This article will create change in way teams manage OVs during the season. I expect OVs to trend toward very small groups and potentially obsolete in the future
By Dave Bartoo
Founder of the CFBMatrix system of CFB Analysis.
The National Leader in Team Recruiting Based Metrics, Data and Predictions
National Official Recruiting Visitors – A CFBMatrix Original Chart
2/6/2012 Example: I used the charts to review the visits for OT Jordan Diamond. The odds using the OV Matrix put the best chance with Auburn. Maybe I got lucky but tweeted it from Oregon without any other information and yup, he picked Auburn. It’s certainly not going to work that way every time, but I may give you a clue as to where kids are going based on their OV dates.
If you follow us @CFBMatrix, or have read the articles, seen the pre-season picks and gone over your team’s page and you know that our Field Adjusted Recruiting Rank (FARR) system for pre-season picking for the PAC12, SEC and ACC was the #1 publication for game and conference finish prediction in the country. As the national leader in recruiting trends, metrics and predictability, I am offering up one more nugget of information in the 2011 season. Official Visits (OV) odds and metrics.
Have you ever wondered what are your odds if you can just get a kid to campus? I break down every team, conference and national number of the next month so you are ready for the biggest part of the annual recruiting cycle for OVs and closing commitments: December and January.
I hear you out there, “But what about unofficial visits?”. They occur quite frequently and most often in programs that have a recruit living nearby to make the trip easier. However, the OVs are recorded and of greater value as they serve to market the program and provide a benchmark in which we can compare all FBS programs.
CLICK TO PRINT: National OV Matrix 2007-2011
With recruits allowed up to 5 OVs, it was a small surprise that the average national commit rate from OVs was 51%. I did expect the number to be much lower. Each conference had exceptions to the norm with huge closing rates both high and low. When going head to head, it is close to a coin flip, however, some schools clearly have a greater likelihood of getting a commitment from a recruit if they get them to visit.
You can see by the two charts to the right that the schools that lead their conferences are varied in terms of ‘power ranking’ across the country. For those that are closing at a high level they can be broken down in two categories: (1) elites that get what they want and (2) good closers not getting the big recruits on campus for a shot to sign them. For all but UCLA and Texas with those percentages, if you are a fan of the other four, you should be expecting the coaching staff to take a shot at harder to close kids. For the worst closers there is clearly and internal issue to trying too hard for elite recruits or just not getting it done after a kids shows up on a visit. Maryland has the fewest OVs in the ACC, Arizona and Tennessee can’t close and Michigan and West Virginia set up too many OVs in the big closing months not names December and January.
Best months for OVs
As you can see in the above Matrix chart, OVs during the season for most teams is just a dumb idea. December and January are the only months that average over a 50% closing rate with many teams closing at a 60%+ clip during those months. Most fans would assume an in-season visit would be critical to see the stadium and witness big wins, but the number say otherwise. My best guess is that the coaching staff doesn’t have the time during the season to ‘sell’ a kid as well as in December and January. Check out your team and see how their recruiting and OV strategy is matching up or not with national and conference trends.
*For more detail on each school’s months, visits and commit rate versus the conference, click on the conference page link above or print out the entire 6 page conference OV Matrix. – Dave Bartoo
Rethinking OV Strategy
(click to view larger image)
In reviewing the metrics and trends of OV commit rates, I feel that there are several teams that need to (1) rethink their OV strategy and (2) stop thinking that their “best game day experience in the country” lands recruits at a good commit rate.
On the left is a breakdown of all AQ teams + Notre Dame of the percentage of total OVs before December 1. We know that Dec/Jan are THE key months with the national commit rate of 58.7%. The teams in RED are all above average in total OV percentages and under 50% commit rates. I feel that these teams need to address the OV strategy immediately and change tactics. This is especially true of Arizona, Boston College, Notre Dame and West Virginia.
Only two teams, Oklahoma and South Carolina have pre-Dec total OV percentages above the average and land them at a rate above 50%. Amazingly, only 5 other teams with OV totals pre-Dec below the average close at a rate above 50% as well .
Besides the obvious need to get more of the OVs done in the Dec/Jan, I believe that many teams are scheduling visit during the season due to their emotional belief that their game day experience gets commits. Clearly that is not the case. There are a number of ‘elite’ and traditional powers in the ‘red’ list including Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin that may be falling prey to this emotional weakness.
Total OVs and Total OV commits by team
What a huge difference in recruiting strategies. Massive OV volume to less than 10 official visitors per year. I cannot find an argument that makes sense to this high and low group. The ‘low’ volume group has a couple of ‘smart’ schools (ie GT, Vandy and NW) but Stanford, within the same generalized group, leads the PAC12 in OV. So maybe it isn’t a coincidence that Stanford is head and shoulders above those three in recruiting the last 5 years. The teams with high OV volume are all top 40 recruiters. Ole Miss and OSU in the 30s, UNC in the teens and the rest are in the 20s for adjusted recruiting rank averages. The low volume teams, with the expectation of Texas, are all outside the top 40 of recruiting rankings in the last 5 years. Just my opinion but every school should use these metrics to assess their own OV strategy for recruiting.