• Tim Crone: Recruiting game an inexact science

  • As I am writing this, it is that unpredictable time of year for colleges all over the country – the national high school signing day.

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  • As I am writing this, it is that unpredictable time of year for colleges all over the country – the national high school signing day.
    It is probably the most hyped time for high school football players, but it’s not an exact science. Only time can tell if schools and players have made the right decisions. Big-time Division I programs cannot afford to make a miss in any recruiting class. Programs such as Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame and Michigan are always going to be at the top of the recruiting charts.
    In a league like the SEC, it is very difficult for programs like Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Missouri to catch up with the five-star recruits. All recruits plan to go to the programs that are capable of playing for the national championship every year and a program that can provide a step that high school athletes look at as a future opportunity to play in the NFL.
    The 2013 recruiting class looks to be the same old story. According to Rivals.com, the top-10 schools closely resemble the national rankings at the end of the year – (1) Alabama, (2) Ohio State, (3) Notre Dame (4) Florida, (5), Michigan, (6) LSU, (7) Mississippi, (8) UCLA, (9) Auburn and (10) Florida State.
    As you can see, five of the top-10 recruiting classes are from the SEC and Mississippi as a big surprise at seventh. Mississippi had lost 16 straight in the conference until they finally beat Auburn this year. The next 10 top schools include Texas A&M at 11, Georgia at 12, South Carolina at 16, Vanderbilt at 19 and Tennessee at 20. That is 10 out of the top 20!
    The SEC conference is thought of as THE conference to play in on the road to the next level. The Big 12 had only one team in the top 20, Oklahoma, that came in at 15, which is actually really low for the Sooners.
    Local schools really struggled to be a factor in the five- and four-star recruiting area. Kansas was ranked 44 and Missouri was ranked 48. Kansas State was ranked last in the Big 12.
    A good thing for local schools is that recruiting classes do not always work out. All the hype and fanfare during the recruiting period can prove detrimental. For example, K-State coach Bill Snyder has never been known for having highly rated recruiting classes but he finds guys from junior colleges and other guys who fit his style and attitude and makes them players.
    It looks like Kansas is using the K-State model following a miserable 1-11 season and is trying to reach out to the junior college ranks in an effort to quickly turn around a struggling program.
    Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel, any way you shake it, has tall cotton to pick. He is competing against the very best in the country. The Tigers finished 5-7 with no bowl appearance. It will be an uphill battle after coming in ranked only 14th in recruiting in the No. 1 conference in the country. You can’t catch up if you are behind in talent without landing top five- and four-star recruits.
    Page 2 of 2 - It is very difficult for Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri to keep up with the Joneses! In my book, Snyder should be coach of the year every year. The guy has a rare ability to take a team of unknowns and mold them into a top-20 team. If Kansas and Missouri are going to survive, they are going to need to get every ounce of talent out of the players they do get.
    Following the national championship game this year, I was amazed at the talent and depth of the Alabama team from top to bottom. Simply put, they are loaded!
    When is the last time that any of the local Division I teams were considered at that level? Of course none of this means anything until the recruits are on the field of play. As I have stated many times, football is not about X’s and O’s; it is about Charlies and Joes.
    n Jayhawk fans are going crazy with the current basketball struggles. In fact, they need to realize that coach Bill Self has done an outstanding job with the talent he has on this team. The Jayhawks have played above their talent level all year and now they have lost their confidence. The key down the stretch will be if they can believe in themselves again.
    n The Big Ten is the most outstanding basketball conference in the country. Indiana and Michigan should be two of the four top seeds in the NCAA tournament.
    n The large-class Kansas City wrestling district may be a better meet than the state championship meet. If you come out of this district, you will medal at state. Very tall cotton!
    n The Truman girls basketball team, along with the state championship girls softball team, places them at the top of the heap for girls sports in the area this year.
    n My quote of the week is from Bud Wilkinson, the legendary Oklahoma football coach: “Remember, Rome was not built in a day. Instant success is never possible. Competence results only from sustained, consistent, self-disciplined effort over an extended period of time.”

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