I keep up with college football recruiting, but mostly in a generalized way. That is, I’m not obsessing over individual recruit decisions — I’m watching the overall trend lines of recruiting class rankings.
If you are one of those fans who says, "Rankings don’t matter!" — you’re wrong.
Every team that won a BCS title had at least three classes ranked in the Rivals top 10 in the preceding four years. So, yeah, they matter.
Right now the SEC has six of the top nine classes and nine of the top 15 classes in the country.
Putting that into context, Ole Miss has the 15th best class in the country but only the ninth best class in the SEC.
Recently I’ve stopped paying much attention to actual player announcements and just checked the 247 Sports crystal ball. If you aren’t familiar with the crystal ball, 247 Sports allows those in the recruiting business to sign up for accounts and make predictions about where recruits will sign.
It’s accuracy rate is pretty astounding.
You can click on the individual predictors and even check their track record.
With signing day one week from today, how many players are still uncommited? And on top of that, how many of the uncommited players truly appear to be in actual recruiting battles?
Let’s dive into the 247 Sports database and see where the analysts are predicting each player to go. (Note: The percentage is how "sure" the analysts are in the prediction.)
There are six uncommited five-stars based on 247 sports rankings:
The biggest "battle" among these six players is for Elam, who’s announcing on Thursday. Kentucky appears to have a substantial edge here.
But it looks like Alabama, Auburn and LSU each have one five-star in the bag.
And five of the six uncommitted five-stars are definitely headed to the SEC.
What about the top four-stars? Just about all of them are decided as well.
33. Ermon Lane, WR
84 percent to FSU.
34. Travonte Valentine, DT
85 percent to LSU.
38. Malik McDowell, DE
68 percent to Michigan State, 26 percent to Michigan.
40. Damian Prince, OT
69 percent to Maryland.
41. Solomon Thomas, DE
85 percent to Stanford.
45. John Smith, ATH
77 percent to USC.
50. Damian Mama , G
100 percent to USC.
54. Budda Baker, ATH
66 percent to Washington, 18 percent to UCLA, 14 percent to Oregon.
72. Nifae Lealao, DE
76 percent to Stanford.
80. Derrick Nnadi, DT
54 percent to Virginia Tech, 33 percent to FSU.
101. Michiah Quick, ATH
45 percent to Oklahoma, 40 percent to Notre Dame, 13 percent to UCLA.
122. Braden Smith, G
50 percent to TCU, 33 percent to Auburn, 13 percent to Texas A&M.
123. Roderick Johnson, OT
100 percent to FSU.
151. Isaiah McKenzie, WR
79 percent to Notre Dame, 13 percent to Florida.
172. Kaleb McGary, OT
88 percent to Washington.
185. Wesley Green, CB
77 percent to South Carolina, 22 percent to Georgia.
196. Isaiah Ford, WR
84 percent to Virginia Tech, 15 percent to Louisville.
203. Kenyon Frison, OT
44 percent to Nebraska, 33 percent to Oklahoma, 22 percent to Arizona State.
222. Kenny Young, LB
44 percent to UCLA, 44 percent to LSU.
232. Steven Parker, S
95 percent to Oklahoma.
247. Jabril Frazier, LB
60 percent to Arizona, 40 percent to USC.
If you use 247’s composite rankings instead of their individual rankings, here are the other four-stars who remain uncommitted. Every single one of them is considered 80 percent or more likely to sign with a certain school.
196. Chris Lammons, CB
95 percent to South Carolina.
231. Andrew Williams, DE
87 percent to Auburn, 12 percent to Clemson.
245. Raymon Minor, ATH
83 percent to Virginia Tech, 13 percent to Marshall.
263. Poona Ford, DT
80 percent to Texas.
266. Richard Yeargin III, LB
87 percent to Clemson.
301. Daniel Cage, DT
86 percent to Michigan State.
312. Frank Ragnow, OT
89 percent to Minnesota.
When you look at all these rankings, how many true uncertainies are there? Seven or eight, maybe? Sure, there will be a suprise or two on signing day, but most of those surprises are overrated for television drama.
Remember, the televised hat ceremonies are designed to create a great deal of suspense, drive ratings and allow the kids to have their "moments."
But lots of people know the decisions beforehand, because just about every major decision is already made if you look at the crystal ball percentages on 247 Sports.
Use this as a guideline: In the time I was writing this column, Humphrey commited, as predicted, to Alabama.