Since the inauguration of the College Football Playoffs (CFP), which Ohio State won in 2014, more top football recruits are focused on just a handful of football programs. As shown below, 19 of 32 5-star recruits this year, or 60%, went to just five colleges. Those were Alabama, Georgia and LSU of the SEC, Clemson of the ACC and Ohio State of the BigTen. It was the same 19 of 32 in 2018, too.
By comparison, in 2013 and 2012 right before the CFP, these same colleges signed up only 8 and 9 of the 5-star recruits, respectively. That's only 25% and 28%.
If a top high school recruit wants to play for the CFP title, then he will want to join with other top recruits at a college that has a record of getting there. At present there are only 4 slots in the playoff-- not enough even for each "Power 5" conference champion. So the selection is very limited-- to a handful of programs-- mostly the very programs listed above.
So if you are getting tired of Alabama and Clemson appearing in the CFP year after year, you know why. With the playoffs expanded to 8 teams, then there would be twice as many options for the top recruits to play for all the marbles. And a lot more interest around the country in college football.
|5-Star Recruits||2020||2019||2018||2017||4 Yrs||2013||2012||10 Yrs|
|Top 5 total||19||13||19||14||8||9|
|Next 4 total||3||7||11||4||4||3|
It is also telling that after the Top 5 and the Next 4, there are very few other programs with 5-star recruits, in fact in 2018 there were, shockingly, only 2. By comparison in 2012 and 2013, there were 20 5-stars at other schools.
Recruiting at USC has really fallen off recently, as well as at Florida and Florida State (not shown). And Oklahoma has not had much 5-star success for the whole 10 years-- and they get into the CFP to get blown away.
Data source: 247 Sports. (In earliest years there's only 25 5-stars, so 4-stars from #26 to #32 were added in.)