Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ratings of Vanderbilt football recruits change before our eyes

When lineman Grant Ramsay verbally committed to the Commodores last month, he was unrated by ESPN. A couple of days later, he got a rating of 77, only a point lower than the rating of Eric Samuels, arguably our top recruit of 2009.

Then lineman Chase White committed. ESPN had him at a 63, but a few days later upgraded him to a 70.

Over the weekend, receiver Trent Pruitt chose Vandy. He was unrated, but now he's a respectable 72.

On Monday, speedster Jonathan Krause (above) announced he'd chosen the Commodores too. He was unrated, but today he's a 76.

I wonder two things:

• First, if Trent Pruitt had committed to Troy or MTSU, would he have received a 72 rating a couple of days later? I doubt it.

• Second, if Jonathan Krause had committed to Georgia Southern, where he had an offer, would he have received a 76 rating several days later? Or what if Krause, among the fastest players in the nation, had suddenly received an offer from USC? How high would his rating have climbed?

So perhaps a player's choice of school says as much about the player — and can even change the so-called experts' opinion of him for better or worse — as it does about what kind of recruiting class the school is having.

For example, Bobby Johnson now has a reputation for amassing talent, or spotting and developing raw talent. Especially in the summer, and especially after a breakthrough season, he's not going to sign somebody he doesn't think will improve his team. So when he signs Trent Pruitt, who'd been evaluated by none of the major recruiting services, everybody takes notice.

And several days later, ESPN praises him for his quickness and toughness, raises his rating from 40 (unevaluated) to 72, and he goes from being a Sun Belt prospect to sounding like a legitimate SEC skill player.

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