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Revisiting the 2018 Weighted Recruiting Composite

On our offseason tour of Eliteness, the month of March brings us to recruiting. The metric I use to measure recruited talent level in any given year is called “The Weighted Recruiting Composite” or “WRC.” In this post, we’re going to start with an explanation of how the WRC works and then we will look back at last season’s WRC and results.

The WRC’s original purpose was to objectively determine if a program is overachieving or underachieving based on their talent level and to also project future success and expectations based on talent.

Here’s how this works in a nutshell. I took the Rivals and 247 Rankings for the past 5 years (2014-2018) and combine them together to get an average ranking between the two services for each year. Then I weighted those averages based on the percentage of each class that typically comprises a two deep:

  • First Year players (FR) count as 10% of the two deep.
  • Second Year players (FR*, SO) count as 22% of the two deep.
  • Third Year players (SO*, JR) count as 23% of the two deep.
  • Fourth Year players (JR*, SR) count as 27% of the two deep.
  • Fifth Year players (SR*, GR) count as 18% of the two deep.

Each average recruiting ranking is weighted based on the percentages above to determine the relative talent level of developed players for each team in any given year.


WRC and the Natty

  • A team in the top 4 has won 6 of the last 8 National Championships (Clemson 2016 and 2018 are the outliers).
  • A team in the top 6 in this WRC has won 10 of the past 14 National Championships.
  • From 2006-2018, the average WRC ranking of a National Champion is 5.3.
  • The lowest a National Champion has been ranked is 14th (Clemson 2016 and 2018).

Here’s what you’re going to see in the rankings below:

  • The top 3 have won 4 of the last 6 National Championships.
  • The top 7 have won 8 of the last 10 National Championships.
  • The top 14 have won the last 17 National Championships.
  • The top 26 have won the last 28 National Championships.
  • 10 of the top 14 Programs in the WRC were Elite Programs heading into 2018.
  • All 13 Elite Programs are within the top 23 of the WRC.
  • The average Elite Team rank in the CFP era is 13.9.
  • 25 of the 34 Elite Teams in the CFP era were ranked in the top 14.

Conclusions

  • If you want to have legitimate National Championship expectations, you need to be ranked in the top 5 of the WRC.
  • If you want to have hopes of winning the National Championship, you need to be ranked in the top 14 of the WRC.
  • If you want to have Elite Program expectations (field multiple Elite Teams over a short period of years), you need to be ranked in the top 14 of the WRC.
  • If you want to have Elite Program hopes, you need to be ranked in the top 23 of the WRC.
  • If you want to have Elite Team expectations in the CFP era, you need to be ranked in the top 14 of the WRC.
  • If you want to have Elite Team hopes in the CFP era, you need to be ranked in the top 73. The lowest ranked Elite Teams: UCF ’17 (73), Baylor ’14 (38), TCU ’14 (37).

Let’s move to last year’s chart, The 2018 WRC.

Teams making the jump to FBS within the past 5 years are not included. Each year’s ranking by both Rivals and 247/Scout is listed by year. The number under “Score” is their WRC Weighted Score. The lower the score the better. 2018 Elite Programs are shown in their school colors.

If you read here regularly, you know that the tell-tale sign of an up and coming program is “overachievement beyond talent level.” This is the primary catalyst to being what I call the “Synergistic Trend.” A program that can consistently overachieve will attract better recruits, get better results, attract better recruits, get better results, etc.

When we look at the chart above, we see an overachiever block between #11 and #14. Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, and Clemson all out-performed their talent level. More importantly, they are all ranked high enough where they can have Elite Team expectations on a yearly basis. Clemson is already there, but the other three are prime candidates for ascension on the field.

The biggest overachiever of any team last year was Army who out-performed their talent level by 88 spots (WRC 107/ AP 19). The biggest underachiever had to be Florida State who finished unranked with the 3rd best talent in the nation.

Two years ago, I identified the next three recruiting classes (2018-2020) as the ones where Dabo will be able to “back up the truck” so to speak. While not as important to the Clemson program as it is to others, a few 20 person classes of high-level talent can shoot the program into the top 10 of the WRC and possibly even the top 5. Then what happens?

The 2019 Weighted Recruiting Composite is next.

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