When Do Stars Matter?

It’s all about perspective.

If you’re the head coach at a school which had a disappointing recruiting haul last Wednesday, like Michigan or LSU, star assignments simply don’t matter. Jim Harbaugh and Ed Orgeron have adroitly and bluntly emphasized to the press that they know how to evaluate players better than the services, always look for the famous “right fit”, brought in solid students and have signed kids who really want to be at their schools.

Take UCLA’s Chip Kelly, who signed a whopping 18 3-star players, if you believe the services, and ended up with the 17-19th best class. Yet most UCLA fans are very satisfied with the Bruin effort.

Said Kelly, “Whether they have a lot of stars or no stars, that’s not a big concern to us.” That’s coaching code for, “We’ll be fine. We satisfied our needs for now. Just wait until next year when I’ve had a year to evaluate and recruit who I want.”

If USC had signed UCLA’s class, Trojan fans would be apoplectic and suicidal in their disappointment over “reaching” to take so many mediocre-ranked prospects and not one single 5-star athlete. A Clay Helton figure would probably be hanging in effigy somewhere near the John McKay Center right now.

But as it stands, USC faithful have once again been blessed with an abundance of football player riches, including 5-stars (4), 4-stars (13) and only 1 measly 3-star. Don’t tell anybody, but that one lonely 3-star is Liam Douglas, one of only two OLs brought in with this class and a huge need area. The Trojans are banking on the 2019 class to bulk up on the OL.

And as far as coaches not caring about stars? Not so fast, my friend, as Lee Corso would say. When I was publishing SuperPrep magazine, I routinely took long phone calls from college coaches far and wide who were trying to pump up their commitments or targets for rankings purposes. Believe me, they care.