Obviously, it's too early to truly evaluate Turner Gill's recruiting. 2011 was the first Kansas recruiting class he could truly call his own, and none of those players have even had a chance to play a game yet. Rather than trying to compare the quality of Gill's recruiting to Mangino's, I set out to see if there were any trends in Gill's recruiting that may set him apart from the Mangino regime's tendencies. As it turns out, there are already some disparities.
I compared the recruiting along two categories: Rivals rating and state/region. You can read about the Rivals rating system here, but the I'll summarize it this way: a rating of 5.8-6.0 has All-American potential, and is one of the 300 top recruits in the country. A 5.5-5.7 rating is one of the top 750 or so prospects, and an expected impact player at the college level. A 5.0-5.4 rating is a "mid-major prospect," and more of a role player. In terms of the states and regions of recruiting, I look at how many players each coach had taken from three areas: Kansas, Texas, and SEC states.
Before I get into the data, I should probably mention that Rivals revamped their ratings system a couple years ago to make higher rankings a little harder to acheive. For that reason, Mangino's recruiting numbers could be slightly inflated compared to Gill's.
The average player who committed to Kansas in '08 and '09 pulled in a 5.60 rating in the Rivals system, which puts them square in the middle of the 3 star, "impact player" range. So far, Gill's 32 recruits have averaged a 5.54 rating. Slightly lower, but probably accounted for by the adjustments to the ratings system. So far, it would seem we're getting at least the same level of prospect we were before the coaching change.
One big difference I found is in the 5.8+ recruits. 17.8% of Mangino's commits in this time frame were in that category, while only 6.3% of Gill's commits to date have been rated that highly. To be fair, Mangino's 5.8+ commits include Prinz Kande, Quinton Woods, Nathan D'Cunha, and Joques Crawford, so take that for what it's worth.
As you would expect, the bulk of the recruiting classes are made of 3 star (5.5-5.7) players. 82.2% of the Mangino guys measured fell into this category, which Gill's commits coming in at 78.1% in this range.
The short version: the ratings of the recruits are about the same. The bigger difference so far lies in where these recruits are coming from.
State/Region of origin:
Mangino's staff hit Texas hard, we all know that. But just how hard was Mangino going after Lone Star talent? 42.2% of his 2008 and 2009 classes came from big oil country. By comparison, he pulled in just 18% of his recruits from in-state sources. That means more than twice as many kids were coming from Texas than his own state! Obviously, it's a much bigger pool of talent, but it's also shopped pretty heavily by schools all over the country.
I remember when Gill was hired, one thing that was brought up frequently was his ties to Texas and, ostensibly, his ability to recruit Texas well. I don't know if he doesn't have the Texas ties we thought, or if he's simply choosing to focus his efforts elsewhere, but so far he's pulled 28% of his recruits from Texas, which is equal to the number he's taken from Kansas.
A big disparity between the two is how heavily they're recruiting SEC country. Outside of Texas and Southern California, the states in SEC territory (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina) hold the greatest wealth of high school football talent in the country. In fact, this is the region's only contribution to the country.
This area was largely neglected by Mangino's staff. He took just three players from there in '08 and '09, which is just 6.7% of the classes overall. By comparison, Turner Gill has already landed seven recruits from SEC territory, or 22% of his classes to date. Hopefully, these numbers can hold steady or even increase. I certainly won't be complaining if the KU football team ends up starting a bunch of kids from Florida and Georgia in a few years.
Again, we don't have a lot to go on when discussing Turner Gill's recruiting tendencies or abilities, but so far at the very least, it doesn't seem there has been a drop-off. Mangino did pull in some more of the higher-rated players, but for the most part they were juco transfers who barely ended up seeing the field. Gill's recruiting has, according to Rivals, been at about the same level, and features more players from the talent-laden south, as well as perhaps an added focus on his own state. Only time will tell what ends up happening with the talent Gill brings in, but so far things aren't looking too bad.