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Study Looks at Coach Influence on Player Development

Colorado College Research Professor Kevin Rask has published a study in Winthrop Intelligence, titled “Coach Influence on Player Development,” that looks at the effect a college football head coach has on a recruit’s development.

The article notes that so many high school football players who are ranked by the recruiting services dream of one day making an NFL roster – and so few actually do. Rask, a member of CC’s Economics and Business Department, looks at the many questions surrounding young players’ potential for development during college. Is it only the five-star recruits who eventually populate the NFLs rosters or do three-star recruits have just as good a chance to make a team? Is there a big conference bias or do the combined numbers and individual characteristics trump the pedigree?

Key findings of the study include:

  • Any given recruit is more likely to make an NFL roster if they are on a better college team as measured by the AP rankings.
  • Five-star recruits – the most elite athletes making up 2.6 percent of the recruit sample – are far from a lock to make the professional ranks. The five-star recruits have less than a 50 percent chance of seeing the NFL.
  • For coaches with more than 100 recruits in the sample, the high end of the distribution is roughly 20-30 percent of their recruits making an NFL roster.
  • A five-star recruit is14 percentage points more likely than the omitted category (two- and one-star recruits) to make an NFL roster. A four-star is 5.4 percentage points more likely to see the NFL, and a three-star is half of that.