Recruiting 2011 - 2007 2-Stars To All-Stars
NC State QB Russell Wilson
NC State QB Russell Wilson
Posted Jan 28, 2011

Everyone knows about the four and five star prospects, but what about the guys no one cared about yet turned into superstars? Richard Cirminiello looks at the offensive afterthoughts from the 2007 class that turned into stars.

Recruiting 2012 - 2007 Lookback

The All-Star 2-Star Offense

By Richard Cirminiello

- 2012 Recruiting - The 2007 All-Recruiting Class Offense 
- 2012 Recruiting - The 2007 All-Recruiting Class Defense 
- 2012 Recruiting - The 2007 Two-Stars to All-Star Offense 
- 2012 Recruiting - The 2007 Two-Stars to All-Star Defense 

The 2007 5-Star Prospects. Were They Worth It?

- 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50
For all of the attention that mega-recruits, such as Jimmy Clausen and Joe McKnight, received four years ago, it's often the far more anonymous two-star kids who make or break the eventual evaluation of a recruiting class. They represent the foundation for so many universities that are fortunate to land even one blue-chipper in a cycle, let alone multiple can't-miss prospects.

Every year, there are handfuls of untapped athletes who soar well beyond expectations, making their high school ratings appear uninformed and their new coaching staffs look like geniuses. They bloom late, overachieve, and forever leave behind a day when NFL scouts, agents, and members of the media couldn't pick them out of lineup.

While there were many rags-to-riches stories from the Class of 2007, a select few stood out for the length of their progression in four short years. Though they may have begun with a mere two-star designation, all have carved out four or five-star careers, with a chance to continue playing at the next level.

*Each player's two-star ranking was determined by in 2007 

QB Russell Wilson, NC State
There were always reasons for schools to pass on Wilson during the recruiting process. Too short, too reliant on his wheels, or too devoted to baseball. Too bad for everyone but the Pack, which gave him his best shot for success. He's responded by starting each of the last three seasons and becoming the face of football in Raleigh. He's accounted for 93 touchdowns and almost 10,000 yards of total offense, often rising to the occasion when the game hangs in the balance. A 2010 draft pick of the Colorado Rockies, he's concentrating on baseball, but remains open to the possibility of using his last season of eligibility with the football team.

Honorable Mention: Dan Persa, Northwestern, Zach Collaros, Cincinnati, Kirk Cousins, Michigan State, Bryant Moniz, Hawaii

RB Ryan Mathews, Fresno State
Talk about a meteoric rise to stardom. Modestly-recruited coming out of Bakersfield, Calif., Mathews could have gone to bigger schools, opting to remain in the Valley instead. He was an instant success for the Bulldogs, rushing for 866 yards and 14 touchdowns as a rookie. After injuries derailed his sophomore year, he erupted in 2009 for 19 scores and a nation's-leading 150 yards a game, paving the way for early entry into the NFL Draft. The No. 12 overall pick of the San Diego Chargers, he finished second on the team with 678 yards and seven scores.

RB Bilal Powell, Louisville
Yet another reason for Louisville to hiss at Steve ragthorpe. The former Cardinal coach inexplicably buried Powell for much of his career. When Charlie Strong arrived, he unleashed No. 15, who responded by running for 1,405 yards and 11 scores as a senior in 2010. He somehow stayed under the radar in Lakeland, Fla., possibly because he only played a single season at running back. The state's biggest programs may have been late on Powell, but after watching him run last fall, NFL scouts and GMs aren't about to repeat that mistake.

Honorable Mention: Eddie Wide, Utah, Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky, Darius Marshall, Marshall

WR Ryan Whalen, Stanford
What do you do if your only offers are from UC-Davis, Idaho, Nevada, and Sacramento State? If you're Whalen, you forego any guarantees and walk on at Stanford. From humbling beginnings to team captain, he's been a success story ever since arriving on the Farm. One of the unheralded stars of the Cardinal's recent run, he lettered all four seasons, finishing with 140 receptions for 1,884 yards, and seven touchdowns. One of the nation's most polished pass-catchers, his work-ethic will continue to serve him well on Sundays.

WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy
What can Jernigan do for his team? If it puts the ball in his hands, he's interested. One of the country's most versatile players was actually hindered by his lack of specialization coming out of high school. A quarterback in Eufaula, Ala., he never got offered by Auburn and Georgia Tech wanted him to switch sides of the ball. The Trojans have been benefitting ever since. Troy's Swiss Army Knife did a little bit of everything over the last four seasons, accounting for more than 6,000 all-purpose yards and producing scores as a runner, passer, receiver, punt returner, and kick returner.

Honorable Mention: Aldrick Robinson, SMU

TE Allen Reisner, Iowa
In many ways, eisner has been the prototypical Hawkeye, flying under the radar before gradually becoming an all-star at his position. After learning behind Tony Moeaki, he took off as a senior, earning a spot on the All-Big Ten second team with 42 receptions for 460 yards and two touchdowns. An underrated 218-pounder when he arrived, he lettered all four seasons and has a chance to become the next in a long line of Iowa tight ends to make an NFL roster.

Honorable Mention: Charles Clay, Tulsa, Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern

OL Bradley Sowell, Ole Miss
While a lot of SEC schools looked at Sowell, the Rebels actually made an offer, taking a chance on the lanky kid who'd yet to completely fill out. Not only did he win the starting job as a sophomore, but he wound up replacing Michael Oher at left tackle. While he got shoved around a little in 2009, he's bulked up considerably and was named second team All-SEC a year ago. With a season of eligibility left, he'll have an opportunity to use it as a four-month audition for NFL scouts.

OL Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
Let's face it. semele doesn't get out of Houston without offers from Texas and Oklahoma if he was a more heralded prospect. He wasn't, which pretty much meant Conference USA or a smaller Big 12 program. A huge surprise—literally—at left tackle, the 6-5, 335-pounder has been starting since his redshirt freshman year and earned all-league recognition in both 2009 and 2010. He has another season left to showcase his talent and make the Longhorns and Sooners wince in disappointment.

OL Al Netter, Northwestern
Wow ... were a lot of schools out west wrong about Netter. Viewed as a tight end by some programs, the kid from Santa Rosa, Calif. has blossomed into one of the Big Ten's better tackles. A rock on the left side of the line, he's added about 50 pounds since arriving, started 35 consecutive games, and earned honorable mention all-league the last two years. He still has another season to anchor the Wildcats up front and improve his stock for the 2012 NFL Draft.

OL Kelvin Beachum, SMU
Mustang head coach June Jones has been around a lot of NFL players throughout his career. And he's convinced eachum has what it takes to play at the next level. A tremendous athlete coming out of Mexia (Tex.) High School, he didn't fit the profile of the typical 300-pound road-grader. Instead, he's more of a finesse blocker, who uses his hands and feet well, and was named All-Conference USA the last two seasons. Considerably thicker as his senior year approaches, he hasn't lost the technique that's made him such an effective pass protector.

OL Thomas Byrd, Boise State
Pac-10 schools didn't like Byrd's measurables. Only Boise State understood the size of his heart and the length of his dedication. The Broncos made an offer to the 5-11, 260-pound Oakland, Calif. product, who has reciprocated with three solid years as the starter at the pivot. An intense drive blocker, with a great feel for the game and the offense, he's used his leverage as an advantage, earning a spot on the All-WAC first team as a junior.

- 2011 Recruiting - The 2007 All-Recruiting Class Offense 
- 2011 Recruiting - The 2007 All-Recruiting Class Defense 
- 2011 Recruiting - The 2007 Two-Stars to All-Star Offense 
- 2011 Recruiting - The 2007 Two-Stars to All-Star Defense 

The 2007 5-Star Prospects. Were They Worth It?

- 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50 | 2007 CFN Recruiting

CFN Top Prospects for 2011
- No. 1 to 50 | No. 51 to 100 | No. 101 to 150
- No. 151 to 200No. 201 to 250 | No. 251 to 300
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards & Centers 
- Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Linebackers | Corners | Safeties 
- 2009 CFN Top 150 | 2010 CFN Top 200