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Why it matters Michigan is in the top-10 for talent for the 4th consecutive year

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Michigan is a top-10 ranked team for the fourth straight year, according to 247Sports. Why does this matter?

Dustin Johnston/Maize N Brew

College football is a big business, there’s no denying that. The teams that made it in the four-team College Football Playoff all first created success on the recruiting trail the last several years.

Football recruiting is a crazy and sometimes unpredictable process. Kids get offers, take visits, determine the best opportunity for them and the program hopes they contribute to their future success.

The Rankings

Each year, high school football players get graded by various recruiting sites, and one of the largest is 247Sports. Their site not only generates a star rating for players based on their experts, but also a composite rating that gives an average combining the other sites that rank players. When you recruit the best players, it likely leads to future success.

247Sports released their college football team rankings based on talent, and the Big Ten has two in the top 10.

No. 1 Ohio State

No. 8 Michigan (No. 7 in 2017, No. 8 in 2016, No. 9 2015)

Here’s what the story said about the talent ranking.

“A feature at 247Sports that looks at the rosters of every FBS team, accounting for transfers, dismissals and graduation, and ranks them based on how their players ranked in high school.

“Yes, some players don’t live up to that hype and some outperform expectations. But for the most part, the Team Talent rankings track the rosters that are most-ready to win championships.”

Its not a surprise the Buckeyes are on top with two SEC teams (Alabama and Georgia) right behind them.

Championships lead to success, but a CFP appearance can happen without roster ranked in the top-20

Let’s take a deeper dive and recap the last few years of the College Football Playoff and who got in, but where they ranked in the 247Sports talent rankings.

2018

Alabama — No. 1

Georgia — No. 3

Clemson — No. 6

Oklahoma — No. 11

2017

Alabama — No. 1

Ohio State — No. 2

Clemson — No. 9

Washington — No. 24

2016

Alabama — No. 1

Clemson — No. 5

Oklahoma — No. 18

Michigan State — No. 22

2015

Alabama — No. 1

Ohio State — No. 3

Florida State — No. 4

Oregon — No. 20

What else is surprising is USC and LSU have been in the top-seven all four years and still does not have a CFP appearance.

The Five-Star Recruit Distribution

Five-star recruits are the select group most schools line up wanting to sell their pitch about why they should come to their school. Obviously, Alabama has developed championships lately and it’s helping on the recruiting trail.

Michigan currently has two five-stars in the 2019 class. The story mentioned the amount of five-stars and where they’ve ended up since 2015.

“There are only 28 teams nationally with a five-star recruit, and that’s not surprising. Top recruits are always going to go to only a small percentage of FBS programs. The shocking thing about those numbers is the percentage of those athletes who ended up at just six schools.”

Michigan is not one of those schools, but that doesn’t mean it has not produced solid recruiting classes the last four years, as 247Sports points out.

Why DOES it matter for Michigan to have a top-10 talented team?

The data above proves you don’t need to be in the top-five, or even the top-20, to make the CFP. Instead, it’s all about how the talent is developed in college and who peaks at the right time.

Jim Harbaugh and his staff have developed a winning program, which at the time of his arrival was at a very low point in its 100+ years of existence.

As Harbaugh said at Big Ten Media Day, “Improvement will lead to success, will lead to championships.” Michigan is a team that could be the next Alabama over the next 10-15 years, and there aren’t many on that list, in my opinion.

If a Big Ten Championship doesn’t happen in the next couple years, Michigan will still land good recruits, knowing they will have a great opportunity to develop while earning a Michigan degree, but also a shot at moving on to the NFL.

Michigan’s fan base wants to see results on the field and win against their rivals, but also compete for Big Ten Championships and the College Football Playoff. The talent and coaching staff is trending in the right direction; it’s just a matter of peaking at the right time when it matters most in games that determine the conference and the CFP.