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Texas A&M Football

More to come: Fisher stacking the kind of talent that typically wins big

February 4, 2021

You wanted more. You demanded more. Much more.

Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher is giving you more.

Last season’s 9-1 finish and No. 4 final national ranking was indeed impressive. The final ranking was A&M’s highest in more than half a century.

Expect more to come.

Recent recruiting trends and statistics suggest last season’s surge is merely the beginning of an upcoming period of success for the Aggies. Think of it like chips and queso before digging into the whole enchilada.

Since 2000, teams that had consecutive top-ten recruiting classes typically followed with at least three strong seasons.

“Hopefully, the toughest games we play are the days in practice when you’re going against another great player across the ball from you. Embracing that challenge. Doing it every day to create the championship habits which we have.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

For example, if a team recruited in the top ten in 2000, 2001 and 2002, we looked at how they fared in the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons. That span would allow players from the first recruiting class that redshirted to be part of the final season.

Fisher is on the verge of completing a recruiting class ranked as high as No. 4 in the country by national recruiting services. It will be A&M’s third-consecutive top-ten ranked recruiting class, marking the first time the Aggies have accomplished that feat.

“You’ve got to stack classes together to create competition, create depth and create what you want to do,” Fisher said on Wednesday after the Aggies had added four-star running back LJ Johnson Jr‍ to their strong 2021 recruiting class.

Fisher knows what he’s talking about. He has been there.

In his first three years at Florida State, Fisher’s recruiting classes were ranked eighth in 2010, second in 2011 and fourth in 2012.

In three seasons from 2012-2014, Fisher’s Seminoles were 39-3 and won a national championship in 2013.

Fisher’s goal is to bring championships to Texas A&M. That first requires recruiting at a level that would narrow the talent gap between the Aggies and elite programs like Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.

The Aggies may be closer than some realize or want to acknowledge.

With Fisher’s recruiting success, upcoming practices could match five-star receiver Demond Demas‍ against five-star cornerback Jaylon Jones‍.

Andy Luten
DeSoto’s Shemar Turner signed as a 5-star prospect in December of 2021 and will arrive in Aggieland in time for fall camp.

Kenyon Green‍, a five-star lineman, is expected to move from guard to tackle. He figures to face five-star defensive end DeMarvin Leal‍.

Imagine the collisions between five-star incoming freshman defensive tackle Shemar Turner‍ and five-star guard Bryce Foster‍. Or second-year guard Akinola Ogunbiyi‍, once a four-star prospect who chose A&M over Georgia, against second-year defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson‍, a four-star recruit who chose A&M over Alabama.

“Hopefully, the toughest games we play are the days in practice when you’re going against another great player across the ball from you,” Fisher said. “Embracing that challenge. Doing it every day to create the championship habits which we have. That’s our goal.”

It would seem obvious that the best recruiting classes become the best teams. That’s not necessarily the case, though. Some teams with highly-regarded recruiting classes had highly-disappointing results.

Texas’ recruiting classes ranked second in 2010, fourth in 2011 and second in 2012. However, in nine seasons from 2012 to 2020, the Longhorns are a pedestrian 65-48.

Notre Dame also did not capitalize on a run of recruiting success. The Irish’s recruiting classes ranked fifth in 2006, sixth in 2007 and second in 2008. Yet, in their next three seasons, they were only 21-17.

Still, by and large, teams with three straight elite recruiting classes typically have followed with at least three exceptional seasons.

Of course, some teams have more than three-straight top-ten recruiting classes and had many more successful seasons, but we’re basing this on a program’s first-three top-ten finishes on the trail.

Since 2000, there are 14 college football programs with at least three-consecutive top-ten recruiting classes. Seven of those teams averaged more than 10 victories over the next three seasons. Two more averaged at least 9.3 victories.

Predictably, the most successful program is Alabama.

Kirby Clarke, TexAgs
Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007. His first recruiting class at Alabama ranked 12th (2007) but hasn’t had a class rank lower than fifth since.

The Tide’s 2008 class was ranked third by 24/7sports. Its 2009 class was also third, and its 2010 class was ranked fourth. Alabama, which won the 2009 national championship, went 35-5 from 2010-12. That included national championships in 2011 and 2012.

Since 2011, Alabama’s recruiting classes have been ranked No. 1 in the nation nine times in 11 years. The Tide was fifth in 2018 and second in 2020.

Those years Alabama’s classes were not ranked No. 1, Georgia supplanted the Tide.

Georgia first had three top-ten recruiting classes in 2001 (10th), 2002 (ninth) and 2003 (ninth). In the three following seasons, Georgia was 31-8 and won the SEC Championship in ’02.

Georgia failed to take the next step to dominance and had some so-so seasons. That led to coach Kirby Smart taking over in 2016.

Smart’s first three recruiting classes were ranked sixth, third and first. Consequently, Georgia finished 11-3 in ’18, 12-2 in ’19 and 8-2 last season.

Another example of the results of elite recruiting is USC, whose classes were ranked eighth in ’02, second in ’03 and second in ’04. The Trojans then went 36-3 from 2004-2006 with a national championship.

Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports
A&M won the Orange Bowl following the 2021 season, but the Aggies want more. Much more.

The Trojans almost won back-to-back national championships but were upset by Texas in 2005. Texas’ classes were ranked first in ’02, eighth in ’03 and ninth in ’04. The Longhorns were 34-4 from 2004 to 2006.

After posting three-consecutive top-ten recruiting classes, those trends would suggest that Texas A&M should expect more success. Much more.

“Hopefully, that translates into performance on the field, which I think it’s starting to be really good here,” Fisher said.  “We’re enhancing that with the culture we’re creating and the things we do. SEC championships and national championships … that’s our goal and what we’re trying to get to.”

Nothing can be taken for granted, but data indicates the Aggies are headed in that direction.

One, two, three … GO

Here’s a look at college football programs that have had three-consecutive top-ten recruiting classes as ranked by and how they fared in the next three seasons.

Note: Only a program’s first set of top-ten recruiting classes are examined. Some programs had more than three top-ten recruiting classes.

Alabama: Recruiting classes: 3rd in 2008, 3rd in 2009, 4th in 2010
   • Following seasons: 10-3 in 2010, 12-1 in 2011, 13-1 in 2012

Auburn — Recruiting classes: 10th in 2013, 6th in 2014, 8th in 2015
   • Following seasons: 7-6 in 2015, 8-5 in 2016, 10-4 in 2017

Florida — Recruiting classes: 10th in 2002, 1st in 2003, 6th in 2004
   • Following seasons: 7-5 in 2004, 9-3 in 2005, 13-1 in 2006

Florida State — Recruiting classes: 3rd in 2000, 1st in 2001, 2nd in 2002
   • Following seasons: 9-5 in 2002, 10-3 in 2003, 9-3 in 2004

Georgia — Recruiting classes: 10th in 2001, 9th in 2002, 9th in 2003
   • Following seasons: 11-3 in 2003, 10-2 in 2004, 10-3 in 2005

LSU — Recruiting classes: 1st in 2009, 9th in 2010, 8th in 2011
   • Following seasons: 13-1 in 2011, 10-3 in 2012, 10-3 in 2013

Miami — Recruiting classes: 7th in 2000, 8th in 2001, 5th in 2002
   • Following seasons: 12-1 in 2002, 11-2 in 2003, 9-3 in 2004

Michigan — Recruiting classes: 5th in 2003, 6th in 2004, 5th in 2005
   • Following seasons: 7-5 in 2005, 11-2 in 2006, 9-4 in 2007

Notre Dame — Recruiting classes: 5th in 2006, 6th in 2007, 2nd in 2008
   • Following seasons: 7-6 in 2008, 6-6 in 2009, 8-5 in 2010

Ohio State — Recruiting classes: 9th in 2000, 6th in 2001, 4th in 2002
   • Following seasons: 14-0 in 2002, 11-2 in 2003, 8-4 in 2004

Oklahoma — Recruiting classes: 5th in 2001, 6th in 2002, 6th in 2003
   • Following seasons: 12-2 in 2003, 12-1 in 2004, 8-4 in 2005

Tennessee — Recruiting classes: 1st in 2000, 4th in 2001, 3rd in 2002
   • Following seasons: 8-5 in 2002, 10-3 in 2003, 10-3 in 2004

Texas — Recruiting classes: 1st in 2002, 8th in 2003, 9th in 2004
   • Following seasons: 11-1 in 2004, 13-0 in 2005, 10-3 in 2006

USC — Recruiting classes: 8th in 2002, 2nd in 2003, 2nd in 2004
   • Following seasons: 13-0 in 2004, 12-1 in 2005, 11-2 in 2006

Discussion from...

More to come: Fisher stacking the kind of talent that typically wins big

12,540 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by Fishwrangler11
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The two key components are recruiting at a top ten level and finding a damn good qb. The difference between the winners and losers on this list are the winners had a stud qb. I trust jimbo in this dept as well. The future is bright
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Is Miller 58 a TexAgs staff writer now?
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"Hopefully, the toughest games we play are the days in practice when you're going against another great player across the ball from you. Embracing that challenge. Doing it every day to create the championship habits which we have."
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

This sounds strikingly like what Coach Saban was telling the recruit in the leaked recruiting video. I like it!! We are heading in the right direction with depth on both sides of the line and a real ability to reload year to year with quality talent. Well done Coach Fisher - keep it coming!!
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With our rankings varying from the different services from 3 to 7, where do you think this current class actually falls? If we had a really good LB or 2, I'd say 3, but I think you can definitely make a strong argument for a top 5!
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