How Accurate are Rivals.com Rankings? (Part II) Rivals Class of 2009

By Jim Liao, Epoch Times
July 23, 2015 3:32 pm Last Updated: July 23, 2015 4:51 pm

In February, the Epoch Times’ How Accurate are Rivals.com Rankings? followed what happened to the Rivals class of 2010 five years after they enrolled in their respective colleges. In this segment, we would like to extend that analysis to Rivals’ 2009 class.

First, we will list the entire 2009 Rivals top 100 with an added column for when the players were drafted, and if they weren’t drafted, their current/last known whereabouts. Afterwards, we will conduct further analysis to access the accuracy of the 2009 rankings.

Rank

Name

Pos

Ht

Wt

College

NFL Draft/ Professional Status

#1

Bryce Brown*

RB

6’0″

215

Tennessee

7th round 2012, Phildelphia Eagles (Now with Buffalo Bills)

#2

Rueben Randle*

WR

6’3″

195

LSU

2nd round 2012, New York Giants

#3

D.J. Fluker*

OL

6’7″

350

Alabama

1st round 2013, San Diego Chargers

#4

Sheldon Richardson*

DT

6’4″

292

Missouri

1st round 2013, New York Jets

#5

Matt Barkley*

QB

6’2″

226

USC

4th round 2013, Philadelphia Eagles

#6

Trent Richardson*

RB

5’11”

210

Alabama

1st round 2012, Cleveland Browns (Now with Oakland Raiders)

#7

Russell Shepard*

QB

6’1″

179

LSU

Undrafted 2013, Currently with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

#8

Devon Kennard*

DE

6’3″

257

USC

5th round 2014, New York Giants

#9

Vontaze Burfict*

LB

6’2″

244

Arizona St.

Undrafted 2012, Currently with Cincinnati Bengals

#10

Jelani Jenkins*

LB

6’2″

220

Florida

4th round 2013, Miami Dolphins

#11

Dre Kirkpatrick*

DB

6’2″

180

Alabama

1st round 2012, Cincinnati Bengals

#12

Manti Te’o*

LB

6’2″

225

Notre Dame

2nd round 2013, San Diego Chargers

#13

Ray Ray Armstrong*

ATH

6’4″

218

Miami (FL)

Undrafted 2013, Currently with Oakland Raiders

#14

Alex Okafor*

DE

6’4″

232

Texas

4th round 2013, Arizona Cardinals

#15

Jacobbi McDaniel*

DT

6’0″

267

Florida St.

Undrafted 2014, Currently with Cleveland Browns

#16

Donte Moss*

DE

6’4″

235

N. Carolina

Undrafted 2012, no NFL team, now with San Jose Sabercats of AFL

#17

Janzen Jackson*

DB

6’0″

174

Tennessee

Undrafted 2012, Currently a free agent – last played for Toronto Argonauts of CFL in 2013. Was rostered by the New York Giants for a little over three months in 2012.

#18

Garrett Gilbert*

QB

6’4″

205

Texas

6th round 2014, St Louis Rams, Currently with Detroit Lions

#19

Patrick Hall*

ATH

6’1″

181

USC

Suspended in 2010 by USC coach Lane Kiffin. Last known to have played for Ventura College in 2013.

#20

Craig Loston*

DB

6’2″

193

LSU

Undrafted, Jacksonville Jaguars

#21

Andre Debose*

WR

6’0″

170

Florida

7th round 2015, Oakland Raiders

#22

Christine Michael*

RB

5’11”

202

Texas A&M

2nd round 2013, Seattle Seahawks

#23

Gary Brown*

DT

6’3″

275

Florida

Dismissed from USC football in 2010 for striking two females at party. No known football activity afterwards.

#24

Darius Winston*

DB

6’0″

180

Arkansas

Undrafted, Last reported to be at Edmonton Camp(CFL). Beforehand, spent some time with Cincinati Bengals and Carolina Panthers.

#25

Chris Davenport*

DT

6’4″

318

LSU

Currently playing for Tulane University

#26

William Campbell*

DT

6’5″

317

Michigan

6th round 2013, New York Jets, Currently with Buffalo Bills (practice squad)

#27

Greg Reid*

DB

5’9″

175

Florida St.

Undrafted 2013. Briefly rostered by St Louis Rams in 2014. Currently with the Jacksonville Sharks (AFL)

#28

Branden Smith*

DB

5’11”

171

Georgia

Undrafted, cut by Buccaneers in 2013, Last known to have tried out for Toronto Argonauts (CFL)

#29

Mason Walters*

OL

6’6″

290

Texas

Currently playing for University of Texas Austin

#30

T.J. McDonald*

DB

6’2″

200

USC

3rd round 2013, Currently with St Louis Rams

#31

Corey Brown*

DB

6’0″

180

Ohio St.

Undrafted 2013, Currently with Carolina Panthers

#32

Nico Johnson*

LB

6’3″

226

Alabama

4th round 2013, Kansas City Chiefs, Currently with Cincinnati Bengals

#33

Dorian Bell*

LB

6’0″

226

Ohio St.

Suspended from Ohio State football in May 2011 for violation of alcohol policy. Last known to have played for Duquesne University.

#34

Willie Downs

ATH

6’2″

192

Florida St.

Last known to have played for Valdosta State University.

#35

Justin Turner

DB

6’2″

186

Michigan

Last known to have played for Walsh University

#36

Jamarkus McFarland

DT

6’3″

280

Oklahoma

Undrafted 2013, Currently free agent. Signed briefly with San Diego Chargers in 2013.

#37

Xavier Nixon

OL

6’6″

263

Florida

Undrafted 2013, Currently with Washington Redskins

#38

Malliciah Goodman

DE

6’4″

255

Clemson

4th round 2013, Atlanta Falcons

#39

Randall Carroll

ATH

5’10”

175

UCLA

Undrafted 2014, Signed briefly with Seattle Seahawks in 2014

#40

David Wilson

RB

5’11”

192

Virginia Tech

1st round 2012, New York Giants

#41

Cliff Harris

DB

6’0″

165

Oregon

Undrafted 2012, Signed briefly with Philadelphia Eagles in 2012 and New York Jets in 2013.

#42

Nick Kasa

DE

6’7″

245

Colorado

6th round 2013, Oakland Raiders. Currently free agent. Was released by Raiders following sophomore season.

#43

Gabe Lynn

DB

6’0″

185

Oklahoma

Undrafted 2014, Signed with Detroit Lions briefly. 

#44

Ronnell Lewis

LB

6’3″

220

Oklahoma

4th round 2012, Detroit Lions, Last played for Los Angeles KISS in 2015(AFL)

#45

Shayne Skov

LB

6’2″

235

Stanford

Undrafted 2014, Currently with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

#46

Aaron Murray

QB

6’0″

198

Georgia

5th round 2014, Kansas City Chiefs

#47

Chris Faulk

OL

6’6″

310

LSU

Undrafted 2013, Briefly signed with Cleveland Browns during 2013-14 season.

#48

Jheranie Boyd

WR

6’2″

184

N. Carolina

Undrafted, no NFL team, Last known to have signed with Jacksonville Sharks in October 2014.

#49

Morgan Moses

OL

6’7″

347

Virginia

3rd round 2013, Washington Redskins

#50

Patrick Patterson

WR

6’3″

215

Mississippi

Dismissed from Mississippi in 2010 for violating team rules.

#51

Tajh Boyd

QB

6’0″

208

Clemson

6th round 2014, New York Jets (Currently with Pittsburgh Steelers)

#52

Marcus Hall

OL

6’5″

290

Ohio St.

Undrafted, signed briefly with the Indianapolis Colts in 2014.

#53

Marlon Brown

WR

6’5″

205

Georgia

Undrafted 2013, Currently with Baltimore Ravens

#54

Zeke Motta

LB

6’2″

207

Notre Dame

7th round 2013, Atlanta Falcons. Currently a free agent.

#55

Calvin Howell

DT

6’4″

280

Texas

Last known to have planned to transfer from Texas in February 2012.

#56

Jaamal Berry

RB

5’10”

185

Ohio St.

Last known to have played with Murray State University.

#57

Edwin Baker

RB

5’10”

204

Michigan St.

7th round 2012, San Diego Chargers (Currently with New Orleans Saints)

#58

Terry Hawthorne

WR

6’0″

168

Illinois

5th round 2013, Pittsburgh Steelers

#59

Michael Ford

RB

5’10”

200

LSU

Undrafted 2013, Currently with Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL). Signed briefly with Chicago Bears following 2013 draft.

#60

Tyrik Rollison

QB

6’2″

185

Auburn

Last known to have played for Texas A&M University in 2014.

#61

Ryne Giddins

DE

6’4″

235

South Florida

Last known to have rejoined Tampa Bay Storm (AFL) in May 2015.

#62

Orson Charles

WR

6’2″

230

Georgia

4th round 2012, Cincinnati Bengals (Currently with New Orleans Saints)

#63

Xavier Su’a Filo

OL

6’4″

285

UCLA

2nd round 2014, Houston Texans

#64

Jon Bostic

LB

6’1″

218

Florida

2nd round 2013, Chicago Bears

#65

Rodney Smith

WR

6’6″

202

Florida St.

Undrafted 2013, Currently with Cleveland Browns.

#66

Michael Philipp

OL

6’3″

320

Oregon St.

Undrafted. Was rostered by the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins in 2014.  

#67

Tana Patrick

LB

6’3″

215

Alabama

Undrafted, spent time with the Chicago Bears at some point.

#68

Nu’Keese Richardson

WR

5’8″

151

Tennessee

Undrafted, signed with Colts for two days in December 2014, but was arrested for Felony charges.

#69

Garrett Porter

OL

6’6″

308

Texas

Undrafted, was looking to do music after college.

#70

Demonte McAllister

DE

6’3″

263

Florida St.

Undrafted, Signed briefly with Seattle Seahawks in May 2014.

#71

Logan Thomas

TE

6’6″

233

Virginia Tech

4th round 2014, Arizona Cardinals

 

#72

Jarvis Jones

DE

6’3″

226

USC

1st round 2013, Pittsburgh Steelers

#73

Justin Chaisson

DE

6’4″

252

Oklahoma

Was arrested on multiple charges in 2009. Withdrew from OU in 2010.

#74

Jamie Wood

DB

6’2″

190

Ohio St.

Left Ohio State football due to shoulder injuries in 2012.

#75

Bryce McNeal

WR

6’2″

170

Clemson

Last known to have played for Louisville University.

#76

Cierre Wood

RB

6’0″

192

Notre Dame

Undrafted 2013, Last played for Seattle Seahawks as practice squad member in 2014

#77

Chris Watt

OL

6’3″

280

Notre Dame

3rd round 2014, San Diego Chargers

#78

Kevin Brent

DB

5’11”

196

Oklahoma

Last known to have transferred out of OU in 2011.

#79

Jerod Askew

LB

6’0″

230

Tennessee

Dismissed from Tennessee in 2011.

#80

Lamar Miller

RB

5’11”

205

Miami (FL)

4th round 2012, Miami Dolphins

#81

Chris Burnette

OL

6’2″

300

Georgia

Undrafted 2013, Signed briefly with Miami Dolphins following 2013 draft. Currently free agent.

#82

Justin Green

DB

5’10”

178

Illinois

Undrafted 2013, currently with New England Patriots

#83

Donavan Tate

ATH

6’2″

205

N. Carolina

Currently with the San Diego Padres of Minor league baseball.

#84

Stephon Gilmore

ATH

6’1″

180

South Carolina

1st round 2012, Buffalo Bills

#85

David Barrent

OL

6’8″

290

Michigan St.

Left Michigan St. in 2011 due to lower back problems.

#86

Kevin Graf

OL

6’6″

301

USC

Undrafted 2014, currently with Philadelphia Eagles practice squad.

#87

Damario Jeffery

ATH

6’3″

215

South Carolina

Out of football. Spent some time as athlete intern for USC, currently grad student (Linkedin)

#88

Eric Shrive

OL

6’7″

302

Penn St.

Currently sales consultant in Pennsylvania (Linkedin)

#89

Corey Adams

DT

6’3″

277

Arizona St.

Currently Grad student (Linkedin)

#90

Duron Carter

WR

6’2″

183

Ohio St.

Undrafted 2013, currently with Indianapolis Colts

#91

Chris Whaley

ATH

6’3″

232

Texas

Last known to have tried out with Dallas Cowboys in May 2015.

#92

Brandon McGee

DB

5’11”

186

Miami (FL)

5th round 2013, St. Louis Rams

#93

DeOnte Arnett

DE

6’3″

243

Maryland

Currently in real estate (linkedin)

#94

Fletcher Cox

DE

6’4″

240

Mississippi St.

1st round 2012, Philadelphia Eagles

#95

Abry Jones

DT

6’3″

273

Georgia

Undrafted 2013, currently with Jacksonville Jaguars

#96

Morrell Presley

WR

6’4″

215

UCLA

Signed briefly with Seattle Seahawks in July 2014.

#97

David Oku

RB

5’10”

186

Tennessee

Last known to have played for Arkansas State university.

#98

Byron Moore

DB

6’0″

188

USC

Last known to have played for the University of Tennessee.

#99

Alshon Jeffery

WR

6’3″

214

South Carolina

2nd round 2012, Chicago Bears

#100

John Martinez

OL

 6’2”  264  USC

Undrafted, Last known to have signed with Portland Thunder(AFL) in July 2014, no NFL team

* = Five star recruit

How Accurate are Rivals Rankings for the Class of 2009?

In our analysis, we want to see if there’s a correlation between:

1. Rivals ranking and likelihood of being drafted into the NFL.

2. Rivals ranking and likelihood of becoming a mainstay NFL player.

To do this, we broke the list of 100 players into three tiers. Players ranked #1-33 make up tier 1, and these are the five star recruits. Players ranked 34-67 are the first half of four star recruits, and players 68-100 are the second half of four star recruits in this sample of 100 players. We will then observe how many players were drafted into the NFL and how many players are mainstay NFL players for each tier.

We make a point of mainstay NFL players because sometimes a drafted player is ousted from the league rather quickly. Other times, undrafted players become a major coup. There are also many players who latch on to a team as exclusively offseason players, but they are usually cut once the season begins. Players tagged with a ‘briefly signed’ under their description in the above table are usually of this variety. So by ‘mainstay NFL players’, we are precisely referring to NFL players that don’t fall into this category. In other words, we are referring to players that have long term value on NFL rosters, though of course their caliber can still vary. If we assume that Rivals rankings are accurate, the amount of players should decrease by tier for both variables. Here’s what we found:

Fraction of Players Drafted

Tier 1: 5-Star Recruits 17/33
Tier 2: 4-Star Recruits (ranked 34 through 67) 14/34
Tier 3: 4-Star Recruits (ranked 68 through 100)

8/33

Fraction of Mainstay NFL Players

Tier 1 22/33
Tier 2 16/34
Tier 3 11/33

Notice that for both variables, there is a decrease in the number of players by tier, or as the ranking gets lower. This seems to contradict some of the sentiment out there that rankings given out by Rivals and other recruiting agencies are unreliable and merely speculation.

But actually, what people mean when they say to take Rivals rankings with a grain of salt is that a lot of elite NFL players were not high ranking recruits. In other words, in regards to the players who do make it to the NFL, there is little correlation between Rivals ranking and talent level. Next, to analyze this, we charted the distribution of players by round drafted for each tier (using the general assumption that higher drafted players are more talented).

downloadfinal2

And indeed we see that there isn’t a great difference in distribution across rounds between the three tiers. If we are to really get technical, the difference is not statistically significant. This is for talent level coming out of college. For the professional level, just glancing through the top 100 list we find current elite players at the top of the list (#4 Sheldon Richardson, #9 Vontaze Burfict) as well as at the bottom of the list (#94 Fletcher Cox, #99 Alshon Jeffery).

Therefore, at least from our analysis of the 2009 as well as 2010 class, we’d like to conclude that Rivals rankings are accurate to the point that they can predict likelihood of making it into the NFL, but not caliber of player within the NFL.