The ACC, SEC, Pac-12, Big East and AAC all held their annual media days this week, with the Big 12 and Big Ten scheduled to follow suit next week. That means we’re seeing a variety of preseason coaches' polls identifying the top teams, players and freshmen in each conference.
From a recruiting perspective, one of the most interesting aspects of the preseason polls is finding the discrepancies between our final ESPN 100 rankings and coaches’ expectations just a few months later.
The reality is that player rankings and preseason polls are projecting two different things, so sometimes the highest-ranked players coming out of high school aren’t the ones coaches expect to make the most immediate impact as college freshmen.
Our ESPN rankings are based on three weighted criteria: NBA potential, projected college impact and high school productivity. Preseason polls are only relevant to the second and have a narrower lens since they’re only considering the upcoming season and not the entire scope of a college career.
The other major difference between final recruit rankings and preseason college polls is the presence of variables. Opportunity and fit, both with style of play and current personnel, are exceptionally important when assessing how impactful freshmen can be in their debut season but aren’t relevant when calculating final rankings coming out of high school.
With those variances in mind, here’s a look at five college freshmen whose immediate impact should exceed their final ESPN 100 ranking in the Class of 2013.