AMES, Ia. With respect to my friends in the online recruiting world ...
Your star ranking system works sometimes. It probably works many times, to be honest. With Iowa State, though, its different.
Coach Matt Campbell and his staff arent pulling in the five-star recruits that some opponents routinely get. Heck, theyre not getting nearly as many four-star recruits as the competition, either, although securing two during this recruiting cycles is pretty good.
College football fans pay attention to recruiting rankings especially during this early-signing period but really, what does it mean? If rankings were to be believed, then Texas would be churning out Big 12 Conference championship after championship, and not losing against the Cyclones and sharing third place with seemingly everyone else in the conference.
In Campbells case, recruiting is about development. Its more about eventually and patiently molding a three-star recruit into a five-star game day player.
That was evident again Wednesday, when his 21-player recruiting class included four-star quarterbacks Hunter Dekkers of West Sioux of Hawarden and Aidan Bouman of Buffalo, Minnesota and a bunch of three-star players.
Does this mean Dekkers, the talented strong-armed guy whocrushed nearly every Iowa high school record, is the gem of the 2020 recruiting class?
Maybe after Brock Purdy is finished rewriting the schools quarterback record book. But until then, Dekkers will be developing his craft alongside Bouman, the other just-signed quarterback recruit.
Iowa States most significant recruit who returned a signed national letter of intent Wednesday is three-star defensive lineman Latrell Bankston. The former Hutchinson Community College star will be given first crack to fill the huge hole vacated when middle linemen Ray Lima and Jamahl Johnson run out of eligibility after the Camping World Bowl.
Latrell is the national defensive player of the year in junior college football, Campbell said Wednesday. He had unbelievable success. He competes with some really good players in our football program right now. Hes from a great family. Has a strong purpose of what he does. Im really excited that Latrell will do a phenomenal job for our football program.
From Day One, Bankston better be ready to play at a high level, because the 2020 team on which hell play should be very good. Hed better quickly adapt to Jon Heacocks three-player defensive front assuming he wins the starting job. Hed better be ready to chase quarterbacks like Sam Ehlinger, Charlie Brewer and Spencer Sanders around the backfield.
Hed better be prepared to do all that, while also being a run-stopper when Oklahoma States Chuba Hubbard and Kansas Pooka Williams get the ball assuming one of them doesnt take his talent to the next level.
You can say the same for three-star juco transfer receiver Xavier Hutchinson. With LaMichael Pettway and Deshaunte Jones gone after the bowl game, someone has to make up for at least part of their combined 123 regular-season receptions.
Hes got good size, at 6-3 and 200 pounds. Oklahoma and Nebraska tried to flip his commitment.
I dont know that theres a better wide receiver in the country right now coming into a college football program thanwhat Xavier is, Campbell said of the former Blinn JC star. You saw that in his recruiting toward the end. You watch the videotape of his sophomore year at Blinn its as good as any videotape as Ive ever seen of a wide receiver that weve had the opportunity to recruit.
Bankston and Hutchinson are two reasons why, for now anyway, three-star guys have more immediate importance than anyone else in Campbells recruiting class.
Look at this class and the classes previous, Campbell said. What weve been really good atis finding guys that fit our culture.
To develop within a football program is the most critical aspect of recruiting. Today is a great day, but all it isis a start. Now its the opportunity to get into something thats really hard, and this is really hard what we ask our kids to do.
Do you have the mental fortitude and comfort and trust in the people around you to be able to develop, and become the best version of you that you can be?
And who even says the star-system is accurate?
Take Iowa States 2018 class, for example. Those 21 signings included four-star receiver Joe Scates and a three-star quarterback with the last name of Purdy.
Re-rate from what we know today. Scates likely stays a four-star recruit, but if Purdy doesnt ascend to five-star status then the Internet ranking system is all messed up.
Diving deeper into the stars, look at the pro-style quarterbacks in Purdys recruitingclass. Trevor Lawrence was No. 1. Purdy was No. 24, according to the 247.com web site.
Purdys 3,760 passing yards this season was fourth nationally ahead of all the 2019 pro-style quarterbacks ranked before him.
Don't abandon the star system. Just don't use it as the only factor in ranking a recruiting class. There are plenty of examples to the contrary.
Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writingfor the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.
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