Development is more important than top rated classes

#1

GregAmsler

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#1
Mike Ekeler made a comment shortly after being hired that there are only about 3-5 players in each class that are really special difference-makers. After that, there are a bunch of guys that can be good with the right development.

I think that's going to be the key to this staff's success...not whether they sign top rated classes...but how do they develop them? Tennessee will attract enough talent. Always has. But for the last decade-plus, Tennessee hasn't had coaches that adequately developed that talent.

Want proof if this? Kentucky had SIX players drafted into the NFL this last weekend. Have they ever had a higher rated class than Tennessee? Not to my recollection. Yet, they were a better team last year (really the last 3 years), they kicked Tennessee's ass last year, and they just put six guys in the league by developing them. The only thing stopping Kentukcy from being a real force in the East was QB play.

Stoops gets the most of his talent. Franklin did that at Vanderbilt, achieving two 9-win seasons without top 25 classes. You can look around the country and see evidence of the theory that development trumps rankings. Hell, Clemson began a dynasty with classes ranked 10-20, not top 5. NOW they're getting top 5 classes, but that's not how they got there (I also think rankings can be self-fulfilling sometimes...if a kid is offered by Bama or Clemson now, he's rated higher, so their classes are inevitably rated higher as a result).

This isn't to say that Tennessee shouldn't or won't attract top rated talent. It's to say that it's not the end-all, be-all. If Heupel & Co. can get the guys they feel they can work with and mold into their system, create a winning culture, and develop those guys, they'll be successful, regardless of where they fall in the recruiting rankings.
 
#18

EconVol92

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#18
Of course the better material has a higher ceiling; however, for quite some time we have not improved any of our recruits. There were many times under Fulmer that I don't know that the players got any better than when they came in. There was no value added .

Foster would be my poster child for the above thought as he fumbled in key situations during his time in Knoxville and it seems that the coaching staff could not teach him to hold on to the ball, but in the NFL they seemed to be able to work that out in short order.

I understand that the Taco comments will follow him as an example, but development can make a 3 star into a better player than a 4 star who gets no development.
 
#19
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#19
Top tier classes play like top tier classes but you also have good classes that don’t play that way(UT,Michigan)as well as average classes that play way better(Iowa St., North Carolina). Either talent evaluators and recruiting services are all wrong or coaching and player development has a major impact on team success. I’m going with the latter. We have tried the good recruiting paired with poor player development route the past few years and we know what the result of that is so it’s time to give the coaching first plan a shot. We just have to hope CJH and co. are the right guys for the job and not put so much stock in recruiting rankings
 

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