South Carolina gave signs that 2015 could be a historic recruiting class as early as June, and the Gamecocks have continued to add commitments throughout July. Georgia running back Mon Denson is the most recent addition to what has already become the most geographically diverse group in school history. The South Carolina class is now rated 4th in the 247Sports Composite team rankings, which excites Carolina fans accustomed to classes rated in the mid to low teens.
However, that excitement comes with one caveat.
Given our current winning streak over Clemson, it's a valid question. It's also a question that could have less to do with the respective classes, than the way the 247 Composite is calculated. The composite is an average of the ratings from the four major recruiting services (247 Sports, Rivals, Scout, and ESPN). It is a great effort to introduce some form of consensus, but the small number of published ratings gives disproportionate influence to outliers.
As long as the four major services are equally valid, this doesn't matter. They should all have roughly the same number of outliers, and the composite is fine. The problem comes in when some services produce more outliers than others. I have no way of knowing which service is the Billingsley of recruit rankings (
it's Scout), but I do know that 247 is the one in which I place the most trust.
247 is also the only one that does not provide team rankings, which makes sense from a business perspective. They want their composite to become the industry standard, and they are willing to forego service-specific ratings to further that aim. However, they do provide a fun work-around. Anyone willing to put in the effort can use their class-calculator toy to sub recruits in and out and construct a Frankenstein 247 team rating.
Playing with the classes at South Carolina, Alabama, Texas A&M, and Clemson (the top four programs in the Composite Rankings) led to some interesting discoveries, and some really positionally imbalanced classes.
|Marquavius Lewis||97||97.69||0.69||27.69||Christian Wilkins (DT)||97.01||27.02|
|Mark Fields||97||95.2||-1.8||24.59||Osa Masina (OLB)||97.02||26.84|
|Shameik Blackshear||97||96.98||-0.02||26.81||Shameik Blackshear (DE)||96.98||26.32|
|Arden Key||95||94.03||-0.97||22.73||Eric Swinney (RB)||94.98||23.63|
|Jalen Christian||95||92.84||-2.16||20.69||Trent Irwin (WR)||94.98||22.63|
|Dante Sawyer||95||87.22||-7.78||6.07||Kris Boyd (CB)||94.96||21.39|
|Austin Clark||93||90.75||-2.25||15.34||Nyheim Hines (APB)||93||18.42|
|Lorenzo Nunez||92||90.94||-1.06||17.94||Kyahva Tezino (OLB)||91.96||16.23|
|Sherrod Pittman||92||90.89||-1.11||16.73||Kanya Bell (WR)||91.95||14.78|
|Davon Durant||92||90.67||-1.33||13.92||Micah Abernathy (CB)||91.93||13.3|
|Paris Palmer||91||88.85||-2.15||10.17||Sh'mar Kilby-Lane (OLB)||90.99||11.32|
|Octavis Johnson||90||90.19||0.19||12.25||Octavis Johnson (ATH)||90.19||9.57|
|AJ Turner||89||88.41||-0.59||8.72||Jacarius Keener (ATH)||89||7.81|
|Antoine Wilder||89||87.14||-1.86||5.11||Paul Lucas (APB)||89||6.69|
|Dexter Neal||87||87.44||0.44||7.17||Dexter Neal (WR)||87.44||5.2|
|Michael Bowman||87||86.16||-0.84||3.33||Kaleb Chalmers (CB)||87||4.24|
|Jozie Milton||87||85.69||-1.31||2.12||Deshawn Fortune (DT)||87||3.5|
|Mon Denson||87||86.56||-0.44||4.13||Mon Denson (RB)||86.56||2.78|
|Quandeski Whitlow||86||86.15||0.15||2.71||Quandeski Whitlow (DE)||86.15||2.19|
|Connor Redmond||85||84.48||-0.52||1.23||Austin Maihen (OT)||85||1.62|
|Damon Arnette||84||85.04||1.04||1.62||Christian Martey (RB)||84||1.19|
|Jaire Alexander||84||81.33||-2.67||0.32||Joe Critchlow (QB)||84||0.92|
|Jalen Henry||84||83.79||-0.21||0.69||Jalen Henry (LB)||83.79||0.69|
|Kyle Markway||83||84.14||1.14||0.93||Austin Barnes (TE)||83||0.5|
|Jerad Washington||82||83.57||1.57||0.52||DaShawn Davis (WR)||82||0.34|
Red values are players overrated relative to 247; green values are players underrated relative to 247.
South Carolina fans who claim other services consistently underrate their commits will not be surprised that the Gamecocks experienced the greatest jump. The South Carolina class improved from 253.5 to 269.1, a jump of over fifteen points that would be good for several spots of movement almost anywhere within the team rankings. Of the twenty-five Gamecock commits, fifteen are underrated by the composite, while only four are overrated.
The most extreme variance is for defensive end Dante Sawyer, rated 87.7 as a JUCO by the composite and a 95 by 247. The nearly eight point difference is by far the greatest variance for any player on any of the top teams. What's even more confusing is Sawyer earned a 94.75 composite last fall as a senior at North Gwinnett (Suwanee, GA). Sawyer has not experienced any injuries or played a game since, but moving to Mississippi caused his rating to fall for ¯\(°_o)/¯
Other players that are significantly underrated by at least two full points include CB Jaire Alexander (-2.7), OT Austin Clark (-2.3), ATH Jalen Christian (-2.2), and OT Paris Palmer (-2.2). The player most significantly overrated by the composite was WR Jerad Washington (+1.6).
The top of the Gamecock class was consistently rated higher by 247 than by the composite, while three of the four underrated recruits are among the lowest rated players among South Carolina commitments.
- The replacement class looks similar to a Brad Scott-era Carolina signing day, with five running backs, four wide receivers, two all-purpose athletes, and one offensive linemen. Look out for Marshall, Brad.
- Due to Shameik Blackshear's 96.98 rating, he not only remained on the final South Carolina team, but he was a frequent sub, appearing in the replacement classes for Texas A&M and Alabama. Apparently even in an imaginary alternate universe, Blackshear knows to stay away from Clemson. High five, Shamiek!
- Greenwood native and Clemson commit Kaleb Chalmers and his even 87 rating makes an appearance as Replacement Michael Bowman.
- Arden Key's near round number composite did not fit South Carolina due to his underrated status, but Key does later appear as a member of the Replacement Crimson Tide.
- Inman's DaShawn Davis (WR, 5'9", 155) appears as a sub for Gamecock commit Jerad Washington (WR, 5'9", 165).
|Mitch Hyatt||98||99.41||1.41||29.41||Jerome Baker (ATH)||97.89||27.89|
|Deon Cain||98||97.63||-0.37||27.46||Deon Cain (WR)||97.63||27.46|
|Jake Fruhmorgen||96||96.22||0.22||25.59||Jake Fruhmorgen (OT)||96.22||25.59|
|Clelin Ferrell||96||95.81||-0.19||24.42||Clelin Ferrell (DE)||95.81||24.42|
|Ray-Ray McCloud||95||95.59||0.59||23.19||Eric Swinney (RB)||94.98||22.63|
|Austin Bryant||93||93.15||0.15||19.84||Austin Bryant (DE)||93.15||19.84|
|Van Smith||91||89.38||-1.62||13.06||Sh'Mar Kilby-Lane (OLB)||90.99||16.81|
|Kaleb Chalmers||91||87||-4||5.99||Thomas Toki (DT)||90.98||15.51|
|Noah Green||89||88.22||-0.78||9.83||Lucas, Paul (APB)||89||12.8|
|Shadell Bell||89||88.38||-0.62||11.15||Jacarius Keener (ATH)||89||11.52|
|Tanner Muse||89||86.75||-2.25||4.99||DeShawn Raymond (CB)||88.98||10.24|
|Juwuan Briscoe||89||86.66||-2.34||4.15||Du'Vonta Lampkin (DT)||88.98||8.99|
|Chad Smith||88||88.22||0.22||8.63||Chad Smith (LB)||88.22||7.49|
|Garrett Williams||87||91.68||4.68||17.36||Kaleb Chalmers (CB)||87||5.99|
|Gage Cervenka||87||86.16||-0.84||2.71||Shelton Johnson (DE)||87||5.07|
|Sterling Johnson||87||90.13||3.13||14.88||Deshawn Fortune (DT)||87||4.24|
|Tucker Israel||86||85.35||-0.65||2.08||Darrin Paulo (OT)||86||3.3|
|Zach Gielle||85||86.22||1.22||3.34||Austin Maihen (OT)||85||2.52|
|Kelly Bryant||83||87.54||4.54||7.21||Austin Barnes (TE)||83||1.76|
|LaSamuel Davis||83||85.16||2.16||1.63||Nate Mays (OLB)||83||1.4|
|J.D. Davis||70||76.67||6.67||0.56||Jaquavis Dixon (WR)||70||0|
|Judah Davis||70||76.67||6.67||0.44||Morgan Hagee (K)||70||0|
Clemson's class has almost as many players who are underrated (eight), as players who are overrated (nine). Two of the overrated players affect the rankings only negligibly. While the Tigers' suffer a very slight decline, their adjusted rating (255.5) is roughly equivalent to their Composite rating (257.9).
The Davis twins, J.D. and Judah, are interesting. They are legacies, sons of former Tiger All-American linebacker Jeff Davis. The young men play for nearby Daniel High School, and both brothers have accepted greyshirt offers. 247 rates them as 70 recruits (not unrated), and Rivals does not include them in the class rankings, but Scout rates each player as a 3* recruit. South Carolina benefited greatly from a greyshirt All American Ko Simpson, but there were academic issues that led to that decision. Both Davis twins could terrorize South Carolina just as their father did, but I tend to side with the 247 rating until they get the opportunity to take the field. Regardless, they made little difference in the composite ratings, or the replacement ratings.
TE Garrett Williams (+4.7) leads the overrated Tigers, but he is joined by QB Kelly Bryant (+4.5), DE Sterling Johnson (+3.1), and DE LaSamuel Davis (+2.16). CB Kaleb Chalmers (-4.0) headlines a trio of underrated defensive backs that is rounded out by S Tanner Muse (-2.3), and CB Juwuan Briscoe (-2.3).
The top of Clemson's class is very highly esteemed by 247. Only headliner the composite of OT Mitch Hyatt varies by more than 0.6 among the top half dozen Tiger pledges.
- Though Mitch Hyatt is technically "overrated", 247 still considers him the #14 recruit nationally, and the #3 offensive tackle. He is a big ol' boy from a 6A Georgia power known for a great weight program. He should be fine.
- The massively underrated Kaleb Chalmers is replaced by DT Thomas Toki (#220 overall), but rejoins the Tigers as Replacement Garrett Williams. Chalmers must really want to go against that Greenwood-to-Columbia pipeline.
- Clemson may have the most balanced Replacement class, with nine linemen, three linebackers, two running backs, a jumbo athlete, a scatback/DB athlete, a couple of wide receivers, a tight end, a pair of DB's, and a kicker. All they need is a QB, and they will have a team of Replacements even Keanu Reeves would envy.
|Daylon Mack||98||99.2||1.2||29.2||Kerryon Johnson (RB)||98.11||28.11|
|Kyler Murray||98||98.69||0.69||28.52||Jerome Baker (ATH)||97.89||27.72|
|Damarkus Lodge||97||98.26||1.26||27.57||Mekhi Brown (DE)||97.01||26.35|
|Trevor Elbert||96||93.12||-2.88||19.82||Shameik Blackshear (DE)||96.98||25.52|
|James Lockhart||93||94.95||1.95||23.6||Nyheim Hines (APB)||93||20.84|
|Larry Pryor||92||93.2||1.2||21.02||Kyahva Tezino (OLB)||91.96||18.82|
|Justin Dunning||92||92.74||0.74||18.21||Richie Pettibon (G)||91.95||17.57|
|Jay Bradford||92||91.05||-0.95||11.36||Desherrius Flowers (RB)||91.93||16.21|
|Jordan Davis||90||92.65||2.65||16.74||Kanawai Noa (WR)||90||13.47|
|Connor Lanfear||90||91.45||1.45||14.45||Jazz Ferguson (WR)||90||12.13|
|Justin Evans||90||87.04||-2.96||5.08||Anthony McKee (OLB)||89.97||10.77|
|Deshawn Capers-Smith||89||87.22||-1.78||6.07||Paul Lucas (APB)||89||9|
|Keaton Sutherland||89||89.66||0.66||9.31||Jacarius Keener (ATH)||89||7.81|
|Kingsley KeKe||89||88.88||-0.12||7.76||Kingsley KeKe (DT)||88.88||6.65|
|Kemah Siverand||88||91.33||3.33||12.94||Tyriq Thompson (OLB)||88||5.37|
|Landis Durham||87||86.56||-0.44||4.13||Christian Bell (DE)||86.56||4.13|
|Richard Moore||87||86.56||-0.44||3.41||Richard Moore (OLB)||86.56||3.41|
|Riley Garner||83||83.42||0.42||2.25||Riley Garner (ILB)||83.42||2.25|
|Daniel LaCamera||78||80.81||2.81||1.46||Devante Williams (RB)||78||1.08|
Eleven of nineteen Aggies are overrated, while only four are underrated. However, two of the four are significantly underrated, so A&M's adjusted rating of 257.22 is only slightly off from their 262.9 composite.
Aggie commits who vary greatly from their composite include Kemah Siverand (+3.3), Daniel LaCamera (+2.8), Jordan Davis (+2.6), and James Lockhart (+2.0) on the overrated side, while Justin Evans (-3.0) and Trevor Elbert (-2.9) are each significantly underrated.
I don't really have much to say about A&M yet. Good Bull Hunting is pretty cool. The Aggies are our new crossover game, but not our rival. Don't expect us to care about a fake trophy, but thank you for saving us from a biennial trip to Arkansas.
|Calvin Ridley||98||99.28||1.28||29.28||Kerryon Johnson (RB)||98.11||28.11|
|Blake Barnett||98||98.94||0.94||28.76||Jerome Baker (ATH)||97.89||27.72|
|Mekhi Brown||97||97.41||0.41||23.49||Mekhi Brown (DE)||97.41||26.74|
|Minkah Fitzpatrick||97||98.53||1.53||27.84||Osa Masina (OLB)||97.02||25.56|
|Delonte Thompson||97||97.75||0.75||26.25||Christian Wilkins (DT)||97.01||24.47|
|Lester Cotton||97||97.55||0.55||24.96||Shameik Blackshear (DE)||96.98||23.12|
|Richie Pettibon||97||96.64||-0.36||21.33||Richie Pettibon (G)||96.64||21.33|
|Desherrius Flowers||96||96.34||0.34||17.74||Desherrius Flowers (RB)||96.34||19.46|
|Hale Hentges||94||94.92||0.92||15.11||Arden Key (DE)||94.03||16.18|
|Jonathan Ledbetter||93||96.44||3.44||19.54||Nyheim Hines (APB)||93||13.95|
|Shawn Burgess-Becker||92||94.71||2.71||13.33||Kyahva Tezino (OLB)||91.96||11.84|
|Daylon Charlot||92||93.48||1.48||11.13||Kanya Bell (WR)||91.95||10.4|
|Dallas Warmack||92||91.18||-0.82||8.71||Micah Abernathy (CB)||91.93||9.02|
|Montrell Custis||90||86.2||-3.8||2.19||Kanawai Noa (WR)||90||7.05|
|Brandon Kennedy||89||90.06||1.06||7.07||Jazz Ferguson (WR)||90||5.96|
|Christian Bell||88||88.4||0.4||4.59||Christian Bell (DE)||88.4||4.59|
|T.D. Moton||87||89.73||2.73||5.88||Kaleb Chalmers (CB)||87||3.5|
|Keaton Anderson||87||86.56||-0.44||3.41||Keaton Anderson||86.56||2.78|
|Anfernee Jennings||85||86.22||1.22||2.72||Austin Maihen (OT)||85||2.03|
Get out your tin foil hat! Twelve of nineteen Alabama players are overrated, and only two are underrated, though Montrell Custis is egregiously so (-3.8). I guess you could argue for a slight Bama bump from some service, but nine of the twelve vary by less than a rounded +1.5. The three severely overrated players are Jonathan Ledbetter (+3.4), T.D. Moton (+2.7), and Shawn Burgess-Becker (+2.7).
Here's the thing, even if Alabama recruiting is slightly overrated, they are still really, really good. Their adjusted class rating of 283.8, while 9.5 lower than their composite, is still nearly fifteen points higher than the next highest class, and Alabama has done it with fewer recruits, which means they have more room for growth. There's a reason the nation's best coach tipped his visor to Nick Saban, the nation's top recruiter.
- I hated to remove Jonathan Ledbetter, who scored a composite 100 for Most Alabama Name. I hope I can receive forgiveness from Arnell, Burnell, Raynell, W.L., Lynell, Odell, Udell, Marcell, Claude, Newgene, and Clovis.
- The loss of Mr. Ledbetter was somewhat eased by the presence of Desherrius Flowers, a 5* Alabama Name is his own right. Jonathan Ledbetter and Desherrius Flowers need to room together for Maximum Bama.
The Final Tally
|Adjusted Ranking||Adj. Rating||Change||% Diff.|
|2. South Carolina||269.12||15.59||6.10%|
|3. Texas A&M||257.22||-5.68||2.16%|
Everybody has a reason to feel good about the final results.
Alabama's simulated 247 rating declines slightly from their composite, but they still recruit on a different level than everyone else. It's amazing what you can do with a complete lack of perspective or social interests.
A six percent jump for South Carolina is a little high. I can't help but wonder how much of that is attributable to Dante Sawyer. Regardless, it should makes everyone feel even better about the class. Don't forget that it matters much more to be in the top half dozen or so than where you fall within that group. As the HBC would say, just get close and coach 'em up.
For the Carolina fans who are wondering, I glanced at Georgia but didn't run the numbers. If anything, the Dawgs' composite class is underrated relative to 247.
A&M is still ahead of Texas. Fun tidbit - so is Mississippi State!
Though Clemson slips from third to fourth, they move very slightly closer to A&M. Normally I'd say they could settle it in the Peach Bowl, but I have no idea where 8-4 ACC teams go these days.