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Rivals and Scout Release National Rankings; Most of World Not Sure Why It Matters

Every year in June, the recruiting services Rivals and Scout--confederations of college-team-specific fanzines organized by grown men who spend all of their time watching video tapes of high-school kids and writing trite tripe like "the 6'6" 275-pounder"--publish initial rankings of the top 100 prep high-school football players in the nation. The ranking process is certainly not a science, and there is something demeaning to the Giottos and Warhols of the world to describe it as an art. Thus, let's settle on calling the rankings an inexact something.

This week, both services released their rankings for the class of 2007, and the discrepancy in some rankings is illustrative of the unavoidably arbitrary nature of this exercise:

Michigan recruiting fans will immediately notice that headlining recruit Ryan Mallett was conferred with five stars, the highest rating, by both services. To the extent that the rankings mean anything (and generally, the top-rated kids go on to collegiate success), suffice it to say, Mallett is a very good quarterback. Fans will also notice that a number of prominent names commonly bandied about in discussions of Michigan recruiting targets are also on these lists (with Rivals and then Scout rankings):
  • DT Joseph Barksdale (*****, #17; NR)
  • DB Ronald Johnson (*****, #20; *****, #28)
  • DB Dionte Allen (****, #33; NR)
  • OT Lee Ziemba (****, #37; *****, #35)
  • DB Eugene Clifford (****, #28; NR)
  • DE Martez Wilson (*****, #21; *****, #18)
  • DB Marshall Jones (****, #54; ****, #60)
  • DB Marcus Gilchrist (****, #61; NR)
  • RB Robert Hughes (****, #80; NR)
  • DB/LB Lorenzo Edwards (NR; ****, #53)
  • WR Toney Clemons (NR; ****, #85)
There are other names as well, and it's still so early in recruiting that the list of prominent targets will surely change, but this group has been consistently discussed for several months, some even as far back as last fall. Among this group, it is thought that Michigan will have a legitimate chance to sign all of these players, with Ziemba, Allen, Johnson, and Hughes the most likely Wolverines. After them, Wilson, Barksdale, Jones, and Clemons comprise the next group of most likely Wolverines.

Take a look at the lists and maybe leave some feedback. I would love to have a discussion about recruiting targets if it interests others.