CFN Archives - The 2005 Five-Star Booms
USC QB Mark Sanchez
Recruiting is an inexact science, to say the least, but some actually hit the mark and play up to the hype, like USC QB Mark Sanchez, ranked No. 1 in 2005. Richard Cirminiello takes a look back on the 2005 recruiting class to see which players boomed and which busted.
What Happened To the 5-Star Prospects? ... Worth The Hype
The 5-Star Prospects From 2005 That Were Worth All The Attention
CFN Top Prospects
| Running Backs
Re-Ranking the 2004 Recruiting Classes
Re-Ranking the 2003 Recruiting Classes
- Recruiting Booms & Busts
... the 2002 Class
- Recruiting Booms & Busts
... the 2003 Class
- Recruiting Busts ... the
The five-star recruit. The Holy Grail for any coaching staff,
university, and fan base. There are talented high school players, and
then there are the five-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 stark reality each year is that even the highest-rated
recruits can be hit-or-miss, an inexact science that’s part exhilarating
and part unbelievably maddening. To illustrate this point, all you’ve
got to do is take a revisionist look at the 51 blue-chippers from four
years ago to see who lived up to expectations and who was living a lie.
Only a fraction, about 40%, went on to perform like the best of the
best, which ought to somewhat temper your enthusiasm for next week’s
signing day. Below are the players who went boom ... they were worth
*Historical rankings from 2005 are courtesy of Scout.com. The number
next to each player was where Scout.com had the player ranked overall in
51. DT Roy Miller, Texas – One of the unsung heroes of the
Longhorn defense, Miller capped a very solid career by being named first
team All-Big 12 and Defensive MVP of the Fiesta Bowl. A part of the line
rotation since his freshman year, he’s an explosive and tenacious run
stopper, who’ll get a chance to impress scouts at the NFL Combine in
Indianapolis next month.
49. DT Vince Oghobaase, Duke – Oghobaase has been as good as
advertised four years ago, when the Blue Devils shocked the nation by
signing him over much more prominent programs. He’s putting off the NFL
for one more year, remaining in Durham for a fourth season as a starter
and the disruptive anchor of the defensive line.
48. OT Jared Gaither, Maryland – The Terps’ loss has been the
Baltimore Ravens’ gain. The mountain-sized Gaither only played two
seasons in College Park, starting both years, before taking the
supplemental draft route to M&T Bank Stadium. While still raw, he showed
a lot of potential in his first season as the Ravens’ starting left
tackle, protecting QB Joe Flacco’s blindside.
44. WR Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma – A big, physical
playmaker, Kelly was often too much for opposing Big 12 defensive backs
to handle. In just three years in Norman, he finished fifth in Sooner
history in receptions and second in receiving yards and touchdown
receptions. A second-round pick of the Washington Redskins, he was
limited by a left knee injury and appeared in just a handful of games.
43. RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois – Yeah, the Illini only got
one big year out of Mendenhall, but it was a special season that
wouldn’t have happened without his heroics. After showing hints of
stardom in 2005 and 2006, he erupted as a junior for 1,999 total yards
and 19 touchdowns, helping lead Illinois to an improbable Rose Bowl
berth. After skipping his senior year, he was chosen 23rd
overall in the 2008 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
42. DB Derek Pegues, Mississippi State – A three-year starter
with a slew of postseason awards, Pegues has been one of the SEC’s
premier defensive backs since 2006. Despite being undersized, he hits
like a safety and covers like a corner, a combination that could have
him off the boards in the first few rounds of April’s draft.
39. OT Michael Oher, Ole Miss – The most uplifting story from the
Class of 2005, Oher overcame an inadequate upbringing to turn his life
around and become one of the nation’s premier offensive linemen. A
starter since his first season in Oxford, he was named All-SEC three
straight years, and is a likely first-round draft choice three months
DeSean Jackson, Cal – For three seasons, Jackson was one of the most
electrifying players in the entire country. Whether he was catching a
pass or returning a punt, he was a constant threat to blow through the
last line of defense with his blazing 4.3 speed. A two-time
All-American, he left early for the NFL, catching 62 passes in his debut
with the Philadelphia Eagles.
28. LB Brian Cushing, USC – Overshadowed at times
by Rey Maualuga, Cushing was every bit as dominant in his four seasons
with the Trojans. The Defensive MVP of the 2007 Rose Bowl, he’s picked
up various postseason honors at the end of each year. A tremendous
all-around athlete with a hot motor, he’ll be off the board long before
the end of the first round in April.
23. WR Derrick Williams, Penn State – Underutilized in the early
parts of his career, Williams showed what he can do in 2008 with more
touches. As a senior, he scored nine touchdowns in three different ways,
ending his Lion career as an All-Big Ten selection. Still, for such a
ballyhooed recruit, his overall production was more consistent with a
three- or four-star performer.
22. RB Jonathan Stewart, Oregon – Hampered at times
by injuries, Stewart was a spectacular runner in Eugene when he was
healthy. A two-time All-Pac-10 selection, he capped his Duck career with
a 253-yard outburst in the 2007 Sun Bowl. Now a member of the Carolina
Panthers, he rushed for 836 yards and 10 scores in his first year in the
20. CB Justin King, Penn State – While not unbeatable in Happy
Valley, King did develop into one of the Big Ten’s top cover corners
before leaving a year early for the NFL Draft. Chosen in the fourth
round by the St. Louis Rams a year ago, he missed all of his first
season with a torn tendon in his big toe.
19. CB Reggie Smith, Oklahoma – After three successful years in
Norman, Smith left school early with an eye on the NFL Draft. A starter
in each season, he was a playmaker out of the secondary, who earned
first team All-Big 12 recognition as a sophomore and a junior. A
third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, he saw action in three
games, and figures to have a more prominent role next year.
18. LB Rey Maualuga, USC – After four seasons of excellence and
punishing hits, Maualuga added his name to the lengthy list of great
linebackers to matriculate at USC. Named All-American following this
past season, and All-Pac-10 three times, he was the prototypical college
inside linebacker. His career will continue in the NFL as a likely
15. OT Alex Boone, Ohio State – With his size, reach, and feet,
Boone was supposed to be the next great left tackle in Columbus. While
certainly talented, starting four years and earning All-Big Ten honors,
he was exposed, at times, by pass rushers, who can get around the edge
in a hurry. Hopes of playing beyond Ohio State might require a shift
14. TE Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M – Despite matching a
school-record for tight ends with 105 career catches, there was still a
consensus that Bennett was underutilized in the passing game. A
game-breaking athlete at 6-6 and 265 pounds, he created mismatches for
opposing linebackers with his size and speed. A second-round pick of the
Dallas Cowboys, he caught 20 balls for 283 yards and four touchdowns in
a No. 2 role.
9. S Kenny Phillips, Miami – During his three seasons in Miami,
Phillips was one of the nation’s top safeties, combining corner speed
with the pop of a linebacker. After back-to-back All-ACC seasons, he
opted for the NFL Draft, where he was selected at the end of the first
round by the New York Giants. Despite starting only three games, he
impressed with the defending champs and has a bright future.
7. TE Travis Beckum, Wisconsin – Recruited by the Badgers as a
defensive end, he’d make the switch to offense in 2006 look like a
stroke of genius. Too quick and long for most defenders to handle, he’d
go on to catch 159 passes and 11 touchdowns in a little more than two
seasons of work. A broken leg last October prematurely ended a career
that’s expected to continue in the NFL.
5. OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia – Monroe did not disappoint in his
four years with the Cavaliers, gradually ramping up to one of the
country’s top left tackles and pass blockers. After earning honorable
mention honors as a junior, he mushroomed into an All-American last
fall, while really grabbing the attention of pro scouts. He could be the
first lineman chosen in April, and isn’t likely to fall past the first
1. QB Mark Sanchez, USC – You can evaluate Sanchez in two
different ways. Although he clearly emerged as the five-star talented he
was projected to be, the Trojans only enjoyed his services for 16
complete games. So, was he worth all of those recruiting visits in 2004
and 2005? He sure was in 2008, throwing 34 touchdown passes in another
Rose Bowl season before jetting to the ranks of the early NFL entries.
- Recruiting Busts ... the