I had wanted to do this post back when we lost to Louisville as an addition to Kevin's post after the Rutgers game. But between laziness and general lack of time it took me a while to put it together.
Now that he is gone I better get this out there or all my work will be useless.
On to the analysis after the jump!
As everyone has heard over the last few years, we rank dead last in recruiting in the Big East nearly every year. However, it is somewhat understandable because we haven't been D1 long and Storrs isn't the most exciting place to go to. Despite these negatives, I think someone who is a good recruiter and has shown some success at this level should be able to start bringing in better recruits. I would expect a rise in recruiting over the past few years with our bowl wins, record, and players going to the NFL. At least that is what I would expect from a good recruiter.
Most everything I have seen on this topic has been overall team rankings, which is a subjective analysis on top of subjective analyses of thousands of high school players. So I decided to strip away the subjective team analysis and only focus on the players because although it is subjective, a group of 3 star players is more likely to be better than a group of 2 star players. The best chance of consistent success is to have more players with higher ranking.
The charts below are based upon the ratings posted on Rivals.com for the years 2004-2010 (what was available). Rivals has the star ratings going back to 2002, so I posted those as well. On to the charts!
First up is the number of 2 star and 3 star recruits that have come to UConn over the years. As I mentioned before, if Edsall was a good recruiter, the number of 3 star recruits should be going up since he has been successful at UConn.
Based on this, I guess you can say he's been picking up a few more 3 star players since he began, which is good. We have also had two 4 star recruits in Edsall's tenure (This guy and some guy named Jarrell Miller who didn't see the field).
I was somewhat encouraged at the time I made the graph that perhaps Edsall was finally parlaying his success into bringing in better talent. But since the art of ranking is highly subjective and players can only be 1 of 5 options I thought it would be better to instead use the average Rivals Rating of the players for each year back to 2004. I like this better because the rating is from 4.9-6.1 with 0.1 increments, which means players can be 1 of 13 options (Rivals has a description of their rating system here.)
This chart got me much more excited about Randy's recruiting abilities as a coach. There has been a clear increase in this rating over the years. However, as I have mentioned multiple times this is a very subjective system (which is why I really don't like it that much, but is the best available tool for doing this evaluation) and it's possible that as a whole, Rivals may be trending upwards as they have increased the number people they have available to make these rankings. I decided the best way to get an idea if this may be true would be to compare UConn to the rest of the Big East.
This one is my favorite now that Edsall is gone :). Because as you can clearly see, he has done absolutely NOTHING to improve his overall recruiting in the last six years. I do not think EVERY team in the Big East has actually been bringing in better recruits on average in the last six years. I just think it's an inherent flaw in the system as I mentioned before.
Edsall is in fact a horrendous recruiter and in that regard I am glad he is gone because he has not shown any ability to bring in a large volume of good talent. Yes, I know people are going to shout D. Brown, Butler, and Branch at me. But to really compete consistently and at a high level in college football, you have to bring in highly rated players. Edsall is a great coach at developing players and finding diamonds in the rough, but all that will get you in the long run is a lucky BCS berth as an 8-4 team in a mediocre conference. If we truly want to take the next step, we have to be willing to spend the money and hire a coach and actually PAY his assistants (I posted a comment about our assistant coaches pay in Justin's frontpage Fanshot about Fulmer's interest in UConn.)
If he had stayed, my final opinion would have been more optimistic that he might finally be able to bring in recruits using our BCS berth as leverage, but he left so I now believe this: I hope you enjoy more 8-4, 7-5 seasons Maryland, because I feel pretty confident in saying that that is probably all you will get with Edsall.