Heath Evans of NFL.com wrote a nonsensical “look at me” piece on Wednesday, complete with an over-the-top proclamation that the hiring of Chip Kelly will be one of the worst in pro football history.
I could pick Evans’ article apart point by point, but his first reason why Kelly will fail is a common argument that has surfaced quite a bit since Kelly and the Eagles were able to work out a deal. Let’s focus on that. There’s a feeling that the best recruits in the nation have been flocking to Oregon, drawn by Oregon’s up-tempo offense, Nike, Phil Knight, Oregon’s uniforms, and other assorted reasons. Evans noted that Kelly will not have that same “recruiting advantage” in the NFL.
1. No recruiting advantage
For the past four years, Kelly had the biggest recruiting advantage ever known to a college coach. His name is Phil Knight, the CEO of Nike and a major University of Oregon donor and school alumnus who pumps millions of dollars into the football program each year. Despite the enormous benefits of this relationship, Kelly never brought a BCS title to Eugene.
In four years with the Ducks, he had a 46-7 record but never finished higher than third in the polls, including 2010 when he lost to Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game. In the NFL, you don’t get 10 first-round picks, and in Philly, the league’s best free agents aren’t lining up to join the Eagles.
Rivals.com is a network of websites under the Yahoo umbrella that was started in 1998 and employs over 300 people. Every year, they rank the top 100 high school football recruits in the nation. Over the last four years (Chip Kelly’s entire tenure as Oregon’s head coach), Oregon has attracted 10 Top 100 high school recruits. Those players are listed below:
Getting 10 Top 100 recruits over the course of 4 years is pretty good. Nice job recruiting, Chip and Phil. (Golf clap).
But it’s not like Oregon has been raking in the cream of the crop like the USC’s, Florida’s and Alabama’s of the world. For example, Pac 12 rival USC raked in 32 Top 100 recruits in the last 4 years, more than triple Oregon’s total:
Let’s do some other Pac 12 programs. Anyone think of UCLA as a big time football program? They were able to get 11 Top 100 recruits over the last 4 years, one more than Oregon:
Stanford had 8:
Cal had 7, and they went 3-9 this season:
Hell, even Washington found a way to get 5, as they licked their wounds after going 0-12 in 2008:
So here’s how the Pac 12 looks in terms of recruiting over the last 4 years:
And here’s how many in the Top 50:
So was Chip Kelly really getting the cream of the crop, or did it just seem that way because Oregon steamrolled so many opponents during Kelly’s tenure? You tell me.