NFL Draft 2012: Longhorns Turn Recruiting Success Into NFL Draft Picks


Over at College Football Matrix, proprietor Dave Bartoo has a formula for measuring how well college programs convert success on the recruiting trial into players drafted by the NFL by weighing recruiting rankings against draft rankings to create a ratio that shows which schools turn prep prospects into professionals at a higher than expected rate and which schools underachieve.

So while Texas head coach Mack Brown catches some criticism at times for his player development by the cynics who view highly-regarded recruits as pre-packaged gems ready to be thrown onto the field and rack up wins for the Longhorns. In truth, it isn't that simple, so even though the staff as a whole made a number of mistakes in evaluations and hardly overachieved in developmental areas, the numbers show that Texas hasn't underachieved.

Here's a look at how the Big 12 fared as a whole:

Cfbmbig12rankings_medium

Note that the real comparison to make is that between Texas and Oklahoma -- the two schools had the same recruiting profile, but Bob Stoops managed to produce five more draft picks in the range considered. Still, the Longhorns emerged from the study with a 1:1 ratio of recruiting ranking to draft ranking.

Not exactly ideal, as the standard there is overachieving in the manner of Baylor or Missouri, but the success in recruiting places a high standard when there are elements like personal and academic fit at the school that influence attrition through little fault of coaches after the prospects arrive on campus.

In terms of overall rankings, though, the fact that Texas finished sixth in the recruiting rankings limited how high the 'Horns could finish nationally, since those overall numbers take into account the difference in draft ranking and recruiting ranking -- even by finishing first in draft ranking, a difference of five would put Texas somewhere in the 20s nationally. And that's overachieving on a ridiculous level.

Next year, the Longhorns could take a hit, however, as the 2009 recruiting class factors into play. Ranked fifth overall by Rivals, the only two NFL picks the class will produce in 2013 will be Kenny Vaccaro and Alex Okafor, with Mason Walters and Chris Whaley the only likely picks from the group to earn selections in the 2014 NFL Draft.

If 13-12 was a reckoning for those mistakes, the reflection of that will begin to show in these rankings, so it may be time for enjoy that 1:1 ratio, because it will likely take a few years to get it back in the balance again.

What else stands out? For a school that isn't known as a recruiting powerhouse, Oklahoma State is well behind the curve turning recruiting success into wins on the field, presenting a rather strange profile, though the 2012 Cowboy draft class should help the cause when the rankings get revised.

And the Aggies. The poor, poor Aggies. Only Washington and Oklahoma State ranked lower nationally in this study as Slocum, Franchione, and Mike Sherman all combined to squander what the services considered some of the best recruiting classes in the country.

Compared with Texas, Texas A&M was increasingly marginalized in recruiting in those years as Mack Brown dominated the recruiting landscape in those years -- along with some stiff competition from Oklahoma, primarily -- while still landing quality prospects. Many just never developed into NFL for reasons that probably aren't easy to encapsulate without another in-depth study.

Whatever the case, there's never a bad time to point and laugh at those goofy farmers, is there?

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