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Recruiting Analysis: The 2014 Patsy Ratings

Once upon a time, there was a legendary Lafayette message board poster called carney, who came up with a way to attempt to rate, in a somewhat unbiased manner, Patriot League recruiting classes.

For years he posted his spreadsheet-based evaluations on the Any Given Saturday message board, and his somewhat dry, humorous description of the methodology and the rating.  For hardcore Patriot League fans, it was an important, must-read part of the offseason.

For the second straight season, his Patsy ratings will be published here at LFN.

In the upcoming weeks, I'll be going through the data and coming up with the rankings.

But before I do, I wanted to recap with a quick blog posting to describe exactly what it is we're doing here.


Let's start once again with a modification of the words from the Founder, carney, who put this in such way that has made the Patsy Ratings the cult classic they are.

"For each of the past even years or so a committee - The Committee - evaluates each of the Patriot League recruiting classes and assigns points - Patsy Points - based on a complicated - more complicated that I dare go into here - rating system. It is, The Committee believes, as objective an evaluation system as we can get for this very subjective area. The Patsy Points are then added up and the recruiting classes are ranked. Ergo, the 'Patsy Ratings.' 
"How did this start? Frankly some members of The Committee were tired of watching the annual process where alums lined up to pat Coach Terwilliger on the back and tell him, and themselves, what a grand bunch of footballers he had rounded up, when the truth usually was...not so much."


"Hey, who are we kidding? This class is filled with fat and slow recruits."

To recap: basically, it's a fun way to evaluate recruiting classes.

It in no way tries to say that "such-and-such athlete will be a Patriot League first team all-conference for for years" - or, conversely, "such-and-such lineman is fat and slow and won't amount to anything."

It's, as I believe carney himself would say, a blunt instrument that tries to come up with a math-based way to attempt to do what is impossible - evaluate the recruiting classes and see how everyone did.

Does it mean that it's entirely based on math?  No.  There are some subjective elements to it, but it largely is simply a human "reality check" based on the methodology.

In a broad sense, Patsy Points are given based on the following categories:

Quality: These are given by a recruit's presence in the commonly known ratings agencies and their star ratings (if any).  (This season, a new, significant ratings service called 247Sports has appeared on the scene - more on that later.)

Class Size: The larger an incoming class, the more points this generates.  The reasoning for this remains the fact that, ultimately, there is a certain amount of players that are required every year to replenish the previous group to graduation, transfers, or whatever reason a kid decides to hang up his cleats. (There will be a slight modification to this rating this year - more on that later.)

Distribution: The more positions covered by the class, the more Distribution points a class will get.  Every year, a broad number of positions will almost certainly need to be replenished.

Speed: "Speed in an incoming class, for lack of a better word. is good," are words that Gordon Gekko may or may not have uttered.  Using the meager data that is out there, players meeting a certain speed threshold get a "point".

Trigger:  Acknowledging that the most important position on the field in college football - and especially in the Patriot League - is almost always the quarterback, more Patsy points are offered for more quarterbacks in the incoming class, and even more points if they are rated.

Jumbo: Like recruiting players with speed, one of the measurable attributes for linemen is size.  Players, more specifically offensive and defensive linemen, meeting a certain "size requirement" give extra points.

Needs: Needs for each recruiting class have been determined by a cherry-picked panel of school "superfans" who have a long-term view of the overall needs of a particular year's recruiting class.

Note: This is NOT easy as saying, "senior QB Brandon Bialkowski has graduated, ergo we need a QB" - this also looks at previous classes and looks at the long-term more than a particular year.  Top priority met gets a maximum of 5 points; second priority gets a maximum of 4 points; third priority gets a maximum of 3 points.

Finally, there is a "committee adjustment" - an adjustment to the Patsy ratings which could be a minor adjustment if the "look and smell" test seems to misrepresent the actual overall quality of the class.

Got all that?  Good.

****

A special note here needs to be mentioned in regards to the excellent 247sports site.

The Patsy Ratings have been around for a long time.  They have been around since the days where ESPN's recruiting pages were merely a gleam in an IT developer's eye.

As more ratings services have come and gone, the Patsy Ratings have adjusted accordingly.  They've had to.

This time around, I am including their information in the raw data to compute "quality points" for the incoming classes.

The discussion had behind closed doors (and yes, there are always discussions on stuff like this ) was that more data is better, despite the potential for some quality point inflation.  Though this decision didn't come without some compromise: the Committee reserves the right to add the dreaded Committee Adjustments to counteract such inflation as well.


"We have to caution against irrational recruiting exuberance which causes deadly Patsy Point inflation.  Taking away THIS MANY POINTS should do it."

****

The Committee, against all odds, came to another conclusion to the all-important issue of Class Size.

In years past, the minimum number of recruits in an incoming class required to gain valuable Patsy Points was 18.

The idea was that in order to have enough bodies to field a team, 18 was the minimum number needed to replenish the well every single year.

But with football scholarships and the expected shrinking of the size of Patriot League football teams, it was felt that this needs to be altered somewhat.

In each Patriot League recruiting class, there is a maximum of 15 scholarships available per class, split up between however many recruits you wish.  (Some schools may have a few more available, but this season cannot exceed 30 offered in a two-year period.)

Based on the fact that a travel team squad size for a Patriot League football team was 58 athletes - and assuming that a certain number of students might get injuries during the course of the season - it was decided that the minimum Squad Size requirement for points needed to be 16 instead.

And lest one thinks that the Committee is getting soft, Distribution points will remain unchanged.  And if the Committee's math is correct, it's a lot harder to get Distribution points with a class of 11 recruits instead of 21 recruits.

****

All the Patsy Ratings will be linked here when they are complete, giving you one page to bookmark with all the ratings for this season.

And always remember - from the guy who came up with this in the first place, carney:


"What is the lesson we take from this? Recruit well and you will win. Recruit poorly and you won't."

LAFAYETTE - 77
COLGATE - 76
HOLY CROSS - 76
FORDHAM - 63
BUCKNELL - 39

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