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March 11, 2013
Every year the debate rages on, do stars matter? Some argue that teams like Oregon State do more with less talent than other programs. Two-stars can be coached up to be four-stars, but who is most likely to contribute?
Over the last several weeks, BeaverBlitz.com has examined the statistics from Oregon State's signing classes from 2002 through 2009 to determine the return on investment that the team received for recruits from each ranking.
Statistics are very difficult to compare, so we did not include walk-on players or those who earned scholarships later in during their Oregon State career. The expectation for each player signed is that they will become a contributor to the program in some way.
We started our examination in 2002 because that is a solid starting point for our Rivals.com data and the first year of BeaverBlitz.com. 2009 became our ending point as the members of that class are just entering their senior season (if redshirted) or have completed their eligibility if they did not redshirt.
First, we took a look at the percentage of signees who contributed to the program based upon their star ranking as a prospect. We're defining "contributed" as sticking with the program for their entire eligible tenure.
Rivals left some prospects unranked prior to the 2007 signing class, but after that date re-evaluted the rating criteria and made a two-star rating the minimum for signees, so we've lumped the two together for the aggregate table.
From the data set at hand, over 50% of the three and four star signees contributed to the Oregon State program during their career. As expected, less contributed from the two-star and unranked classifications, but it wasn't by as big of a margin as one may expect. By our evaluation, 46% of the two-star and unranked players contributed, but they also had a higher percentage who did not qualify or left the program than the other groups.
Over that eight year span, the Beavers only signed one five-star player - JUCO defensive end Simi Kuli who failed to qualify. Kuli did enroll and play at West Texas A & M, but struggled with legal issues during his time in Canyon, Texas. Due to Kuli, 100% of Oregon State's five star signees have failed to contribute.
The interesting piece is that 41% of the two-star and unranked players left the program as compared with 34% for the three-star group and 31% of the four-star players. This is where evaluation is key and the star rating system does show some value in predicting contributors.
Digging into the numbers a little deeper, BeaverBlitz.com took a look at players who earned All-American or All-Conference status, were drafted in the NFL or played in the NFL.
(NOTE: We only used All-Americans and first or second-team All-PAC 10/12. If a player received recognition in multiple seasons, he was only counted once. Players listed under the "Drafted" heading were actually selected during the NFL Draft. Players who signed as free agents and played were counted separately under "Played in NFL" category.)
Players that entered the Oregon State program rated with 4-stars had over twice the chance of earning post-season honors or playing in the NFL when compared to their lower ranked counterparts.
So maybe stars do matter?
Below is a look at how each class stacked up.
2002 SIGNING CLASS
2003 SIGNING CLASS
2004 SIGNING CLASS
2005 SIGNING CLASS
2006 SIGNING CLASS
2007 SIGNING CLASS
2008 SIGNING CLASS
2009 SIGNING CLASS