Chart: Comparing the top 25 teams to their recruiting rankings

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday February 05, 2016

Talent is the lifeblood of a program. Most coaches say they don’t care about recruiting rankings, but they’re a strong predictor of future success.

Here are the top 25 teams in the final AP Poll, along with their four previous recruiting classes, and their 2016 class (per 247Sports Composite):

Some takeaways:

- Alabama keeps bringing in the top classes and keeps winning.

- 19 of the top 25 teams outperformed their average recruiting ranking (while Alabama matched it).

- 4 of the top 9 teams didn’t put together a top-20 recruiting class in the previous four years.

- 10 of the top 20 classes in 2012 finished ranked in the top-20 in the 2015 season.

- The past four national champions (Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama) averaged a top-6 class from 2012-15, with Florida State’s 2013 class as the only one outside the top 10.

- Michigan State and TCU are annually outside the top 20 in recruiting, but regularly among the top 20 teams at the end of the season.

- Navy and Western Kentucky averaged classes outside the top 100, but have produced bowl teams for several years. Navy obviously has its unique military requirements.

- 15 of the top-25 teams put together a top-25 class in 2016, including the top seven teams.

As Lou Holtz put it earlier this week, “Up until Signing Day, our attitude is we win with talent. After Signing Day, the attitude has to be we win with coaching.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to