Since everyone is saying about our Class of 2012 is about the best class we have had in a while, I take a look at the last 5 classes we've had and there are plenty of surprises. Here is a sample of notable names I find from Rivals. The numbers in parenthesis is the Rivals rating and its star rating:
As we all know, the 4* didn't turn out well. None of the four 4* players (Ellis, Plue, ATM and Ross) was not in last night bowl game.
Rivals also get some seriously wrong. Among our starters last night a lot are only 2*: Gerald Gooden, Carson Wiggs, CTB, Edison, Josh Johnson, Akeem Shavers, Ryan Russell. Pegram is a 2* that scored 2 TDs for us. Dwayne Beckford would have been a starter has he not gotten himself suspended.
I can accept Carson Wiggs (since he's a K) and CTB as a 2*, but guys like Edison and Shavers?! Either their rating is seriously wrong, or the players have vastly improved, or both. If you go even further, Dustin Keller (an NFL first round pick) is a 2*, while the Class of 2005 has Jason Kacinko (5.8, 4*), Selwyn Lymon (6.0, 4*), JB Paxson (5.8, 4*), and Kyle Williams (5*) as 4* or better, yet none has a career remotely like Keller's, or many other 3* guys.
So looking at the numbers and the result, I have to conclude, the rating (at least Rival's) is really like a crap shoot. This is not necessarily a knock on Rivals. I mean, NFL scouts and GMs getting paid millions of dollars also got it seriously wrong (e.g. Jamarcus Russell? Ryan Leaf? Tom Brady?) too.
And looking at the Florida page, you'll see almost everyone is a 4* or 5* and only a very few 3* (whereas we are full of 2* and 3* and maybe one or two 4 or 5*), and thus I further believe that for us to have a successful program is to throw these rating out of the window and be unconventional. We just can't compete to get the "talent" that Florida and O$U is getting, just like the Oakland A's can't compete with the Yankees on free agents. But we can play Moneyball. We need to create our own niche (e.g. Tiller's Basketball on Grass) and get our type of players who succeed in our "system."
It seems that Danny Hope is following this strategy too. But he has two main problems. First, he doesn't have a "system" (unless you call a 2-QB system a viable system), so he just recruits speed but he doesn't know how to make use of the speed. Second, the niche he intends to develop is - and I am quoting him here - special team. Sure, special team can make the difference between winning and losing in a close game, but that cannot be your bread-and-butter.
To compete at the upper level, you need to be consistent. You don't necessarily need to be both great in offense and defense, but among defense, passing offense, and rushing offense, you have to have at least one that REALLY stands out big time (that's your niche), and at least decent in the other two. Relying on special teams and trickery may get you a score here or there, but in 60 minutes the better team (e.g. Wisky, Michigan) will eventually kill you.
So for all those who suggest spending millions and millions of dollars to get a big name coach so that we get big name recruits, I think not only is it unrealistic to expect Burke to spend the money, it isn't even the best way to get us to the next level. And not only is the big name coaches gone already for this year, it also only gets us into an arms race into spending on coaches but not addressing the real problem. We've seen how unreliable the rating system is, and our 4* recruits consistently underperform the 2* and 3* anyway. The bigger bang for the buck is not on recruiting but on getting someone (even as an assistant coach or coordinators) who can help crave a niche for our team (and I am NOT talking about special teams). When success comes on the field, we get a better chance of getting even better recruits. That, my friend, should be the roadmap of success for Purdue football.