Statistical Analysis of Tennessee's Recruiting Class Rankings

Note from Will - 12:18 PM:  Fantastic stuff here on UT's rankings with Scout, and our potential to move up based on who's left on our board.  Great work from Southland in their very first fanpost.  Front page.  Boom.

General Disclaimer

So this post was ostensibly written based off data I created for me and some friends to give us an idea statistically of what Tennessee would have to do on National Signing Day to move up in the rankings. I’ve decided to post it since no other Tennessee site seems to have any sort of statistical analysis like this, and I thought other people might be interested in this data.  As such, I’m not an English major and this is hastily written, so if you don’t like the quality of writing, sorry. As well, the frequent disclaimer that recruiting and our ranking is not the be all end all that will determine the National Title game, and that a human’s ability in football cannot actually be quantifiably measured. This post is simply for those who enjoy rank watching in recruiting, and want to have a general idea of the statistics behind those rankings. Finally, all of this data is based off of the Scout recruiting service. If you prefer rivals, sorry, they don’t have their mathematical formulas readily linked on their rankings page.

General Calculation rules for Scout

Each class is tabulated by taking any given team’s top 25 players signed. Each player is assigned a point value based off the addition of two things, stars and position rank. 5 stars are worth 200 points, 4 stars 120, 3 stars 40, 2 stars 20. From here, points are added based off the player’s standing at his position within the top 100, with the #1 player receiving 100, and the #100 player receiving 1.

General Notes on the Scout Sytem

Because Scout tabulates each class based off the top 25 players signed, in order for a recruiting class to reach its full point potential 25 players must be signed. In other words, if a class signs under 25 after filling all their needs, they will be punished somewhat in the rankings. Further, if you sign over 25, you replace the bottom of your class by however many you over sign. Thus, if you take a look at the rankings on Scout’s site, you can get a general idea which teams Tennessee is likely to pass on Signing Day and which teams they will likely stay behind based off of whether or not they have filled their class, and their star average. Further research would have to be done in order to determine which classes could be filling out their class or statistically replacing the bottom, but for the Statistical Scenario segment of this post we will assume all other teams remain static. As well a final note on the Scout system, I’m not sure if the position ranking parts of the calculations are added for JUCO players. I can’t confirm this, but if they are not, then Tennessee’s class is relatively undervalued considering the three top 25 JUCO players UT has committed.

Tennessee’s Current Standing in Scout

2981 Points, Good for 16th in the Country

Currently Tennessee has 24 commitments. Thus they have one spot left to fill that will be counted directly towards the Tennessee points total. After that, each additional commitment will replace the lowest remaining statistical contribution at the bottom of Tennessee’s class.

Bottom 5 of Tennessee’s Class

Devrin Young = 40 Points (Statistically replaced with 26th signee)

Tino Thomas = 47 Points            27th

Christian Harris = 50 points           28th

Trevarris Saulsberry = 66 Points      29th 

Vincent Dallas = 69 Points                  30th

Full Point Tally = 207

Still on the Board (Top 6)

Tim Jernigan = 296 Points (Statistically the biggest get for Tennessee)

Lamar Dawson = 211 Points

Cameron Clear = 211 Points

Gabe Wright = 209 Points

Antonio Richardson = 202 Points

Curt Maggitt = 201 Points

Full Point Tally = 1330

Scenario 1 (Boomsday Scenario)

In this scenario, every player mentioned above that’s left on Tennessee’s board signs with us, if this occurred then:

The value of Tennessee’s class is first subtracted by the bottom 6 (2981-272) resulting in a value of 2709. The point totals of all the new commits are then added. The result is 2709+1330=4039. Again, assuming all other schools remain static, this would move Tennessee up to the # 4 class in the Nation.

Scenario 2 (Good day Scenario)

In this scenario, Gabe Wright, Cameron Clear, Antonio Richardson and Lamar Dawson all sign with Tennessee. If this occurred then:

The current value of Tennessee’s class is subtracted by 137 (2981-137) giving the total of 2844. The value of the four recruits is then added to this (2844+833) giving the total of 3677. Assuming all other schools remain static, this would make Tennessee the #8 class in the nation.

Scenario 3 (In-State Scenario)

In this scenario, only Cameron Clear and Antonio Richardson sign with us. If this occurred then:

Cameron Clear adds 211 Points directly to the Tennessee points total, while Richardson replaces Young’s value (202-40) to add 182 points directly to the total. This would bring the total to (2981+393) 3374 points.  Assuming all other schools remain static, this would make Tennessee the # 10 class in the Nation.

Scenario 4 (Static/Control/Doomsday Scenario)

No one else signs with UT. No real need to add statistical analysis to this, we don’t increase our point total, and assuming everyone else is static we would maintain 16th.

Conclusions and Predictions

Now for the purposes of my conclusions, I will infer some from the current standing of other schools based off how many they have signed and their star averages. Of the teams ahead of us, Arkansas, South Carolina and Washington all look ripe for the passing. Specifically, Carolina and Arkansas have already nearly reached or in Carolina’s case surpassed 30 signees, and will likely not see any major activity on signing day. Thus I predict Tennessee will finish comfortably ahead of all three of these schools in the rankings, which should put to bed some of the rabble regarding South Carolina and Arkansas passing Tennessee long term.

 Looking behind us, I see four teams that could threaten to pass Tennessee; North Carolina, Stanford, Nebraska and most prominently Florida. Whether or not these teams pass us will ultimately depend on whether or not they are able to fill out their classes or even need to, but Stanford, Florida, and Nebraska are all elite teams with high average star ratings, so I’d keep an eye on them.

 For those Kiffin haters, Tennessee actually has a decent chance of passing USC if something similar to scenario 1 or 2 were to occur. However, the bottom part of Kiffin’s class may be replaced by some rather high star values, so USC might make enough moves on signing day to maintain their current spot.

In terms of a final prediction, there are a lot of factors that will come in to play in determining where UT will finish, both in terms of whom Tennessee actually does get to commit and how other schools finish. My personal prediction is that something close to scenario 2 will happen. Tennessee will get about half or more of the names that are left on the board, and get a statistical bump of about 800 points. I think that will be enough to carry Tennessee past Oregon for the # 10 National ranking.

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