To sum it up, the state of the program from a talent standpoint is strong but the leading indicator (recruiting) has clearly peaked and from a people/leadership standpoint, there are major questions now that Pete is gone.
Recruiting clearly peaked when Pete quit. The 2019 class was outstanding. 15 blue chip guys. 17 guys rated +88 or better. If we could have replicated that in 20 & 21, that would be the path to at least being an Oklahoma. A clear top 7 program in the hunt every year.
The 2020 class as of the December signing day was #1 in the league by the points method. But we ended with nothing. Had it got a big bump at the end (like in 2018 & 2019 classes) then it would have been very close to the 2019 class. (How big was getting Puka at the last minute?).
Other than keeping the entire 2020 class, almost everything has been a disaster. The new assistants we hired do not appear to be strong recruiters. We already have Jimmy & Will Harris so the replacement for Jimmy should have been a big gun recruiter. We held onto two coaches (Boner & Gregory) who are not even close to average recruiters. No top 20 program would have kept those guys.
Let the OC hire play out on the field but the perception and optics of the hire are a total disaster and that’s reflected in recruiting. Failed to close KJ Costello, which would have been a huge get. I think we get him with a known name OC hire (Kellen Moore definitely). Emeka is gone and Troy Franklin seemed to be very close to committing, but now we’ll have to fight off Oregon.
The only hope right now is that Donovan turns out to be a positive surprise, we get back to 2016-2018 levels of contention in 20 & 21 seasons, recruiting bounces back and Jimmy cuts the dead weight.
The roster is strong and will remain so as the 2018-2020 classes cycle through. But recruiting is THE leading indicator for on-field performance and it is trending down. A big reason for this is Pete was our brand and he was our best recruiter. This is why it’s so vital to cut the dead weight and increase our recruiting prowess.
The larger issue is we haven’t had a brand for 20 years and our AD is totally inept and clueless from the top down. A few years ago we could have brought in a real winner from the outside to clean house and commit to excellence. If you think the department sucks, that falls on Jen Cohen. Their #1 concern is money and that’s why many think Jimmy was handcuffed to a degree. If that’s true, they pissed away a chance to get Costello and have an epic 21 class.
The mediocre excellence-avoiding stench of the AD is also reflected in much of the fanbase. The idea that we should just be happy with 8-9 wins and can’t improve recruiting or will never win a NC is totally false. Jesus Christ, just 3 seasons ago this team before Mathis went down was playing at as high of a level as any Pac-12 team since USC 08. By MOV in league games it was the 2nd best Pac team since USC 08. It was 60 minutes from the NC game!
In 247 average rating, we have had the #1 class over the past 3 years! Yes, its by a cunt hair but we’ve never done that before. And that was with some dead weight recruiters.
There is simply no justification for the low standards. People fight this by arguing against the outcomes, not against the action or process. Why not have the highest standards and try to win a NC? Because it’s too hard? Because we are not in a talent hotbed like the South or so-cal?