It’s debated several times per year.
“Stars don’t matter,” one person will say.
“Of course they do,” another person will respond.
And away they go. It’s a common question in recruiting: how much do star rankings matter when it comes to recruiting? After all, we’ve see both 5-star recruits (Adrian Peterson) and 3-star prospects (Arian Foster) go on to shine in the NFL.
But if you look at the list of SEC players selected in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night, you will see a group of highly-rated prospects before they entered college. Below is the list of 12 SEC players drafted on Thursday night with each player’s Rivals.com star-rating before they arrived in college.
OL Luke Joeckel – 4
LB Barkevious Mingo – 4
CB Dee Milliner – 5
OL Chance Warmack – 3
OL D.J. Fluker – 5
DT Sheldon Richardson – 4
LB Jarvis Jones – 4
S Eric Reid – 4
DT Sharrif Floyd – 5
WR Cordarrelle Patterson – 4
LB Alec Ogletree – 4
S Matt Elam – 5
Notice a trend. Of the 12 SEC players drafted by the NFL on Thursday, 11 of them had a 4- or 5-star ranking before entering college. The one player who didn’t receive such a distinction, Warmack, was the highest-ranked three-star guard in the nation (No. 20 overall) in the 2009 class.
How about some of the SEC players who were projected as borderline first-round picks but instead will likely slip to the second round on Friday? Wide receiver Justin Hunter, running back Eddie Lacy, linebacker Kevin Minter and defensive tackle Jesse Williams were all given four-star ratings by Rivals.
This still doesn’t mean that only 4- and 5-star players are worth the time of coaches in the SEC. Just look at Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was rated a 3-star prospect by Rivals.
This year’s No. 1 draft pick, offensive tackle Eric Fisher, was a 2-star prospect out of high school when he signed with Central Michigan. In fact, there were more players with a 3-star rating or worse (15) drafted last night than players with a 4-star rating (12).
But why is that? It’s simply a numbers thing. There are so many more prospects each year with a 3-star rating or below than there are players with a 4- or 5-star ranking.
The 2009 signing class had only 33 5-star prospects, according to Rivals. That’s 33 5-star players out of thousands of prospects around the nation. Other services, such as ESPN RecruitingNation, give out even less 5-star rankings each year.
While a lesser amount of 5-star players might be selected in the draft each year, there is a much higher percentage compared to every other star ranking.
Six of the 30 5-star prospects in the 2008 class were drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. That’s 20 percent of the 5-star class, a ratio 3-star players and below will never come close to touching.
There’s a larger amount of 4-star players each year, but still not enough to go around for everyone.
That’s why evaluating correctly becomes critical for coaches in the SEC. Schools like Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU will be loaded with 4- and 5-star prospects each year. It’s the addition of players like Warmack that can help make the difference in championship runs.
Richt knows the NFL matters
Coaches will talk to prospects about everything when it comes to recruiting.
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