Tech among best at outperforming recruiting rankings

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson believes that AJC state player of the year and Parade All-American A.J. Gray should have been rated higher than a three-star prospect. (AJC photo by Phil Skinner)

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson believes that AJC state player of the year and Parade All-American A.J. Gray should have been rated higher than a three-star prospect. (AJC photo by Phil Skinner)

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson doesn’t need much of an excuse to get on his soapbox to belittle recruiting rankings. He was at it again Wednesday.

“I can’t figure it out,” Johnson said. “I think that you’d be hard-pressed to find a better player in the state than (Tech signee) A.J. Gray was at Washington County. He won, I think, 17 different (player of the year) awards, but yet they rank him as a three-star recruit. That’s all I need to know. I watch (Tech signee) Will Bryan on tape just destroy guys that are four- and five-star recruits when they play. He’s a three-star. We’re just glad we got him. I care more about our rankings than their rankings. I think if you look at it over time, it bears out.”

Perhaps, though, Johnson should start embracing the rankings that have continually unfavorably rated the Yellow Jackets’ classes against their ACC competitors, as they speak quite favorably to the work done by him, his staff and their perpetually underrated players. The data-analysis website fivethirtyeight touted Tech for being one of the top five teams in the country for outperforming its recruiting rankings.

Comparing Rivals’ recruiting rankings with the season-ending on-field rankings calculated by the Massey ratings, which were part of the BCS rankings formula, only Wisconsin, Oregon, Missouri and Oregon State had a higher average differential over the past 10 years than did the Jackets.

Tech, which finished 10th in the Massey ratings in 2014, was the top performer for this past season, finishing more than 40 spots better than expected.

Tech’s 2015 class was ranked No. 8 in the ACC by Rivals and 39th nationally. It jibed with rankings Johnson said he saw Wednesday morning that placed Tech’s class at No. 40.

Said Johnson, “We’ll see in a few years if that’s where we are.”


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