Top 5 recruiting underachievers

Texas, USC among teams whose records fail to live up to recruiting talent

Updated: January 23, 2014, 5:19 PM ET
By Brian Fremeau | ESPN Insider

Texas DefenseBrendan Maloney/SA TODAY SportsThe Longhorns have greatly underachieved in recent seasons relative to their talent.

National signing day is only two weeks away, and many of the top college football programs are on track to reload their rosters with another fleet of talented recruits. The Alabama Crimson Tide are at the top of the current RecruitingNation class rankings on ESPN Insider and the defending national champions, the Florida State Seminoles, aren't far behind.

Dominant college football performances have traditionally gone hand-in-hand with strong recruiting hauls, especially when we take a multiyear view of recruiting rankings. We calculate program recruiting rankings as part of our Football Outsiders team projections. These five-year weighted measures of team recruiting profiles match up well with five-year measures of team performance. Thirteen teams currently ranked in the top 20 in our current Program FEI ratings (possession efficiency over the past five seasons) also ranked among the top 20 in program recruiting in the same span.

On Wednesday, we took a look at teams that overachieved on the field over the past three seasons relative to the talent they managed to accumulate on the recruiting trail. But what about the underachievers? To identify those programs, we took a look at teams with top-level recruiting profiles and calculated their success rates in games in which they had a talent advantage. Not surprisingly, two of those underachieving teams made a recent coaching change.

Here are the five teams that have underperformed expectations the most over the past three years.


1. Texas Longhorns

Average program recruiting rank: Third | Program FEI rank: 22nd
Losses from 2011-13 as more talented team: 13


To see the rest of the teams that have underachieved in recruiting, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com