It’s finally here. Well almost anyway. National Signing Day is tomorrow, meaning all the hypotheticals become so much potential but at least we’ll know officially who is actually coming to Lincoln. Here’s a round-up of some recruiting stories to get your mind right for tomorrow’s slightly exciting but mostly exasperating extravaganza of faxing.
THE SILENT COMMIT? >>> The message boards are abuzz with the hope of one last game-changing Nebraska commit and the coaches with their cryptic Tweets are only stoking the fire.
— Terry Joseph (@Coach_TJoseph) February 5, 2013
— John Papuchis (@CoachJP_NU) February 5, 2013
For the uninitiated, “booms” and “explosions” have become coaching shorthand for commitments. Those two tweets, in combination with this excellent story from Mitch Sherman for ESPN, have the message boards buzzing about Immokalee, Fla. cornerback Mackensie Alexander.
Just one of the highest-rated cornerbacks in the country who seems to have a healthy disregard for the entire recruiting process. But here’s why Nebraska fans’ minds are starting to come up with dream scenarios:
“I don’t like all the attention, to be honest with you,” he said. “I would rather stay away from all that, but they keep coming. I understand it. It’s a process that is going to be over pretty soon.”
Alexander said he knows people misread him. He doesn’t much care. In fact, it’s his preference. He’d rather worry about his workouts or academics. Alexander passed the ACT early in his junior year.
He committed to Tennessee in January 2012 but reneged when secondary coach Terry Joseph left for Nebraska two months later. Alexander visited Texas A&M and Clemson in the fall, then Mississippi State and Auburn in January.
Alexander had an official visit left to take last weekend and stayed home. Seems unlikely that he’d sign with Nebraska based on his relationship with Coach Joseph alone, but recruiting is a strange game. Let’s put the odds at 99-1.
If nothing else, it at least adds some intrigue to what looks like a relatively quiet Signing Day for Nebraska.
RANKING THE RANKINGS PT. 1 >>> Ed Feng of The Power Rank did a little regression analysis for Sports Illustrated on Rivals’ recruiting rankings, taking a look at how they performed as a predictive model when compared to the preseason Associated Press Poll.
By using the last four seasons in this study, there were 100 teams to analyze. The Rivals’ model served as an equally good or more accurate predictor than the preseason AP Poll 46 out of the 100 times; this corresponds to a win-loss-tie record of 42-54-4. The comparison for the 2012 season is charted directly below this section.
Keep in mind: The Rivals’ model only considers the talent level of players who signed a National Letter of Intent when they were in high school. The model does not account for coaching, on-field performance, early NFL draft declarations, injuries or any other extenuating circumstance. Considering that the preseason AP Poll does take these factors into consideration, the success of the Rivals’ rankings is somewhat remarkable.
So, the collection of scouts forming opinions on thousands of high school kids are about as accurate as the collection of sports writers forming opinions on 40 or so college teams. Sounds about right, actually.
RANKING THE RANKINGS PT. 2 >>> Phil Steele, who never misses a chance to talk about his individual rankings, is here talking about his individual rankings. This time, it’s a five-year look at his recruiting rankings.
Clearly, this shows the value of recruiting at a high level. Notre Dame enjoyed their best season in two decades this past fall while Ohio St went a perfect 12-0. Alabama claimed their third national title in four years while USC was preseason #1 and Florida beat four teams that finished in the AP Top 15 on their way to 11 wins.
I guess we can include USC in there? Despite the fact that the Trojans finished the season unranked?