Kahlil McKenzie

Tennessee-Alabama starters by class and recruiting rankings

We’ve been posting side-by-side charts comparing starters’ recruiting rankings for a few weeks now. It will come as no surprise to anyone to learn that this week’s chart shows that Alabama’s starting lineup features much more talent (as measured by recruiting rankings) than does Tennessee’s. A major caveat is, of course, required here, as the correlation between recruiting rankings a team’s or player’s success on the field is both not exact and full of outliers. Coaching matters, too, you know.

Here’s the side-by-side projected starters for this week’s game between the Vols and the Crimson Tide, with each players’ class and recruiting rankings. If you can’t see the entire chart embedded below, click here for full page:

As before, the color codes are based on the range of 247 Composite numbers on the list. The range starts with deep green at the top and ends with deep red at the bottom.

Here’s the list of starters, sorted by recruiting ranking (full page here):


  • You may be as surprised as I am to learn that Tennessee has two of the three highest-rated players in this matchup. Defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie and offensive lineman Trey Smith are both not only 5-star guys, they are high 5-star guys. McKenzie is rated higher than Alabama’s highest-rated player.
  • You are probably as unsurprised as I am to learn that Alabama has seven of the nine highest-rated players in this game. After McKenzie and Smith, Alabama has the next six highest-rated players, all of them 5-stars.
  • Alabama’s probable starting lineup has only two 3-star players, but remarkably, also has two former walk-ons. Can you imagine the gumption it takes to walk on at Alabama? High five to linebacker Jamey Mosley and cornerback Levi Wallace. Not only are they both former walk-ons, neither of them had a recruiting rating out of high school.
  • The stars breakdown:
    • 5-stars: Alabama 7, Tennessee 2
    • 4-stars: Alabama 11, Tennessee 9
    • 3-stars: Alabama 2, Tennessee 10
    • No rating: Alabama 2, Tennessee 1

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Joel HollingsworthSam Hensleymihlur Recent comment authors
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This is a great spreadsheet. Gonna have to make this part of my weekly Vol reading. I’m also a huge fan of the statistical rankings spreadsheet you maintain.

Sam Hensley
Sam Hensley

That Alabama starts two former walk-ons is absolutely incredible.