With a ranking of #9 by Rivals and #10 by 247, Clemson brought in their 2nd (tied with 2015 and 2016) highest ranked class under Dabo. With those classes and the highest rated class under Dabo, 2018, all included in this year’s Weighted Recruiting Composite, the overall talent level is certain to be on the rise. How much more talent do we really need though? After winning 2 of the last 3 national championships, the answer is obviously none. Yet, this is a program increasing the level of talent according to the talent evaluators.
If you read my last post (which you should do first if you haven’t already), you know how this system works and the level of accuracy. Here is the WRC, the FBS Team Talent Rankings, heading into the 2019 season:
Elite Programs are in their school colors and the “diff” column is how many spots they moved up or down from last year’s rankings. Elite Programs are shown in their school colors. Analysis below.
For the first time in 6 years, Clemson is not ranked either 13th or 14th. Clemson is ranked #11. For the first time since online recruiting rankings began and the WRC first came out in 2006, Clemson has cracked the top 12. This means that from an objective measurement standpoint, Clemson will field their most talented team in at least 14 years in 2019. Of course, that and a dollar will guarantee you a cup of coffee, but seeing what this program has already done and then seeing it get more talented, should make your imagination drift off to the happy place.
The big movers within the top 25 this year were Washington +4, Clemson +3, Oklahoma +3, Penn St. +3, and Oregon +3. The big droppers in the top 25 were Tennessee -5, Stanford -5, and UCLA -3.
The biggest movers in the top 70 were Purdue +9, Colorado +7, and Utah +6. The big droppers in the top 70 were Texas Tech -8, Oregon St. -6, Arizona -5, Arizona St. -5, and Stanford -5.
Everybody in the PAC 12 is still chasing USC, but you can see the balance of power shifting right now. Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Utah were some of the biggest gainers while Stanford, UCLA, Oregon St., Arizona, and Arizona St. were some of the biggest droppers. The PAC 12 has been down the past couple years, but perhaps only because it is in transition and there has been a lot of parity. Oregon is already a darkhorse Natty pick, but Washington is building a program and might be able to replace their personnel losses easier than expected this year.
Purdue is the biggest winner in the 2019 WRC though. After being destroyed by Auburn in their bowl game this year, they opened some eyes by turning in a #25/#26 ranked class this year. Purdue hammered Ohio State last year and was able to retain their upwardly mobile coach, Jeff Brohm. They had a captivating human interest story throughout the 2018 season that garnered a lot of national attention, including some from Dabo. They also play in the much weaker Big 10 West division (away from OSt, Penn St, Mich, Mich St.) where it is wide open on a yearly basis. With Urban Meyer no longer in the conference, is Brohm ready to grab the torch?
With their 3rd straight top 5 class, Georgia has moved up to #2 in the WRC behind Alabama. This is their 2nd straight class as an Elite Program, but without an Elite Season next year, my research says they will begin to slip. Fingers crossed. Speaking of slippage, Florida State had their lowest ranked class since 2007 when Bobby Bowden was still in charge. They are not going away anytime soon, but when a Florida school lessens their grip on the state, it has usually helped us.
There is no need to panic here, but The Chickens signed their best class since Spurrier’s glory days of 2011. That gives Muschamp and staff their 3rd straight top 20 class…to underachieve with.
Next in this series: The ACC and Clemson’s Schedule