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FiveThirtyEight: Virginia football results on field haven't met recruiting expectations

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2005, Virginia's solid recruiting efforts haven't translated into results on the field.  Wahoo fans know this, it isn't quite breaking news. Mike London pulled in three consecutive recruiting classes ranked in the top 30 by Rivals from 2011 through 2013. The stature of his players out of high school have not resulted in wins on the field. How bad has it been, relative to other programs? FiveThirtyEight took a look in this piece:

That's almost impossible to read, so here's the close-up of the graph on the left, and here's the close-up of the graph on the right.

The graph on the right is the key one, as it groups data from 2005 to the present.  Since then, only Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, and Colorado have underperformed recruiting expectations by more. (And, considering Virginia's recruiting lull late in the Al Groh era, UVA would probably look worse if we used something like the last 5 years of data.)

What is going wrong? A few possible explanations exist:

  • UVA is fielding players that recruiting services rank too highly (or not finding players for spots of need?) - i.e. there's an evaluative issue
  • Talented players are coming to Virginia, but they aren't growing to their full potential - there's a player development issue
  • Talented players are coming to UVA and growing as they should, but the team isn't winning because of other factors, such as coaching decisions, transfers and departures, etc - there's a management issue.

The full story probably consists of parts of all three of these...with a dose of bad luck thrown in too.  Unless there's some giant inefficiency (possible), the law of averages dictates that UVA is bound to see better results soon.  This may be a quieter National Signing Day than the past few...but considering the results, maybe that's not a bad thing?