Thursday, January 19, 2017

On The Recruiting Front

Perhaps you heard about the New Jersey linebacker recruit who had a scholarship offer yanked by Connecticut coach Randy Edsall. (If not, check out Sally Jenkins' scathing column in the Washington Post HERE.)

Ryan Dickens is a 3.9 student with a well-rounded resume so it shouldn't be a surprise that, according to the Asbury Park Press website . . .
Elon, Syracuse, Fordham, the University of New Hampshire, Columbia, Princeton and Dartmouth and other Colonial Athletic Association schools have all reached out to him, Dickens said.
Speaking of interesting potential recruits, how about Swedish safety Jordan Genmark-Heath, a 3- or 4-star (depending on the service) who prepped in San Diego, seemed to be headed to Cal, is taking an official visit to Notre Dame but is also sitting on an offer from Dartmouth? Find a story about his love affair with American football HERE.

By the way, that story includes this:
The most impressive part of his list of offers is Ivy League schools Harvard, Yale and Columbia as well as other high-academic schools in Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Dartmouth. 
BGA Take: As well as other high-academic schools? Ouch babe.

Something from that story you probably did not know: Sweden has produced seven NFL players.
Still on recruiting . . .

As this space has said many times in the past, it's difficult to rank recruiting classes in the FBS and trying to do so at the FCS level is an exercise in futility. Doing it before Signing Day is silly and including Ivy League classes before they are announced in the spring is even sillier. Keeping all of that in mind, such rankings are like the tabloids at the checkout line in the supermarket. You sneak a look at the headlines out of the corner of your eye and hope no one you know sees you doing it.

That being said, here's how 247Sports ranks Ivy League classes nationally among all of Division I:

116. Yale
121. Harvard
128. Penn
155. Columbia
167. Brown
168. Princeton
179. Dartmouth
NR. Cornell

Here's why that list is bogus: It is built around 15 recruits for Yale, 17 from Harvard, 14 from Penn and 13 from Columbia but includes just four from Dartmouth and Brown. BGA has dug up confirmation on 17 Dartmouth recruits to date and has unconfirmed reports of a handful of others. Factor those recruits in as well as others around the Ivy League and the rankings are guaranteed to change completely.

That said, even when every name is in place it's virtually impossible to rank the classes. Don't believe me? Just ask Ivy League coaches.
More silliness: Hero Sports purports to rank the top 25 FCS commitments. Here are recruits of interest in those rankings with schools that "offered" them in parentheses:

No. 3. Linebacker Micah Awodiran, Yale (Arkansas, BC, Duke, Missouri, Purdue)
No. 7. Offensive lineman Eric Wilson, Harvard (Minnesota, Iowa State)
No. 13. Wide Receiver Niko Rice, Penn (Harvard, Howard, Bryant)
No. 19. Quarterback Connor Degenhardt, Holy Cross
No. 24. Quarterback Ryan Glover, Penn (Minnesota, Colorado State)
No. 25 Offensive Lineman Jack Bowler, Holy Cross (Air Force, Army)

BGA Take: An Ivy League school had the No. 1 ranked FCS recruit in the country several years ago. To be completely candid, he wasn't even the best player on his Ivy League team at his position.
Athlon Sports has a brief story about FCS players in upcoming all-star games. Dartmouth linebacker Flo Orimolade and Cornell punter Chris Fraser get a mention for playing in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and Penn quarterback Alek Torgersen for the East-West Shrine Game.
The Penn Current has a lengthy Q&A with Quaker athletic director Grace Calhoun, a former associate athletic director at Dartmouth. Calhoun in the Current piece:
I was told by the provost that Coach Ray Priore would be stepping in for football at the end of the 2014 season as the head coach, so that was not a decision I can take any credit for, but I knew I had to position him to be successful. Where I really tried to step in was to work with Coach Priore to elevate the offensive and defensive coordinator positions and ensure that he had a top-notch staff. By bringing in two top-notch coordinators, I think we made a very smooth transition to Coach Priore.
Calhoun also says something that will resonate with Dartmouth alums who sometimes question the direction of their school:
I get the question a lot, ‘How do we compete with Harvard, Yale, and Princeton?’ and my answer is, ‘To be Penn.’
We got 4-5 inches of snow here on the mountain earlier this week. Whether they got as much on campus or not, some Dartmouth students aren't ready to give up the idea of a snow sculpture that would help the college, to paraphrase Calhoun, "to be Dartmouth." Check out the story in The Dartmouth.
Speaking of snow, That Certain Dartmouth '14 turned park ranger sent along this picture from her winter working in Yellowstone. Bison, she reports, are smart enough to realize it's easier to get from Point A to Point B via the groomed road than in deep snow.