Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mailbag question: Where are the sleeper recruits?

Posted at 4:00pm -- 3/10/2010

Mailbag question: Where are the sleeper recruits?

I know you guys do not cover recruiting that much, but why on these recruiting sites do we hear about the elite level players in March, April, May, June and July. Then in December, January and February all we hear about are sleeper recruits?

It just seems weird to me how these sites use the double standard and claim their own peers are wrong about these recruits one month, but then push the same recruits as an opposing site the next month? Is it just business or something more to it?


Jerry B.


Thanks for the question.

We have long noticed the same “phenomenon” that you cite in your letter.

The easy answer is, it is indeed a business (recruiting coverage).

Recruiting sites are selling a product and frankly giving posters who follow the many various big-time university programs good, upbeat news makes sense business wise. Subscribers are more likely to keep paying for good news rather than bad news. And so the classification of sleeper serves a good purpose, it might at least turn a turnip into a potato.

You are perfectly correct that just a couple of months ago all we heard about were "sleeper recruits" and how the recruiting sites missed out on certain recruits, but the coaches miraculously found these sleepers to become a great program fit.

Now while visiting most pay recruiting sites all you hear about are the next 4 and 5 star recruits (elites) for the 2011 recruiting class, the typical exception being if a particular recruit has a strong interest in a particular school and/or is very friendly to a specific recruiting site.

So, the recruiting worm does change, concerning agenda and circumstance in very short periods of time, but, again we state, the sites are selling a product and at this early stage they do not yet want to sell the sleeper kid that the recruiting sites have not fully evaluated or ignored. This is fodder for January and February when some of the elite level recruits decide to commit to a school not affiliated with the home site. Now all of a sudden the jargon turns to sidestepping, such as the coaches never wanted the player or another recruit is just as good.

If you look at sites such as Toledo, Cal, Michigan State, Baylor, etc., these schools are not a hot bed for big-time recruits, so these sites do not yield big numbers of on-line followers. But then sites such as North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, etc., have big followings and must convince their subscribers that elite level talent is interested in the school they follow. The numbers reflect the success of this practice. Followers do not want to hear bad news or that 2 and 3 star kids are being heavily considered for offers from the program they follow.

A reality of today’s recruiting world is that early in the process most of the true elite prospects play it close to the vest. In today’s media blitz world, who can blame a high school player and his parents for this approach? Additionally, keeping the cards hidden increases the “love and attention” some recruits eat up, not to mention the free trips that go with being uncommitted and in great demand. Some recruits that hold out to the last day receive national headlines hourly until the big news breaks.

Some sites play up a school’s remote chance to land a big timer solely to keep fans/paying customers coming back, even if the recruit might not even be in the top five for that school.

Well as they say "business is business," so one cannot necessarily chastise pay sites for not telling everything they know about a recruit, because they would probably lose subscriptions if many subscribers knew beforehand exactly who the members of the next class would be. Subscribers hold the paycheck and must make decisions about what entails ethical reporting on their own.

We in fact noticed that at one of the all-star games one recruiting site said Michigan was in the top 5 for the recruit, but did not see the kid picking Michigan. Well during the all-star game the recruit had five family members with hats on and not one of them was Michigan, and in fact the hat the kid picked wasn't even one of the hats that his family had on. So he had six hats and not one mention of Michigan.

We have made the decision to stay away from the prediction game, regarding where recruits commit, and the day to day ho-hum of trying to figure out what a 15-18 year old boy is thinking (yes that young especially when the pay sites are interviewing sophomores and even younger now to try and get the edge on competitors).

We will gladly give our opinion on any player that somebody wants to ask us about, or when a player commits to Michigan we will do our own profile breakdown. In addition, we go to games and see players that might possibly be a Michigan type caliber player and pass on what we think about the player’s ability. The whole prediction scene we will leave to others.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!

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