Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rank and File | by Pat

(Warning: recruiting-heavy post)

Recruiting rankings: you love 'em, you hate 'em, you can't live without 'em. If you're a recruitnik, these numerical lists emanating from the dark towers of Scout and Rivals stoke almost as much debate as the games themselves.

But beyond stirring up off-season discussion (and inciting all kinds of bluster and braggadocio among competing fan bases), one wonders if these rankings have any inherent worth. Do they serve as legitimate barometers of future success? Do the top-ranked players actually become college stars? And just how accurate are these self-appointed augurs of football talent, anyway?

To get a sense of it, we've been doing an annual study of the top 50 consensus players coming out of high school, and then revisiting them during their senior years of college. We wanted to see who became a bona fide star, who flamed out, who disappeared, and above all, if the "Top 50" emblem actually predicted anything. Here are our 2005 and 2006 studies.

Let's review the scoring system at work here, and how we came up with the consensus top 50:

• Final top 100 lists were gathered from and
• The rankings were converted into points by giving a recruit (101-x) points, where x represented his ranking. The #1 recruit would therefore receive 100 points, and the #100 recruit would receive 1 point.
• Players who were not ranked on a list were automatically assigned a 125th place ranking, which converted to negative points.
• The total points for each recruit were compared, and ties were broken by the highest ranking on any individual list.
• In the parentheses following each player's name are his individual list rankings (Scout, Rivals).
(Last year we incorporated Tom Lemming's rankings into the mix, but he overrates ND recruits and kids from Illinois in an attempt to generate more business, so we dropped him this year.)

We also added a color code to the list to classify the booms and the busts. Blue means the guy at the minimum is an all-conference level multi-year contributer, bordering on being one of the better players in college. Yellow means the jury's still out; for whatever reason -- maybe because of an injury, or an academic issue, or time spent at a JUCO -- the guy hasn't made an impact yet, but still has some eligibility left to redeem his ranking. Red means the player had his chance, but simply didn't pan out. (In the rare case where a player switched sports or pursued another professional opportunity, we left his number black.)

Herewith, the top 50 players coming out of high school in 2004...

#1 - Adrian Peterson, RB - Oklahoma (3,1)

Peterson burst onto the scene in Norman with a scorching freshman year that saw him finish third in the nation in rushing and second in the Heisman balloting, a freshman record. Injuries slowed him down a bit the next two seasons, but he still was one of the best running backs in the country. After bypassing his senior season for a shot at the NFL, he wound up the #7 pick in the draft and now is a Minnesota Viking. College star.

#2 - Ted Ginn, Jr., WR - Ohio State (4,2)

One of the fastest players in college football the moment he enrolled as a freshman, Ginn, Jr began his Buckeye career as an electrifying kick and punt return specialist as he lead the nation in punt return yards and tied an NCAA record for punt returns for touchdowns. He continued to develop as a receiver and his junior year he led the Buckeyes in receptions and was named a 2nd team All-American. Like Peterson, he bypassed his senior year and was the #9 pick in the NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins. College star.

#3 - Willie Williams, LB - Louisville via Miami (2,6)

The recruiting diaries of Willie Williams became legend as he shared the excessive attention showered upon him in a recurring newspaper feature. Criminal charges plus reports of 11 previous arrests marred his signing with hometown Miami. He red-shirted his freshman year after tearing ligaments in his knee in a traffic accident. After a sophomore season spent as a backup, Williams then made the decision to leave Miami and, after almost transferring to West Virginia, wound up at West Los Angeles Community College for a year. There he only played in four games, but was still named 1st Team All-Conference. His last move has been a transfer to Louisville, where he should start at linebacker for the Cardinal and will have two years of college eligibility left. Future college star? Future bust?

#4 - Rhett Bomar, QB - Sam Houston State via Oklahoma (7,4)

The #1 QB prospect in the Class of 2003 redshirted his freshman year but took over the starting job the next season and threw for a Oklahoma freshman record 2,018 yards. A month before the 2006 season was to begin, Bomar and a teammate were kicked off the team for taking payments from a local car dealer for a largely no-show job. Bomar sat out the season before transferring to Sam Houston State with two years of college eligibility left. A bone-headed decision cost him his chance to be a Sooner star.

#5 - Early Doucet, WR - LSU (9,3)

The speedy wideout saw action right away and was named to the freshman All-SEC team. He continued to be an important addition to the LSU offense over the next two seasons, seeing his reception and touchdown totals grow. Going into his senior year, Doucet is considered one of the better receivers in the country and a potential first round NFL draft pick. College star.

#6 - Brandon Miller, LB - Georgia (5,7)

Despite being listed as a defensive end during recruiting, Miller has stuck at linebacker during his career at Georgia. He cracked the starting lineup sophomore year, but was hampered by injuries most of the season. As a junior he played in all 13 games, but only started five. This past spring he was moved to middle linebacker where he will start for his final college career. Coming in with a #6 overall ranking, you could make the case he deserves the bust tag.

#7 - Keith Rivers, LB - Southern Cal (12,5)

As a backup outside linebacker as a freshman, Rivers played good enough to pick up Freshman All-Conference honors. He battled injuries his sophomore year, but rebounded to lead the team in tackles with last season. With one year left in a Trojan uniform, Rivers is a potential All-American candidate and a likely high NFL draft pick. College star.

#8 - Xavier Lee, QB - FSU (10,10)

The heralded quarterback redshirted his freshman year and then only started two games in the next two seasons as Drew Weatherford's backup. With two years of eligibility left, Lee is still fighting Weatherford for the starting QB job and looking for his first real shot to lead the Seminole offense. This fall is probably his last chance to avoid the bust label.

#9 - Jeff Byers - OL, Southern Cal (1,20)

Injuries is the one word that sums up Jeff Byers's time in Los Angeles the best. After starting four games as a freshman and being named 2nd Team Freshman All-American, Byers redshirted his sophomore year in order to recover from hip surgery. Then, last season, Byers played one game before spraining his lower back. The injury knocked him out for the season again. He missed time during the spring still getting over the back injury, but is currently penciled in as a starting guard for the Trojans for this fall. Injuries likely the only thing that have kept him from a stellar college career.

#10 - Jeff Schweiger, DE - San Jose State via Southern Cal (13,9)

Schweiger saw immediate playing time as a backup defensive end as a freshman, but an injury to his foot caused him to miss the first four games his sophomore year. After that he played sparingly in a backup role. After another season as a backup, he transferred to San Jose State, where he will sit out the 2007 season before being eligible for one final season in 2008. Tough to say complete bust due to USC's talented depth chart, but the judgment is more strict when you're in the top 10.

#11 - Derrick Harvey, DE - Florida (16, 8)

Harvey redshirted and saw limited action as a sophomore before entering the starting lineup last fall and having a monster junior year. His 11 sacks was good for 20th in the nation and he capped the year with defensive MVP honors in the BCS national championship game. With two years of eligibility left, Harvey is expected to be an All-American caliber defensive end in 2007. It took him two years, but now he's a star.

#12 - DeMario Pressley, DT - North Carolina State (18, 11)

The top defensive tackle on this list, Pressley was the only player in his class to start a game as a freshman. By his sophomore year he was a full-time starter and that carried over to last year where he helped control the line of scrimmage for the Wolfpack. He briefly considered passing up his final year of eligibility to turn pro, but ultimately decided to return. A star at his position.

#13 - Dan Connor, LB - Penn State (6,24)

Another instant impact freshman, Connor finished his first year 9th in the conference in tackles, despite starting only four games. After sitting out a few games his sophomore year for discipline reasons, he started the rest of the season and finished fourth on the team in tackles. Last season many considered Connor to be playing better than teammate and All-American linebacker Paul Posluszny. Now the leader of the PSU defense, Connor has shifted to the middle linebacker spot and will contend for All-American honors himself, not to mention a shot at a 1st round NFL Draft slot. College star.

#14 - Fred Davis, TE - Southern Cal (11,19)

Davis was recruited by every school in the country as a wide receiver, but split time as a receiver and tight end after arriving in Los Angeles. Transfer rumors followed Davis for awhile, but he stuck it out and now enters his final season as the Trojan's starting tight end and leading returning receiver. A largely uneventful career with one last chance to shine.

#15 - Anthony Morelli, QB - Penn State (22,12)

The strong-armed QB saw the field as a freshman for a handful of throws and continued his backup role as a sophomore. Morelli broke into the starting ranks last season and threw for 2424 yards and 11 touchdowns compared to 8 interceptions. As he prepares for his senior year, Morelli has the skills to have a great year, but will need to continue to improve as the leader of the Nittany Lion offense. Has a chance for a great senior year.

#16 - Cameron Colvin, WR - Oregon (19,17)

The fourth WR on this list, Colvin saw the field initially as a freshman, starting one game for the Ducks before starting every game as a sophomore. That was the high point of his time in Oregon; he then fell into a backup role last season. Going into his final year, Colvin is fighting to earn the third starting WR spot on the team. Bust.

#17 - Xavier Carter, WR - Professional Track via LSU (15,22)

More a sprinter than wide receiver, Carter left the football team to focus on his true strength, track. As a sophomore, the talented runner matched Jesse Owens' long-standing record by winning a national championship in four different events. Following that season he turned pro in track and field and is still racing professionally. At this time he holds the 2nd fastest 200M time ever at 19.63 seconds. Track star.

#18 - Chad Henne, QB - Michigan (27,13)

Entering his fourth year as a starter, Henne has started 37 games in a row and was named 3rd team All-American last year. His stats as a freshman were the best in Michigan and Big Ten history and he has kept his numbers more or less constant the past two seasons. Heading into his final season he is an All-American candidate and being mentioned as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate. College star.

#19 - Brian Toal, LB - Boston College (17,25)

Toal made a quick impact on the Eagles by working his way into the starting lineup five games into the season. He finished his first year as the team's second leading tackler. As a sophomore he added goalline back to his linebacker duties. Last season, injuries slowed him down although he was able to appear in all 13 games. Rumors about a redshirt year in 2007 might mean a year off and return for a final season in 2008. College star.

#20 - Frank Okam, DT - Texas (25, 18)

Big Frank Okam only started one game his freshman year, but played enough to earn a Freshman All-American nomination from The Sporting News. As a sophomore he locked down a starting lineup spot for all 13 games and picked up 2nd team all-conference honors. Injuries knocked him out for two games as a junior but he started the other 12, earning all-conference honorable mention. He bypassed a chance at the NFL Draft and returns as one of the better defensive tackles in the country. Star at his position.

#21 - Charles Johnson, DE - Georgia (14, 37)

Johnson saw minimal playing time his freshman year and while he saw action in every game as a sophomore, still didn't crack the starting lineup. As a junior he did start every game of the season and wound up with 9.5 sacks, an SEC-leading 19 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and 2nd team All-SEC honors. He then declared for the NFL Draft and was picked up by the Carolina Panthers in the 3rd round. Interesting in that he really only starred for one year.

#22 - Kyle Williams, LB - Prison (34, 14)

Originally committed to Iowa, Williams failed to get a qualifying test score out of high school. He then enrolled at Purdue after sitting out a semester and had an instant impact on the team in 2005 as a starting linebacker, before recurring headaches sidelined him for the rest of the season. In the off-season he was kicked off the team and soon afterwards arrested on charges of assault and attempted rape. He was recently found guilty on five of six criminal counts and faces sentencing in late June. He deserves the bust tag, but this one shouldn't be held against the recruiting sites. It's not their job to predict future criminal activity.

#23 - Calvin Johnson, WR - Georgia Tech (14, 37)

An instant star at Tech, Johnson started every game his freshman year and was named 1st team All-ACC. He kept improving and as a sophomore was named a 1st Team All-American by the AFCA and 2nd team honors by the AP and Walter Camp Association. Last season Johnson won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wide receiver, finished 10th in the Heisman balloting, and was the #2 pick of the NFL Draft. College stud.

#24 - Lance Leggett, WR - Miami (33, 21)

Leggett saw more success initially as a sprinter on the Miami track team than at wide receiver, but he continued to develop and led the Hurricanes in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns as a junior. A knee injury knocked him out of spring practices, but he should be able to play this fall. More of a track star than football star.

#25 - Zach Miller, TE - Arizona State (23, 33)

Perhaps the most impressive start by any player on this list, Miller started every game his freshman season and was named a 2nd Team All-American by The Sporting News and He was also named the PAC-10 Freshman of the Year. His numbers dipped a bit his sophomore year as injuries kept him out for three games but rebounded in 2006 by starting every game and earning Consensus All-American honors. He declared for the NFL Draft and was picked up in the 2nd round by the Oakland Raiders. College star.

#26 - Matt Tuiasosopo, QB - West Tenn. Diamond Jaxx (41, 16)

The latest in a line of football playing Tuiasosopo's opted for baseball over football and declared for the Major League Draft after high school. He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Seattle Mariners and currently is playing for the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, the Mariners' Double A affiliate.

#27 - Chris Patterson, LB - Kansas State via junior college (45, 15)

Patterson, a star linebacker from Chicago, committed to Oklahoma out of high school, but failed to qualify academically and headed to NorthEast Oklahoma A&M Junior College. After the season he transferred back to Joliet Junior College in his home state of Illinois and earned 2nd Team All-Conference honors. After graduating, Patterson re-opened his recruiting and ultimately selected Kansas State, where he will contend for a starting outside linebacker spot. College impact pending.

#28 - Glenn Dorsey, DT - LSU (21, 47)

Making his presence felt right away, Dorsey saw action in all 12 games his freshman year with the Tigers, starting 3 of them. As a sophomore he was part of a four man rotation that saw action in every game. He started every game his junior year and established himself as one of the very best defensive tackles in the game. He was named a 1st Team AP All-American and was projected as a Top 10 NFL Draft pick, but after the season decided to return for his senior year anyway. College star.

#29 - Thomas Herring, OL - Southern Cal (49, 23)

Herring's journey to the playing field hit a snag after committing to Southern Cal when he was declared academically ineligible for admission. After sitting out a year, Herring then tore knee ligaments and was forced to redshirt in 2005. Last season, as a redshirt freshman, Herring saw limited action as a backup left tackle. He has since been moved to guard, where he will start his sophomore season as a backup. Not promising, but he does have three years left.

#30 - Demonte' Bolden, DT - Tennessee (36, 43)

Another academic casualty, Bolden did not qualify out of college and spent 2004 at Hargrave Military Academy. He later enrolled at Tennessee, but barely played in 2005, only seeing action in one game. As a sophomore last season, he still didn't crack the starting lineup, but saw action in 12 games. This coming season he is still fighting for playing time along the Volunteer defensive line. Likely a career backup.

#31 - Charlie Jones, RB - Miami (24, 57)

Freshman playing time was limited to mainly special teams duties, but Jones did see action in five games and carry the ball six times. Jones then took over the starting duties eight games into his sophomore season after starter Tyrone Moss was injured. However he was relegated back to backup duty as a junior. He should remain a backup his senior year. Largely a career backup.

#32 - Roland Martin, OL - Michigan State (52, 29)

Big Roland Martin redshirted his first year at MSU before seeing spot duty in a backup role as a redshirt freshman in 2005. He appeared in seven games, but didn't start any of them. That changed last season though when Martin nailed down a starting guard spot and started all 12 games. With two years of eligibility left, Martin appears to be entrenched at the left guard position. In line for a solid career.

#33 - Bobby Washington, RB - Eastern Kentucky via NC State (48, 35)

After signing a Letter of Intent for Miami, Washington quickly got a release and switched to NC State when the Hurricanes questioned his ACT score. He played sparingly his first two years before being switched to safety at the end of his sophomore year. Due to lack of playing time, he transferred to Eastern Kentucky, where last season he was a backup running back for the Colonels and will enter his senior year as a contender for the starting job. Bust.

#34 - Dwayne Jarrett, WR - Southern Cal (39, 44)

Another wide receiver who made an instant impact, Jarrett was name All Pac-10 honorable mention after his freshman season. He improved on that by being named a Consensus 1st Team All-American as a sophomore. Injuries cost him a few games in 2006, but he still cracked 1000 yards receiving and was once again named 1st Team All-American. He declared early for the NFL Draft and was selected in the 2nd round by the Carolina Panthers. College star.

#35 - Marcus Walker, CB - Oklahoma (35, 49)

The first cornerback on this list, Walker was a backup his first two years, although shoulder issues limited him his sophomore year. He broke into the starting lineup four games into the 2006 season and wound up being named 2nd Team All-Big 12. This past spring he ran the fastest 40 time on the team and should have a solid senior season. Above average starter.

#36 -Thomas Brown, RB - Georgia (51, 36)

Brown took off like a shot and led the Bulldogs in rushing his first two seasons on campus. He was on track to do it three years in a row when a knee injury against Vandy knocked him out for the year. He sat out spring practice to continue rehab, but should ready to go come this fall. Borderline college star.

#37 - James Bryant, LB - U. Mass via Miami (37, 59)

Recruited as a linebacker, Bryant saw time as a backup his freshman year but was then switched to fullback. The next two seasons Bryant resisted the position switch and was suspended three times for undisclosed reasons. After last season he asked new head coach Randy Shannon for a release and, if he clears academically, will play for U. Mass this season. Bust.

#38 - Eric McLendon, DT - ??? (29, 70)

The trail on McLendon goes cold shortly after he failed to qualify academically for Georgia. He attended Reedley College out in California for junior college and was a backup his first year, but that's the last thing I could find on him. Bust.

#39 - Tim Jamison, DE - Michigan (62, 40)

He started his Wolverine career as a linebacker, but a team switch to the 4-3 defense meant Jamison's future was at defensive end. He was LaMarr Woodley's backup last year but still finished third on the team in sacks. With two years of eligibility left, he's in line for a big increase in playing time as a full-time starter. Chance to be very good.

#40 - Jamaal Edwards, RB - Florida State (44, 64)

Edwards got a handful of carries his freshman year, but was redshirted as sophomore. Then as a junior he was fighting for playing time when he sprained his ACL and missed six weeks. Going into spring practice he was listed at third string on the depth chart. He has two years of eligibility left, but any playing time will be an uphill battle. Bust, although injuries certainly didn't help.

#41 - Brian Brohm, QB - Louisville (32, 78)

This is about as close as ND came to a player on this list. Brohm picked Louisville over the Irish and he has thrived from the start. He didn't start as a freshman, but was named conference Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore he ended the year as the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and the nation's second best in passing efficiency. Junior year, Brohm threw for over 3,000 yards and led the conference in passing. After bypassing the NFL draft, Brohm has decided to return for a senior year and a run at the Heisman Trophy. College star.

#42 - J.R. Bryant, CB - Florida State (59, 52)

Bryant worked his way onto the second team his freshman year and into the starting lineup for the final six games of his sophomore year. However, just four games into his junior year he was demoted to the third team where he remained through spring ball earlier this year. Bust.

#43 - Kyle Mitchum, OL - Ohio State (55, 56)

Mitchum sat out his freshman year as a redshirt and over the next two years saw more playing time on special teams than anything else. With two years of eligibility left, Mitchum is still stuck at #2 on the depth chart at guard for the Buckeyes. Bust.

#44 - Cortney Grixby, CB - Nebraska (40, 75)

The quick cornerback saw playing time as a backup his freshman year and turned that into a starting role as a sophomore. In his second season as a starter Grixby played his way to an honorable mention All Big-12 nomination. Helped out early and now is solid team contributor. Sort of on the yellow/blue line, but he's going to be a three year starter.

#45 - Leon Hart, OL - Auburn (26, 93)

The excellently named Leon Hart has played in 36 Tiger games during his three years at Auburn, but has only started two of them. That should change this year though as he entered the spring practice sessions penciled in as a starter at right guard. Sounds like a seniority-earned starting spot.

#46 - Nikita Stover, WR - Alabama (73, 46)

Stover failed to meet NCAA academic requirements out of high school and enrolled at Itawamba Junior College. He played there for two years and last year finally enrolled and played for Alabama. He didn't start any games, but pulled in 12 receptions and will look to contribute to the Crimson Tide receiving corp under new coach Nick Saban. He could go either way.

#47 - Kyle Jackson, S - Florida (70, 54)

Jackson worked his way into the starting Gator lineup as a safety, starting five games as a freshman. He then started the first six games of his sophomore year before being demoted to the bench. His reserve role continued into his junior year and that appears to be the case for his coming senior season as well.

#48 - William Morrisey, DT - Texas A&M (99, 27)

Morrisey redshirted and then, while playing in a backup role, broke his leg eight games into his redshirt freshman season. That was followed by taking a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons for the entire 2006 season and did not participate in spring drills in 2007 either. He's currently not listed on the team's roster. Tough call on the color code, but he was buried on the depth chart before getting injured and leaving the team.

#49 - Herman Johnson, OL - LSU (96, 30)

The biggest player ever to suit up for LSU played two games as a freshman but got injured and took a medical redshirt. Over the next two years he saw time as a backup guard until finally starting the final eight games of the 2006 season. With two years left, the 6'7", 351 pound behemoth is firmly entrenched in the Tiger starting lineup. Chance to be a college star.

#50 - Greg Harrison, OL - Penn State (28, 100)

After redshirting as a freshman, Harrison hurt his foot before the 2005 season and missed the entire year. Back for the 2006, Harrison started out third string on the depth chart and left the team halfway through the season. Did the injuries end his football career?


As this is an ND blog, the first thing that jumps out is the absence of any Irish players on the top 50 list. Inexplicably, Tyrone Willingham failed to build on his previous year's strong recruiting haul and didn't land a single consensus Top 50 player; in fact, no Irish recruit was among the top 100 on either list. To put Willingham's deficient recruiting in perspective, here's a look at the number of Irish recruits to make the final Rivals and/or Scout Top 100 list each year since the lists started.
2002 - 2 (Davie/Willingham)
2003 - 6 (Willingham)
2004 - 0 (Willingham)
2005 - 1 (Willingham / Weis)
2006 - 7 (Weis)
2007 - 7 (Weis)
2008 - 6 (in progress; Weis)
I know this is common knowledge, but it's still startling to see the numbers lined up like that.

Taking a look at this year's list and the two previous years, there are some generalized points that can be made with a certain amount of confidence:

1. The consensus Top 50 has a pretty high success rate.

The top two guys on this list were both Top 10 NFL picks after only three years of college. And there are 13 other guys on this list who were either drafted highly by the NFL or considered high draft picks before deciding to return to school. That's 30% of the list right there deemed capable of entering the NFL a year ahead of their peers.

This shouldn't be terribly surprising, as these guys started making names for themselves early in high school, and were on everyone's radar virtually from day one. Still, the percentage of players on the list who have had strong careers to this point is pretty high.

Likewise, of the 15 players with a red label, only 5 have avoided major injuries or off-the-field issues, but still didn't pan out. That's only 10% who could be called true, football "busts".

Overall, the top 50 is a pretty good indicator of future success. It would be interesting to see how its hit rate stacks up against other guru "rankings" from other sports, such as the various pre-draft rankings for professional leagues.

2. The hardest positions to evaluate appear to be the offensive line and cornerback.

Michael made this point two years ago, and so far it has generally held true. Look through the offensive lineman on this list, as well as the previous two lists and you see a very mixed bag of starters, career backups, and victims of the injury bug. Of course this is the case with all positions, but moreso with offensive lineman. The only real OL "star" from these lists is Justin Blalock, although Herman Johnson and Jeff Byers still have the chance to really make a name for themselves. (And while this is more trivia than an indictment of these rankings, OL is the only position that has failed to generate a 1st round NFL pick from all of the players and positions represented on the past three Top 50 lists.)

Cornerback rankings are a bit more precient than OL, but nowhere near what you would expect for a top 50 list. Each year a number of guys are billed as the next great lockdown corner, but they rarely pan out in college. Is it that hard to evaluate cornerbacks? Do high school highlight tapes accurately showcase a cornerback's skills? Or, perhaps, are the great college corners actually playing quarterback and wide receiver in high school?

3. Keep your Top 50 defensive tackle eligible, and he's likely to be a star.

There's really no middle ground: the defensive tackles in the Top 50 either turn out to be All-American caliber stars, or complete busts (due in large part to academics or off-the-field issues). In a way, I suppose that supports the theory that defensive tackle is one of the easiest positions to rank. There are only so many kids each year that can run down quarterbacks while outweighing them by 100 pounds. They tend to stick out like a sore thumb on recruiting tapes and that makes them easy to pin near the top of the rankings. It seems that if a program can keep a Top 50 tackle hitting the books and out of trouble, odds are he'll live up to his billing.

4. If you're Purdue and you land a Top 50 recruit, don't be surprised if he only lasts one season.

So far the Boilermakers are 0 for 2 on having their Top 50 recruits last two seasons with the team. Wide receiver Selwyn Lymon has a shot at the Top 50 list for next year and after failing to qualify academically his first year, he had a solid year last season. We'll have to see if he can fully recover from being stabbed at a nightclub this off-season, return to active duty with the Boilermakers, and break the curse.

Oklahoma has had some bad luck with these lists too, with guys like Moe Dampeer, Tony Cade, Aaron Miller, Rhett Bomar, and Chris Patterson all committing to the Sooners and leaving for various reasons. (Then again, landing Adrian Peterson probably has helped make up for some of the other misses.)

5. So far, the distribution of the Top 50 has been somewhat constant.

Yellow 21
Red 12
Three years is certainly not a big enough data set to draw any major conclusions, especially given the speculative and inexact nature of handing out color coded tags. Still, we just went back to the two previous years and added up a quick tally of likely blue, yellow, and red labels based only on what we knew at the time.

It's interesting that the number of players that make an immediate and lasting impact on their team (the "blue" labeled players) has been fairly constant over this admittedly short time frame.