Top stats to know: National signing day
February, 4, 2014
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
ESPN Stats & InformationAlabama has gotten the players it has wanted under Nick Saban.ESPNU will cover national signing day wall to wall, with 11 hours of live coverage Wednesday from 8 a.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET and reporters at a dozen different campuses.
There will be 13 live TV announcements from top prospects in the ESPN 300 starting at 8:10 a.m. ET.
Here are some of the top storylines from a statistical perspective:
Alabama will be the best, again
Alabama is in line to sign the No. 1 class in the country for the third straight year. ESPN has given just 15 recruits in the country a five-star rating this year, and five of them are committed to Alabama.
Every draft-eligible top-15 recruit to pick Alabama under coach Nick Saban was eventually selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
Alabama has nine recruits who are ranked in the top three at their position nationally, including both the No. 1 and No. 2 centers. The Crimson Tide have commitments from players ranked first or second in their state from nine different states, including the top two players from the state of Alabama.
Alabama has had the top class since Aug. 14 and has not relinquished that spot in ESPN’s evaluations.
Likewise, the SEC dominates
The SEC enters signing day with seven of the top 10 classes in the country and four of the top five. No conference has ever had four of the top five or seven of the top 10 classes since ESPN began rankings in 2006.
Vanderbilt is the only school in the conference without a top-40 class.
From 2006 to 2013, the SEC signed more than twice as many ESPN 300 recruits as any other conference (416 for SEC and 200 for ACC).
Entering signing day, nine of the 13 committed five-star recruits have committed to SEC schools.
Name to know: Leonard Fournette
The top player in the class of 2014 is running back Leonard Fournette from New Orleans, and he is already committed to LSU.
LSU lost 65 percent of its carries and 64 percent of its rushing yards from last season after several of its running backs, most notably Alfred Blue, Jeremy Hill and J.C. Copeland, declared for the NFL draft.
Fournette is the first No. 1 offensive prospect since Matt Barkley was the top-ranked recruit in the 2009 class.
How important is a top recruiting class?
In the past eight seasons, the team with the top recruiting class averaged about 10 wins in its next season. These teams saw the biggest jump in win total three years after signing the class.
Two of the top classes during that span, Florida in 2006 and Florida State in 2011, won the BCS National Championship three years later.
Nine of Florida State's 11 defensive starters in the BCS National Championship were ESPN 300 recruits, including all three of its defensive line starters who were ranked in the top 20. Additionally, ESPN ranked 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston as the No. 1 QB in the class of 2012.
Each of the past six national champions had at least one top-five class in the three years before winning the title. Five of the past six national champions had at least two such classes.
The past six champs also had top-25 classes in all three years before winning the national championship.
What does it mean to be a top-300 recruit?
Sixty percent of ESPN 300 top 10 prospects from the 2006 to 2009 classes were taken in the NFL draft.
Notable top-10 recruits who were drafted include Percy Harvin, Matthew Stafford, Eric Berry, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick.
Of the ESPN 300 recruits ranked in the top 150 from the 2006 to 2009 classes, 27 percent were selected in the NFL draft. Defensive ends have had the most draft success, with 18 of 53 (34 percent) selected.
Over the past 25 years, the No. 1 recruit according to SuperPrep magazine and ESPN 300 (from 2006 on) was drafted in the first round seven times. Three of the No. 1 recruits were not drafted.
Eight of the 25 players selected to the 2014 Associated Press All-American team were ESPN 300 recruits, including four players ranked in the top 20.