Campus Corner

Recapping recruiting rankings: SEC dominates, Big 12 has to rally

Updated: 2014-02-06T18:39:48Z

By BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

The signatures have been obtained, the rankings are in, and once again college football prospects look dim in these parts with Missouri, Kansas State and Kansas trending toward the bottom half of recruiting ratings.

But rankings of teenage football talent rarely have smiled on the programs, and K-State and Mizzou especially have taken a measure of joy in belying the perception with performance.

Rivals.com has the Wildcats seventh and the Jayhawks ninth in the Big 12, and the Tigers 12th in the SEC, leaving coaches to defend their classes at news conferences.

Tigers coach Gary Pinkel played the correlation card. The average ranking of Missouri’s classes over the past eight years doesn’t reflect the program’s success. He’s right. Let’s go farther back.

Since 2005, Missouri’s recruiting classes have averaged a No. 36 ranking on Rivals. The College Football Data Warehouse website came up with a formula to rate programs based on victories and schedule strength over periods of time. Over the past decade, Mizzou ranks No. 25.

Kansas State is No. 35 in the power ranking with an average recruiting ranking over that span of 53rd. An even wider gap exists over the past five years with the Wildcats ranking 15th with an average recruiting rating of 59th.

Kansas is the one program that has underperformed based on recruiting lists, with an average recruiting score of 46 and power rating of 54.

Any kind of ranking — recruiting and power — is amusement, conversation pieces to carry the news cycle, and it’s fun to point out the exceptions. For instance, the two most productive players in the NFL from Kansas State and Kansas today were blips on the recruiting radar. K-State wide receiver Jordy Nelson wasn’t ranked, and Jayhawks defensive back Aqib Talib was a two-star signee.

If anything, rankings suggest trends, and this signing period development is a strong indicator that Southeastern Conference dominance will continue, and the Big 12 will have to rally.

According to Rivals, Alabama and LSU had the best days and the SEC crushed it with seven of the top nine classes.

The Big 12 had a tough day, with six players in the top 100. Alabama alone had 11 on that list, with six in the top 25.

Part of the Big 12’s low profile day is attributed to the Texas coaching change from Mack Brown to Charlie Strong. The Longhorns, a top 10 recruiting ranking perennial, rank 20th on the latest Rivals’ list.

Based on this year’s recruiting ratings, the entire Big 12 looks to assume the posture of Kansas State, which plays to so-so reviews in February and takes bows at the end of the season.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.

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