Friday, April 27, 2012

MSU football one of top programs in player development

As I've written before, recruiting in college football is extremely important, but it's not everything. In his time as MSU, Mark Dantonio has shown the ability to develop players and max out their potential. That's why it wasn't a surprise to see MSU as the No. 17 team in the country in terms of the relationship between recruiting class ranking and NFL draftees, according to College Football Matrix.

Theoretically, a team that brings in the most talent should send the most players to the NFL, which was pretty much true. According to the site, "of the top 25 (schools) of producing NFL draft picks from 2005-2011, all but 4 were in the top 25 for recruiting."

So if you scored a 0, you were right on track. But what about the overachievers and underachievers?

According to the site, MSU had 17 players drafted from 2005-11, which ranks 36th in the country. That is compared to a composite recruiting ranking of No. 45 from 2002-08. While only two of Dantonio's recruiting classes are included in this data, he has been the coach for four of the outgoing classes. MSU has had seven players drafted under Dantonio and will add a few more in this year's draft. Former coach John L. Smith had 10 players drafted in his three years that were in this data.

MSU's difference of +9 is third in the Big Ten. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Wisconsin (fifth in the nation) and Iowa (seventh) were atop the Big Ten. Those are two programs that have become synonymous with success on the field without highly-rated recruiting classes. Dantonio has said that he has tried to model his program after those two schools. MSU isn't going to be a school that brings in top-five classes and wins on talent, like Michigan and Ohio State. MSU's focus has been on bringing in players that fit the program and can be developed. Team and individual successes have followed.

Dantonio developed some of Smith's players. Now with a program full of his own players, MSU is starting to send more players into the NFL. Dantonio was rated by College Football Matrix as the No. 6 coach in terms of doing more with less.

Here are the rankings for the Big Ten in the College Football Matrix table:

1. Wisconsin +30
2. Iowa +27
3. MSU +9
4. Indiana +9
5. Nebraska +7
6. Ohio State +6
7. Purdue +4
8. Northwestern +2
9. Penn State 0
10. Minnesota -10
11. Michigan -12
12. Illinois -12

In a related story, 14 of the 32 first-round picks Thursday night were rated three stars or fewer by Rivals out of high school. Player development matters.


  1. Nice argument, you Spartan slapdick. Doesn't Indiana being #4 throw a major hole in this argument that recruiting is overrated? Speaking of which, what the hell has Iowa ever won?

    1. Iowa has won a couple Big Ten titles and won a BCS Bowl in 2009 so yea they have been pretty successful