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2009 Talent Analysis Part I- The Numbers

Now that the ink has dried on the recruiting class of 2009 I'm going to do a little National Talent Analysis on what kind of talent teams will be taking the field with next season. If you follow THIS LINK to this spreadsheet you will find some number crunching on recruiting class rankings over the last 5 years. That encompasses the players that just signed and will be true Freshmen, through the players that signed in 2005 that will be "Red Shirt" seniors. I include that 5th class because these days you are hard pressed to find a team that doesn't have some 5th year players in the depth chart. For the purposes of this little study I used the basic class rankings that are published on the free portion of the Rivals site. Hence, this is information available to anybody who cares to look at it. I just compiled it all into a spreadsheet with some basic formulas that spit out averages by year, by team and by conference. I used the numbers below to classify teams by their 5 year averages.

Elite- 5 year class ranking average of 10 or less. There are 10 of them highlighted in green.
Great- 5 year class ranking between 10 and 20. There are 7 of them highlighted in yellow.
Good- 5 year class ranking between 20 and 30. There are 12 of them highlighted in blue.
Everyone Else- 5 year class rankings over 30. There are 91 of them, not highlighted at all.

Over the next several days I'll discuss what these numbers mean and how much all of this plays into the bottom line of winning football games. I imagine most of you will come to some conclusions of your own just by digesting the numbers.

*In June I went back to the spreadsheet out of my own curiosity and weighted the classes to see how much the numbers adjusted. I have seen this done several different ways but for my purposes I used the following percentages for Freshmen through 5th year players 10/18/27/27/18. We can argue all day about what percentage should be assigned to what class but I feel like these numbers work well in analyzing general talent levels. I realize they don’t take attrition into account but they still give a very good general idea of the talent level in each program. In short very little changed. Pittsburgh joined the "Good" category and everyone else classified as "Elite", "Great" or "Good" remained in the same category. The weighted version can be found by following THIS LINK.