I know that a lot of things impact how a player improves over the course of a season -- GPA, practice minute allocation, starting attribute values for the skill, minutes played...I'm probably forgetting one or more. My question though -- does a player's class year make a difference?
I've always assumed that, aside from the added trouble you face convincing an upperclassman to take a redshirt without his WE going south, the players reacted similarly once RS'd, but have recently had a situation where I was able to watch a soph and a fr with identical WE scores over the course of a RS season with the Fr picking up just 65-70 percent of the point improvement the Soph gained in a season. Like I said, I know there are a lot of variables and the Fr was definitely hindered by starting with a 2.2 gpa out of HS, so maybe that stat alone counts for the bulk of the improvement differential.
My question, though -- all things being equal, if I take Player A and redshirt him in year 1 then give him 12 mpg in year 2....then in a parallel universe take that same player and play him 12 mpg in year 1 and redshirt him in year 2, will I have the same player in both worlds at the conclusion of year 2? Or will one version of the player be at a more advanced stage of his development curve than the other? (and if so, which one?)