UPDATE: “Conference Notre Dame” is Popular Destination for Nation’s Top Recruits

(This post has been updated to include important data. See below.)

Notre Dame is swimming in blue chips. How well do our opponents recruit?

With National Signing Day now in the rear view mirror, we can see Coach Kelly and company have put together another strong class. This group not only passes the eyeball test but its reflected in the rankings of the various national recruiting sites. The ever helpful folks at 247 Sports assembled composite ratings from all the major recruiting sites and ND comes in with a very respectable 10th place for its class of 2014.

This week over at SB Nation Bud Elliot had a nice piece looking at what he called the “blue chip ratio”, or the number of 4 and 5 star recruits over the total number of kids signed.

5 star + 4 star / total signees

The number to look out for was anything north of 50%, which means that over half the players signed by a program were rated as 4 or 5 star prospects. Only eleven programs had managed that feat over the past four years and Notre Dame was one of them. The Irish came in 4th overall according to this metric, behind only Alabama, Ohio State, and USC and ahead of the likes of LSU, Texas, FSU, Michigan, and assorted college football royalty.

At the end of the piece Elliot goes on to rank entire conferences according to the blue chip ratio. Of course the SEC comes out ahead–by a WIDE margin. Over the last four years of all recruits committing to SEC programs, 34% of them were either 4 or 5 star players. Alabama led the way with a number north of 70%.

But how does ND’s competition stack up in the recruiting wars?  I compiled the recruiting data from every opponent on ND’s schedule the last four years to see how they fared on the blue chip ratio used by Elliot. The data included the recruiting class signed for that program the season they appeared on ND’s schedule.  Then I went through and eliminated all programs from non AQ conferences (meaning no Temple, Rice or service academies). So how well do ND’s rivals fare in the recruiting wars?

The answer is pretty darn good.

The table below gives the data on the “blue chip ratio” for the power conferences as well as the numbers for ND’s opponents (2011-14) which for our purposes I’ve called CONFERENCE ND. Once again this is the number of 4 and 5 star recruits divided by number of signees over the past four seasons. Here’s how it shakes out:

Conference

 

Blue Chip Ratio

SEC

35.9

CONFERENCE ND

24.2

PAC 12

20.4

B1G

18.6

ACC

16.5

BIG 12

16.0%

While I thought we’d creep a little closer to the SEC (which remains the most popular destination for blue chip players by a considerable margin) Notre Dame’s typical slate of opponents recruit 4 and 5 star players at a rate higher than any other non-SEC conference. Hardly a surprise providing even more evidence that the ND-doesn’t-play-anyone canard is empty bluster.

Notre Dame plays a brand name schedule. Always has, always will.

 

UPDATE 2/21/14

Conference ND just got a whole lot stronger. Why? Cause I realized today I’d left ND’s recruiting data out of the analysis and only had in the opponents. <Doh!> Does SB Nation exclude Ohio State from the B1G in their data? Is Alabama left out of the SEC? Of course not. By definition Conference ND NEEDS Notre Dame. As a result Conference ND looks even stronger. Let’s update that table shall we?

Conference

 

Blue Chip Ratio

SEC

35.9

CONFERENCE ND

 

29.0

PAC 12

20.4

B1G

18.6

ACC

16.5

BIG 12

16.0%

 

That’s more like it. Carry on with your Friday routine.

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  • http://twitter.com/ItsTripp TRIPP (@ItsTripp)

    I’m curious what that looks like if you include non-AQ opponents from SEC schedules and “Conference ND”.

  • Steve in Iowa

    I’d have to do some digging for the others but if you include our non-AQ opponents the ratio drops to 19.5% or something if I remember right. It amounts to adding only about 6 to the numerator but about 150 to the denominator hence the 5 point drop.

    To be clear “Conference ND” isn’t a true comparison because I was using our actual opponents and the conference teams don’t even play the same conference teams every year except within division. But comparing actual schedules would be a lot more labor intensive. Maybe a future post.

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