It’s hard to avoid. If you partake in any one of the many social networks we have at our disposal, you more than likely hear the chatter about the young kids who are 6’3" 250, 3 stars, 4 stars, can bench press a Buick, etc. Frankly, I care more about Chicken and Stars soup than I do 5 star recruits. Is it an important part of the program? Absolutely. But, the issues arise when you start to base your mood on the actions, thoughts and comments of 17 and 18 year old kids. Things can change daily, hourly, even by the minute at times. Full disclosure, I’m on Twitter, and I do follow some of our commits. The challenge I present to myself is to never get too high or too low based upon something they post. A "solid commit" may be picking classes out at Texas in three months, so I never fall in love till they’re on the practice field wearing the red and black.
With that said, I’ve seen a lot of the "sky is falling" mentality with the current class and I wanted to see just how bad the situation was. You may be surprised at the results. Below, I’ve compiled the last four recruiting classes under Coach Strong (2010-2013), the four recruiting classes under Petrino when he was here previously (2003-2006), the four classes while Petrino was a Arkansas (2008-2011) and I threw in the last four years for the school down the road as a comparison.
As you can see, when Bobby was manning the helm previously, the classes weren't much to write home about. Averaging the 55th best class and 2.5 star talent produced a 41-9 record. While at Arkansas you could expect a decent increase just by SEC affiliation alone, along with a better class ranking by the "experts", but when it all comes out of the wash, the talent level was only slightly better than while at Louisville averaging around 3 stars.
Now, let’s take a look at the last four years. Charlie and Co. increased our class rankings on average by 13 spots over Bobby’s and recruited athletes rated .5 stars better than 2003-2006. BUT. (I say that with emphasis) take a look at our blue neighbor’s classes. In those same four years the rankings are similar and the average player rating is almost identical yet the results on the field were quite different. What does that tell us? It’s all about the coaching.
For those of you who may have been too young or weren't on the bandwagon back in 2003-2006, we quickly learned that Petrino went after guys who fit his system. They may not be the 5 star athletes or the hometown heroes, but he knew they would be a vital piece to the puzzle. As ludicrous as this may seem to some, I trust Petrino. Maybe not in every situation, but definitely with my football team. He’s proven time and time again he knows what’s doing. This year’s class is currently ranked 47th, with a 3 star average (Only 17 commits). That falls right in line with what he usually pulls in.
So, next time we go running after a "2 star" athlete or lose a "solid commit"....everyone take a deep breath,we're going to be fine.