Dr. Saturday - NCAAF

Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook don't like them. At least one coach in South Carolina thinks he has them wrapped around his little finger. The Doc, on the other hand, is a pretty avowed believer in recruiting sites, even when it comes to scouting future pro talent. I think they do a good job, very broadly speaking, in setting a reasonable baseline for expectations for outsiders. I tend to go with their projections on teams and players until there's better information, i.e. actual performance.

The key phrase in that paragraph is "for outsiders." Because I have "Rivals.com" scrawled across the top of my page, and still, even I think this is a little ridiculous, even if it does explain so, so much about what happened to the Hurricane dynasty under Larry Coker (emphasis added):

CORAL GABLES - Recruiting had become simple for the University of Miami football staff.

While counterparts were out scouring the country for the next All-American, the Hurricanes coaches were likely parked in front of a computer with a pad and pen. They surfed Internet recruiting sites in search of talent, almost forgetting their own evaluation in the process.
[...]
"That's accurate," UM recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt said. "We spent way too much time recruiting off [Internet] lists and finding these top guys instead of truly evaluating. You can't just go off hearsay or just because Florida, Florida State or Alabama is recruiting him. That doesn't mean a thing."

Independence is probably a virtue on both sides of this coin, but ideally, I think, the recruiting sites would be following the evaluations of the coaches, not the other way around.

So all those stories about the end of the greatest NFL pipeline in history when one lonely 'Cane was drafted in the sixth round in April? The mysterious decline of an elite program that, along with Florida State, seemed to waste more top-end talent than any program in the country? Here we have their roots: Coker's staff, surrounded by sought-after players in south Florida, was apparently just lazy about it.

Is that also the case at FSU, the only other elite recruiter with as wide a gap between signing day stars and on-field wins this decade? Maybe there's more to this than just injuries, academics and bad luck.

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Hat tip: Blutarsky.

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