Examining The Rankings Of The Hokies 2013 Recruiting Class

J. Meric

National Signing Day is official over, and the 2013 Virginia Tech recruiting class has officially gone down (as of now) as the best class in school history, at least as it pertains to rankings. Want to know more about how this class stacks up against previous classes and if these rankings are accurate? Well, simply read ahead.

Even if Florida State jumped out in front of the Hokies yesterday, and Clemson held on to a narrow lead or even jumped the Hokies in some rankings, it is still one of the most solid classes in Virginia Tech history, if not THE best (and that's the second year in a row I'm getting to say that!). The 2013 class may actually suffer in ranking because of numbers, as they only took between 19-22 players (depending on which recruiting site you ask), including several holdovers from previous classes. Not all of those players signed National Letters of Intent today, as some were already on campus as January enrollees, and one has yet to be cleared academically, and will not be signing today.

What is clear, is that generally, the recruiting sites rankings show that this class AT LEAST matches up with any other class that has been brought into Blacksburg in the recruiting site era, if not exceeds it. The average quality of the player the Hokies brought in has never been better either, something we'll address later and early tomorrow morning, so stay tuned. But for right now, let's get into examining the rankings. Keep in mind, these rankings are subject to change (as you will already see), and are by no means final.

As of 5:30 this evening, the Hokies had the No. 13 (now 14), 16 (now 19) and 21 (now 22) classes according to 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals respectively (also if you're interested No. 32 by Scout, but who cares about them anymore?) in the nation. In fact, Scout ranks it as one of the poorer classes the Hokies have had in the recruiting site era, and more or less thinks the Hokies recruiting has fallen off post-2008 instead of the other way around...which we all know is not the case. But that's enough about Scout.

In regards to the three major recruiting sites we'll start out with the one that ranked the Hokies 2013 class the highest...er, well at least in one of their rankings: 247Sports. If you don't know or don't understand the 247Sports ranking system, here is a link to the page where you can read up on it, because even though I am long-winded, I don't want to turn this into a math formula discussion. From that page, you can cycle back and forth between the 247Sports and 247Composite rankings, each explains how the ranking is calculated simply by clicking the i (or information) button next to 2013 Football Recruiting Team Rankings at the top above the conferences.

Anyway, let's start out with the 247Sports ranking, which had the Hokies ranked No. 13, their highest among all recruiting sites. In this ranking they bested Clemson by two spots and trailed Florida State by only four for the lead in the ACC. This is their highest-ever finish by this ranking, as it has only existed for two years prior to this. Last year's class finished No. 23, while the 2011 class finished No. 34. So it's well higher than the average of 28.5.

In the 247Composite rankings the Hokies ranked No. 20, fourth in the ACC behind Miami at No. 17, Clemson who finished No. 13 and FSU who also rose to No. 8. In the two previous years of that ranking, the Hokies finished No. 24 (2012) and No. 36 (2011), or an average of 30. Even using this ranking compared to the 247Sports ranking, the Hokies had their-highest ranked class by this ranking.

ESPN, who has generally ranked the Hokies on average the highest (and because of this article by Rivals which you will also see later in this post, probably the most accurately) had the Hokies No. 16 (has since changed to 19), their second-highest mark since ESPN began their recruiting division in 2006, one off their previous high of No. 15 in both 2007 and 2008 (arguably the best classes in Virginia Tech history). The Hokies have ranked on average by ESPN's rankings (in years which they are available and not including 2013) 19.4, placing the Hokies below that average. DISCLAIMER: YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THIS VERBOSE AND WORD-HEAVY MONSTROSITY OF A PARAGRAPH UNTIL YOUR EYES BLEED, OR JUST READ THE CHART BELOW. YOUR CHOICE. In 2012 the Hokies ranked No. 25 nationally and were behind Florida State, Miami and Clemson in the ACC. In 2011, Tech did not rank in the top-25, and finished behind at least FSU, Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia. In 2010, the Hokies again did not rank in the top-25, finishing behind at least FSU, Miami and UNC. In 2009, the Hokies ranked No. 18 and finished behind Miami, FSU and UNC. In 2008, Tech finished No. 15, and behind Miami, Clemson and FSU in the ACC. Back in 2007, Tech again pulled off the No. 15 class, falling behind only Miami, UNC and Georgia Tech in that category. And lastly, in 2006, the Hokies finished No. 24, finishing behind FSU, Clemson and Miami in the ACC.

Year ESPN Final National Recruiting Rank ACC Schools That Finished Higher (in order)
2013 19 FSU, Clemson
2012 25 FSU, Miami, Clemson
2011 NR FSU, Clemson, UNC, UVA
2010 NR FSU, Miami, UNC
2009 18 Miami, FSU, UNC
2008 15 Miami, Clemson, FSU
2007 15 Miami, UNC, GT
2006 24 FSU, Clemson, Miami

According to Rivals, the Hokies finished No. 22 nationally behind FSU (No. 11) and Clemson (No. 14) in the ACC. AGAIN, DISCLAIMER: YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THIS VERBOSE AND WORD-HEAVY MONSTROSITY OF A PARAGRAPH UNTIL YOUR EYES BLEED, OR JUST READ THE CHART BELOW. YOUR CHOICE. A year ago they finished exactly No. 22 also, behind FSU, Miami and Clemson in that order. In 2011 Tech was No. 33 behind FSU, Clemson, North Carolina and UVA. In 2010 the Hokies finished No. 23 behind FSU, Miami and Clemson (see a theme developing here?). Back in 2009 the Hokies finished No. 23 behind FSU, UNC and Miami. In 2008, Tech was all the way up at No. 18 behind Miami, FSU and Clemson. Going back to 2007, Tech finished No. 29 behind Clemson, UNC, Georgia Tech, Miami, FSU and UVA. The 2006 class ranked No. 32 behind FSU, Miami, Clemson, Maryland and UNC. Tech's 2005 recruiting class finished No. 14 behind FSU and Miami (glass ceiling anyone?). In 2004, the Hokies ranked No. 56 behind FSU, Miami, Maryland, UNC and Boston College, their worst ranking by any site in the recruiting site era. All the way back in 2003, Tech finished No. 27 nationally, and since they were not a part of the ACC yet (although Rivals insists on including them in the ACC rankings for both 2002 and 2003), I will not list their rank among those teams. Finally, in 2002, the Hokies finished No. 45 nationally. So the Hokies have been ranked higher than their 2013 ranking twice by Rivals (No. 14 in 2005 and No. 18 in 2008), and sit just below their average class ranking since Rivals' inception in 2002 (not including this year's class) of 26.8.

On a side note, Rivals CRIMINALLY underrated the Hokies 2007 class (a class that produced, to name a few, Tyrod Taylor, Danny Coale, Darren Evans, Blake DeChristopher, Jaymes Brooks, Davon Morgan, Barquell Rivers, Josh Oglesby, Chris Drager, Greg Nosal, Cris Hill and yes, even one Alonzo Tweedy). That class probably had more to do with Rivals declaring in 2011 with this article that since their inception, Virginia Tech had the greatest positive differential in terms of winning percentage compared to their average recruiting rank, than any class other than maybe the 2008 one.

Year Rivals Final National Recruiting Rank ACC Schools That Finished Higher (in order)
2013 22 FSU, Clemson
2012 22 FSU, Miami, Clemson
2011 33 FSU, Clemson, North Carolina, UVA
2010 23 FSU, Miami, Clemson
2009 23 FSU, UNC, Miami
2008 18 Miami, FSU, Clemson
2007 29 Clemson, UNC, GT, Miami, FSU, UVA
2006 32 FSU, Miami, Clemson, Maryland, UNC
2005 14 FSU, Miami
2004 56 FSU, Miami, Maryland, UNC, BC
2003 27 N/A
2002 45 N/A

The theme I spoke of in the above paragraph (and can also be seen by looking at the ESPN chart) is that nearly every year, the Hokies are ranked lower than Florida State, and either or both Miami and Clemson (and occasionally UNC) at the bare minimum. Even with this class, in the eyes of ESPN and Rivals, the Hokies have not yet cracked that glass ceiling of the ACC's recruiting hierarchy. While it often feels that way in reality too, particularly with Clemson's emergence in the last two years, I think the Hokies took some big steps towards accomplishing that goal, both in their hiring of young, new, very good-recruiting coaches and the quality of player in the 2013 class.

Part of the reason the Seminoles and Hurricanes are often ranked higher is that they are in one of the nation's top-3 recruiting states, and while Virginia is pretty fertile itself in that respect, well, it's not Florida. In Florida, if you don't sign a top-25 class, then you're not very good at recruiting. But the Hokies can't use that as a crutch, and if this class proves anything, it's that they're working towards erasing that gap.

Stay tuned for more Hokies recruiting posts just around the bend, as well as more coverage of Virginia Tech basketball, baseball, softball and upcoming football seasons, right here at Gobbler Country.

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