November 25, 2011; Morgantown,WV, USA: Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Todd Graham looks on from the sidelines against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the third quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. WVU won 21-20. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIREWhat does 5 stars mean when recruiting a player? Who decides what the rating is on each player? WVU often recruits guys starting in high school so they can bring them up the way they want them to be when they finally walk out onto the field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Let’s take a quick look at some recruiting basics.
There are four main recruiting groups: Rivals, ESPN, 247 and Scout. Each of these groups assigns a number of stars to several hundred players in high school for recruiting purposes. The rating usually starts with one or two stars until word begins to spread about any certain player. For instance, a coach may contact a WVU assistant coach or send him a highlight video of the player. Obviously this would raise his star level. If the assistant coach likes what he sees in the video he might make a quick visit to the high school to see the kid play for himself. Again, this might raise his star level.
If two or more mid-level colleges take notice of the player, his star level will be raised again. This will usually give him 4 stars. Finally, if more than two top ten schools take notice of the young player he will receive a 5 star rating.
My problem with this system is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the kids skill level, level of improvement, leadership, etc. It’s simply a popularity contest spread by word of mouth and local media. I mean, even Google and Bing offer services to players to help them raise their star rating (it’s in their fine print. Check it out for yourself). I find this ludicrous. Coaches and schools have no idea about the players work ethic or how he might react in certain field situations under various levels of pressure.
I also have a problem with so many players even getting stars. The sheer number of kids that get ranked is overwhelming even for the best of the best. It’s mind blowing that so many players get stars. Does the system work? Sure. Is it accurate? No. Could it be better? Absolutely.
Simply cutting down on the number of players that receive stars would help schools keep up with who is who. Most of the West Virginia Mountaineers recruits are 3 star players and because of this the athletic department has come under much scrutiny. This shouldn’t sway their decisions. I would much rather see a 3 star guy get the help and training he needs so he can take us to the championship once he’s been developed instead of seeing a 5 star complete fail.