Rating the 1990 Recruiting Class
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com
TSL Extra, Issue #21
Welcome to the first in a series of articles that will rate Virginia Tech recruiting classes from 1990 to the present. We're going to use a numbers-based system to assign points to recruiting classes, and we're going to start this issue with the 1990 recruiting class.
Rating the success of a recruiting class is a complicated endeavor. Do you evaluate the accomplishments of the individual players, or do you rate what they accomplished as a unit on the field?
Do you factor in statistics, wins, graduation rates, off-the-field problems (or lack thereof), and accomplishments in the NFL?
In an effort to numerically rate the "success" of a recruiting class, both as individuals and as a team, I created a detailed point system that awards points for individual accomplishments and team accomplishments. I created a large table of "accomplishments" that players and recruiting classes could achieve, and then awarded points to players and classes that achieved those objectives.
Individual players, for example, can earn varsity letters, set records, become All-Americans, and get drafted by the NFL. Recruiting classes can win games, go to bowls, and obtain Top 25 rankings.
A detailed discussion of the point system I created is included elsewhere in this issue, titled Inside the Numbers: The Recruiting Class Ranking System. If you have any questions about the point system, please refer to that article first before emailing or asking on the message board.
For this article, which rates the 1990 recruiting class, I'll just list the categories in which individual players and the entire class can score points, and how many points are awarded for each achievement by the players or class.
Example From the 1990 Recruiting Class
Let's do a walk-through with Tyronne Drakeford, a key member of the 1990 recruiting class. Here are his accomplishments:
Total points for Tyronne Drakeford: 49
It's a pretty simple procedure, though time-consuming, and not without its flaws, some of which are discussed in the accompanying "Inside the Numbers" article.
The Feb. 23, 1990 issue of the Hokie Huddler was the "1990 Recruiting" issue, and it listed 22 players: 12 in-state players and 10 out-of-state players. Tailback Ranall White later joined the class to be its 23rd member, and OL Calvert Jones transferred in from Pittsburgh to become its 24th member.
The class featured some great names in Hokie football history. C Jim Pyne, QB Maurice DeShazo, CB Tyronne Drakeford, WR Antonio Freeman, and LB Ken Brown (called "Kenny" by the Huddler) were the five that would go on to have the most decorated careers, and of those five, all but DeShazo were drafted by the NFL.
The 1990 class would help lead the Hokies to their first bowl under Frank Beamer, the 1993 Independence Bowl.
Individual Points Scored
Here's the entire 1990 recruiting class, and how many points each player scored in the TSL Extra system:
The Top Five and Their Accomplishments
Jim Pyne (C, 93 points): Started and lettered all four years; unanimous All-American (one of just two in VT history); retired jersey (one of just four in VT history); All-Big East 2nd team 1992; All-Big East 1st team 1993; Big East Academic Honor Roll 1992-93; 7th-round draft choice, 1994. One of the most decorated VT football players of all time.
Maurice DeShazo (QB, 90 points): started and lettered three years; led Hokies in passing 1992-1994 and in total offense 1992-1994; holds Tech records for TD passes in a game (4) and season (22, 1993); holds four Tech career records: most TD passes thrown (47), yards-per-completion average (14.4), yards-per-attempt (7.7), and total offense (6,105 yards); led Big East in passing efficiency in 1993. One of the greatest players in VT history whose reputation is tainted by a subpar senior season in 1994.
Antonio Freeman (WR, 89 points): lettered four years; started three years; led Tech in receiving in 1992-94 and in punt returns 1993 and 1994; holds VT game records for TD receptions (3) and punt return yardage (164); holds VT season record for TD receptions (9); holds VT career record for TD receptions (22); All-Big East 2nd team, 1992-94; led Big East in punt returns in 1994; 3rd-round draft choice, 1995. A lightly-recruited, true sleeper in every definition of the word, Freeman went on to greatness in the NFL.
Tyronne Drakeford (CB, 49 points): lettered four years; started three years; led VT in interceptions, 1991-93; All-Big East 2nd team 1991; All-Big East 1st team 1992 and 1993; led Big East in interceptions in 1992; 2nd-round draft choice, 1994.
Ken Brown (LB, 29 points): lettered four years; started three years; led VT in tackles in 1993 (113); All-Big East 2nd team 1993; All-Big East 1st team 1994; 4th-round draft choice, 1995.
Team Points Scored
In terms of team accomplishments, the 1990 recruiting class wins points for what the team accomplished in the 1991-1994 seasons (refer to the accompanying "Inside the Numbers" article for an explanation why the 1990 season is not included). These accomplishments are:
TOTAL 1990 RECRUITING CLASS RATING: 548 Points
POINTS PER PLAYER (24 PLAYERS): 22.83
The numbers of 548 total points and 22.83 points per player don't mean much by themselves, of course, but in the coming months, you will be able to compare them to recruiting classes from 1991-onward.
The 1990 class had some great players in it. Two of them, Maurice DeShazo and Jim Pyne, made last issue's list of the ten most influential players of the Beamer bowl era, and Antonio Freeman got serious consideration.
But the overall rating of the 1990 class is dragged down by factors beyond their control. They didn't start round-robin play in the Big East until 1993, for example, thus decreasing their opportunities for conference wins.
Not to mention that their players may have set Big East and VT records which have since been wiped out by later recruiting classes. Antonio Freeman, for example, held the Big East record for punt return yardage in a game from 1994-1997, before Nate Terry of WVU eclipsed his mark, so Freeman does not get credit for the record in these ratings.
To download the data in HTML (web page) format, go here:
To download an MS Excel 97 spreadsheet containing all of the data and formulas that I have used here, go here: