Recruiting is a hot topic for college football fans. And for good reason, the acquisition of talent is one key aspect to winning football games. When it comes to Florida coach Dan Mullen, there is a general notion that he is a great coach but so-so recruiter. While he hasn’t recruited an elite class yet, he also hasn’t been in position to. At Mississippi State, it can be very difficult to recruit top players. While that isn’t the case at Florida, he has only been there for one full recruiting cycle.
As always, I like to test talking points and narratives to see not only if they are true or not, but to what degree is there some truth. So I took a look at MSU and Florida’s recruiting before and after Dan Mullen arrived. In each situation, he improved the school’s recruiting measures significantly by the two metrics that matter most- average class talent rating and blue chip (4 and 5 star recruits) percentage.
In the above chart, you can see that the five years before Mullen arrived at MSU, the average blue chip percentage (BC%) was 9% overall and the talent rating was 80.41. With Dan, it increased to 17% and 85.84. At Florida, previous coach Jim McElwein had an overall BC% of 34% and rating of 88.36. Using Mullen’s first year and current 2019 class (that will assuredly change), he has a BC% of 61% and rating of 90.21. Of note, McElwein had a good class lined up for 2018, but losing a bunch of games (among other things) got him fired.
Being that Mullen elevated MSU to higher levels of recruiting during his time there, and has already done that at Florida, it appears as if he can recruit after all. We can only wait and see if Mullen can reel in top 5 classes consistently at Florida, but he is clearly trending in the right direction so far, and I would expect that trend to continue.
There is no doubt that UF recruited at an extremely high level under Meyer and Muschamp. So how does Dan compare to these guys? Pretty good actually:
Meyer had a talent average of 90.69 compared to 90.21 for Mullen and a BC% of 65% to Mullen’s 61%. Champ had a 92.16 and 56% BC%. This is quite telling… Mullen with an admittedly small sample size is in the same territory as the great recent recruiters at UF. You can see also how highly ranked Meyer and Muchamp’s classes were. This probably indicates a general shift in recruiting rating, which is why standardizing scores may be important for analysis (not done here). At a glance, however, it seems as if Mullen is doing just fine bring talent to Gainesville. And he should probably get some credit for the great classes Meyer had since he was the Offensive Coordinator at the time.