Football Recruiting 2019: How do the Illini Stack Up?

#26
its just that your words nearly always relied on "depth". i think the visual almost does your analysis for you - I was surprised at how our 6-15 stacked up versus others (or didn't) - it was sobering - but given the lack of reliable scouting on the .86-.83 recruits makes me want to say recruit A vs B are a virtual tie if within x. maybe summarize into number of recruits in "quadrants", ie intervals.
By depth, I did mean quality depth. I was generally looking at the number of recruits above the NW lowest threshold.

Originally I had all of the recruits on their school rank. But I thought it gave a better picture to try to align the recruits with a similarly rated recruit for the other school. In that way, I think you can visualize the number of recruits in the quadrants without me having to define the quadrants.
 
#27
This is the challenge of evaluating individual players as freshmen. I'm not sure I would say any of these players impressed me. Carter had two great catches and I know Quan had the three picks, but there were plenty of gifs created on social media of the freshman secondary making critical mistakes. That doesn't mean they are good or bad, they're freshmen. Mistakes happen. Are they playing because of obvious talent? Or the lack of talent on the roster? Another reason this is a tough comparison is, if Illinois was a 7/8 win team, how many of these recruits would have played as a freshman? Tough to say, but it's easy to assume less of them would have played, therefore it's tough to compare freshmen on Illinois to freshmen on more successful B1G programs because they are less likely to play their freshmen.
I would say this staff probably should get the benefit of the doubt in regards to identifying underranked talent not based on the above mentioned players who like you say may be playing out of necessity but by the 2017 class. I think it is not arguable at this point that Roundtree, Palcz, Lowe and Hobbs are Big 10 starter quality players almost anywhere at this point. All of them ranked below .840, and you could throw in Bennett Williams who could obviously play at a high level as well.

Thanks for the work and it is a useful tool in general, but imo we can safely say this staff is better at identifying hidden talent than the Beckman staff. This year we saw it with the Coleman, Cumby and Randolph recruitments who we were in on first and then everyone came knocking.
 
#28
A couple things: (1) As mentioned before, recruiting ratings have steadily crept up over time. I would surmise that Beckman and Lovie's recruiting rating are relatively close when you standardized the scores across classes, and (2) you're looking at two data points. Both coaches struggled/have struggled because of poor recruiting rankings. Squinting and seeing that one coach has slightly better scores does not provide justification for it not fitting the model.
You think the difference between Lovie vs Beckman is a "slight difference"?
 
#29
Does this chart help or hurt your argument? I don't want this to be anti-Lovie, and four years seems better than three. I'm not including 2019 recruits since they couldn't play in 2018.
View attachment 4302
The Illini had 26 more recruits over the same four year period, yet Northwestern won the Big Ten West in 2018.
I kind of think it helps. When you look at this graph, I see Northwestern as the better team, even though IL has the numbers and more top end. I would say the quality depth for Northwestern would sway the decision. But the differential looks very similar to Lovie vs Beckman. Which does make my point. Yes having better players is going to make a better team. However
1. The recruiting rankings, regardless on how far they have come, are not so precise to know the real difference between an .75 and a .85. In fact, both those guys could easily be at same caliber player after one year in college. Bobby Rountree's of the world
2. Numerous variables go into the calculation of a school's success, competition, coaching, injuries. Making the incremental differences in recruiting rankings immaterial. Until you get to the bigger gaps.
I would look at these charts and say Lovie has upgraded the talent. I would also say if he doesn't continue to improve it, teams like Nebraska are going to run away from us. But Northwestern, Minnesota not enough of a difference to say they are moving ahead faster than us.
 
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#30
South Carolina
Thanks for catching that. I wish I could say I did that because they changed his rating, but I simply missed the top row while copying from the website. Here's the updated graph:
View attachment 4295
That definitely makes the 247 rating make more sense, but two spots ahead of Illinois? I guess the 8 and 9 spots where the Illini don't match up counts for quite a bit in their formula. Maybe a slight edge to Maryland, which puts the Illini back in 13th place. Ugh.

Someone requested the Maryland and Rutgers graphs without shifting, so here they are:
View attachment 4300
\ View attachment 4301

Any preference for the ones shifted vs. the ones ordered by their team rank? Asking for next year.
Thanks for passing the graph without the shifts. I think it is a more realistic representation without the gaps.

I think with the gaps, your eyes kind of fill those in with the assumption that additional Illinois recruits would be of comparable ranking which is not necessarily the case. Lining them up consecutively is just more straight up and it does emphasize the importance of class size.
 
#31
Does this chart help or hurt your argument? I don't want this to be anti-Lovie, and four years seems better than three. I'm not including 2019 recruits since they couldn't play in 2018.
View attachment 4302
The Illini had 26 more recruits over the same four year period, yet Northwestern won the Big Ten West in 2018.

I think the 3yr chart is the most compelling...I'd love to see Illinois vs. the same competition over the 3yr span Lovie has been here (and 4-5 years is probably ideal to compare a full program ignoring coaching changes).

If you have the Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State data I'd be curious to see how badly we're getting blown away down at the tails of the class (both yearly and over 3yrs).

Cool data, thanks!
 
#33
Glenview, IL
Beckman's Average Class Ranking: 57
Lovie's Average Class Ranking: 53
Yes, but as it has been noted before, the average player rating has increased somewhat significantly for Lovie's full recruiting classes as shown below.

2019 Avg. Rating - 0.8630
2018 Avg. Rating - 0.8381
2017 Avg. Rating - 0.8371

2016 Avg. Rating - 0.8126
2015 Avg. Rating - 0.8345
2014 Avg. Rating - 0.8225
2013 Avg. Rating - 0.8294

I know you stated that recruiting ratings have steadily crept up over time, but have they really changed that much in the last 5 to 6 years?
 
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#34
Thanks for passing the graph without the shifts. I think it is a more realistic representation without the gaps.

I think with the gaps, your eyes kind of fill those in with the assumption that additional Illinois recruits would be of comparable ranking which is not necessarily the case. Lining them up consecutively is just more straight up and it does emphasize the importance of class size.
When I saw the gaps, I used the Northwestern lowest line, which is just a smidge off from Lovie's median, to figure what a deeper Illinois class would probably look like, basically one above and one below that line.The 2019 class kept that median, with exactly 7 recruits above and 7 below that median.

Adding the gaps is the most difficult process in creating these graphs, so if it's not helpful, I would just as soon not do it. I would probably build a macro to do it next year.
 
#35
I think the 3yr chart is the most compelling...I'd love to see Illinois vs. the same competition over the 3yr span Lovie has been here (and 4-5 years is probably ideal to compare a full program ignoring coaching changes).

If you have the Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State data I'd be curious to see how badly we're getting blown away down at the tails of the class (both yearly and over 3yrs).

Cool data, thanks!
Do we really want to torture ourselves with Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State data?

I was actually thinking of doing four year data for our upcoming opponents. It wouldn't be perfect because I wouldn't be adding or subtracting transfers (unless someone wants to do that for me), but it could be interesting. But that won't happen until after Easter because I give up Loyalty for Lent. Hopefully I'll come back less snarky.
 
#36
Lubbock, TX
Yes, but as it has been noted before, the average player rating has increased somewhat significantly for Lovie's full recruiting classes as shown below.

2019 Avg. Rating - 0.8630
2018 Avg. Rating - 0.8381
2017 Avg. Rating - 0.8371

2016 Avg. Rating - 0.8126 - This is Cubit's class, not Beckman's class
2015 Avg. Rating - 0.8345
2014 Avg. Rating - 0.8225
2013 Avg. Rating - 0.8294

I know you stated that recruiting ratings have steadily crept up over time, but have they really changed that much in the last 5 to 6 years?
Here's an example:
2013 - Darius Mosely - 476th ranked recruit - 247 ranking: .8702 - ILLINOIS commit
2019 - Ty Evans - 476th ranked recruit - 247 ranking: .8830 - NC STATE commit

Some of the ranked comparisons are closer than others, but some have a farther gap. Plus, it changes per class. My assumption is the 476th ranked recruit in 2018 will be closer to Mosely's 247 rating. That said, this is a fairly big gap. Keith Randolph has almost the exact same rating as Mosely but he's the 673rd ranked prospect in the 2019 class. Doesn't mean Randolph isn't a heralded recruit, he is, but there is a sizable different in ratings/rankings.

If we apply the gap difference from the example across the entire class, that raises the AVG rating from .8294 to .8422. Considering the 2013 class had 24 enrollees, it beats any of Lovie's full classes (unfortunately), but doesn't have the same quality at the top as this year's class.
 
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#37
When I saw the gaps, I used the Northwestern lowest line, which is just a smidge off from Lovie's median, to figure what a deeper Illinois class would probably look like, basically one above and one below that line.The 2019 class kept that median, with exactly 7 recruits above and 7 below that median.

Adding the gaps is the most difficult process in creating these graphs, so if it's not helpful, I would just as soon not do it. I would probably build a macro to do it next year.
I think they are cool graphs that can give us some good conversations about recruiting and such. Appreciate your time and effort on this
 
#38
Lubbock, TX
Do we really want to torture ourselves with Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State data?

I was actually thinking of doing four year data for our upcoming opponents. It wouldn't be perfect because I wouldn't be adding or subtracting transfers (unless someone wants to do that for me), but it could be interesting. But that won't happen until after Easter because I give up Loyalty for Lent. Hopefully I'll come back less snarky.
Would love to see comparison recruiting data by team. And no rush, you can roll one out per week as the opponent is a week away to avoid burnout.
 
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#39
Do we really want to torture ourselves with Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State data?

I was actually thinking of doing four year data for our upcoming opponents. It wouldn't be perfect because I wouldn't be adding or subtracting transfers (unless someone wants to do that for me), but it could be interesting. But that won't happen until after Easter because I give up Loyalty for Lent. Hopefully I'll come back less snarky.
I would love to see this. I think the most important thing is to understand ratings on a whole starting team basis. But your analysis points to the fact that our recruiting is the reason our team ruffles once we get injuries
 
#40
Would love to see comparison recruiting data by team. And no rush, you can roll one out per week as the opponent is a week away to avoid burnout.
That would give us enough time to add some individual insight on our opponents as well. I was thinking, list their top 5-10 best players and see what they were ranked out of HS along coupled with how many years they have been in college.
 
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#41
Glenview, IL
Here's an example:
2013 - Darius Mosely - 476th ranked recruit - 247 ranking: .8702 - ILLINOIS commit
2019 - Ty Evans - 476th ranked recruit - 247 ranking: .8830 - NC STATE commit

Some of the ranked comparisons are closer than others, but some have a farther gap. Plus, it changes per class. My assumption is the 476th ranked recruit in 2018 will be closer to Mosely's 247 rating. That said, this is a fairly big gap. Keith Randolph has almost the exact same rating as Mosely but he's the 673rd ranked prospect in the 2019 class. Doesn't mean Randolph isn't a heralded recruit, he is, but there is a sizable different in ratings/rankings.

If we apply the gap difference from the example across the entire class, that raises the AVG rating from .8294 to .8422. Considering the 2013 class had 24 enrollees, it beats any of Lovie's full classes (unfortunately), but doesn't have the same quality at the top as this year's class.
I appreciate the input. I am optimistic (perhaps overly so) by nature, but I respect differing viewpoints and enjoy the opinions and thoughts on the topic. As has been stated before, the enthusiasm for Illini football seems to be near an all time low, so it is nice to see that there are still some folks passionate about it!
 
#42
When you look at this graph, I see Northwestern as the better team, even though IL has the numbers and more top end. I would say the quality depth for Northwestern would sway the decision.
I think the more important factor on NW being better is the lag between recruiting and results, much of our higher numbers on that chart are underclassmen or presumably the incoming freshman class. Last year we were still predominantly Freshman/Sophomores and still paying the price for the mess of an incoming class that Lovie inherited.
 
#43
I think the more important factor on NW being better is the lag between recruiting and results, much of our higher numbers on that chart are underclassmen or presumably the incoming freshman class. Last year we were still predominantly Freshman/Sophomores and still paying the price for the mess of an incoming class that Lovie inherited.
There are no 2019 recruits on that chart. The top seven Illini recruits on that chart are, in order, Gabe Megginson (2015), Calvin Avery (2018), Ke'Shawn Vaughn (2015), Verdis Brown (2018), Ricky Smalling (2017), Reuben Unije (2018), and Kendrick Green (2017). All were rated above 0.880, and only four were still on the team for the 2019 game against Northwestern, and one of those redshirted. Obviously, not every recruit pans out, even the top ones (although one did pretty well elsewhere), which is why quality depth is so important.
 
#44
I think the more important factor on NW being better is the lag between recruiting and results, much of our higher numbers on that chart are underclassmen or presumably the incoming freshman class. Last year we were still predominantly Freshman/Sophomores and still paying the price for the mess of an incoming class that Lovie inherited.
That is a good point. Which, sadly we will not know for another two years, unless we find a program that is similar, brings me back to my question about what produces the better football team, classes that are filled by majorly 83-88 ranked recruits, or classes with bigger sways in the mid 90s and low 80s.
 
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#45
There are no 2019 recruits on that chart. The top seven Illini recruits on that chart are, in order, Gabe Megginson (2015), Calvin Avery (2018), Ke'Shawn Vaughn (2015), Verdis Brown (2018), Ricky Smalling (2017), Reuben Unije (2018), and Kendrick Green (2017). All were rated above 0.880, and only four were still on the team for the 2019 game against Northwestern, and one of those redshirted. Obviously, not every recruit pans out, even the top ones (although one did pretty well elsewhere), which is why quality depth is so important.
Well I still believe Greensboro's point remains the same, those top end players left are still very young. I believe we all assume their value is going to enhance with every year they stay.
 
#46
Is there a movie on this flight?
Elmhurst
I like the colors.

As one of my stats profs was fond of saying, "Garbage in, garbage out." Your analysis, while impressive, is utterly dependent on ratings, which are hardly scientific (being kind here). Fully understand there isn't any other data to base these analyses on. But still, you're relying on a very subjective metric. Good talking point though. Very commendable initiative.
 
#47
Do we really want to torture ourselves with Michigan/Ohio State/Penn State data?

I was actually thinking of doing four year data for our upcoming opponents. It wouldn't be perfect because I wouldn't be adding or subtracting transfers (unless someone wants to do that for me), but it could be interesting. But that won't happen until after Easter because I give up Loyalty for Lent. Hopefully I'll come back less snarky.

I'm not capable of creating such graphs, but I'm compiling a list of the ~40 or so commits for Penn State and Illinois combined -- in order of ranking (247 composite). Penn State's guys are actually higher if you just use the 247 ratings -- they have the #3 class in the nation per 247, but #13 composite. Mostly because a few of their guys are relatively modest in the composite (OLB Lance Dixon, for instance, is #179 in the composite, but something like #16 in the 247 rating). Whatever.

Ohio STate and MIchigan would look fairly similar. Michigan has a bigger class, but more 3* types. PSU and OSU have much higher %s of 4/5* recruits than Michigan. I think Penn State is behind only Alabama and Georgia in terms of # of blue chip kids, so keep that in mind when looking at the below.

.9911 Penn State
.9643 Penn State
.9627 Penn State
.9584 Penn State
.9568 Penn State
.9564 Illinois
.9479 Illinois
.9469 Penn State
.9276 Penn State
.9051 Penn State
.9045 Penn State
.9034 Penn State
.9027 Penn State
.9027 Penn State
.9027 Illinois
.8999 Penn State
.8994 Penn State
.8969 Penn State
.8939 Penn State
.8935 Penn State
.8905 Penn State
.8884 Penn State
.8784 Illinois
.8750 Penn State
.8722 Penn State
.8701 Illinois
.8599 Illinois
.8581 Illinois
.8559 Penn State
.8451 Illinois
.8403 Penn State
.8390 Illinois
.8343 Illinois
.8336 Illinois
.8323 Illinois
.8248 Illinois
 
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#48
I'm not capable of creating such graphs, but I'm compiling a list of the ~40 or so commits for Penn State and Illinois combined -- in order of ranking. Penn State's guys are actually higher if you just use the 247 ratings -- they have the #3 class in the nation per 247, but #13 composite. Mostly because a few of their guys are relatively modest in the composite (OLB Lance Dixon, for instance, is #179 in the composite, but something like #16 in the 247 rating).

Ohio STate and MIchigan would look fairly similar. Michigan has a bigger class, but more 3* types. PSU and OSU are very heavy on the 4* and above talent, proportionally.

.9911 Penn State
.9643 Penn State
.9627 Penn State
.9584 Penn State
.9568 Penn State
.9564 Illinois
.9479 Illinois
.9469 Penn State
.9276 Penn State
.9051 Penn State
.9045 Penn State
.9034 Penn State
.9027 Penn State
.9027 Penn State
.9027 Illinois
.8999 Penn State
.8994 Penn State
.8969 Penn State
.8939 Penn State
.8935 Penn State
.8905 Penn State
.8884 Penn State
.8784 Illinois
.8750 Penn State
.8722 Penn State
.8701 Illinois
.8599 Illinois
.8581 Illinois
.8559 Penn State
.8451 Illinois
.8403 Penn State
.8390 Illinois
.8343 Illinois
.8336 Illinois
.8323 Illinois
.8248 Illinois
Ill take the Penn State roster...
 
#50
When over half of your recruits are rated below 0.840, you better find some Big Ten caliber starters in there, or else you'll get blown out by Iowa 63-0 or something.
It also means we don't have to fret as much when the bottom halves of our class don't quite match Purdue, Northwestern etc.