Development is more important than top rated classes

#76

Longshank

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#76
If that is his point, he is wrong. These two classes are NOT the same talent-wise. There will always be players that turn out to be better players than those that were rated higher, but not over a 25 player average in both classes.

What is true is that player development may be more important early on in a coach's tenure.

A team with more initial talent and no development may have the same results as a team with less talent but good player development.

Over time, though, players will stop going to a school that does not develop its talent and the results will reflect that as well.

On the flip side, these better players will start going to the school that is developing that talent and those results will improve. Some schools, and coaches, can attract this better than others so the ceiling is different at UK versus UT, for example.

You will not win at a high, consistent level without both, but it does start with good coaching to develop the talent you have.
Thats why we need to give the new coach some slack. Every coach before him had better talent to start.
 
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#77

vegasvolfan

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#77
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.
Funny, I see this and then I go to Volquest and immediately read a piece by Rob Lewis talking about talent talent talent.

I side with you though. There is more than one way to skin a cat, but both require good coaching. Not win football games coaching. That is a result for the most part and it is important of course, but I am referring to player development.

Butch was able to run out and land top 5 classes, but Huepel has what Butch left and what Pruitt left to clean up. Regardless, Butch was only able to muster up a 9-win season. He also lost a lot of players. I believe Huepel AND COMPANY of today would have done much more with what Butch had, but he and his staff are going to have to develop lesser talent in order to get the bluchippers to flock here.
 
#78

IndianaVol

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#78
At this point in UT football history, we NEED coaches that can develop better than they recruit. Look at Saban, Swinney, Meyer, Stoops and many others...did they have talent already on the roster when they arrived at their perspective school... usually no. But their ability to coach and develop what they had attracted the blue chip guys.

Also if you need examples of how it works the other way...recruit talent and not develop the players, I point you to the last 8 to 10 years of Tennessee football. How did Jones have back to back top 5 classes and not win?
 
#79
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#79
I’d rather develop kids that are clearly 5 stars from an athletic standpoint, rather than a 3 star. But I get the point.

That’s what makes Alabama so great. Not only do they get the best recruits, they also do the best at developing them.

And no matter how developed a team of 3 stars nah be, they’ll never match up to a developed team of 5 stars.
 
#80

Vol737

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#80
Ok but what about when our rivals such as Alabama, Georgia, and Florida are getting top classes and top tier development?
I totally get your point and you’re correct IMO. Unfortunately, we are in the unenviable position of having to do more with less to end up getting some of that top tier talent in the future. It’s just where we are at the moment. I hope CJH and this staff can develop some of these guys from 3* to 4* and 4* to 5* before they graduate and we start winning some games we’re not supposed to.
 
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#81

BlinghamptonVol

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#81
A huge part of this is player motivation. Some of these guys that get better in the pros is because of the motivation of those million dollar paychecks. A good college coach has to be able to get his players motivated for games, practice and the offseason.
 
#82

GregAmsler

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#82
We are missing a third component.

Putting players in the right scheme and being a good play caller!

Maybe that's a third and a fourth component?

Either way, my biggest gripe with Butch was absurd play calling! Pruitt, outdated schemes and playing the wrong QB!

Our recent coaching has been so unbelievably dumb. I think how they handle their personnel in the schemes they use has cost us more than the talent and player development.

Yeah we haven't gotten guys drafted as often as usual, but they're still getting picked up as UDFA's. Development hasn't been the worst.

They're flying under the radar cause our teams suck because we have Josh Dobbs QB draw 50 times in a row in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma, FLA, etc. Throw WR bubble screen after WR bubble screen that never worked once and trot a JG out there to fail time and time again with an ancient offense.
Good point. And this is another factor that mitigates the importance of recruiting top ranked classes (not to be confused with recruiting good talent). CJH needs to recruit guys to his system. Not every 4 and 5 star will fit his system as well as some 3 stars will.
 
#84

Remy

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#84
This point of view often gets trotted out when a new staff no matter the school understands they are going to get trounced on the recruiting trail. "But but but but we're super developers!!!" Ever seen that shiznit show played out before your very eyes previously?
 
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#85

Devo182

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#85
I don’t want to turn this into a war of stars mattering vs them not but it’s no coincidence the top teams year in and out like Bama, Georgia, Clemson, and OSU have top classes
Yup. The Blue Chip Ratio has been undefeated for 15+ years. Unless you have as many or more 4*s/5*s as 2*s/3*s, your chances of winning the national championship are barely existent. And we haven't been a part of the Blue Chip Ratio club since the Fulmer days.
 
#87

HiltonHeadVol

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#87
The op didn't state competing for championships which those teams are.

TN is at a low of a point as it has ever been. Let's start winning 8 to 9 games consistently, get the sanctions behind us, and the recruiting should start getting better.

But it's going to be a process. Develop the players we can get now, win more games, and then we can start getting those higher ranked classes.

It won't be a quick fix any way you look at it.
And like it or not, we MUST hang in with our current coach JH for better or worse. It will take time and we have no choice but to show patience. Undeserved by this great fan base, but it is what it is at this point. Like most of you, I pray Coach Huep is the right fit. And I am starting to get a tiny feeling he just may be.
 
#88

HuntlandVolinColo

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#88
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.
Sadly, we have learned this the hard way the last 6 years.

Captain Obvious says that highly rated recruits who are developed to the best of their ability and led by a competent coach is the preferred method.
 
#90

swampfoxfan

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#90
A great chef can make a very good meal shopping at Sav-A-Lot. That same chef can make an extraordinary meal shopping at Whole Foods.

Similar to cruitin'. Start with better players and develop them usually ends with a better product.
Sav a Lot?? would have to be a miracle worker.
 
#92

cobbwebb0710

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#92
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.
How long has it been since we had a coach that could legit identify talent, let alone develop talent?
At one point Fulmer was an ace recruiter but then he started doing what I call “publication recruiting!”
He started letting Tom Lemming tell him who he should recruit. Butch and Pruitt were both magazine recruiters as well. They relied on rivals or 247 to identify for them the 4 and 5 stars and then went after them. If you think about it, what really separates a 3 and a 4 star player? A tenth of a second? 10 more lbs on the squat bar? A better supporting cast? As far as development, we’ve had spotty development, not a lot of unit development. I also put some of the lack of development issue on the players. I don’t think the culture UT has had over the last several years, calls for a lot of hard work from a lot of the players.
JMO.
GBO!!
 
#94

ThreatLevelOrange

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#94
This thesis by the OP is demonstrably false.

Both development and class quality are equally important.
Everyone is omitting the 3rd component. Minimizing unwanted attrition. You can recruit fop 5 classes to no avail if half of the group transfers, injuries, or dismissals within 2 years. That is the biggest problem with the coaching changes. Aside from 2016 and 2017 under Butch, the team is always a blend of players from multiple staffs. But Butch’s teams in those years had attrition like P Williams and Hurd leaving in mid season, and a ridiculous amount of injury settlements.
 
#95

ThreatLevelOrange

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#95
How long has it been since we had a coach that could legit identify talent, let alone develop talent?
At one point Fulmer was an ace recruiter but then he started doing what I call “publication recruiting!”
He started letting Tom Lemming tell him who he should recruit. Butch and Pruitt were both magazine recruiters as well. They relied on rivals or 247 to identify for them the 4 and 5 stars and then went after them. If you think about it, what really separates a 3 and a 4 star player? A tenth of a second? 10 more lbs on the squat bar? A better supporting cast? As far as development, we’ve had spotty development, not a lot of unit development. I also put some of the lack of development issue on the players. I don’t think the culture UT has had over the last several years, calls for a lot of hard work from a lot of the players.
JMO.
GBO!!
We are recruiting to a system and can develop them to excel within it. That’s coaching. And Kiffin is the only coach we’ve had since 2007 that could do it.
 
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#96

TNnative

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#96
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.
While you can stack the roster with 5 and 4 star players? If you don't properly develop them, they perform like 2 or 3 star players. Tennessee's record of development has at best been questionable through the Pruitt, Jones, and Dooley tenures. That is why I (if I was doing the recruiting) would mostly ignore star ratings, and concentrate on work ethic, personal discipline, and other things your own scouts can measure. Like how they mesh with your current players on visits.

I am sure there have been many players who visited Tennessee through the past years we wish had signed with the Vols. Had they been doing proper development? We might have called Trevor Lawrence, Mecole Hardman, Cam Akers, and a bunch of others Vol greats. Those are just three that come to mind off the top of my head. Several who transferred out that are now in the NFL. Many more who stayed here but never quite reached their potential all due to poor culture and development.

No matter how high or low a player is rated out of HS, if the development is not all it should be? You are doing them a disservice. Hopefully, they will still get a degree that betters their life post-football. But it has now come to the point that the reputation of the program is a tougher sell to players our coaches target. I am with your Greg. With the last 5 previous coaching hires, we have hoped for the right changes. Hopefully, hire number 6 gets it right.
 
#97

jarnol32

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#97
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.
You do realize that Foster was a 3 star recruit… don’t you?
 

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