Recruiting Models and Three Big Fish

By Jason Priestas on January 26, 2009 at 12:00 pm

With Tajh Boyd rumored to be announcing shortly and Marcus Hall and Marlon Brown right around the corner, wouldn't it be great if there was a predictive model that could tell us ahead of time whether these young men will end up Buckeyes? You know, to save fingernails and whatnot.

Tajh Boyd would be a huge getGetting Tajh Boyd would be kind of fresh

Luckily for is, there is. We present the Football Recruiting Prediction Model from the Stetson School of Business and Economics at Mercer University.

The econometric model started with a Rivals recruiting and commitment dataset and has tried to predict where recruits will end up since first evaluating prospects in 2004.

After correctly guessing the destination of 68% of the recruits the initial year, the model has improved to the point of now being able to correctly call the right choice for 73% of the top 250 recruits in the nation. While 73% may not scream "excellence" to you, the number is all the more impressive considering that the recruits are often considering four or more schools. And then there's the part about 17 and 18 year-olds doing crazy, unpredictable shit.

They have found, that surprisingly, factors like BCS bowl appearances, current roster depth at the recruited player's position and NFL draft picks don't play heavily into the decisions of these top recruits. So what do recruits favor most?

So, in a nutshell, high school athletes prefer winning programs that are close to home, are in possession of good physical facilities, and are in good graces with the NCAA.

Makes sense. As does the part about recruits not putting too much emphasis on a school's graduation rate (rock-on Michigan Man).

As for the three big fish the Buckeyes are still trying to reel in, lineman Marcus Hall is the only player forecasted to end up in Columbus. They see Boyd going to Oregon and Marlon Brown ending up at Tennessee.

Tajh Boyd   Marcus Hall   Marlon Brown
Oregon31.6%   Ohio State31.4%   Tennessee23.9%
Ohio State22.9%   Michigan21.7%   Mississippi18.9%
Clemson18.4%   Illinois15.8%   Florida17.2%
Virginia8.8%   Tennessee15.6%   Georgia16.0%
Virginia Tech8.5%   Miami9.4%   Ohio State15.5%

Of the three, I personally think Hall is the most important for the Buckeyes to get. I also agree with the model's prediction that the Buckeyes will end up signing him. The numbers shown at right are current through 1/22, but you have to wonder how much Miami will jump on Hall's list after the visit this weekend.

I also think they do a good job of reflecting the crapshoots that represent Boyd and Brown. The rumor mill is in overdrive that Boyd is a done-deal Buckeye, but I'll believe it when I see it. Brown, on the other hand, has always been a longshot, but it's comforting to to see that tight grouping of teams for him.

What do you think? Do you agree with the model's forecast?


(Inspiration for this post is the excellent Get the Picture)