With the closing out of the 2009 College Football season, Razorback fans are stepping back and taking a look at Coach Bobby Petrino's performance over the past two years.
Recruiting is a particularly galvanizing topic at this time of year, with some fans sounding alarmed at what appears to be a drop-off in talent compared to Petrino's second year of recruiting. In fact, the 2010 recruiting year at this point is less impressive than what Arkansas was able to accomplish in 2009, especially in terms of signing four-star and five-star recruits.
But there are many angles from which to measure a recruiting class. One unique angle was presented on a popular Razorback fan site, where a poster claimed that 2010 was possibly Arkansas’ second best recruiting year since joining the SEC by offering his own metrics.
The poster gave the percentage of each Arkansas recruiting class that was composed of players with a 5.6 or higher ranking from Rivals. This is a good way to measure the overall strength of a recruiting class, from top to bottom.
A player that is given a 5.6 rating by rivals is considered a better than average recruit. To reflect the purpose of this percentage, I have termed it the “Parity Ratio.”
The problem with only measuring Arkansas recruiting classes against each other is that it essentially skews the data. A statistic only makes sense in comparison with the statistics around it.
Arkansas may have a higher percentage of 5.6 or greater rated athletes in one year as compared to the next, but where does Arkansas place in the SEC West using this metric? To answer this question, I have determined the “Parity Ratio" for each school in the SEC West from 2008–2010.
Parity Ratio: Percentage of Recruiting Class That Is 5.6-Rated Athletes or Higher
The story that these statistics show is unsurprising—LSU, Alabama, and Auburn occupy the top three spots in the SEC West from 2008–2010, with over 80 percent of their recruits garnishing a 5.6 or higher ranking.
Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State all jockey for position in the bottom half of the SEC West over this time span. Sure, Arkansas’ Parity Ratio of 68 percent in 2010 is a lot higher than the paltry 38 percent in 2008, but we can see that 68 percent just is not keeping up with the rest of the division, because even Ole Miss and Mississippi State have better ratios so far this year.
In conclusion, fans can also be encouraged by these numbers because they show that even a “down year” in recruiting for Bobby Petrino is relatively consistent (77 percent in 2009 only drops to 67 percent in 2010). Additionally, these numbers show that the entire SEC West is growing increasingly competitive in recruiting.
In 2008, LSU and Alabama were separated by about 50 points from the bottom half of the division, whereas in 2010, only 29 points separate LSU at the top from Arkansas at the bottom.