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June 15, 2014

Analysis: Stanford's offer strategy



With Stanford's annual week of summer football camps set to begin tomorrow, the 2015 recruiting cycle has officially hit full gear. As the Cardinal dives into a critical period in their evaluation of potential recruits, now seems like an appropriate time to analyze how Stanford approaches extending scholarship offers - and how their approach differs from many of their competitors.

Stanford has developed a reputation for being thorough in its evaluations and slow to offering prospects in recent years. Statistics from the 2014 and 2015 recruiting cycle confirm that is the case.

Even after extending eight new offers to 2015 prospects last week, Stanford has offered only 64 prospects in the class. That's the fewest of its recruiting competitors, who include fellow Pac-12 schools, AP Top 25 programs, and Top-50 U.S. News and World Reports institutions.

2015 offers extended by final 2013 AP Top 25*

1) Florida State: 178
2) Auburn: 151
3) Michigan State: 129
4) South Carolina: 150
5) Missouri: 133
6) Oklahoma: 127
7) Alabama: 202
8) Clemson: 191
9) Oregon: 101
10) UCF: 151
11) Stanford: 64
12) Ohio State: 197
13) Baylor: 79
14) LSU: 138
15) Louisville: 300
16) UCLA: 135
17) Oklahoma State: 71
18) Texas A&M: 100
19) USC: 97
20) Arizona State: 194
21) Notre Dame: 164
22) Wisconsin: 237
23) Duke: 198
24) Vanderbilt: 87
25) Washington: 102

2015 offers by Pac-12 institution

Arizona: 108
Arizona State: 194
Cal: 167
Colorado: 119
Oregon: 101
Oregon State: 145
Stanford: 64
UCLA: 135
USC: 97
Utah: 172
Washington: 102
Washington State: 181

2015 offers by top-50 US News & World Reports National University Ranking

No. 5 Stanford: 64
No. 7 Duke: 198
No. 12 Northwestern: 103
No. 17 Vanderbilt: 87
No. 19 Notre Dame: 164
No. 20 Cal: 167
No. 23 UCLA: 135
No. 23 USC: 97
No. 23 Virginia: 185
No. 23 Wake Forest: 202
No. 28 Michigan: 105
No. 30 North Carolina: 165
No. 31 Boston College: 198
No. 36 Georgia Tech: 211
No. 37: Penn State: 135
No. 41 Illinois: 248
No. 41 Wisconsin: 237
No. 47 Miami: 236
No. 49 Florida: 203

Stanford's caution in offering prospects is a recent trend. As Stanford football has evolved into one of nation's top programs, the program's strategy in extending scholarship offers has changed drastically. Particularly towards the end of Jim Harbaugh's tenure as Stanford head coach, the Cardinal flooded the nation's top academically inclined prospects with offers.

In 2010, for instance, Harbaugh and co. offered 229 prospects for a 22-player class. The previous year, in 2009, the Cardinal offered 126 and signed 22.

But in the 2014 recruiting cycle, the Cardinal extended 84 scholarships and signed a class of 20 players; that's an average of 4.2 scholarships extended per signee. Stanford's 84 offers were the fewest of any Pac-12 school and any program that finished last year in the AP Top 25; the Cardinal extended the second fewest offers of any university ranked in the top-50 of the U.S. News and World Reports rankings. The Cardinal's offer/signee ratio of 4.2 scholarships/per player in the 2014 class was the lowest among all the schools analyzed for this article.

2014 Pac-12 offers per signee

Arizona State: 219 offers; signed 26 players (8.42 offers per signee)
Arizona: 211 offers; signed 23 players (9.17 offers per signee)
California: 177 offers; signed 21 players (8.43 offers per signee)
Colorado: 154 offers; signed 23 players (6.70 offers per signee)
Oregon: 91 offers; signed 20 players (4.55 offers per signee)
Oregon State: 156 offers; signed 26 players(6 offers per signee)
11) Stanford: 84 offers; signed 20 players (4.2 offers per signee)
UCLA: 163 offers; signed 18 players (9.06 offers per signee)
Utah: 171 offers; signed 19 players (9 offers per signee)
USC: 141 offers; signed 19 players to (7.52 offers per signee)
Washington: 150 offers; signed 23 players (6.52 offers per signee)
Washington State: 203 offers; signed 19 players (10.68 offers per signee)

2014 offers per signee by final 2013 AP Top-25 Ranking

1) Florida State: 246 offers; signed 28 players (8.79 offers per signee)
2) Auburn: 154 offers; signed 24 players (6.42 offers per signee)
3) Michigan State: 177 offers; signed 22 players (8.05 offers per signee)
4) South Carolina: 143 offers; signed 21 players (6.81 offers per signee)
5) Missouri: 219 offers; signed 28 players (7.82 offers per signee)
6) Oklahoma: 178 offers; signed 27 players (6.59 offers per signee)
7) Alabama: 189 offers; signed 26 players (7.27 offers per signee)
8) Clemson: 155 offers; signed 22 players (7.05 offers per signee)
9) Oregon: 91 offers; signed 20 players (4.55 offers per signee)
10) UCF: 160 offers; signed 17 players (9.41 offers per signee)
11) Stanford: 84 offers; signed 20 players (4.2 offers per signee)
12) Ohio State: 193 offers; signed 23 players (8.39 offers per signee)
13) Baylor: 123 offers; signed 24 players (5.13 offers per signee)
14) LSU: 119 offers; signed 24 players (4.96 offers per signee)
15) Louisville: 209 offers; signed 24 players (8.71 offers per signee)
16) UCLA: 163 offers; signed 18 players (9.06 offers per signee)
17) Oklahoma State: 117 offers; signed 27 players (4.33 offers per signee)
18) Texas A&M: 100 offers; signed 21 players (4.76 offers per signee)
19) USC: 141 offers; signed 19 players (7.52 offers per signee)
20) Arizona State: 219 offers; signed 26 players (8.42 offers per signee)
21) Notre Dame: 160 offers; signed 23 players (6.96 offers per signee)
22) Wisconsin: 242 offers; signed 25 players (9.68 offers per signee)
23) Duke: 131 offers; signed 18 players (7.28 offers per signee)
24) Vanderbilt: 268 offers; signed 22 players (12.18 offers per signee)
25) Washington: 150 offers; signed 23 players (6.52 offers per signee)

2014 offers by top-50 US News & World Reports national university ranking

No. 5 Stanford: 84 offers; signed 20 players (4.2 offers per signee)
No. 7 Duke: 131 offers; signed 18 players (7.28 offers per signee)
No. 12 Northwestern: 75 offers; signed 15 players (5 offers per signee)
No. 17 Vanderbilt: 268 offers; signed 22 players (12.18 offers per signee)
No. 19 Notre Dame: 160 offers; signed 23 players (6.96 offers per signee)
No. 20 Cal: 177 offers; signed 21 players (8.43 offers per signee)
No. 23 UCLA: 163 offers; signed 18 players (9.06 offers per signee)
No. 23 USC: 141 offers; signed 19 players (7.52 offers per signee)
No. 23 Virginia: 137 offers; signed 17 players (8.06 offers per signee)
No. 23 Wake Forest: 169 offers; signed 25 players (6.76 offers per signee)
No. 28 Michigan: 106 offers; signed 16 players (6.63 offers per signee)
No. 30 North Carolina: 182 offers; signed 22 players (8.27 offers per signee)
No. 31 Boston College: 188 offers; signed 28 players (6.71 offers per signee)
No. 36 Georgia Tech: 233 offers; signed 21 players (11.10 offers per signee)
No. 37 Penn State: 107 offers; signed 25 players (4.28 offers per signee)
No. 41 Illinois: 269 offers; signed 17 players (15.82 offers per signee)
No. 41 Wisconsin: 242 offers; signed 25 players (9.68 offers per signee)
No. 47 Miami: 217 offers; signed 27 players (8.04 offers per signee)
No. 49 Florida: 201 offers; signed 24 players (8.38 offers per signee)

*All offer data is taken from the Rivals.com recruit database. Statistics are current as of Sunday, June 15. No online recruiting database is 100 percent accurate, but the numbers provide a general indication of how many offers programs extend.


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