Luginbill doesn’t understand recruiting

Tom Luginbill was on Paul Finebaum’s Radio show Monday afternoon. On the show, Luginbill talked more about his process, and why Alabama is rated lower than UGA and UF in the ESPN rankings.

Luginbill constantly reached to the NFL and draft metaphors to explain how recruiting works, and how his system works. Basically, Luginbill said a class is ranked based not only on the quality of athletes, but on how the recruits fill needs on the team.

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But that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the recruiting process. It isn’t like the NFL draft. Very few freshmen can immediately contribute in major college football.

If you are recruiting to fill a need for an immediate player, then you have a recipe for disaster, and your recruiting has sucked for the last several years.

Moreover, recruiting is a long term process where you amass the talent needed at every position to create a roster full of excellent players.

Recruiting isn’t a draft. Luginbill should understand that. His myopic view focused on professional football’s talent evaluation methods, and ranking draft success just doesn’t apply in college football.

His method is also even more subjective, and therefore less reliable, than the methods used by the other major recruiting services, scout.com and rivals.com.

All recruiting rankings should be taken with a pound of salt. But anything related to ESPN, and Luginbill’s flawed system should be discounted completely.

5 Comments

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  1. 1
    Kenny

    You get the feeling he is not much of a Saban fan. I could not understand why he would say that he does his rankings based on filling needs, when that is what Alabama is doing. He definitely has Alabama’s recruiting class ranke lower than anyone else.

  2. 2
    Scott

    I know a lot of people are stirred up about Luginbill. The guy is respected, but he is subtle about his bias. Take this quote from yesterday’s Birmingham News…

    “If he’s looking for the best scheme, best program and best chance to play right now, Oklahoma’s a viable option,” Luginbill said. “If his mind-set is that he can be part of the resurgence at Alabama and wants the pressure that involves, he goes the Alabama route.”

    I’m not saying there won’t be pressure on Julio at Alabama, but if you’re going to mention this, why not mention the benefits Julio will have at Alabama? It’s just little pieces here and there, but his dislike for anything to do with Saban is there…

  3. 3
    Tim

    Who cares? It is a recruiting “analyst” that has websites that rate recruiting for fun. For those people that take these ratings seriously, please get a life. These guys have no idea how to rate thousands of players by tape. People that usually get hyped up on recruiting are idiots that have never played the game before and geniunely have no idea what goes on.

  4. 4
    drmos

    ESPN plays to ratings. Major media markets are their targets. I believe this plays a bigger roll in his rankings than he or anyone else at ESPN wants to admit.

    As for his analogy comparing recruiting to the NFL draft. You did a fine job of shooting that out of the water.

  5. 5
    Matt

    This may be a “swept under the rug” fact/conspiracy theory about Luginbill. He is from the south-the Atlanta area- and a alum of Georgia Tech. He got married to a girl from within the state of Alabama from Opelika who’s family is a very prominent Auburn booster. He does well of hiding it, but I can only imagine his bias based on this factor. With that bieng said there is 1 other thing to consider. Luginbill and the ESPN recruiting staff get in very late in the game. They make phone calls to AD’s and staff’s to ask opinions on hot names and that is how they analyze, they don’t try and analyze every kid available (Kareem Jackson wasn’t analyzed or ranked last year) and they have their “list” of 150 kids and this is how they base the rankings, on how many of the 150 a team has. For Instance if team A has kid #149, but team B has kid #’s 151, 154, 152, 157, & 160, Team A is still going to be ranked higher than team B. I also agree with your point that they try to factor in wants vs. needs (a direct NFL draft technique) that totally skews the perception of a class. The direct example of what you’re talking about is Notre Dame, where the whole team was extremely young this year, and while they might have “filled needs” instantly with last year’s top 5 class, they had very limited sucess. I would have to argue that recruiting is an exact science. A science that Nick Saban seemed to get an A+ in. A team’s class should reflect a whole team, and this kind of recruiting assures sucess in the future.

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