We had a great guest article the other day written by GC that talked about Pitt football player’s “star power” in historical terms. He said this:
Unfortunately, for the next 30+ years we have been fortunate to have an only a few great stars of the game. Passing through the Pitt program were possible future NFL HOF players Chris Doleman, Curtis Martin, Ironhead Heyward, Darrell Revis, Larry Fitzgerald, LeSean McCoy and Aaron Donald. But we have not had the quality depth to go along with them. We have not had the secondary or tertiary level talent either.
Throw in Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett and you have a start at the star players who have passed through Oakland and given us great football play out on the field.
Of course and since we are still before the official February 7th LOI Day we are continuing current discussions about this year’s recruiting class – and when we do that talk invariably turns to past recruiting classes also. But anytime we mention recruiting we also speak of the number stars awarded by the various sites to the senior class high school players who are being courted by the 129 Division 1 schools.
But there are differences between ‘stars awarded’ which is pre-college career and ‘star power’ which is post-recruiting after the player enrolls and starts playing for the school he chose. Too often we fans look at stars awarded and wonder why a player never lived up to expectations. … or we look at the small number of star a kid had and wonder how could the recruiting sites get things so wrong when that player is highly productive and a star football player.
Like anything else it is inexact science and shot through with variables, most of which we fans have no idea are at play. Adjustment to the more rigorous academics is one and that happens way more often than we fans know.
Every wonder why a kid might have gotten good playing time then all of a sudden is on the bench for the next game? That is most probably because of some sort of academic problem, which can range from failing a class to cutting a class and anything in-between.
So – with that I want to take a moment and look back over the last ten years – to 2008’s season – at our “Star Power” players and which coaches recruited them and which they played for.
Notes: My take on recruiting is that whichever HC the player committed to is who recruited him. I feel that is the only way to see the true value of a HC’s recruiting efforts. Others will disagree with this but I have been doing it since 2007 and, to me, it is the most accurate gauge of a HC’s recruiting ability.
Also I have considered that any player who was an All-American or 1st Team All-Conference to be a star player. Others are my judgement.
A major consideration here is that most of Pat Narduzzi’s recruits haven’t gotten a lot of playing time yet and thus this is skewed toward the past where we can see the player’s whole careers. He’ll have some – let’s hope starting this season.
In addition, who recruited who is just 1/2 of the whole equation – the coach which the recruits played under is just as important in my opinion. So – while Paul Chryst had Whitehead, Henderson and O’Neill commit to him – Pat Narduzzi is the one who got the great play out of them (especially in moving O’Neill from TE to OL). I can’t stress that strongly enough.
I broke the years up to make it easier to read…
Now all the above said let’s look at some 4* and 5* players who didn’t play to that star potential, were injured or were complete busts by discipline or transfer:
2008 – 4* Shane Hale, 4* Chris Burns
2009 – 4* Dan Mason, 4* Jack Lippert
2010 – 4* Mark Myers, 4* Bryan Murphy
2011 – 4* Nick Grigsby,
2012 – 4* DaySean Rippy, 4*Chad Voytik, 4* Rushel Shell
2013 – 4* Tra’von Chapman
2014 – 4* Adonis Jennings, 4* Chris James, 4* Nick Grigsby
2015 – None 2016 – 4* Kaezon Pugh, 4* George Hill
Wow, 16 4* players who didn’t live up to hype after recruitment. Compare that to the tables above where we see that during the same time period only nine 4* and 5* kids played to potential. Damn! Is this just Pitt or what but it sure looks like we are snake bit when it comes to blue chip recruits fulfilling their high potential in a Pitt uniform.
Now what would be really fascinating is to do the same thing but with the offers the recruits had…
Just kidding – I think that is the least of indicators for future success there is.