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UTEP Football's 2015 Recruiting Class One of Worst in Nation

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Do you believe these recruiting services?

Miner Rush

A little stunned by the title? Don't be. Ask any of the experts, including Rivals (Yahoo), 247 (CBS Sports) or ESPN, and they'll tell you that UTEP's recruiting class ranks in the bottom 5-10 of the country.

Actually, ask them about the last ten UTEP recruiting classes and you'll find that all of them were among the "worst in the nation". Truth be told, we could probably go back even farther than that, but of the last ten, only two were rated in the top 90.

So what do we make of this?

Well, you could take it at face value and say that UTEP just can't recruit good players. But, I don't think that's fair to say for a number of different reasons. More importantly though, I think the argument could be made that rankings are just completely flawed all together, and really don't mean a damn thing.

Here's the thing; national recruiting outlets and their rankings are skewed from the start as they rely solely on star ratings given to players by their expert analysts. On the surface, that doesn't seem unreasonable.

However, consider that in the 2012-13 school year, there were more than 1,000,000 high school football players, and the whole thing starts to get a little cloudy.

A major issue with this is that one of the biggest "keys" to determining just "how good" athletes are, is by looking at the level of attention they garner, mainly from bigger programs. While it may not be the only way star ratings are determined, the truth is the more power five offers you have, the higher ranked you will be.

Not every kid out of the 1,000,000 or more prep players in the nation gets the opportunity to attract major offers to be showcased at camps where these services can conduct extensive evaluations, interviews, and other "big stage" tests to clarify rankings.

Thus, players who don't get that attention, and don't receive offers to larger schools, will very rarely find themselves ranked even at a three star level. Someone a little less educated on the subject might not take issue with this, but we don't have to look farther than this year's Super Bowl to see how much stars mean.

There were exactly zero five star players to start in this year's game, while there were 37 ranked three star or lower. The teams' average combined star ranking was 2.35, and both starting quarterbacks were ranked two star or lower.

Enough about the Super Bowl though, let's get back to the flaws in grading. Considering the vast number of athletes who play high school football, its virtually impossible for even the best recruiting sites to know about all of them, much less watch and analyze film in order to assign any grade at all.

Because of this, experts are forced to rely on the word and opinions of those a bit closer to situation. For instance, these sites may get in touch with other smaller recruiting outlets that cover a certain city or region, or they'll rely on sites like MinerRush or Miner Illustrated for information to gain a better grasp on the talent levels of their recruits.

While this might help to get a little better informed on the athletes headed to play ball at those schools, it becomes very subjective and still doesn't provide a true assessment of talent. Moreover, rarely will you find the recruiting sites bumping a players star ranking past two just based on the opinion of a blogger or local recruiter.

So again I ask, what do we make of all this?

Honestly, the answer is who cares. In 2015, not a single program outside of the power 5 conferences was ranked inside the top 60 recruiting classes in the country, and not a single program from inside the power 5 was ranked outside of the top 70.

Even though we have plenty of programs from the power conferences who are regular bottom feeders in the FBS, and plenty from outside who consistently win, somehow the recruiting rankings just don't reflect that.

In 2014, UTEP had ten players that were on NFL rosters. That's more than a number of different big name programs, and all but one school in Conference USA, but yet the Miners' recruiting classes are continually ranked as some of the worst in the country. Doesn't exactly make a ton of sense.

What does makes sense is when teams fill the depth chart and programs needs, i.e UTEP with size and UTSA with 37 signees after losing the same amount of seniors.

Numbers are fine and are always needed, and it's a cool conversion starter to have a three star or two but Sean Kugler said it best when describing what a staff looks for in each class.

"If we can hit on 10-12 guys a year, that's going to elevate this program to new heights." Kugler said. "It's not about star ratings or about what the media thinks about who we've signed. It's about what we think about who we've signed because we're the ones putting the homework into it."

Homework that tells them if the kid has the tools to develop in a system over four or five years which is really when recruiting classes should be ranked and ultimately judged by wins, conference standing, and bowl appearances.