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Study: ASU, Arizona football programs have room to improve brands

Any time a new college football coach is hired, the first focus of that coach’s resume is on his past success. Records and championship tell inform that judgement.

The second biggest focus in analyzing a new coach: How well do they recruit?

That’s especially of note in the state of Arizona, where Arizona State just hired Herm Edwards to take over for Todd Graham and Arizona replaced Rich Rodriguez with Kevin Sumlin.

They have their own backgrounds in recruiting, but at the heart of what they’re working with is the branding of the school that’s already been developed by past coaching staffs. And in the case for both ASU and Arizona, it’s not much, according to one informal study.

Neither the Sun Devils nor the Wildcats fared well: ASU came in 42nd on’s college football brand rankings list, while Arizona ranked 46th.

The website recently polled 224 high school recruits. The premise: Each recruit was to pretend they are the No. 1 player in their class with the ability to attend any school of their choice. They were then asked to rank every Power 5 school in order of their desire to attend that school.

The website believes that gives a glimpse of how high school recruits view the brand of each school.

To connect this analogy back to football, think about these brand rankings as a ranking system of the true probabilities assigned to each program’s likelihood to land any given high school recruit regardless of circumstance.  Clemson would then have the best probability to land any recruit it wants, whether it be the number one recruit in the country or the number 5,000 recruit in the country.

At the top of the list were Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia and Oregon. Oddly enough, Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide fell to 19th on the list despite recent recruiting success and another national championship this January.

Kansas, Boston College, Kansas State, Illinois and Syracuse rounded out the worst-branded Power 5 schools in the study.

ASU and Arizona found themselves with similar branding power as teams like Washington State, Maryland, Oregon State, Duke, Purdue and Northwestern.

By, the Sun Devils overachieved recruiting this year while Arizona underachieved compared to their branding.

Edwards pulled in a 36th-ranked recruiting class in his first go, while Sumlin’s Wildcats class ranked 58th, per 247 Sports.


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