But they are still right because when you compare the second third and fourth stringers the gap widens
How so? Do we know what those players will do before they actually make the rotation? No doubt that Bama, UGA, and OSU have depth. The recruiting sites are a trailing indicator that have taken note of how consistently those top few programs recruit highly talented players... and players that eventually play at a championship level for the most part.
But that doesn't prove the point those guys keep trying to make. For it to prove their point... you could never have what Texas A&M did this year among others. How deep do you go before the rankings no longer prove quality depth? I'm not sure you could argue that Oregon or even USC had more quality depth than Utah this year. Oregon had 51 4/5* players. USC had 40. Utah had 15.
But that gap isn't as important as they think.
Agreed. I think it is in fact more a matter of numbers than quality regardless of the ratings. Bama just has more guys in reserve than UT did this past year. That showed up for UT vs USCe. They ran out of players in the secondary.
But these other guys bristled when I suggested that UT was closing the gap in this cycle. I truly believe they are... and you've seen me post enough to know I don't go out on limbs with ironclad predictions very often. I think Telander, Perry from last year, Luttrell, Slaughter, etc are the kinds of players Dabo got as he began his climb at Clemson. They weren't highly rated but he found some guys with 4/5* potential that others had ignored.
I also think that Heupel is approaching recruiting in a similar way by looking at character and grades more. In some respects, it is better to sign and develop guys with a high likelihood of being on the roster in their 3rd year. IMO, Clemson may be suffering a little now because their success has allowed them to pursue and "win" some of top end talent guys who prove to be more of a risk in other ways.
We can win the natty next year if Joe Milton is great.
You are definitely right that a great QB is an equalizer. I do think UT has to resolve the issues on D though especially CB. I'm a little worried about depth at the slot position too. But overall I believe the Vols have taken and are taking a good step forward roster wise.