Recruiting 2013 - 2009 5-Star Recruits, 21-30
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd
Posted Jan 25, 2013

Did it work out? Did the superstar prospects fulfill their promise?

Recruiting 2013 - 2009 Lookback

The 5-Star Recruits ... 21-30

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
- 2008 Class | 2007 Class | 2006 Class | 2005 Class | 2004 Class
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 2009 are courtesy of

30. WR Andre Debose, Florida
Those Percy Harvin comparisons made sense based on speed and athletic explosiveness, but they probably haven't helped Debose's development in Gainesville. He's been consistently called out for not doing the little things well, such as practicing hard or knowing the playbook. Two head coaches—Urban Meyer and Will Muschamp—have now been frustrated by the junior's inability to maximize all of his natural physical ability. Debose has had moments on special teams, returning three kickoffs for touchdowns, but was nonexistent on offense in 2012, and has caught just 28 career passes for 539 touchdowns and four scores.
Worth the Hype? Not yet

29. LB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State
Just when you think you have Burfict figured out, he leaves everyone vexed. He committed to USC, but opted instead to attend Arizona State. After raising expectations in his first two seasons, he tanked as a junior, becoming one of the biggest individual disappointments of 2011, on and off the field. And after going undrafted last April, Burfict has really confounded observers by winning a starting job with the Cincinnati Bengals and racking up more than 100 tackles. If he can maintain his focus, he'll have an opportunity to write a positive final chapter to an otherwise rocky career and upbringing.
Worth the Hype? Sort of

28. WR Marlon Brown, Georgia
Brown's Bulldog career ended on Nov. 3 when he sustained an ACL tear in a blowout of Ole Miss. Unfortunately, it marked an abrupt end to a disappointing career, one that never approached its original expectations. At the time of the injury, he was tied for the team lead with 27 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns. Brown's career box score shows 55 grabs for 851 yards and eight scores; nice numbers for a single year, but not four years for a can't-miss playmaker considered to be one of two or three top players from the state of Tennessee.
Worth the Hype?Nope

27. DT John Simon, Ohio State
Simon was so much more than just a three-year starter along the D-line for the Buckeyes. He was an emotional leader and a rare two-time team captain who set the tone defensively in Columbus. Whether at tackle or end, the 6-2, 263-pounder was always finding his way into opposing backfields, finishing with 43 career tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks. Perpetual energy on the field, Simon was named First Team All-Big Ten the last two seasons, laying the groundwork for what promises to be an outstanding and long career in the NFL.
Worth the Hype?Yes

26. CB J.T. Turner, Michigan
On Signing Day four years ago, Turner narrowly chose Michigan over Ohio State. Lucky Buckeyes. Turner was the classic case of a five-star body, with a one-star head. He was never fully committed to doing what was necessary to be successful at this level, and decided to transfer in the summer of 2010. From Ann Arbor, he traveled an odyssey that included a semester at West Virginia and a tour through the JUCO ranks that eventually ended at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College. Turner committed to play for Hawaii in 2012, but never qualified academically.
Worth the Hype? Nope

25. LB Nico Johnson, Alabama
Playing linebacker at Alabama is sort of like being a running back in Baton Rouge; it's easy to get a little lost in the crowd. Johnson is a terrific inside linebacker, with a bright future ahead in the NFL. But did he have a five-star career in Tuscaloosa? Not quite. He's never started more than seven games in a season, rotating in and out of the lineup. Johnson was among the Tide's top tacklers this past season, but will look to distinguish himself and create his own identity now that his ‘Bama career has come to an end.
Worth the Hype? Sort of

24. CB Branden Smith, Georgia
Smith is a five-star recruit who authored a three-star career in Athens. Over the course of four years, he wound up starting half of his 50 games, showing excellent versatility and athleticism. In fact, the Bulldogs used him on direct snaps behind center and as a return man on special teams. Smith was a solid contributor throughout his career, with outstanding jets, but no All-SEC appearances or true breakthrough moments left Georgia fans feeling a little underwhelmed by his four-year career.
Worth the Hype? Not quite

23. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
It's not always easy for a quarterback to manage the expectations of being the can't-miss franchise on a new campus. Boyd has done it rather seamlessly since becoming the starter in 2011. If the last two years are any indication, he's well on his way to becoming the best quarterback in program history … and possibly the ACC. The perfect triggerman in Chad Morris' offense, and the 2012 ACC Player of the Year, he's accounted for 84 touchdowns and well over 8,000 total yards over the last two seasons. With another year left in Death Valley, Boyd will keep piling up records and wowing NFL scouts.
Worth the Hype? Yes

22. DE Melvin Fellows, Ohio State
The Buckeyes knew there was risk associated with Fellows, but they kept their fingers crossed that he'd remain healthy. Unfortunately for both parties, that was not the case. Fellows suffered a knee injury early in 2009, and never quite recovered. He wound up playing a few downs, whetting appetites with his size and potential, but was never physically able to perform up to expectations. He gave up the game a year ago, but remained in Columbus to pursue his degree.
Worth the Hype? Nope

21. QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
Murray has already met expectations as a three-year starter for the Bulldogs. He'll have an opportunity to blow past them as a senior in 2013. He's yet to win an SEC championship, the goal of every quarterback in the conference. But he's been a program leader and a prolific passer, setting a bunch of single-season and career passing marks at Georgia. And his leadership skills and intangibles are key reasons why the Dawgs have rebounded with 10 wins in each of the last two years. With a full season left, Murray has already thrown for 10,091 yards and 95 touchdowns.
Worth the Hype? Yes

The 2008 5-Star Prospects. Were They Worth It?
- 1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50
- 2008 Class | 2007 Class | 2006 Class | 2005 Class | 2004 Class