, are your powers of prediction so refined that you can tell a 15 from a 16?

    3) We're watching college football. If you are going to rate NFL potential, I think you absolutely need a separate rating for college potential. Think of all the Heisman Trophy winners that did nothing in the NFL; where do you rate them? Where do you rate a Tom Brady, who didn't do much in college (if you could predict his NLF career)? A Denard Robinson?

    Thanks, and good luck!

  13. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    I'm totally confused about this rating system. How will these prospects be rated?

  14. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Using EA Sports system is ingenious. Perhaps a similar system can be developed for the "Attractive Michigan Girls" portion of the site?

  15. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Mangus, love the blog! Keep up the good work. I'm actually starting to favor it more than mgoblog.

    Others have voiced concerns of using a 100 point scale would omit ratings of 1-50 but I think there is a justification for doing so. Think about all the HS football players in america, not all of them are good enough to be recruited and those are the ones that fall in the 1-50 catagory.

  16. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Mangus, love the blog! Keep up the good work. I'm actually starting to favor it more than mgoblog.

    Others have voiced concerns of using a 100 point scale would omit ratings of 1-50 but I think there is a justification for doing so. Think about all the HS football players in america, not all of them are good enough to be recruited and those are the ones that fall in the 1-50 catagory.

  17. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    None of these objections are really significant. Looks good. Make it so.

  18. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    I like where your aiming here Magnus. Services all invent their own mystery number and kids get to be a 5.45 or and 82 (very good) and you need to learn new ones for each website, but in college these kids all land at different plateaus and highlighting which one they're likely to end up in makes too much sense and is why no-one has ever done it before. ELITE Prep would rather give kids 4 2/3's purple ducks and never be wrong because they'll never given them a REAL benchmark rating. :o)

  19. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    I think NFL potential should be used but not be the key in the ratings. Eric Crouch was a productive college QB. What are Denard's chances of being an NFL QB? But on a good Michigan team could he lead us to a Big Ten title? Odoms is a good college WR but he has 1/2 the NFL potential that Arrington had. College success should be the key when we're looking at HS recruits. However, NFL potential tends to speak to a players projections but they might not necessarily ever be an NFL fit.

    I think you've said you like Ross more than RJS but Ross' height limits his NFL appeal. That shouldn't matter for a college recruit.

  20. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Also, if you create a system please don't do what Rivals does where a 4 star doesn't mean the same thing from year to year. Don't say you need x number of 5 stars and x number of 4 stars. Just make it be a 4 is a 4 is a 4 and if one year there are tons more than the next so be it. It's not like the NFL draft where somebody has to be a Top 10 pick even if the talent isn't there.

  21. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    What if you were to reduce the scale a bit? My question would be how you'd be able to determine a 91 vs a 93…
    Perhaps a smaller scale (even something to 50 or 20) would reduce that a bit, because you run the risk of having the first number (in the tens column) outweigh the second digit.
    You could even use 1-10, and rate people "high" or "low" as a comment. Taking the scale to twenty would make it unnecessary to use the high or low – for example, 17 is a "high" 8, 18 is a straight 9, and so on.

  22. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    @ Jasper 10:36 a.m.


  23. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    @ Anonymous 11:31 a.m.

    1. I see what you're saying about the solution looking for a problem. I guess perhaps I didn't frame the post in the right way, but I mentioned the issues I have with Rivals and ESPN and what I'm trying to correct. It's not that their ratings don't have any value. It's just that there's very little differentiation, and what's the point of doing my own rankings if they're going to be mirror images of Rivals/Scout? I think the larger scale allows me some flexibility to differentiate between a high 4-star and a low 4-star where those two players aren't necessarily seen as equals.

    2. My predictive skills aren't that accurate that I can necessarily see the difference between a 72 and a 73. However, sometimes you might have two similarly rated players but one small trait that puts Player X above Player Y. All other things being equal, Cornerback X might be an inch taller than Cornerback Y. Such a scale will allow me to say, "I prefer Cornerback X over Cornerback Y, which is why I gave one a 73 and the other a 72." And while it's true that most rating systems use a 5-point scale (my job does it, recruiting services, hotel ratings, etc.), I'm trying to create something different and (in my opinion) more useful. I see the advantages and simplicity of the 5-point scale, but I also see some major flaws.

    3. If a kid has Heisman potential, he would most likely be ranked somewhere in the 90's. I don't think college success (i.e. success at Michigan) is mutually exclusive from NFL success. All-Americans at Michigan typically get picked high in the NFL draft. And since I only plan to rank kids who are committed to Michigan or who are seriously considering Michigan, that's the frame of reference that I'll use. In my original proposal above, a ranking in the 90's would suggest that a player would likely be a 1st round pick or an All-American. If a kid is an All-American at Michigan, he'll likely be a 1st round pick; and if he's a 1st round pick, he was probably an All-American. And if somebody comes back at me in three years and says, "You ranked Joe Schmoe as a 92, and he got picked #10 but wasn't an All-American," my response would probably be…

    …What's your point? If anyone's upset that my All-America choice wasn't also a #1 pick or vice versa, I'll chalk that up as a win in my book. :o)

    Thanks for the feedback. I don't know whether it will change my final system or not, but it gives me some food for thought on how to frame/portray the rankings.

  24. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    @ KB 12:18 p.m.

    I agree that college success and NFL success are separate things, but ultimately, the vast majority of FBS players aim for the next level. As a fan, I want to know if the players my school is bringing in have the talent to be first round picks. In retrospect, Denard Robinson, Eric Crouch, and Tom Brady all should have been in the 90's (knowing what we know now). They're very different players, but they were all very successful. And as I mentioned in one of the comments above, if we're splitting hairs in four years because I gave Ross a 93* and he turned into an All-American and 2nd-round pick, but I only gave Jenkins-Stone a 91* and he wasn't an All-American but turned into a 1st rounder…well…I'll be pretty happy if my rankings are that accurate.

    I see what you're saying; I just think it's hard to come up with a solution that satisfies all the cravings…aside from giving two rankings for every player, which sounds like it would be confusing and cumbersome.

    *These ratings are not meant to indicate my actual ratings of Ross and Jenkins-Stone, since the system hasn't even been finalized yet. They are purely hypothetical.

  25. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    @ KB 12:21 p.m.

    I absolutely won't have a set number of 4-star types, 5-star types, etc. Scout is the worst at that, and it annoys me. If I think every one of Michigan's recruits will bomb, I'll give them all low ratings.

  26. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    Scout tosses out 5 stars like confetti and if you're a 3 star you're either rated by national depth at that position or you get a NR. But NR kids don't get 2 pr 1 stars, they get a different type of 3 star which is dumb. Still the 3, 4, or 5 stars I just don't get. "What size drink would you like? We have Large, Extra-Large, and Super-Extra-Large." Isn't the large really a small then? Subdividing kids by what type of 3 and 4 star is dumb, they should just start using 2 and 1 stars.

  27. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    @ Remember Bo 12:40 p.m.

    Personally, I think a 17 (a.k.a "high 8") would be way too confusing. I think the goal is to simplify my ratings, and 100 points is an easier scale to understand than something like that. Perhaps a scale of 1-50 might be enough, but again, I think some people (including me) are leary of the connotation of giving someone a rating of, say, 6 on a scale of 1-50.

    The difference between a 91 and a 93 might just be a half-step of quickness or a little nugget of leadership I see on film, maybe even personal preference because I like the way a kid speaks to the media. Again, I think if my ratings are so accurate that we end up splitting hairs between my 91 and 93, I'll consider it a success.

    For example, let's say I gave Jake Long a 91 but Brandon Graham a 93. Well, Long was the #1 pick and Graham was the #10 pick (I believe), so technically my ratings would have been a little off…but I'm still going to be dancing a little victory dance.

  28. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    I say go for it Thunder. However, if you do, be prepared for more people arguing with what you say. Since you're a one-man show, there's not hiding behind a team of 'analysts' or 'scouts' when people take umbrage or call you out for your mistakes. You're a big boy, I'm just saying…be prepared for people to view your rankings as an excuse to criticize you.
    Here are my thoughts, many echoing the previous thoughts.
    Re: NFL potential.
    I don't think it should matter. College football is a big enough deal on it's own. If a 5'10 QB can win a Heisman in college then he should be a 5 star, regardless of what his NFL career looks like. Denard won't be an NFL QB (probably) but he's still a superstar (5-star) college player.
    RE: Clarity
    Regardless of what numbers you choose I agree that the most important thing is that you clearly define the criteria and the categories. Everyone should know what the rankings mean.
    Re: Number of Categories
    The first question I’d ask is: how many categories do you think you can realistically define with clarity?
    I kind of like the star system, but wished they used all 5 stars instead of 95% of recruits falling into either a 3 or 4 star category. 2 or 3 categories for most prospects is clearly too few, but I’d argue 100 is too many – false precision. How many guys do you think you’ll realistically grade. If its 300 or so, do you really need a 100 point scale? You might as well just rank them in order by position.
    Re: Inclusion
    Agree with the guy who said 0-49 is a waste. Why bother? You’re not ranking those guys anyway. Don’t bother including categories for guys who don’t get BCS offers. None of your readers care. The majority of people reading this stuff are going to be Big 10 fans or other BCS conference caliber football fans – so cater to that. An average BCS caliber recruit could get an average rank on the midpoint of your scale.
    Taking it a step further, this is a Michigan blog — so why not just base your scale on Michigan recruits? Historically, an average recruit is a high 3-star or low 4-star player. Make that guy a 5 out of 10 points (e.g. Henson and Mallet were 10s – obvious 5 stars. Morales and Vinopal are 1s or zeros. If a guy is in the bottom, say, 5% of a historical norm for Michigan football recruits, he should get the lowest ranking possible.)
    RE: Scale
    I kind of like letter grades. Between A+ and F- you have 18 possible categories and that seems about right. But there is an association problem with grades and grade inflation and whatnot, so you get people peeved when recruits are Cs because they’re average.
    The nice thing is that you can easily define 6 categories (A to F) and then use the +/- for some additional differentiation.
    I’d ask, again, how many categories can you clearly define? You had 7 in your post.
    My suggestion:
    Use a 10 points scale. 10 is clear, concise, understandable, and differentiates you from the stars and 1-100 (which ESPN uses). Make it 10 categories and clearly define each. If you think 10 categories is not enough definition within the category via decimals, .5s, or pluses and minuses.
    I suggest a 10 point scale, dividing each recruit into where they would be in the historical norm of Michigan or BCS recruits. 5 = 50% i.e. average. 10 = top 10% (probably a 5 star).
    If you want to get into saying X guy is better than Y guy because he’s an inch taller, theres no harm in just ranking the players within a category, after you give them a number.
    P.S. Seems like you’ve mostly already decided on the 100 point thing. How would this be any different from ESPN’s scale or 247’s scale? They both have stars but also use a 1-100 scale. I’d at least suggest using a decimal. That way a guy who is an 8.1 you could clearly say the 8 means “____” and the .1 means he’s on the low end of that category. You can call that 81, I suppose, but again, it doesn’t differentiate you at all.

  29. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    I agree with what you are saying about the idea of a 91 vs. a 93. On a 1-10 scale, you would have to give some recruits the same number (a 9 for both Ross and Jenkins-Stone without differentiating the two). Introducing the 1-100 allows you to give a little extra for the recruit that you like just a little bit more – exactly what you are trying to achieve with YOUR ranking system!

    I like the 1-100 even if only the upper half will get used. I follow your blog and am interested in whether you like Ross or Jenkins-Stone just a little bit more to separate them by a point or two, say. This can also make it more interesting when we go back and revisit your rankings after watching a player develop.

  30. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    What about something along the lines of the 100 point scale but instead use the decimal point to point out differences. You could in general just use the whole and half numbers, so 8.0, 8.5, 9.0 etc, and if you have some prospect who is a notch below what you consider a 9.0 you give them an 8.9 or 8.8. With a 100 point scale, people might be more focused on the second number, and as we all know recruiting isn't an exact science, so pushing the focus to the first number, making the focus a bit more general might be better.

  31. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    @ Lankownia 3:20 p.m.

    You wrote a lot, and thanks for the thoughtful feedback.

    re: NFL stuff
    Part of the reason behind rating these kids based on NFL potential is that I pay a lot of attention to the NFL Draft, NFL football, etc. As a fan it's something I like projecting, and I always do some sort of NFL Draft Preview sort of thing. I think a large number of fans want to know who has "next level potential", and again, college success at Michigan likely means a high draft position. Antwaan Randle-El and Tim Tebow were both fairly high picks, even though they weren't prototypical NFL quarterbacks; and they were "5-stars" based on college production, too. If for no other reason, NFL potential will be included simply because it's my blog and I'll do what I want. :o)

    I guess I don't see the difference between naming a kid an 88 versus an 8.8. They're both the same thing.

    I do kind of like the idea of giving a mid-level player a 50/5/C grade, but again…I would hate to name a kid a "1" or an "F+." And as a Michigan fan site, there are probably some Michigan recruits who would get wind that "Hey, some Michigan fan just gave you an F+ ranking on his site." And even if the kid doesn't give a rat's ass what I have to say – which he shouldn't – that would still hurt a little bit to be told that a Michigan fan thinks you'll be a failure. I'm a fan of constructive criticism (which is why I do appreciate all of this feedback), and as a Michigan fan, I think giving a grade of F+ probably isn't constructive. Getting a 52/100 isn't quite as demeaning (IMO) as getting an "F", even if they mean the same thing.

    I know I criticize Rivals and Scout for not using the 1-star ranking (and rarely using the 2-star category), but they're also "objective" sites that rate every BCS-caliber recruit around the country. And like you said, Go Blue Wolverine can say to a kid, "Our national analyst gave you a 3-star rating," but when it comes from a Michigan fan site, it's "This particular Michigan fan thinks you suck." It's a tightrope for me, so I'm trying to figure out a good balance.

    I'm not as familiar with 247's rankings, but ESPN puts virtually all the kids in the 77-81 range. Only the "elite of the elite" get a 90+ ranking. I'm hoping the kids I rate will span a larger range than from 77-81.

    I do think the categories need to be slightly more defined, but yeah, right now I'm leaning toward a 100-point scale. A 10-point scale would be fine, too, but like I said…there's not much of a difference between those two things.

  32. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    @ ryan 11:51 a.m.

    Thanks a lot. That's quite a compliment.

  33. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    All good points. I just find it kind of pretentious to have a 100 point scale – though its certainly better than the weird rivals number that no one understands.

    I guess the main thing I'd like to know is what a baseline for an average or typical M recruit is. If you rank a guy a 77 but Michigan typically lands 82s then I might take something away from that. I think with any number system you want to know what it means for your team. With 3-5 stars you kind of have an idea (average prospect, strong prospect, stud) about the individual. I don't have a strong sense of what ESPN or 247's rankings on the 100 point scale mean as objective values (though I assume something in the 90s is pretty good). I tend to just go to their rankings and see if a guy is top 10 at his position or what.


  34. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    I think what is missing from all these rating systems is a couple intangibles that we all look for and understand, but are not included in one-number-fits-all numeric ratings: instincts, readiness to play, value to the team.

    For example: Ondre Pipkins might be the same number recruit as Brionte Dunn (just suppose), but Pipkins would be twice as valuable to this team right now. Pharoah Brown might be the same number recruit as Royce Jenkins-Stone, but he is perhaps a year or two behind Stone given when he actually is productive on the field. James Ross might be the same number as an NFL body physical freak at LB, but his instincts are way better.

    I think in addition to the raw number, you should follow with a letter or two for these critical intangibles. Maybe readiness to play and value to the team. So Ondre Pipkins (me likey) might be a 96AA (because he is ready to play and the team desperately needs him).

    Just trying to suggest a system that is customized for Michigan recruiting and would increase the value of the review. Doesn't have to be letters, but could be a color system (for readiness to play – blue would be right away; yellow, probable redshirt; red, two-year project, etc.)

  35. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    @Anon 4:32 wasn't me, but I agree. The decimal point may seem superfluous, but it helps distinguish the category the guy belongs in. 81 vs 79 – no body cares. But if being in the 8 category vs the 7 category is understood to mean something (like having 5 stars instead of 4) then its a worth making that distinction.


  36. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    I kind of like M-Dan's idea (never thought I'd say that…) Definitely can give a guy an objective numerical rank and then add a Grade for impact to Michigan or overall excitement/relief level.

    Guys like Pipkin and Washington are potentially going to be freshman year starters – A+. Meanwhile, the linebackers like Ringer and Bolden, while they may be nice prospects, are just going to be added to the mix – C. Kiel may be the #1 QB in the country, but for Michigan he might just be a B+ addition because of Gardner/Morris. Royce-Jenkins might be a low-level 4-star, but he started some big time momentum that helped land Ross and Richardson.


  37. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    @ Meeechigan Dan, Lankownia, and Anonymous

    I do like the idea of perhaps adding a letter at the end that represents some sort of expression of how the guy fits with the team. Obviously, I would try to make it clear what each of those letters means.

    However, adding a letter to the end makes me MORE inclined to use a 100-point scale. For example, "96A" looks less confusing than "9.6A." I'm trying to create something simple and easily understood, and I think that decimal point goes a bit too far in the opposite direction. I'd rather go for clarity than just to do something weird to spite Rivals/247/ESPN/Scout.

  38. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    @ Lankownia

    I think you're right that I should establish a baseline for an average Michigan recruit. Perhaps I can attach a player from recent years with each category so people have a reference point. For example, Jake Long would be in the 90's, Jonas Mouton might be in the 80's, etc. (Keep in mind that those are just examples, not actual ratings.)

  39. Comments: 21381
    May 23, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    I'd say keep the letter grade as a separate issue entirely. I agree that 9.6A is goofy but 96A isn't much better. Just say the player is a 96 or 9.6 and say the impact to Michigan is an B or whatever.

  40. Comments: 21381
    May 24, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    Here is the player rating system that I use. It uses the whole scale and could probably be adapted to recruits (say, based on likely performance as an upperclassman):

    10: the best in the country at his position
    9: outstanding starter, probably all-conference and at least 3rd-team all-America
    8: very good starter, probably at least 3rd-team all-conference
    7: good starter, probably at least honorable mention all-conference
    6: above-average starter (relative to the B1G, not to previous UM teams)
    5: average starter
    4: below-average starter or above-average backup
    3: average backup (possible low-rotation player on average team) or special teamer
    2: emergency player, may see meaningful snaps if someone gets hurt
    1: plays only in garbage time

    For example, as recruits Tate Forcier probably would have been about an 8 and Ray Vinopal a 4.

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