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Recruiting 2014 - The 2008 5-Star Recruits
Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers
Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 25, 2012


Did it work out? Did the superstar prospects fulfill their promise? Richard Cirminiello analyzes the top of the 2008 recruiting class.


Recruiting 2012 - 2008 Lookback

The 5-Star Recruits ... Top Ten


By Richard Cirminiello 
Follow us ... #ColFootballNews 

The 2008 5-Star Prospects. Were They Worth It?

- 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50
- 2007 Class | 2006 Class | 2005 Class | 2004 Class

CFN Top Prospects for 2012
- 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 
  
The five-star recruit, the ultimate symbol of success any coaching staff, University and fervent fan base. There are talented high school players, and then there are the five-star thoroughbreds, the crème de la crème of available candidates, and the caliber of players that programs and recruiting classes are built upon. However, the luster of landing one of these rare gems can sometimes fade even before the next February’s signing day arrives on campus.

The stark reality each year is that even the highest-rated recruits can be hits-or-misses, an inexact science that’s part intoxicating and part unbelievably frustrating. To illustrate the point, all that’s required is a revisionist’s peek at the 50 blue-chippers from four years ago to see who was a beast and who wound up being a bust. Only a fraction, about one-third, has gone on to consistently perform at the top of their class, which ought to somewhat temper enthusiasm for this February’s Signing Day.

*Historical rankings from 2008 are courtesy of Scout.com
 
10. WR A.J. Green, Georgia
Would Dawgs fans have liked more from Green? Yeah, but only because he’s the purest wide receiver to ever play for the program. Before leaving early for the 2011 NFL Draft, he started 27 games in red and black, catching 166 passes for 2,619 yards and 23 touchdowns. Named All-SEC in each of his three seasons, including as a rookie in 2008, he’d go on to be chosen No. 4 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals last April. And much like his debut in Athens, he’s been an instant star in the pros, getting a Pro Bowl nod in his debut season.
Worth the Hype? Yes

9. OT Tyron Smith, USC
Smith navigated a near-perfect trajectory for a career path while at Troy, ramping up his skill level with each passing season. By the end of 2010, he was the premier pass-protector of the Pac-10, and ready to enter the NFL Draft. After testing well at the Combine, Smith was plucked No. 9 overall, becoming the first offensive lineman chosen in the first round by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He has more than met expectations as a rookie, starting the entire season at right tackle, and playing as if he plans to displace Doug Free on the left side next September.
Worth the Hype? Yes

8. CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
By his second season, Peterson had already established himself as one of the premier cover corners in America. By 2010, he’d left all of his peers in the rear view mirror. As a junior, he was a consensus All-American and the winner of both the Bednarik and Thorpe awards. The no-brainer to forego his final year of eligibility in Baton Rouge was picked No. 5 overall by the Arizona Cardinals amid a buzz that he could be the most complete player of the draft. More than just a lockdown corner, he’s also a dynamic return man, tying a league record with four punt returns for touchdowns this season.
Worth the Hype? Yes

7. RB Justin Johnson, Oklahoma
If nothing else, Johnson has been one of the most traveled members of the 2008 class. The former blue-chipper voluntarily left Norman after one season, seeking refuge at Division II Abilene Christian. However, the Wildcats ended up being a stepping stone for a final stop at Hal Mumme’s Division III McMurry University, where the junior rushed for a War Hawks-high 771 yards and eight touchdowns on 162 carries in 2011.
Worth the Hype? Nope

6. S Will Hill, Florida
Elite talent. Questionable decision-making. Had Hill operated with a two-star recruit’s mentality, the final chapter of his playing career might have had a very different ending. He started ten games in 2010, after sitting out the first two because of a suspension, but never played up to his full potential. He made the ill-advised decision to leave school early, yet was not drafted last April. The classic underachiever—and notorious violator of team rules—signed a deal in September to play for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League.
Worth the Hype? Nope

5. LB Arthur Brown, Miami
Sometimes, all it takes to get a career back on track is a change of scenery. Brown, for example. The nation’s top prep linebacker of 2008 struggled to locate an identity in his first two seasons with the Hurricanes, deciding in early 2010 to return closer to his Wichita home, and play for Bill Snyder and Kansas State. So far, so good. In his debut with the Wildcats, Brown emerged as a defensive star, leading the team in tackles, and earning a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team.
Worth the Hype? Not quite yet (in Manhattan) … Nope (in Miami)

4. RB Darrell Scott, Colorado
The offensive version of Arthur Brown, Scott attempted to reinvent himself in an entirely different region of the country. After spurning Texas, injuries and a lack of dedication to conditioning prevented Dan Hawkins’ mega-recruit from ever approaching his potential in Boulder. In less than two years with the Buffaloes, he rushed for 459 yards and one score, a symbol of the program’s recent problems. He’s since landed in Tampa with South Florida, where he led the Bulls with 814 yards and five touchdowns on 153 carries before taking off a year early for the NFL.
Worth the Hype? Nope

3. WR Julio Jones, Alabama
In the storied history of ‘Bama football, no receiver has ever intimidated opposing defensive backs more than Jones did for three years. A physically-imposing and acrobatic weapon, he started all 40 games of his career, finishing it with 179 catches for 2,653 yards and 17 total touchdowns … in a system designed to accentuate the running backs. The No. 6 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft skipped his senior year in Tuscaloosa, opting instead to become one of Matt Ryan’s favorite targets with the Atlanta Falcons.
Worth the Hype? Yes

2. DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson
Labeled an underachiever after his first two seasons with the Tigers, Bowers erupted in 2010 with one of the best years by a defender in program history. His junior season, his final one as an amateur, was highlighted by a nation’s best 26 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. The production and consistent harassment of quarterbacks earned him the Nagurski Award, the Hendricks Award and unanimous recognition as a First Team All-American. Concerns about his surgically-repaired right knee caused a draft-day downgrade before the Cleveland Browns nabbed him in the second round with the 51st overall pick.
Worth the Hype? Yes

1. QB Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State
Pryor had a mixed legacy in Columbus if there ever was one. The top-ranked player in the 2008 class, whose recruitment extended long after Signing Day, quarterbacked the Buckeyes to two BCS bowl wins, but was also at the center of a high-profile scandal that dragged the program through the NCAA meat grinder and ultimately led to the demise of head coach Jim Tressel.

His dual-threat potential on the field was unmistakable, a blend of fluid athleticism in a 6-6, 233-pound frame that was just beginning to inch closer to being the total package. However, Pryor’s controversial appearance in last year’s Sugar Bowl would be his last in scarlet and gray. He withdrew from the school on June 7 and was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the supplemental draft two months later.
Worth the Hype? Not quite 

The 2008 5-Star Prospects. Were They Worth It?

- 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50
- 2007 Class | 2006 Class | 2005 Class | 2004 Class

CFN Top Prospects for 2012
- 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