What kind of recruiting does it actually take to win a College Football National Championship?

The recruiting data behind the last 13 College Football National Champions shows you need one of two things...

In the past, recruiting services were not as up-to-date on analysis of high school football players.

Enter the age of the internet.

It was almost impossible to find some “diamonds in the rough” back in the 90s, and sites like Scout and Rivals were still just beginning to figure things out back in the early 2000s.

But with the internet, people are able to spread the word about great players much more easily, and it’s not as difficult to determine who are the best high school athletes.

As recruiting rankings have legitimized over the years, there has been a shift in who has the capabilities of winning a national championship and who doesn’t.

2005 is when recruiting services really got on top of things and figured out who was legit and who was not.

It is true that 21 of the last 22 national champions in college football have had at least 2 Top 10 classes in the 4 recruiting classes leading up to their national championship, but those rankings are affected majorly by the number of players.  The real data is in 247sports.com’s points system.

For example, for the 2019 recruiting class, BYU is currently ranked #9 and Alabama is currently ranked #10.  Take a look at how they got to this point:

Alabama only has 4 players committed: one 5 star, and three 4 stars.  BYU, on the other hand, has two 4 stars, and six 3 stars.  So the points are closer than the number of players, because Alabama has better players committed, but BYU has more of them.

I have gone through and figured out the 4 year average point ranking of the last 13 national champions, dating back to Texas in 2005.  This is what it looks like:

From all of that date, the average 4 year recruiting points is 278.5969.

From there, I determined the most overall talented to least overall talented teams to win the last 13 national championships, based on those recruiting rankings:

Of those 13 teams, the lowest overall talented teams were the following:

  • 2010 Auburn
  • 2005 Texas
  • 2016 Clemson

All 3 of those teams had a transcendent talent at QB.

  • 2010 Auburn – Cam Newton
  • 2005 Texas – Vince Young
  • 2016 Clemson – Deshaun Watson

A transcendent talent at QB can make up the difference between more talent and an average team, as those teams did.  Obviously, you still have to have talent all over the field, but those teams all beat more talented teams thanks to super-human efforts at the QB position.

Later this week, we will dig into what teams have the best opportunity to win a national championship this season, based on what we’ve learned from the past few seasons.


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About Gary Segars 601 Articles
Gary began his first website in 1998 as a sophomore in high school, writing reviews of cds and live shows in the Memphis area. He became editor of his college newspaper, then moved towards a career in music.He started the infamous MemphisTider.com blog during the 2006 football season, and was lucky enough to get into blogging just before the coaching search that landed Nick Saban at Alabama. The month and a half long coaching search netted his site, which was known for tracking airplanes, over 1 million hits in less than 90 days. The website introduced Gary to tons of new friends, including Nico and Todd, who had just started the site RollBamaRoll.com.After diving into more than just Alabama news, Gary started up his first installment of WinningCuresEverything.com in 2012. After keeping the site quiet for a while, it was started back up in April 2016. Gary then joined forces with high school friend Chris Giannini and began a podcast during the 2016 football season that runs at least 2 times a week, focusing on college football, NFL football, and sports wagering, and diving into other sports and pop-culture topics.E-mail: gary@winningcureseverything.com Twitter: @GaryWCE