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What Happened To The 5-Star Prospects?
Former Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson
Former Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 4, 2008


How many of the superstar recruits actually pan out? Richard Cirminiello goes back four years to see how many of the 5-star prospects actually lived up to their billing, like former Oklahoma star Adrian Peterson, and which fizzled.

Recruiting - What Happened To the 5-Star Prospects?

The 5-Star Prospects From 2004

By Richard Cirminiello 

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Re-Ranking the 2004 Recruiting Classes

The 5-star recruit.  The Holy Grail for any coaching staff, university, and fan base.  There are good high school players, and then there are the 5-star athletes, the top 1% of available candidates, and the caliber of players that programs and recruiting classes are built around.  However, the glow of landing one of these rare gems can sometimes fade before the following February’s signing day.  The reality is that even the highest-rated recruits can be hit-or-miss, an inexact science that can be exhilarating or unbelievably frustrating.  To illustrate this point, we’ve taken a revisionist look at the 30 5-star recruits from four years ago to see who lived up to expectations and who was living a lie.  We’ve also revised the ratings of each player to reflect how well they’ve matched lofty advanced billings since leaving high school.  

*Historical rankings from 2004 are courtesy of Scout.com

1. OL Jeff Byers, USC – In terms of perseverance, you might need to break out a sixth star for Byers, who battled his way back from serious injuries to start at guard last season and play in 13 games.  After looking like a blue-chipper as a true freshman in 2004, he missed all of 2005 and 2006 with torn cartilage in his hip and back problems, respectively.  Byers played well in his first season back with USC, showing hints of why he was so highly touted coming out of high school, and laying the foundation for what should be an ever better final season.
Revised Rating:


2. LB Willie Williams, Miami – Exhibit A of the million-dollar athlete with a 10-cent head, Williams squandered countless opportunities to make restitution for a checkered past.  After leaving Miami and attending West Los Angeles Community College, he resurfaced at Louisville, only to wear out his welcome last September following an arrest for possession of marijuana, felony tampering, and driving without a license.  Undoubtedly out of second chances, Williams’ vast potential as a linebacker is likely to go untapped.
Revised Rating: No stars

3. RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma – Although injuries limited Peterson in 2005 and 2006, there’s no debating he’s one of the most complete backs to come out of college in a long time.  A big back that can bounce off tacklers or jet past them, he burst onto the scene as a true freshman, rushing for 1,325 yards and finishing second to USC’s Matt Leinart in the Heisman voting.  Peterson suffered a high ankle sprain as a sophomore and broke his collar bone as a junior, the only things that prevented him from smashing Billy Sims’ Sooner rushing record.  Just like his first year in Norman, he was a rookie sensation for the Minnesota Vikings in 2007, rushing for 1,341 yards, including a single-game record 296 yards on Nov. 4, and getting named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Revised Rating:

4. CB Ted Ginn, Ohio State – For the three years Ginn was in Columbus, only USC’s Reggie Bush was a more electrifying gamebreaker with the ball in his hands.  Able to rip through a secondary or special teams coverage with effortless motion, he made a seamless full-time switch to offense and never looked back.  Although not the prototype at receiver, Ginn caught 125 passes for 1,943 yards and 15 touchdowns, while carving out a niche as one the best return men of all-time.  He was selected No. 9 overall in last year’s draft, catching 34 passes and scoring three times for the Miami Dolphins.
Revised Rating:

5. DE Brandon Miller, Georgia – Miller was a 5-star recruit that wound up playing much of his career like a 3-star defender, at best.  Whether it was an inability to match him at the right position, nagging injuries, or sub par football instincts, he never came close to reaching the lofty expectations that preceded his arrival in Athens.  A part-time starter at linebacker the last two years, Miller finished a very disappointing stay at Georgia with 108 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and just a single sack. 
Revised Rating:  ½

6. LB Dan Connor, Penn State – At a school that’s been defined by its linebackers, Connor staked his claim over the last four years to being the best ever to play in Happy Valley.  An All-American the last two seasons, he won the Bednarik Award given to the nation’s best defensive player and became the Lions’ all-time leading tackler in 2007.  A linebacker with unmatched instincts at the position, he should be scooped up long before the end of the first round of this spring’s NFL Draft.
Revised Rating:

7. QB Rhett Bomar, Oklahoma – Most blue-chip busts are a result of a kid not being able to cut it, but that’s not the case with Bomar.  He really came on as a redshirt freshman in 2005, earning MVP honors in the Holiday Bowl, but let the air out of his Sooner career when NCAA rules violations resulted in his dismissal before the start of the following season.  Bomar got back to action in 2007 as a member of Sam Houston State, throwing 10 touchdowns and six picks in nine games.  He has one more year of eligibility in Huntsville to breathe life into a once-promising career that took a disastrous detour.
Revised Rating:

8. DE Charles Johnson, Georgia – After two mostly uneventful years in Athens, Johnson had one big season in 2006, and bolted to the NFL, a bad trade-off for Dawg fans that wanted him for one more fall.  In his debut as the starter, the junior finished with a team-high 19 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 10 pass breakups and 27 pressures, good enough for a spot on the All-SEC Second Team.  Johnson was a third round selection of the Carolina Panthers in 2007, but was inactive for 13 games as a rookie.
Revised Rating:  ½

9. WR Early Doucet, LSU – An injury last year and the program’s depth at the position between 2004 and 2006 kept Doucet from really teeing off statistically, and contending for national awards.  However, those in the know recognize that he has matured into one of the nation’s most polished receivers, a fluid athlete that runs great routes and can deliver key blocks.  Doucet finished with 160 career catches, modest in some circles, yet 20 went for touchdowns, and his best days lie ahead in a league that’s going to tap all of his athletic ability.
Revised Rating:  ½

10. QB Xavier Lee, Florida State – Keeping in mind that Lee was one of the highest-rated quarterbacks of 2004 and an almost legendary recruit, his career in Tallahassee will go down as sizable bust.  While there were rare moments of brilliance, they were too few infrequent for a program that felt he was the answer to its recent problems behind center.  A fantastic all-around athlete, Lee was never able to wrap his arms around the starting job for any length of time, opting to take a stab at the NFL Draft in 2008 rather than return to school for one final year. 
Revised Rating:

11. WR Fred Davis, USC – Relatively anonymous through the first three years, Davis erupted his senior season, parlaying 62 catches for 881 yards and eight touchdowns into the 2007 Mackey Award.  A rangy wide receiver coming out of Rogers (Ohio) High School, he added a few pounds and adjusted well as a seam-splitting tight end with a knack for making acrobatic grabs.  The most prolific tight end in USC history, Davis should be plucked in one of the first two rounds of April’s NFL Draft. 
Revised Rating:  ½

12. LB Keith Rivers, USC – A three-year starter on the weakside, Rivers distinguished himself as one of the nation’s most complete linebackers, tough enough to defend the run and athletic enough to cover the pass.  He finished his Trojan career with 240 tackles, twice earning First Team All-Pac-10 honors, while getting plenty of All-America recognition a year ago.  Destined to have a long career in the NFL, Rivers could be off the board by the end of the first round in April.
Revised Rating:  

13. DE Jeff Schweiger, USC – While Schweiger started fast as true freshman, injuries and all that Trojan depth prevented him from ever carving out any sustained level of excellence.  He got buried on the depth chart, eventually opting last year to return home to San Jose, where he’ll play for Dick Tomey and the Spartans in 2008.  In a different environment and against lesser competition, Schweiger has a second chance to impress pro scouts and add a couple of stars to his revised rating. 
Revised Rating:  ½

14. WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech – One of the most freakishly gifted receivers to ever play college football, the only thing that occasionally stopped Johnson in Atlanta was the inconsistent play of his quarterback.  An uncommon blend of 6-5 size, 4.35 speed, and huge mitts, the two-time All-American hauled in a school-record 178 passes and 28 touchdowns in just three seasons.  Now a member of the Detroit Lions, he caught 48 passes for 756 yards and four touchdowns in 2007, numbers that were suppressed by a season-long back injury.
Revised Rating:

15. WR Xavier Carter, LSU – There’s fast and then there’s too fast, which is how some Tiger football fans might label Carter.  One of the fastest men on the planet, he chose to give up football before the start of the 2006 season in order to pursue a professional track career.  The 2006 NCAA Men's Track Athlete of the Year and an Olympic hopeful in Beijing later this year, Carter finished his LSU football career with nine catches.  At 6-3 with those jets, there’s no telling how dominant he could have been had he stuck around and honed his pass-catching skills. 
Revised Rating: No stars

16. DE Derrick Harvey, Florida – One of college football’s most disruptive edge rushers, Harvey has decided to enter the NFL Draft a year early, where he could go as high as the first round.  He really came into his own as a sophomore, tying for the SEC lead with 11 sacks, and kept the momentum going with an all-league effort a year ago.  In the 2007 BCS Championship game against Ohio State, Harvey was a force, collecting three sacks and a fumble recovery in an epic MVP performance.  
Revised Rating:  ½

17. LB Brian Toal, Boston College – A rare dual-threat at north of 250 pounds, Toal is one of the ACC’s better linebackers and a lock as a short yardage runner.  Before redshirting last year to rehab a shoulder injury, he’d racked up 180 tackles, a dozen plunges for scores, and a bunch of first down runs in three seasons of work.  With a chance to be completely healthy for the first time since his freshman year, Toal’s poised to deliver a monster final audition for NFL scouts. 
Revised Rating:  ½

18. DT DeMario Pressley, NC State – A fixture on the Wolfpack defensive line since his sophomore season, Pressley started three seasons in Raleigh, flashing the kind of quickness and closing speed that’s caught the attention of NFL scouts.  Although a variety of nagging injuries prevented him from fulfilling the hype of being the nation’s top defensive tackle of 2004, Pressley still had a productive career worthy of a 5-star prospect. 
Revised Rating:  ½

19. WR Cameron Colvin, Oregon – Physically, Colvin’s about as gifted as any young receiver that’s ever chosen the Ducks, but every time he was ready to emerge, an injury got in the way.  In 2006, hamstring and groin injuries limited him throughout the season.  And last year, after putting together the best back-to-back performances of his career, Colvin broke his ankle in October, missing a chance to put up huge numbers in the Oregon offense.  In four years, he finished with 74 catches for 892 yards and seven touchdowns, never catching more than 22 balls in a season. 
Revised Rating:
 ½

20. OL Alex Fletcher, Stanford – Although he sometimes gets lost playing for Stanford, Fletcher has been a rock the last three seasons, starting 31 games and displaying the flexibility to play both guard and center.  Peaking as a blocker throughout his college career, he was named Second Team All-Pac-10, setting the stage for what should be a banner final year in Palo Alto in 2008.  While Fletcher considered leaving for the NFL following his redshirt sophomore year, he did nothing but enhance his draft stock last fall.
Revised Rating:

21. DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU – The prototype for NFL tackles, Dorsey was a part of a deep rotation in Baton Rouge his first two seasons before emerging as an unblockable All-American as a junior and a senior.  Last year, despite playing much of the year with a knee injury, he finished ninth in the Heisman voting, while becoming the first player ever to win the Lombardi, Nagurski, Lott, and Outland awards in the same year.  A sure-fire first round pick in April’s draft, he could go as high as No. 1 overall.
Revised Rating:


22. QB Anthony Morelli, Penn State – Morelli started two seasons in Happy Valley, but never quite lived up to the hype that made him one of the country’s most coveted quarterbacks four years ago.  Rarely the reason that the Lions won a big game, he finished his career with modest numbers, including 31 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions.  A senior season that was supposed to be his breakthrough year wound up being riddled with inconsistent play, and as many picks as touchdowns in Big Ten games. 
Revised Rating
:


23. TE Zach Miller, Arizona State – A superb all-around tight end, Miller started every game of his three-year Sun Devil stay, catching 144 passes for 1,512 yards and 14 touchdowns.  He bookended his career by being named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2004 and earning consensus All-American honors in 2006 before leaving early for the NFL Draft.  Now a member of the Oakland Raiders, Miller debuted in 2007 with 44 receptions for 444 yards and three touchdown catches, laying the foundation for a promising pro career.
Revised Rating:


24. RB Charlie Jones, Miami – While there were occasional flashes of production, especially in 2005, Jones didn’t come close to approaching his full potential as an every-down back.  In four years, he never enjoyed a 100-yard day with the Hurricanes, missing all of 2007 with a foot injury.  Possibly sensing that he’d be buried behind sophomore Graig Cooper and junior Javarris James in 2008, Jones is considering transferring to another school for his final year of eligibility. 
Revised Rating:


25. DT Frank Okam, Texas – One of the nation’s premier run-stuffers over the past two seasons, Okam was as good as advertised for the Longhorns.  An important part of the Texas line from the moment he arrived in Austin, he became a full-timer in 2005, earning All-Big 12 recognition at the end of the last three seasons.  A possible first-day draft choice this April, Okam wrapped up a productive career with 160 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, and 12 passes defended. 
Revised Rating:

26. OL Leon Hart, Auburn – Although Hart played a lot of football on the Plains, seeing action in 39 games, he never transcended beyond being a role player, and started just twice in his career.  Last season set up as a chance for redemption for the senior, but he separated his shoulder before the opener, and was limited to just three inconsequential appearances all year.
Revised Rating:

27. QB Chad Henne, Michigan – More than just Michigan’s all-time leading passer, Henne showed uncommon maturity in 2004, when an injury to Matt Gutierrez forced the true freshman into the lineup.  He never looked back, becoming a rare four-year starter for the Wolverines.  While he’ll certainly go down in the Michigan annals, Henne failed to achieve greatness in Ann Arbor, going 0-4 versus Ohio State and never earning a spot on the All-Big Ten first team.
Revised Rating:

28. OL Greg Harrison, Penn State – Harrison certainly looked the part coming out of Shenandoah Valley (Penn.) High School, a hulking lineman with good quickness, burst and smarts.  However, he injured his foot shortly after arriving in State College, struggled to crack the lineup in 2006, and was not a part of the team last season.  For all the hype surrounding Harrison, the jump from high school to college was too much for a player that never even lettered for the Lions.            
Revised Rating: No stars

29. DT Eric McLendon, Reedley College – The rare 5-star prospect that never made it to the big leagues, McLendon had a cup of coffee in the junior college ranks, moved on to another school in North Dakota, and then fell off the map.  The state of Georgia’s top recruit in 2004, he was a 6-6, 288-pound force that was headed to Athens before academic issues got in the way.
Revised Rating
: No stars 

30. S Drew Kelson, Texas – Although a terrific student-athlete and one of the ‘Horns’ best special teamers, Kelson hardly resembled a 5-star recruit in his four seasons in Austin.  More of a role player throughout his career, he made cameos at running back, linebacker, and safety, eventually getting four starts and most of his playing time in dime packages.  Kelson peaked in 2005 with 36 tackles, two tackles for loss, five passes defended and a couple of forced fumbles.
Revised Rating:  

 










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