Recruiting 2013 - 2009 5-Star Recruits, 11-20
Alabama RB Trent Richardson
Alabama RB Trent Richardson
Posted Jan 25, 2013

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

Recruiting 2013 - 2009 Lookback

The 5-Star Recruits ... 11-20

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
20. CB Gabe Lynn, Oklahoma
If Lynn is going to enter the same time zone as his high school expectations, it'll have to come in 2013. He's had a very quiet career in Norman up to this point, first copping a full-time role this past fall. Used as the nickelback and at cornerback, he possesses only average coverage skills, and has been victimized too often through the air. Lynn can be active and physical when necessary, but at 6-0 and 199 pounds, he lacks the ideal size to contribute at safety.
Worth the Hype? Not yet

19. LB Dorian Bell, Ohio State
The Buckeyes' loss wound up being the Dukes' gain. Bell was the least visible member of the well-publicized tattoo scandal in Columbus, one of his many off-field problems during a turbulent stay at Ohio State. He eventually sought refuge closer to home at Duquesne, where he's made the most of a second chance. A tough and nasty defender, Bell finished his first full season at the FCS level by earning a smattering of All-American recognition. Despite missing the final two games, he still amassed team-highs with 92 tackles, 12 stops for loss and 6.5 sacks.
Worth the Hype? Nope (Ohio State), Yes (Duquesne)

18. S T.J. McDonald, USC
It didn't take McDonald very long to blossom into one of the country's better safeties. The three-year starter at Troy quickly earned a national reputation as a hard-hitting ball-hawk. He was named All-Pac-12 in each of the last two seasons, capping his career by leading the Trojans in tackles. McDonald has all of the physical attributes to follow his father, Tim, into the NFL. Scouts, though, are looking for better fundamentals and consistency if he's going to plucked in one of the first couple of rounds of the draft.
Worth the Hype? Yes

17. WR Reuben Randle, LSU
No, Randle didn't post monster career numbers over three years, but part of the blame rests at the feet of a mediocre collection of quarterbacks in Baton Rouge. He started 25 games for the Tigers, parlaying 53 receptions for 917 yards and eight touchdowns into the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. At 6-3, Randle has the right combination of size and overall athleticism to emerge as a downfield playmaker for the New York Giants. He played sparingly in his pro debut, becoming increasingly comfortable off the bench as the season unfolded.
Worth the Hype? Yes

16. OT Mason Walters, Texas
A steady force up front for the Longhorns, Walters has started 38 consecutive games at right guard, the longest streak on the program. At 6-6 and 320 pounds, he brings a massive and physical presence along the line, blowing open holes for the young backs. Walters is tenacious at the point of attack, and will not give up on a play until the whistle blows. After peaking with honorable mention All-Big 12 recognition, he'll be looking to reach a little higher a season from now, while also grabbing the attention of NFL scouts.
Worth the Hype? Yes

15. DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
High-risk, high-reward has always been the label associated with Richardson. The tackle is an elite talent, likely to be plucked out of the first round of April's NFL Draft. However, the Tigers only benefited from his services for two seasons. He was academically ineligible coming out of high school, and spent time at the College of the Sequoias in California. After approaching his potential in 2011, mostly as a backup, he erupted in 2012 into one of the nation's most feared interior linemen. The All-SEC pick amassed 75 tackles, 10.5 stops for loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles, supercharging his draft grade.
Worth the Hype? Yes

14. DE Alex Okafor, Texas
Okafor has been in the Longhorns D-line rotation since his rookie year, starting 32 consecutive games before missing most of the 2012 regular-season finale with an injury. He's played inside and outside, but earned First Team All-Big 12 honors as a strongside end in each of the last two years. At 6-4 and 265 pounds, he has the size and power to stop the run, yet has produced at least seven sacks in each of the last two seasons, capped by 4.5 in the Alamo Bowl. Translation? Okafor is a three-down player, with a shot to be chosen in the first two rounds of April's NFL Draft.
Worth the Hype? Yes

13. RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
The perfect successor to Heisman winner Mark Ingram in Tuscaloosa, Richardson made the most of his only opportunity to be a full-timer in 2011. As a complement, he rushed for 1,451 yards and 14 scores in his first two seasons combined. As the feature guy on the Tide's national championship team, the All-American went for another 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns, winning the Doak Walker Award. Chosen No. 3 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, Richardson paid back Cleveland by shattering a number of Jim Brown's rookie records. The best is yet to come for the young Browns star.
Worth the Hype? Yes

12. OT Eric Shrive, Penn State
Four years into his Nittany Lions tenure, Shrive has yet to have an impact on the field in Happy Valley. He's essentially had the career of a walk-on, working hard just to elevate to the second team. Now, the junior has been an inspirational figure away from the stadium, with his charitable work, but the program didn't offer him a scholarship four years ago because of his intangibles or big heart. Shrive has one more shot to earn a starting nod in 2013, a fifth-year blocker on a unit graduating four seniors.
Worth the Hype? Nope

11. DT Jamarkus McFarland, Oklahoma
McFarland was near the top of his class among defensive tackles coming out of high school. But he didn't remain there as his Sooners career unfolded. The 6-2, 288-pounder finished with 23 starts, yet only became a full-timer during this past season. While he did show the ability to get off quickly and get into the backfield, big plays came less frequently than Oklahoma fans had hoped when he arrived out of Lufkin, Tex. McFarland was never recognized as an All-Big 12 performer, disappointing for a five-star recruit.
Worth the Hype? Not quite

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