Rivals.com has an archive that’s easily accessible, so takes only a few minutes to see how highly regarded this year’s six Heisman Trophy finalists were out of high school.
Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Boston College’s Andre Williams were give only three stars. Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch rated only two stars. Imagine that.
But Alabama’s AJ McCarron and Auburn’s Tre Mason were four-star guys, which means they were slated to be top-flight players. And the eventual winner, Florida State’s Jameis Winston, was a five-star prospect – the top rating possible.
The “star” rating of it is only one part of the process. It’s a prediction of how well a particular player might do, not a 100-percent guarantee. Obviously.
Some guys grow. Some guys develop faster because they go somewhere they can get on the field faster. Some guys have a work ethic and drive that isn’t readily apparent even to recruiting analysts, who seem to be better at their jobs than, say, the weather forecasters.
Consider the 2002 recruiting class, which is the oldest one listed in the Rivals.com archive. Alabama and Auburn each signed a defensive player who was better than most would’ve predicted. For Alabama, it was DeMeco Ryans, while for Auburn, it was Will Herring. Both were rated as three-star prospects, which predicts they’ll be good players but not great.
Both shined in college. Both made it in the NFL. Both still are playing. How can a recruiting analyst predict that a dozen years earlier?
Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.