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College Football/ Texas- Turning Talent into Wins

When you define what the true job of a college football coach is at its simplest, I would say it is this:


A coach is responsible for recruiting great talent and developing that talent to win games.


So let's compare how the coaches did in 2023. All of the following data is from Rivals.com recruiting rankings data and the records from college football reference. The following table will have five sections:

  1. The current 2024 recruiting rankings as of last night

  2. The 2021-2023 recruiting rankings aggregate

  3. The 2023 transfer rankings

  4. The 2023 total talent (sum of 2 and 3)

  5. The 2023 regular season record


The rank in each section is the left most column.

Recruiting

The table above is sorted for the top 60 in total talent.


This total talent score does NOT account for the players that left a team before the 2023 season. It is meant more to describe the core talent base that SHOULD have been available for the coaches in 2023. (There are no rivals 2022 transfer talent rankings available.) We are focused on the role of the coach here. It is his job to get the talent to the school and then turn that talent into wins. If players leave, it would theoretically negatively impact the ability to win. Not all players leaving are created equal as well. Some are critical to producing wins and some are not.


By this method, Texas ranks 9th in total talent as defined in their recruiting rankings. The Longhorns are 5th in recruiting and were not in the top 100 in 2023 transfers. The Longhorns have been less dependent on the transfer portal than most because they have had such great recruiting for the past three years.


Texas Recruiting Rankings

2021- 16th

2022- 5th

2023- 3rd


Not only have they acquired that talent, but they have also developed it and generally retained it. The Longhorns success in acquiring talent is reflected in these scores.


Oh, and Texas currently ranks 3rd in the Rivals 2024 team recruiting rankings too. The core talent base is improving.


So, who did well and who struggled to turn talent into wins?

Talent

Teams like Liberty, SMU, Washington, Oregon St., NC State, Kansas State, and Arizona have talent rankings at the lower fourth of our list but have exceeded in putting that talent into wins. Most of these coaches are highly regarded and maybe this shows you why.


It really should not be understated how good of a coaching job Kalen DeBoer and his staff have done with less talent. Liberty has also done incredibly well but that may also be due to a weak CUSA conference.


The Texas staff ranks 22nd out of the 63 teams.


The schools who have fired their coaches are shown in black and as shown have done poorly turning talent to wins. Several other teams at the bottom of this list have coaches reported to be most on the hot seat- Baylor, Arkansas, and Florida.


The Texas A&M Aggies had a top four talent ranked team and was 52nd out of 63 teams at turning that talent into wins.


One can see that the different staffs have differing priorities. Here is how the CFP top 25 breakdown portal rankings vs. recruiting rankings.


top25

Texas joins Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio St., Notre Dame, and Clemson in emphasizing recruiting and doing very well in acquiring talent.


Overall, the Texas Longhorns have acquired one of the top talent bases in college football. They continue to excel in recruiting for the 2024 class. The Texas coaching staff has also done a very good job relative to others in college football in developing that talent and turning it into wins. The data for your team may be here too.


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