What about the 3-stars? Let’s give them some attention.

Every year college football fans go bananas over blue-chip recruits (guilty). However, it isn’t uncommon for those unheralded three-star recruits to turn into a special player. For us Florida fans, we have had a bunch- Antonio Callaway, Jarrad Davis, etc. That aside, the reality is that blue-chip recruits are fairly rare. In 2019 there were a total of 383 blue-chips, that ultimately ended up at 54 different colleges. I took an in-depth look at those, and those findings will be finished sometime soon. But in the middle of that study, I got curious about the three-stars.

I took a sample of 1,225 three-star recruits from the 2019 class. There were more, but that was enough. They were the top-rated group that had committed to a school according to the 247 Composite website. In my blue-chip study, I was looking at overall migration patterns- where do the BCs come from and where do they go, etc. I started by doing the same thing for the 3s. Here is a map of where this sample came from (of note, 5 of them came from Canada, not depicted):

3star home state

This is a map of where these recruits ended up. This gives you a general idea of where they end up going to school.

3star destination

As you can see, a lot of Florida’s 3-stars leave the state. 165 (first map) are from Florida, but only 75 (second map) committed to schools in Florida, about 45%. This is a net loss of 3-stars of 55%. Keep in mind those that committed aren’t necessarily from Florida- that is just the gross number.

The overall average for recruits to leave their home state is 66%. 2019 5-stars left their home state 65% of the time, 4-stars 67%, and 3-stars left 67% of the time as well.  However, for the state of Florida, 118 of their 165 3-stars committed to schools out of state- 72%. A bit higher than average. In this metric, Florida ranked number one:

departure chart

The average rating for the group is .8490. These players committed to 163 different schools. I was also curious as to how good Florida’s 3s rated compared to everyone else. I took the average rating and then standardized each school’s 3s ratings compared to the other schools in the sample. I then removed schools that have 2 or fewer three-stars; schools like Monmouth, Prairie View A&M, Alabama, and Stony Brook. Because they have so few of the 3s, their averages wouldn’t really change, and I wanted to rank the teams by average rating. Here are the top 20 teams for best 3-star recruits:

3s Class Rk School N 3 stars Avg Rating Std. score
1 Oregon 12 0.8792 2.370
2 Auburn 6 0.8760 2.121
3 Clemson 14 0.8749 2.031
4 LSU 7 0.8748 2.027
5 Oklahoma 5 0.8742 1.978
6 Florida 8 0.8736 1.935
7 Georgia 3 0.8723 1.833
8 Michigan 10 0.8722 1.819
9 Nebraska 19 0.8716 1.778
10 Texas 7 0.8696 1.621
11 Washington 7 0.8696 1.619
12 South Carolina 15 0.8673 1.441
13 Tennessee 9 0.8673 1.440
14 Notre Dame 6 0.8667 1.388
15 Florida State 10 0.8660 1.336
16 Arkansas 14 0.8659 1.327
17 Wisconsin 17 0.8651 1.268
18 TCU 18 0.8645 1.221
19 Ohio State 5 0.8640 1.179
20 Texas A&M 11 0.8627 1.079

The Gators sit at 6th overall. Their 3-star recruits are almost 2 full standard deviations above the mean (“Std. score”). If you’re going to get some three stars, might as well be good ones. Florida’s success recruiting good 3-stars is not an indicator (to me) of recruiting failure. Mullen is doing an excellent job of stocking the roster with blue-chip talent, especially compared to his predecessors:


With Florida landing a top 10 class this year and on track to have an even better class next year, Florida will be just fine on talent. Go Gators.

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