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Why There's No Such Thing as an Average College Football Recruiting Class

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Why There's No Such Thing as an Average College Football Recruiting Class
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Signing day has come and gone and as fans read the evaluations of their respective classes, the returns are scattered. Some classes are universally applauded. Other signing day hauls missed key spots while still adding to the talent pool. There is talk of disappointment, talk of success and the ever familiar idea of waiting to evaluate in the coming years, as opposed to before the athletes play a game.

One thing that the college football observer will not find is the average recruiting class.

Average doesn't exist in coach speak. It does not exist for fans who are either excited or disappointed. And, more importantly, it does not exist across the board in college football because the range, even just within the Big Five conferences and Notre Dame, is too immense.

Certainly, teams can bring in an average class, by their own standards. There can even be a case to be made for similar teams across the nation. However, even within a conference, the gap between the haves and have nots is too wide for a recruiting average to be a real possibility. Here are the conference recruiting point averages, plus the individual score of Notre Dame, according to 247Sports:

via 247Sports

Of the conferences, the SEC clearly sits out in front, some 45 points ahead of the pack. Next the ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 all slide in closely clustered, followed by the Big Ten bringing up the rear. In looking at the 65 Big Five teams, the average point total was 204.89; putting the ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 right in the wheelhouse as conferences.

However, a look at individual numbers shows just how far the gap is between the top of conferences and their bottom tier counterparts.

Individual Conference Recruiting Scores
Team Rank ACC Big Ten Big 12 Pac-12 SEC
1 286.77 296.06 248.45 260.54 319.58
2 255.80 233.54 240.71 250.06 297.59
3 240.66 222.38 217.00 233.99 277.35
4 216.97 219.63 216.79 230.73 276.87
5 215.95 204.85 197.74 222.47 274.79
6 205.30 197.83 189.88 211.43 273.38
7 200.47 186.89 188.06 197.58 267.75
8 184.56 182.10 177.47 179.78 240.82
9 181.64 176.53 171.64 164.64 240.77
10 176.80 172.60 169.60 163.71 225.53
11 175.46 168.71 162.11 213.24
12 172.20 165.50 141.92 195.78
13 166.42 152.35 195.14
14 164.06 150.41 183.09

via 247Sports

Recruiting classes are a function of the school. While the Big Five leagues have teams at their middle, near the 204.89 average, that number doesn't accurately constitute an average class across the collegiate spectrum. The Big Ten's 204.85 team, Wisconsin, the closest to the national average, signed a class that was very highly regarded for the Badgers. Far from average on the Wisconsin scale.

Meanwhile, in the SEC, a 204.85 average would be good for the 12th spot. Sitting in one of the bottom three spots certainly is not good enough to even be close to average in that league. 

There is no average in recruiting. Too much stratification among the teams, and too much at stake for "just decent" to be scored as such. Classes are either quality additions that will help the team stay on track, or they are cause for disappointment that puts a coach on the hot seat.

Average just is not a viable option on the national scale. It hardly works as an answer to individual teams' efforts in a given cycle.

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