As we inch closer to fall camp, I cannot help but focus on recruiting. Once the season begins, there will be a lot more news to digest, but right now, recruiting tidbits are where the action is.
A lot of message board comments and posts, as well as my renewed interest in Nebraska football, have shown me a few things that I felt obligated to share:
It is easier to recruit to Nebraska than Oregon State
Lets look at some numbers according to Rivals:
Oregon State Recruiting:
|# of LOI Signed||Class Rank (Rivals)|
|Mike Riley||Nebraska||2016||14||NA||36 (as of July 31, 2015)|
|Mike Riley||Oregon State||2015||4||23||71 (class finished by Gary Andersen)|
|Mike Riley||Oregon State||2014||5||29||54|
|Mike Riley||Oregon State||2013||3||25||39|
|Mike Riley||Oregon State||2012||5||23||39|
|Mike Riley||Oregon State||2011||6||25||56|
As you can see, at this time in the last four years, Mike never had more than six recruits committed. While I don’t have access to the class rankings for those classes as of August 1, i can look at the rankings and see that the highest-ranked team with only six recruits on Rivals today is UCF at No. 88. The average number during that five years was 4.6, so the highest ranking team with 4-5 recruits is No. 88 Colorado (5) and No. 103 South Alabama (4). So the assumption can be made that those classes would have hovered in the high 80s to low 90s by August 1.
Now let’s look at Mike’s current class at Nebraska. Of the main recruiting sites, Rivals has his class ranked the highest at 36. 247 sports, which uses an average of all the major sites, has Nebraska ranked 25th in the country. Regardless, you can see that Riley has tripled his number of recruits and increased his rankings by more than 50 spots — with virtually the same staff he had over during those five years at OSU. When you look at the coaches who have pulled in recruits, they are Bray, Banker, Cavanaugh and Langsdorf. All familiar names to Beaver Nation.
Riley was also able to land a 4* recruit, running back Jordan Stevenson, for the 2015 class who was ruled ineligible by Wisconsin. He was being recruited by Alabama, Miami, Tennessee and even Oregon State. Mike was able to win a battle, that at Oregon State, he regularly lost.
We, as fans can love the crap out of Corvallis and Oregon State. We can point to additional factors like history, renewed focus by Riley and his staff, and increased pressure to win by the Nebraska faithful as the reason for this leap. And we would be right. All of those are factors that prove recruiting to Oregon State is harder. Fans don’t get mad, they turn into Eeyore. OSU’s winning tradition is spotty at best and most of it was achieved by Mike Riley himself. The facilities are worse, the location has no airport, and so on.
All those “excuses” that many Beaver faithful want to poo poo and say are only a hurdle for the unmotivated and uncreative, are playing out before our very own eyes. The exact same coaches who struggled to recruit here are having three times the success somewhere else.
So yes, it is hard to recruit to OSU, and that did not change when Gary Andersen took over, as much as we want it to. He is still going to suffer because of all those things and more. OSU was picked to finish 11th in the worst, most pathetic excuse for journalism I have ever seen in the absolutely puke-inducing Pac-12 Media Poll for 2015. Every school that wants a player we want, has more than enough ammo to put out any orange and black flame that might burn in their minds. To top it all off, there is exactly zeo film anywhere on earth of what OSU will look like against an opponent that doesn’t wear the same uniform.
I paint this bleak picture to show everyone one thing: Gary Andersen and his staff are KILLING IT!
I have outlined the negative, but lets look at what Andersen and crew are doing in spite of all these negatives:
|No. of LOI Signed||Class Rank (Rivals)|
|Gary Andersen||Oregon State||2016||9||NA||67 (as of July 31, 2015)|
In his first spring at Oregon State, Gary has almost doubled the average number of recruits at OSU prior to August 1st, all of this while improving their overall ranking by almost 20 spots. You read that doomsday recap I put up there and now it’s clear that he is doing TWICE as well as the very same coaches who are killing it at Nebraska. This is GREAT news that unfortunately gets bogged down by, pardon my harshness, ignorant, dumbass media and disingenuous coaches recruiting against Oregon State.
Gary Andersen is quietly but rapidly turning around the culture at Oregon State in a way that will pay off huge down the line. Look at what he is doing with, for all intents and purposes, nothing. If the Beavers win early, especially at Michigan, the recruiting landscape for Oregon State will change.
Recruiting is a funny thing. Fans get caught up in their own perceptions and experiences, but what others say about you may be closer to reality than what you say about yourself. Right now, I am enjoying watching both coaches succeed, but I cannot stress enough how amazing of a job Coach Andersen is doing. Those numbers will rise and the quality of recruits will as well, either through re-evaluation or through numbers. Respect the process because the early returns have earned it.