Recruiting rankings can be highly overrated

Another recruiting class is in the books for Wyoming football as the Cowboys signed 24 players Wednesday.

In 20-plus years of covering UW sports, I’ve never heard a coach have a bad thing to say about their recruiting classes — no matter the sport and no matter the coach. Can you imagine what it would be like to have a coach say: “This class is OK, not great, but OK,” or “We didn’t sign a very good class.”

One big thing a lot of people — and the media – looks at in recruiting classes is the number of stars by their names given out by the numerous online recruiting websites like, 247sports, — just to name a few.

Those of you who follow UW football and know UW football know that these national outlets normally don’t think highly of the Cowboys’ recruiting classes. Four and five-star recruits don’t sign with UW. The result are classes ranked near the bottom of all the 120-plus Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

How much you consider those ranking systems valid is up to you, but quite frankly, I don’t think they mean a lot. However, would we think this if UW’s recruiting class was rated in the top 20 in the country by any of these websites?

But looking at the rankings from some of these websites for 2017 football recruiting, there are a lot of variances.

As of Thursday afternoon, ranked UW’s class 96th out of 100 teams in the country. Only six of the 12 Mountain West teams were in its top 100, and UW was one of them so I guess there is that.

247sports and Scout ranked all 129 FBS teams. Scout had UW 89th and 247 had them 116th. In both, only four MW teams ranked below UW. The top MW team was Boise State, which was ranked in the low 60s.

Each website has their own way or formula in coming up with these rankings, and that’s fine. But there seems to be quite a descrepency from one to the other.

So what does it all mean? To me, not a whole lot.

What stood out to me when fourth-year coach Craig Bohl introduced UW’s 2017 class was that most of the guys they signed were their top targets on their recruiting board. It may not always work that way, but to me it says a lot that after watching film and breaking down the skills of hundreds of kids, UW was able to get the guys they really coveted.

As Bohl has said numerous times, UW is a developmental program. How Bohl and staff develop these guys — along with the current players on the roster — is what will determine the Cowboys’ success.

Look at guys like quarterback Josh Allen, safety Andrew Wingard and linebacker Logan Wilson. Not a lot of star-power behind their recruiting rankings. But there’s plenty of star power as far as their abilities and their value to the Cowboys.

The question I pose to you is how much do you value the star-rating by these sites?

For more on UW’s recruiting class, log on to

6 thoughts on “Recruiting rankings can be highly overrated

  1. When D.C. was coach and his recruiting classes ranked near the bottom, I used to wonder why he couldn’t recruit better. And of course, he had few kind things to say about the rankings. But in looking at the people who just graduated who were D.C. recruits, a group of very fine players, I now put little stock in the rankings. I am very pleased with how Bohl recruits, and the quality people he has brought in, as you mention, and the rankings be damned.

    • No, the rankings I saw from Rivals ranked only the top 100. It didn’t rank all 129 teams. The others did (Scout and 247Sports).


  2. I think stars typically have a lot of merit, but Bohl is an exception. He’s got an unusual eye for talent

  3. Hello Robert,
    I really didn’t answer the question you posed about “star-rating” in my previous post. When players are given four to five stars, they truly do look exceptional, but when they get two or three stars, I am not sure much separates them. While I would be pleased to see several “three star” and a few “four star” players come to Wyo, I think Bohl is doing fine with his two star people, especially as Scott pointed out in his column that the three star people we signed recently didn’t last long in the program.
    Thanks for keeping us informed on the signings.

  4. When you look back at the last many years, a lot of the high starred recruits used Wyoming as a starting point. Carta-Samuels, Josh Doctson, Jonathan Kongboe, Tim Gleason, Nick Puetz, Shamiel Gary, went on to play at power 5 schools. It has to be hard for a coach when he depends on and plans for a player to contribute for a four or five year term. Then jumps at the next best opportunity.
    Coach Bohl changed this philosophy for the better–get an education and play for a program that is outstandingly supported by the school, boosters and Cowboy fans worldwide. The Cowboys are THE only game in Wyoming and a recruit can feel that when he visits Laramie. The Pokes are a team, not a roster of supposed top notch players that care more about themselves than the team.
    This 2017 class looks to fit in perfectly with the plan Coach Bohl and his staff for a winning future. Can’t wait for September!

    Go Pokes!

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