The Power 5 conferences hired 7 new coaches at member schools in 2015. These new coaches had mixed results in their first season on the playing field. But how did these coaches perform in bringing in their first full recruiting class in 2016?
The 7 schools with new coaches were Oregon State (Gary Andersen), Michigan (Jim Harbaugh), Nebraska (Mike Riley), Florida (Jim McElwain), Kansas (David Beaty), Wisconsin (Paul Chryst) and Pitt (Pat Narduzzi). While these programs all reside in Power 5 conferences, they vary greatly in their history of success in football. Moreover, their success in recruiting is equally varied and plays a role in their success or lack thereof in the sport. Below are some observations on these programs with new coaches and their Rivals national recruiting rankings:
- Michigan’s 2016 class was ranked at 4 (1st all-time) and was above the long-term program average of 16 (10-3 in 2015).
- Oregon State’s 2016 class was ranked at 41 (tied for 2nd best all-time) and was above the long-term program average of 49 (2-10 in 2015).
- Wisconsin’s 2016 class was ranked at 35 (3rd best all-time) and was above the long-term program average of 45 (10-3 in 2015).
- Pitt’s 2016 class was ranked at 30 (4th) and was above the long-term program average of 39 (8-5 in 2015).
- Nebraska’s 2016 class was ranked at 25 (tied for 6th) and was at the long-term program average of 25 (6-7 in 2015).
- Florida’s 2016 class was ranked at 14 (8th) and was below the long-term program average of 9 (10-4 in 2015).
- Kansas’s 2016 class was ranked at 95 (lowest all-time) and was below the long-term program average of 54 (0-12 in 2015).
Four of the 7 programs had the benefit of winning seasons in 2015 to assist in recruiting while the other 3 did not. For the programs with winning seasons, 3 of them showed improvement in recruiting ranking over their long-term averages while Florida experienced below average recruiting. Among programs without winning seasons, only Oregon State had a 2016 recruiting class that surpassed the program average. OSU’s recruiting climbed 8 spots over the average despite the really poor record in 2015. Recruiting at Kansas dropped into the abyss in coach David Beaty’s first season, mirroring the results on the field in 2015.
Oregon State, Michigan, Florida, and Pitt all had their worst ever ranked recruiting classes in 2015 – a transition year between coaching staffs. All of these programs but Florida rebounded in 2016 with higher than average recruiting classes. Michigan had their best ever class in 2016 while both OSU and Pitt had classes among the top 4 all-time at the schools. Wisconsin improved slightly from 2015 (37) to 2016 (35). Gary Andersen and his staff produced the highest ever ranked class at Wisconsin (33) in 2014. Nebraska improved from below average in 2015 (31) to average in 2016 (25). Kansas fell from 66 in 2015 to 95 in 2016, a new record low in recruiting for the program!
Andersen produced the best ever recruiting classes at Utah State (2011) and at Wisconsin (2014). To produce the top rated recruiting classes at two different schools means that you’re pretty good at recruiting. While the jury is still out on his recruiting to OSU, Andersen’s 2016 class was tied for 2nd best ever at OSU.