click meAdvertisement

Ranking College Football's Rosters for 2017

Where does your team rank in terms of talent heading in 2017?

Recruiting is the foundation for winning national championships, competing for CFB Playoff berths or winning at a high level in college football. While recruiting rankings aren’t 100 percent accurate, there is plenty of truth in the rankings and evaluations by the experts. It’s no secret what a program needs in order to win big at this level. Great coaching, support staffs, state-of-the-art training facilities and luck certainly helps, but talent on the roster provides a significant head start in the race to win it all each season.

 

Just how important are recruiting rankings and the overall talent evaluation? Consider this: Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State take the top three spots in this year’s best overall rosters. Those three teams have claimed five out of the last six national championships. 

 

Below are the national recruiting ranking averages for the Power 5 schools, Notre Dame and BYU over the last five classes according to 247Sports Team Composite rankings and each team's record over the last five seasons. Obviously, this doesn't take into account attrition. However, with a five-year window in place, this should be considered relatively even across the conference.

 

By Conference: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

 

Ranking College Football's Rosters for 2017
Rank Team   Conference 17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Avg W/L Conf.
1 Alabama SEC 1 1 1 1 1 1 64-7 36-4
2 Ohio State Big Ten 2 4 7 3 2 3.6 61-6 39-2
3 LSU SEC 7 3 6 2 6 4.8 45-18 25-15
4 Florida State ACC 6 2 3 4 11 5.2 59-9 34-6
5 Georgia SEC 3 7 5 8 12 7 48-18 27-13
6 USC Pac-12 4 8 2 10 13 7.4 44-23 30-15
7 Auburn SEC 9 9 8 6 10 8.4 38-27 18-22
8T Texas A&M SEC 12 18 11 5 9 11 44-21 21-19
8T Notre Dame IND 11 15 13 11 5 11 43-21  
10 Florida  SEC 10 13 21 9 3 11.2 41-23 27-13
11 Tennessee SEC 17 14 4 7 24 13.2 35-28 15-25
12 Clemson ACC 16 10 9 17 15 13.4 60-9 35-5
13 UCLA Pac-12 20 12 12 18 7 13.8 41-24 25-20
14 Michigan Big Ten 5 5 37 20 4 14.2 40-24 25-16
15 Oklahoma Big 12 8 20 14 14 16 14.4 51-14 37-8
16 Ole Miss SEC 30 6 17 15 8 15.2 39-25 19-21
17 Texas  Big 12 26 11 10 16 17 16 33-30 24-21
18 Miami ACC 13 21 26 12 14 17.2 39-25 23-17
19 Oregon Pac-12 19 28 16 21 19 20.6 49-17 32-13
20 South Carolina SEC 21 26 19 19 20 21 38-26 19-21
21 Penn State Big Ten 15 19 15 24 33 21.2 40-24 24-17
22 Stanford Pac-12 14 16 24 13 51 23.6 53-15 34-11
23 Arkansas SEC 28 25 23 29 23 25.6 29-34 12-28
24T Washington Pac-12 22 29 27 37 18 26.6 43-24 26-19
24T Mississippi State SEC 24 31 18 35 25 26.6 40-25 20-20
26 Nebraska Big Ten 23 24 30 36 22 27 43-23 26-15
27 Michigan State Big Ten 35 22 22 25 35 27.8 46-20 26-15
28 Virginia Tech ACC 25 41 29 27 21 28.6 39-27 22-18
29 Baylor Big 12 39 17* 36 26 27 29 47-18 29-16
30 Arizona State Pac-12 37 27 20 23 39 29.2 39-26 25-20
31 North Carolina ACC 27 35 28 31 28 29.8 40-25 26-14
32 Kentucky SEC 29 34 38 22 34 31.4 21-40 8-32
33 TCU Big 12 31 23 42 43 36 35 40-24 25-20
34 Oklahoma State Big 12 38 44 39 28 30 35.8 45-20 30-15
35T Louisville ACC 32 37 32 45 37 36.6 49-16 29-10
35T Wisconsin Big Ten 40 32 40 33 38 36.6 49-19 30-11
37 Pitt ACC 34 30 47 44 32 37.4 35-30 21-18
38 Maryland Big Ten 18 42 49 40 41 38 27-36 13-28
39 West Virginia Big 12 57 39 35 38 31 40 36-28 22-23
40 Arizona  Pac-12 45 43 43 30 44 41 36-29 19-26
41 Missouri SEC 50 53 25 39 43 42 37-27 19-21
42 Texas Tech Big 12 51 45 33 42 46 43.4 32-31 17-28
43 NC State ACC 52 49 31 34 59 45 32-32 13-27
44 Virginia   ACC 56 60 50 32 29 45.4 17-43 9-31
45 Utah Pac-12 33 36 45 67 47 45.6 38-25 21-24
46T California Pac-12 70 38 34 54 40 47.2 22-39 12-33
46T Vanderbilt SEC 64 54 46 46 26 47.2 31-32 14-26
48 Washington State Pac-12 44 55 41 55 54 49.8 29-34 20-25
49 Northwestern Big Ten 48 51 54 47 52 50.4 37-26 20-21
50T Duke ACC 47 33 51 60 70 52.2 37-28 19-21
50T Indiana Big Ten 63 56 52 48 42 52.2 25-37 12-29
53T Iowa Big Ten 41 46 60 59 58 52.8 39-26 25-16
53T Oregon State Pac-12 49 46 61 63 45 52.8 27-35 15-30
54 Rutgers Big Ten 42 74 56 53 50 55 29-34 12-28
55 Georgia Tech ACC 46 59 44 56 76 56.2 37-29 21-19
56 Illinois Big Ten 43 71 48 72 49 56.6 20-41 8-33
57 Iowa State Big 12 53 52 66 58 60 57.8 17-44 9-36
58 Minnesota Big Ten 58 48 63 57 66 58.4 37-28 18-23
59 Kansas State Big 12 60 73 55 49 61 59.6 43-22 29-16
60 Syracuse ACC 55 66 58 50 73 60.4 26-36 14-25
61 Wake Forest ACC 65 58 53 65 67 61.6 22-39 10-30
62 BYU IND 67 50 64 66 65 62.4 42-23  
63 Colorado Pac-12 36 69 71 74 68 63.6 21-42 11-34
64 Kansas  Big 12 68 89 74 51 48 66 9-51 3-42
65 Boston College ACC 66 75 62 52 87 68.4 26-37 11-29
66 Purdue Big Ten 71 80 65 69 62 69.4 15-46 6-35

 

Conference Data
Conference Avg. Class Rank Teams in Top 25
38.8 3
38.9 2
39.2 3
34.1 5
17.6 11

 

Recruiting Talent Translates Into Playoff Berths

Since the start of the BCS era (1998), no team ranked lower than 18th in this year’s roster rankings have claimed a national championship. Of course, the data has changed a bit since 1998, and the overall outlook for some programs has been altered in recent years, but as expected, teams need to rank high in recruiting in order to compete for the national title. Two of the lowest teams to win a national title since 1998 – Miami and Texas – are probably due to rebound in the roster rankings over the next five years.

 

During the playoff era, only one team to make the top four cut – Michigan State – ranked outside of the top 25 of the roster rankings. And the three champions – Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson – all ranked inside of the top 12. If a program is unable to recruit at an elite level, specializing in talent development (Michigan State), having one of the nation’s best coaches (Washington) or a Heisman Trophy winner/elite player (Deshaun Watson) at quarterback (Oregon) helps to level the playing field.

 

Related: Very Early College Football Top 25 for 2017

 

SEC Talent Domination

With a robust 17.6 national average and 11 of its 14 teams in the top 25 in roster talent, the SEC is a big winner on the recruiting trail. However, that talent hasn’t necessarily translated into wins. LSU ranks third but is just 25-15 in conference play since 2013. The records of Auburn (18-22) and Texas A&M (21-19) also raise a few eyebrows for the lack of success in relation to recruiting rankings. One team that isn’t underachieving is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs rank 11th among SEC teams but have more wins in league play than four programs ranked ahead of coach Dan Mullen's team from its conference: Arkansas, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Tennessee.

 

Talent Isn’t a Problem at Notre Dame

A disappointing 4-8 season has coach Brian Kelly on the hot seat entering 2017, but the Fighting Irish continue to recruit at a high level. Notre Dame hasn’t finished lower than No. 15 nationally over the last five seasons and is tied for eighth nationally with an average of 11 in roster ranking.

 

Talent Concerns in the Big 12

The Big 12 ranks third among conferences with an average class rank of 38.9. However, that total is certainly helped by the 10-team format, instead of the 14-team ACC (38.8) or Big Ten (39.2). The overall average isn’t necessarily cause for concern, but Oklahoma and Texas both ranked inside of the top 10 in this article in 2014. Since 2014, Oklahoma has slipped to No. 15 nationally and Texas ranks No. 17. Baylor ranks third among rosters in the Big 12, but the Bears slip to 33.8 when accounting for the adjusted recruiting rank (No. 41*) following the class defections following Art Briles’ dismissal in 2016. However, on the flipside of the recruiting rankings is talent development. Kansas State ranks ninth among Big 12 teams but is 29-16 in league play over the last four years. That’s tied for third among Big 12 teams since 2013.

 

Michigan and Penn State Trending Up

The Wolverines inked the No. 37 class in coach Jim Harbaugh’s first National Signing Day but have signed back-to-back top-five hauls. With another top-10 class in 2018, Michigan should inch a little higher on this list next fall. Coach James Franklin has signed three consecutive top-20 classes after ranking No. 24 for his first haul in Happy Valley. With another standout class expected to sign in 2018, Penn State should push into the top 20 of roster rankings next season.

 

Other Notes to Consider

 

* Colorado ranks No. 63 nationally and is the lowest-rated Pac-12 team. However, coach Mike MacIntyre delivered a breakout year in 2016 by winning the South Division. The Buffaloes also inked the No. 36 class on National Signing Day.

 

* The ACC has three of the lowest seven teams in the national roster rankings. Syracuse (No. 60), Wake Forest (No. 61) and Boston College (No. 65). However, two of those teams – Wake Forest and Boston College – went to bowl games in 2016.

 

* For the second time in three seasons, Purdue ranks as the lowest team from a Power 5 conference. The Boilermakers have not inked a class higher than No. 62 since 2013. New coach Jeff Brohm signed the No. 71 national haul in 2017.

 

* After not signing a class higher than No. 58 from 2013-15, Iowa has inked the No. 46 (2016) and No. 41 (2017) hauls.

 

* Duke continues to make progress under coach David Cutcliffe. The Blue Devils ranked 51st (2015), 60th (2014) and 70th (2013) in recruiting hauls. However, that total jumped to No. 47 in 2017 and No. 33 in 2016.

 

* Utah is another team trending up in the recruiting rankings. The No. 33 class in 2017 was one of the best in program history, and coach Kyle Whittingham inked a No. 36 haul in 2016. The Utes have improved to the No. 45 roster in 2017, up from No. 48 in 2014.

 

* Virginia signed four consecutive top-35 classes from 2011-14. However, the Cavaliers have signed the No. 50, No. 60 and No. 56 hauls over the last three seasons. Virginia’s roster talent average has dropped to 45.4 nationally – down from 37.4 in 2014.

 

* In the top 20 national rosters for 2017, Texas (33) has the fewest amount of wins since 2013. Tennessee (35), Auburn (38), South Carolina (38), Ole Miss (39) and Miami (39) are the next teams behind the Longhorns.

 

* Outside of the top 20 nationally in roster rankings, Stanford (53), Louisville (49), Wisconsin (49), Michigan State (46) and Oklahoma State (45) are the teams with the most overall wins since 2013. 

Event Date: 
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 13:15

More Stories: