BleedingOrangeDaily's FanPost the other day about how one-third of the Syracuse Orange football Class of 2014 is already gone certainly got some traction. It also begged some questions. Is something wrong with the program? Is Scott Shafer running guys out of town to make room for recruits? Is this normal or is this something we need to be concerned about?
I decided to look into it using super-scientific methods.
And then I decided that would take too much time and energy, so I just winged it.
I went back and I looked at every Syracuse recruiting class since 2008 and compared it to the SU rosters three seasons later. From there, I hoped to get a sense of, on average, just how many recruits don't pan out. Furthermore, can we look at recent history to make a judgment about the 2015 class and future classes to know roughly how many of these highly-coveted guys won't even be here half as long as we hope they will.
I'll be the first to admit this is highly dubious sampling. There's a few JUCO guys who simply ran out of eligibility by the time Year Three came around and I'm too lazy to go back and sort them out. There's also a few players who show up in two classes because of academic issues but still get counted twice. You could take or leave that. And of course this isn't to say that everyone who was gone by Year Three failed. Some guys just decided SU wasn't for them and transferred. Some guys got injured. And of course some guys left because of off-field issues.
Point is, this isn't meant to be the final word. But I think it does give us an overall sense of what's "normal" when it comes to recruiting class attrition. (In the case of the 2014 Class, I of course had to use Year Two instead of Year Three. Duh.)
Class of 2008
Number of Recruits: 26 Players
Made It To Year 3: 14 Players
Percentage Made It: 54%
Biggest Misses: Averin Collier was a four-star recruit expected to be the next great RB. Oh well.
Class of 2009
Number of Recruits: 17 Players
Made It To Year 3: 12 Players
Percentage Made It: 71%
Biggest Misses: For the most part this class turned out as expected, though we had been hoping for more from Staten Island's Torian Phillips.
Class of 2010
Number of Recruits: 33 Players
Made It To Year 3: 22 Players
Percentage Made It: 66%
Biggest Misses: QB Jonny Miller who came out from Colorado and went back after getting into trouble off the field and having arm mechanics issues.
Class of 2011
Number of Recruits: 27 Players
Made It To Year 3: 18 Players
Percentage Made It: 66%
Biggest Misses: Ryan Sloan came to us as a three-star guy but by the time he left he was remembered more for what happened off the field around his SU career. Kinda funny that most of our best players from this class were two-star guys (Dyshawn Davis, Eric Crume, Durell Eskridge, Ivan Foy). Recruiting is dumb.
Class of 2012
Number of Recruits: 22 Players
Made It To Year 3: 13 Players
Percentage Made It: 59%
Biggest Misses: Ashton Broyld ultimately came to SU in this class and while his sophomore season was a huge success, it will forever be a reminder of what he ended up not being.
Class of 2013
Number of Recruits: 19 Players
Made It To Year 3: 11 Players
Percentage Made It: 58%
Biggest Misses: The long, strange trip of Corey Cooper began here.
Class of 2014
Number of Recruits: 25 Players
Made It To Year 2: 16 Players
Percentage Made It: 64%
Biggest Misses: QB Alin Edouard never made it to campus, leaving one hell of a what-if in his wake.
So what did we learn? On average, you can expect 25-40% of any recruiting class to be gone by the time Junior Year arrives. For whatever reason, it's just the cost of doing business. Right now, the Class of 2014 is ahead of the curve for sure, but it's not insane that only 64% of recruits remain in the fold. Even if they lose a couple more guys between now and next year, they'll still be on the same pace as most recruiting classes.
Because of redshirts and JUCO transfers, I didn't get into how many guys used up every year of eligibility. But if I had to guess based on what I learned, less than half of most recruiting classes make it all the way through.
Just like with basketball, it's a good reminder that you shouldn't necessarily invest too much in each guy to sign his NLI. There's a one-in-three chance that he's not going to be here in three years, four-stars or not.