But head coach Andy Coen, despite all the success, has plenty to wonder in regards to what could have been in the last two years.
One half away from a title in 2012. One touchdown away from a fifth straight win over that school in Easton. In a couple of seasons of fantastic comebacks and thrilling victories, its the two times where they couldn't execute the comeback that stick out the most.
The offensive talent Lehigh has graduated too during this time - QB Michael Colvin, QB Brandon Bialkowski, WR Ryan Spadola, WR Lee Kurfis, RB Keith Sherman, OL Matt Lippincott, and FB Zach Hayden are but a few of those names - is substantial. If Lehigh hopes to transform oh-so-close into Patriot League Championships again, they'll need to add new names to this list above.
Did this year's recruiting class come close to doing so, according to the Patsy Rating system?
Let's find out.
It's been an offseason of change for Lehigh. Dave Cecchini, the wundercoordinator of the Mountain Hawks, left to become head coach at Valparaiso. Many of his favorite assistants left as well, leaving a brand-new offensive coordinator, Drew Folmar, and a lot of new staff members. You would think that sort of adjustment could, potentially, affect recruiting significantly.
But that's just it - it didn't.
Last season, the Mountain Chickens accumulated a respectable 22 quality points. This season - even with the turnover in coaches - Big Brown accumulated more. Quite a bit more.
In a year when quality could have fallen back to the pack - and there was a good excuse for that happening - it didn't. All things considered, that's excellent for the Squawkers. In a year when they could have been crushed, it was the Hawks that were doing the crushing on the recruiting trail.
Mountain Hawks are Crushing the Competition
It seems, in this brave new world of football scholarships, that the "Bad" seems more and more difficult to determine. In the case of the Brown and White, there seems to be a tiny bit of concern in regards to the number of linemen on both sides of the ball. The recruits they were able to get were great - tipping the Jumbo scale, and mostly were starred recruits - but there were only five in the entire class on both sides of the ball. One more OL and one more DL would have probably helped a bit with this class in other Patsy Point areas, not to mention depth.
"What do you mean, we needed some more linemen?"
PATSY POINT CALCULATION
QUALITY = 40. As mentioned, Lehigh got into the ballpark of the best Patsy Classes for 2018 thanks to the strength of their quality points. 14 out of 23 recruits received some sort of points, or, put in another way, 61% of the haul received quality points. Six were rated two stars by the recruiting agencies, and two were rated by multiple agencies, providing bonus points.
What's even more astounding is that a quality rating of 40, which in many previous years would have easily been the top number, was fourth, sitting behind Colgate (49), Lafayette (45), and Holy Cross (41). One could argue, scouting-wise, that Lehigh sits behind these three schools, but what's more important is that all four are in the same ballpark.
CLASS SIZE =4. 21 four-year Recruits - which yields a respectable 4 class size points, four more than "replacement level". (Keep that phrase "four-year recruits" on your mind as you continue.
DISTRIBUTION = 7. Coen covered every base except kicker.
SPEED = 12. It looks like "speed" is the new killer app when it comes to the Patsies - and it was a huge difference-maker in regards to this class. Six kids provided speed information. Three had sub-4.6 speed. This is how Fordham had such an impressive Patsy number this season, and it separates Lehigh's class from the other three.
Running their way to more Patsy Points
TRIGGER = 3. There was one QB rated in the class with 2014 recruiting data, though astute followers of the Patsy Ratings will look at Lehigh's release on the class of 2018 and see that there are two quarterbacks listed. Only one generated trigger points. You'll see why if you read on.
JUMBO = 5. Five linemen in this class qualified for Jumbo points. All five qualified for the cheeseburger bonus.
NEEDS = 8 (of 12): It's worth mentioning that the Mountain Chickens could have done better here with just a few more athletes.
DL = 3 (of 5). Awesome quality here, with two players rated with the recruiting agencies, and a third tipping the scales at 270 lbs with someone who looks like he could be a great run-stuffer down the line. But to the Committee, only three bodies seemed like too few to award four or five points.
WR = 2 (of 4). Three receivers were announced in this class, one receiving a two-star. At Lehigh, though, there are always a need for many receivers, and three didn't seem like enough. (Two kids that could become receivers are listed as "athletes", but "athletes" don't meet a need.)
QB = 3 (of 3). Two four-year players are listed at quarterback, one of which was rated two stars with 2014 recruiting data. The need is considered completely filled. (There's that term "four year player" again. Read on.)
COMMITTEE ADJUSTMENT: 0. Big Brown's recruiting class gave members of the Committee serious migraines for several reasons.
For starters, there was a big name on Lehigh's official release that didn't count in the final count of Patsy points - a name which came from, let's just say, an ACC school.
One voice in the Committee wanted him included, but he was quickly shouted down by the majority. "No transfers or junior college kids!" they screamed, with the others nodding their heads in agreement.
Then came the follow-up announcement of two kids that came from one-year prep schools - a real Alka Seltzer moment for the Committee.
Do you include them? Do you exclude them?
One of them had recruiting information on one of the recruiting websites... from 2013.
Do you include it? Do you exclude it?
Smoke filled the room - which was unusual, since nobody in the Committee is a smoker. Pizza was ordered. Mountain Dew was consumed. Finally, Alka Selzer was summoned - and the Committee finally had an answer, sixteen hours after bringing up the issue.
Prep school kids are considered "four-year players." For all practical purposes, they are considered incoming freshmen by the school, plan to attend the school for four years, room with fellow freshmen, and so on.
This is different from a transfer or junior college student. They are considered transplants to a different class. They might be great, and they might have given dozens of Patsy Points to their teams had they matriculated as freshmen, but they provide zero Patsy Points to the classes.
But it was also determined that "four year players" can only be judged by a recruiting profile that exists in the current year. Too much can happen in a full year. If you have to go back two years for a current profile, it cannot - and should not - be accepted.
As a result, Lehigh didn't get any adjustment points - as the points computed for their class aligned perfectly with these rules. It was enough, however, for Lehigh to take the current lead as it came to Patsy Points.
LEHIGH - 79