Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

Recruiting 2012 - 2008 2-Stars To All-Star
Kansas State QB Collin Klein
Kansas State QB Collin Klein
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 26, 2012


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 2008 class that turned into stars.

Recruiting 2012 - 2008 Lookback

The All-Star 2-Star Offense


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 

- 2008 All-Star Two-Star Defense
  
For all of the attention that was heaped on mega-recruits, such as Terrelle Pryor, Julio Jones and A.J. Green, four years ago, it’s often the far more anonymous two-star athletes who wind up making or breaking the eventual grade of a school’s 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 of the so-called can’t-miss prospects.

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

While there were many rags-to-riches tales from the Class of 2008, a select few stood out for the length of their progression over the course of four short years. Though they may have begun with a mere two-star designation and minimal notoriety, all have authored four or five-star careers, with a very good chance of continuing to play at the next level.

*Each player’s two-star ranking was determined by Scout.com in 2008

Offense

QB Collin Klein, Kansas State
Klein is the prototype in Manhattan, an overlooked late-bloomer who outworks everyone in order to raise the level of his game. Recruited by Ron Prince to be a wide receiver, he has all of the intangibles to play quarterback, like leadership, character, toughness and maturity. By osmosis, he just makes everyone around him better. Oh, and the 6-5, 230-pounder is a pretty good athlete as well, doing a credible Jake Locker or Tim Tebow impression when leaving the pocket. In his first full regular season as the starter, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards, accounted for 38 touchdowns and helped lead the Wildcats to their first 10-win season since 2003.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Aplin (Arkansas State), Alex Carder (Western Michigan), Austin Davis (Southern Miss), Blaine Gautier (Louisiana-Lafayette), Ryan Nassib (Syracuse)

RB Vick Ballard, Mississippi State
Ballard had every reason not to be where he is today, preparing for a career in the NFL. Overlooked not once but twice, he struggled to generate much interest coming out of Pascagoula (Miss.) High School and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Only Jackson State had an interest four years ago, and Mississippi State threw him a lifeline two seasons ago. No longer undersized or unheralded, Ballard rushed for 2,157 and 29 touchdowns in his two years in Starkville, earning All-SEC recognition at the end of both.

RB Montel Harris, Boston College
The Jacksonville native wanted to play for Florida State, which never game him a serious look. He’s been running with a grudge ever since. For the longest time, Harris had just two offers—Duke and Ball State—until Jeff Jagodzinski lured him to the Heights. With the benefit of hindsight, local coaches would never have allowed him out of the Sunshine State without a scholarship. Harris, who’ll be back in 2012 after missing most of last season to a knee injury, needs one healthy year to smash Ted Brown’s all-time ACC rushing record. Oh, and the ‘Noles? Yeah, they’ve yet to hold Harris below 120 yards in three tries.

RB Jordan Todman, Connecticut
While in Massachusetts, Todman rushed for more than 5,000 yards, the second most in state history. Still, plenty of schools felt he was too small to compete on the FBS level. Others thought he might be a better fit in the secondary. Connecticut gave him an early shot to be the feature back, a role he relished as a sophomore and a junior. In 2010, Todman rushed for 1,695 yards and 14 touchdowns to become the first unanimous Big East Offensive Player of the Year in 18 years. Following a questionable decision to leave school early, he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers, cut in October and added to the Minnesota Vikings roster in December.

Honorable Mention: Antwon Bailey (Syracuse), Bryce Beall (Houston), Lance Dunbar (North Texas), Jared Hassin (Army), Zach Line (SMU), Davin Meggett (Maryland), Jonathan Grimes (William & Mary), Ed Wesley (TCU)

WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky
Cobb’s versatility was his calling card in Lexington, and the main reason he was selected in the second round by the Green Bay Packers in 2011. However, as a quarterback growing up in Tennessee, he was too valuable to Alcoa High School to be showcased like a Swiss Army knife. And at only 5-10, SEC schools, like the local Volunteers, had no designs to use him behind center. The ‘Cats employed every ounce of his skills, using the two-time All-SEC weapon as a receiver, special teams ace and centerpiece of the popular WildCobb formation.

WR Juron Criner, Arizona
Criner had the size and the production while prepping in Las Vegas. What he lacked for some reason was the respect of major college coaches on the West Coast, mostly landing offers from Mountain West schools. Arizona and head coach Mike Stoops were exceptions, seeing something in the 6-4 gazelle that others didn’t. Criner has been a long ball hitter on the outside for QB Nick Foles ever since, finishing his career with 209 receptions for 2,859 yards and a school-record 32 touchdown catches.

WR Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern
Four years ago, Ebert’s name wasn’t on many head coaches’ must-get recruiting lists. Today, it’s listed all over the Northwestern record book. An undersized high school quarterback from the state of Ohio, his choices basically came down to Evanston and Eastern Michigan. The two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention selection wound up being an incredible value for head coach Pat Fitzgerald, catching 137 passes for 2,013 yards and 19 touchdowns since the start of his junior season.

WR T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
In a talent-rich state, such as Florida, it’s common for quality players to slip through the cracks. Hilton, for example. Oh, he gave strong consideration to the likes of West Virginia, but where was hometown Miami or Florida State during the recruiting process? His size never jumped off the film, but his speed and quickness in space always did. Second to only coach Mario Cristobal, the all-purpose dynamo helped put the Golden Panthers on the map by accounting for 38 career touchdowns, 24 as a receiver, seven on the ground, four on kickoffs, two on punts and one as a passer.

Honorable Mention: Cole Beasley (SMU), Damarlo Belcher (Indiana), Bryan Burnham (Tulsa), David Douglas (Arizona), Damaris Johnson (Tulsa), Keshawn Martin (Michigan State), Phillip Payne (UNLV), Terrance Williams (Baylor)

TE Michael Egnew, Missouri
Kudos to Gary Pinkel and the rest of the Mizzou staff for transforming a 6-5, 200-pound wide receiver from Texas into one of the country’s premier tight ends. Egnew has since packed on more than 40 pounds of mass and muscle, yet remains an explosive weapon that’s often too athletic for linebackers to handle. A Mackey Award contender in each of his final two years in Columbia, he pulled down 140 receptions for 1,285 yards and eight touchdowns since moving into the lineup at the beginning of 2010. Egnew is expected to be one of the first tight ends chosen in April’s NFL Draft.

Honorable Mention: Willie Carter (Tulsa), Ladarius Green (Louisiana-Lafayette), Ryan Griffin (Connecticut), Lucas Reed (New Mexico)

OL Jeff Allen, Illinois
Ron Zook’s staff saw the potential in Allen that many others didn’t. Coming out of Chicago’s Martin Luther King High School, he was a soft and undefined athlete carrying about 30 pounds of excess weight. However, the Illini whipped him into shape in Champaign, helping transform him into one of the Big Ten’s better pass protectors. The next stop for Allen is the NFL, an impressive turnaround for a kid who four years ago was mostly fielding offers from MAC and FCS programs.

OL Dennis Kelly, Purdue
The skinny 6-8 kid from the parochial school in Illinois filled out rather nicely at Purdue, the lone Big Ten school to make him an offer. Kelly was unheralded and tight end-sized when he arrived at Purdue, but bulked up to north of 300 pounds, honed his technique and held down the starting left tackle job since his sophomore year. Twice named honorable mention All-Big Ten, he’ll spend the next three months trying to entice an NFL team to select him in April’s draft.

OL Chris McDonald, Michigan State
Under the watchful eye of Mark Dantonio and his assistants, the Spartans have shown a knack for coaching up two-star recruits. McDonald, for example. He came to East Lansing as a lightly-pursued defensive lineman, but has morphed into one of the Big Ten’s top offensive guards. The honorable mention all-league pick is stout at the point of attack, light on his feet and set to become the leader of the Michigan State front wall in 2012.

OL Austin Pasztor, Virginia
It’s easy to go unnoticed when you grow up in Ontario … Canada, not California. Pasztor was a virtual unknown coming out of high school, even after transferring to Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy for his senior season. The four-year starter at guard blossomed early in his Cavaliers career, though, peaking with his inclusion on the 2011 All-ACC First Team. His stock rising, he’s hoping to get drafted three months from now so he can continue honing his craft in the states.

OL Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State
Yeah, Taylor received nine offers coming out of Arlington, Tex., but most were from middling programs, like Kansas, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico and Louisiana-Monroe. The Cowboys and Mike Gundy gave him an opportunity to perform on a much bigger stage. And he did not disappoint. A starter since the beginning of his redshirt freshman year, he’s been a rock for one of the nation’s most underrated offensive lines. He’ll be the veteran of a unit that’s about to lose three seniors to graduation.

Honorable Mention: Jacolby Ashworth (Houston), Jeff Nady (Nevada)

- 2008 All-Star Two-Star Defense

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