Bronco Mendenhall pegged it pretty good this week. He'd get little argument from Utah's Kyle Whittingham.

The advent of the "star" system by Internet recruiting services that hit more than a decade ago may have about as much value as a monkey pulling the right lever half the time.

Today and Sunday, we'll use this space to break down the so-called experts and show just how valid their five-star, four-star and so-on rankings are of high school and junior college recruits.

The two main online recruiting sites are and They feature two so-called gurus and a system of telling fans and coaches just how good a recruit is. For all intents and purposes, it's an attempt to milk a moving goat and if a college recruiter went only by their rankings, he might be looking for another job.

Last Wednesday, Mendenhall said he almost felt sorry for recruiting fans who race to their computers to see how many "stars" a high school recruit has by his name.

Mendenhall said of the 22 starters on his 2007 championship team, 14 didn't have any stars by their names out of high school and the remaining eight averaged 2.5 stars — yet his team went 11-2 and finished ranked No. 14.

"Before you get all caught up and going on the Internet and doing whatever you do, the idea (star ratings) simply means nothing. It means nothing. Find something else to do with your time, please."

Whittingham echoed the sentiment, as a veteran recruiter.

"Recruiting isn't an exact science, so I didn't want to select anyone in particular from the class," Whittingham told reporters this week.

"There is just no way to tell. If you go back, a lot of our guys who were ranked low or with just two stars were guys like Alex Smith, Steve Fifita and Eric Weddle. There are too many unknowns."

Studies and results prove the two are correct.

Utah chased UCLA out of Rice-Eccles this past fall, even though the Bruins had a roster filled with significantly more players with four- and five-star ratings by their names. Ditto for BYU in wins over Arizona and the Bruins.

The Charleston Post and Courier sports section did an excellent study on and this past week titled, "Grading the Graders."

Bottom line to the study is these rating services are right about half the time.

"We're evaluating kids based on a snapshot in time," said Alle Wallace, a respected recruiting analyst. "It's like gambling: Who are you going to put your money on?"

More accurately, paying for a subscription to one of these sites might be extremely entertaining and informative. The features and interviews by foot soldier reporters are great reading. But in projecting how good recruits are, it is gambling — a chip on black or red on the roulette table. -->

The newspaper's study found less than half of 50 teams ranked by The Associated Press Top 25 the past two seasons averaged a Top 25 recruiting ranking over the previous five years by and

In 2007, Rivals had BYU's recruiting class ranked No. 74 and Scout had it 51. They finished ranked No. 14. The previous year, 2006, Rivals ranked BYU's recruiting class 70.6 and Scout had it 51.8 and the Cougars finished ranked No. 16.

This week, Rivals ranked BYU's recruiting class No. 83 and Utah 59th.