CSJ’s Ranking of the Patriot League’s 2020 Football Recruiting Classes: The Patsy Ratings

Years ago, a Lafayette friend of mine named “Carney” on the various Leopard message boards came up with a way of coming up with a way to assess incoming football classes in the Patriot League. Called the “Patsy Ratings” – a play on words that seems to fit Patriot League football fandom perfectly – it was an attempt to standardize and bring some truth to something that is, at its best, an inexact science.

“At the outset let me say that this is one big heap of crapola,” Carney wrote about his brainchild back in 2007. “If anyone thinks that he or she can rate 18 and 19 year old high school football players or declare one group of these kids superior to another is delusional. This, however, is an attempt to do just that, so what does it say about me? Many of you will take issue with the methodology or will rail against the outcome because you “know” that [fill in the name of your favorite school] had its best recruiting year ever. I invite you to post your criticism. Even more, I invite you to give us something better. It’s easy to say “you’re wrong.” It is much more difficult to find a better way and actually create the results.”

Over the years, Carney handed off his baby for me to maintain and administrate. What happened was, of course, I took a complicated system and proceeded to make it even more complicated, meaning that it took me weeks to get proper ratings, even longer to arrange it in a way that was entertaining to read, and even longer when data would change along the way. One year I didn’t get them done until summer, when fans of Patriot League school are looking at spring practice rather than recruiting.

This year I vowed to bring the Patsies back. The way I would do it was to make it simpler by streamlining most of what took too much time. (For a full explanation of how I compute the most current flavor of the Patsy ratings, you can look at it here.)

The Patriot League’s official release of the incoming classes of all schools is here.

When I was done with the ratings this year, I was pleasantly surprised at what it revealed. It’s a system that is simple yet reveals so much more than 247’s recruit ratings or even HERO’s ratings, which are both good starting points but don’t go the extra distance.

I’m proud to unveil this year’s edition of the Patsy Ratings.

7. Lafayette (21 points)

QUALITY POINTS BREAKDOWN: 14 (11 from recruit pages/starred recruits, 2 from offers, 1 bonus point for a starred QB recruit)

NEEDS:

  1. DB (4 Patsy Points out of a max of 5): With all-Patriot League DB Yasir Thomas and a slew of experienced DBs graduating, the Leopards need to reload, and they did so with 5 new recruits, but no starred players.
  2. WR (1 Patsy Points out of a max of 4): Lafayette loses their top receiver in WR Nick Pearson and also wave goodbye to other productive receivers. The Leopards have only 2 in this class, and no starred players.
  3. DL (2 Patsy Points out of a max of 3): Though Lafayette has defensive player of the year DE Malik Hamm returning, this young team needs more depth around him. Four defensive linemen are in this class, and one player recognized by the recruiting services.

STANDOUT NAME IN CLASS: DB A.T. Ntantang out of McDonagh High School in Maryland had a lot of scholarship offers and elected to go to Lafayette to a good situation in the Leopard secondary. A classmate of his at McDonagh, OL Beau Bedard, is also a part of Lafayette’s incoming class. Bedard and Ntantang were huge contributors to McDonagh’s drive to the MIAA A Conference Championship game.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: By the criteria of the Patsy ratings, the number of starred recruits were light. Having said that, Lafayette head coach John Garrett seemed to address the need at DB very well, with some good looking players in that area, but it was a head scratcher that they didn’t get more WR. Perhaps he can ask his brother Jason Garrett where to find some.

6. Bucknell (27 points)

QUALITY POINTS BREAKDOWN: 19 (11 from recruit pages/starred recruits, 5 from offers, 3 bonus points for starred QB recruits)

NEEDS:

  1. DL (2 Patsy Points out of a max of 5): Bucknell fielded a very young team in 2019, but one area that had a lot of seniors on the depth chart was the defensive line. Bucknell got 3 recruits, but none of them had a page on any of the recruiting services.
  2. QB (4 Patsy Points out of a max of 4): With backup QB John Chiaronanzio graduating, the Bison needed to recruit their QB of the future, and they nabbed two starred recruits to full meet this need.
  3. RB (2 Patsy Points out of a max of 3): RB Chad Freshnock, a key element to Bucknell’s running game, graduates. The Bison got 2 recruits, but none with a recruiting page.

STANDOUT NAME IN CLASS: The two QBs head coach Dave Cecchini recruited will likely be what this class is most remembered for. QB Tyler Beverett might be the most heralded QB recruit in the entire Patriot League class, a *** recruit out of Arizona, while QB Nick Semptiphelter, a ** QB out of Tennessee, is another strong contender. Nick is the son of QB Scott Semptiphelter, who was a teammate of Bucknell head coach Dave Cecchini when they both played at Lehigh in the early 1990s.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Cecchini has a reputation as an offensive wizard, and it’s likely that the names he recruited, especially on offense, will do well in the Patriot League irrespective of Patsy Points. But did Bucknell recruit enough defensive players to refuel as well?

Courtesy Chicago Tribune

5. Colgate (30 points)

QUALITY POINTS BREAKDOWN: 21 (16 from recruit pages/starred recruits, 5 from offers)

NEEDS:

  1. DB (4 Patsy Points out of a max of 5): A senior-heavy secondary featuring CB Abu Daramy-Swaray needed a lot of guys to reload, and head coach Dan Hunt got three new recruits, including two starred recruits.
  2. DL (3 Patsy Points out of a max of 4): Colgate has a similar dilemma on their defensive line, which loses DE Nick Wheeler to graduation. The Raiders got 3 defensive line recruits, one of which was recognized by the recruiting services.
  3. OL (2 Patsy Points out of a max of 3): Colgate seems to get (and always seems to need) a pipeline of great Patriot League offensive linemen, and this season is no exception. The Raiders for 2 recruits, both which at least had a page at a recruiting service.

STANDOUT NAME IN CLASS: DB Owen Goss was a highly-recruited ** cornerback out of Hillsdale Central that had 17 scholarship offers on the table before settling on Colgate. He should fit in nicely on the Raiders’ always-stifling defense, either as a safety or a corner.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: After a disappointing season in 2019, head coach Dan Hunt has assembled a typical strong recruiting class of players across the board, including some under-the-radar guys. The question is how many of those under-the-radar guys should have been ** or *** guys.

Courtesy Gwinnett Prep Sports

4. Fordham (37 Points)

QUALITY POINTS BREAKDOWN: 28 (18 from recruit pages/starred recruits, 10 from offers)

NEEDS:

  1. OL (4 Patsy Points out of a max of 5): The Rams fielded an extremely young team in 2019, but gave up on average more than 4 sacks a game. They need some improvement in that area desperately, and head coach Joe Conlin hopes to do so with a recruiting class featuring 3 recruits from the trenches, including 2 starred recruits.
  2. DB (3 Patsy Points out of a max of 4): Fordham loses two defensive backs on their depth chart and need football players in that area, and the coaching staff made defensive back an emphasis, using five recruiting slots on defensive backs. One is a starred recruit.
  3. WR (2 Patsy Points out of a max of 3): A similar situation seems to be at WR, where several productive players graduate. 2 recruits are WR, including a starred recruit.

STANDOUT NAME IN CLASS: Fordham had a great recruiting win in Georgia with two highly-recruited skill players from the same school (Lanier, who finished 10-2 last season). RB Taj Barnes is a ** player that had offers from Air Force and Coastal Carolina, while ** WR Cole Thornton had offers from most of the Patriot League, Columbia and Yale as well.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Conlin seems to always find a way to get some very highly-touted recruits to come to the Bronx to play football, and this year is no exception. But are all the holes getting filled?

3. Lehigh (38 points)

QUALITY POINTS BREAKDOWN: 29 (18 from recruit pages/starred recruits, 10 from offers, 1 point from a starred QB recruit)

NEEDS:

  1. DB (5 Patsy Points out of a max of 5): Losing FS Sam McCloskey and CB Marquis Wilson to graduation meant that the Mountain Hawks had a primary need in the secondary. Lehigh appears to have hit a home run in this area, with five recruits and three of them recognized by the recruiting services.
  2. DL (2 Patsy Points out of a max of 4): Two big names on the depth chart, DE Davis Maxie and DL Juwon Morrow, are moving on. The Mountain Hawks have four DL in their incoming recruiting class, but none that contribute for Patsy Points purposes (see below).
  3. QB (2 Patsy Points out of a max of 3): Lehigh needs to find the QB of the future, and may have found it with their only QB recruit in the class, ** QB Hank Shapiro. Two QBs would have filled the need, but a single QB only meets 2 out of 3 possible Patsy Points.

STANDOUT NAME IN CLASS: Lehigh might want to thank Navy in four years after this class makes it to their senior year, because two players with Navy ties are a part of this class. CB LaTreil Wimberly was an early commit to Navy in 2019, but found himself decommitting late in the process, where the staff of head coach Tom Gilmore were able to swoop in with an offer. Similarly, local product DE Trevor Harris graduated in 2018 and went to Navy, but transferred out after a year at Naval Academy Prep school. Back in 2018, Harris said Lehigh “was his second choice”, so when he decided to open up his recruitment, the Mountain Hawks were right there. (Since he was in the class of 2018, he didn’t count towards Lehigh’s Patsy rating “quality points” this season.)

OVERALL IMPRESSION: In Gilmore’s first full season of recruiting, he managed to get an impressive group of players, especially on defense, to South Mountain. Sticking closer to home for some of their recruits, Harris is an intriguing X factor in this class that could be a real coup. But did they get enough on offense?

Courtesy NJ.com

2. Holy Cross (52 points)

QUALITY POINTS BREAKDOWN: 40 (30 from recruit pages/starred recruits, 9 from offers, 2 additional points from a *** QB recruit)

NEEDS:

  1. WR (5 Patsy Points out of a max of 5): The Crusaders graduate several players that were key targets for QB Connor Degenhardt, and needed to find more weapons to surround him. Head coach Bob Chesney hit a home run in this area, getting two *** WR recruits to shore up this need area.
  2. DB (4 Patsy Points out of a max of 4): Another Holy Cross area hit by graduation was the secondary, and Chesney once again delivered with 6 recruits, with one ** recruit. Quality and quantity.
  3. DL (2 Patsy Points out of a max of 3): The Crusaders graduate DE Mark Ebo and DE Kevin Bucceroni, and needed to add some quality players to their defensive line. Holy Cross got 5 recruits, but none with any pages from recruiting services recognized by the Patsy Points Committee.

STANDOUT NAME IN THE CLASS: WR Byron Shipman out of Jersey City, NJ had a ton of recruiting interest from a lot of FBS schools, most notably from Cincinnati, Army, Navy, Liberty and Rutgers. But Byron ended up committing to Holy Cross in front of all of those other offers. He has the potential of stepping in right away and making a very big impact on this Holy Cross wideout crew, much to the chagrin of Holy Cross’ opponents next season.

OVERALL IMPRESSION OF CLASS: Chesney followed up his Patriot League championship-winning season last year with a loaded recruiting class, further showcasing that they are going to be the team to beat next season.

1: Georgetown (64 points)

QUALITY POINTS BREAKDOWN: 55 (36 from recruit pages/starred recruits, 18 from offers, 1 additional points from a ** QB recruit)

NEEDS:

  1. DL (5 Patsy Points out of a max of 5): Assuming DL Khristian Tate does not return next season, replacing a tremendous talent of the defensive line had to be the top priority of head coach Rob Sgarlata. He did so by loading up on defensive line recruits, with 5 in this incoming class and every one of them on the radar of the recruiting services.
  2. WR (1 Patsy Point out of a max of 4): Who will the next Michael Dereus be on the Hoyas? Despite a lot of names on the roster, the need for a game-breaking WR was on the need list, and Georgetown got two in the incoming class, none of whom were on the radar of the recruiting services. Sgarlata will need to find his playmakers among the receivers he currently has.
  3. OL (3 Patsy Points out of a max of 3): The Hoyas had a young team in 2019, but still needed to get more players in the mix on the offensive line. It is here Georgetown really did well, getting 4 recruits and 2 of them listed with ***.

STANDOUT NAME IN THE CLASS: DE Stephen Brooks was a very big surprise name in the Hoyas incoming class because early on he was listed as a commit to Columbia. With offers on the table from UMass, Army and Navy, Brooks went to Georgetown in what seems like a real steal for the Hoyas.

OVERALL IMPRESSION OF CLASS: With 9 recruits garnering ** or better ratings from the recruiting services, hats off to Rob Sgarlata for getting what appears to be an incredibly good recruiting class to Georgetown. If the starred athletes pan out, the Hoyas will have one of the best offensive and defensive lines in the Patriot League.

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