Twitter was ablaze last weekend as Penn State, Florida and Notre Dame fans clamored over the eventual destination of 4-star linebacker Alex Anzalone. Eventually Anzalone’s mom ruined the surprise when she was seen donning Fighting Irish gear the morning before her son’s commitment (way to go Ma), but it got me thinking about football recruiting. Football recruiting is not an exact science, but fans like to imagine it is.
In my opinion Rivals.com does the best scouting service, especially for football. But in 2009, the class that would have been juniors last year, National Champion Alabama was rated as having the 25th best recruiting class while 6-7 Ohio State finished No. 1. It’s just one example, but on that Ohio State team the No. 1 impact newcomer was Dorian Bell, a linebacker from Pennsylvania. Bell had nine total tackles in 2010, was suspended in 2011 and transferred to Duquesne for 2012.
In basketball, the rate of success tends to mirror the top 100. When you are Kentucky and you recruit No. 2, 3, and 5 – you get numbers 1, 2 and 29 in the NBA draft. In football, great recruiting classes can go by the wayside and players are never heard from again. Meanwhile in football, average rated recruits can develop and pass their higher rated brethren. Mainly this is because it’s hard to grade how an elite high school prospect will react when other elite high school prospects are hitting him in the mouth. But also, basketball has a more finely tuned AAU system to grade players, while football scouts can’t see every player with college talent.
I give you the underrated, the overlooked, the players that didn’t make anyone’s top 250 list but turned into great college players and future pros.
Quarterback – Keith Price, Washington – 3 star
Running back – Kenjon Barner, Oregon – 3 star
Running back – Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt – 3 star
Wide receiver – Marquess Wilson, Washington State – 3 star
Wide receiver – Terrance Williams, Baylor – 2 star
Tight end – Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame – 3 star
O tackle – Cyril Richardson, Baylor – 3 star
Guard – Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina – 3 star
Center – James Ferentz, Iowa – 3 star
Guard – Travis Frederick, Wisconsin – 3 star
Tackle – Justin Pugh, Syracuse – 2 star
Defensive end – James Gayle, Virginia Tech – 3 star
Defensive tackle – Star Lotulelei, Utah – 3 star
Defensive tackle – Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State – 3 star
Defensive end – Stansly Maponga, TCU – 3 star
Linebacker – Chris Borland, Wisconsin – 3 star
Linebacker – Jonathan Brown, Illinois – 3 star
Linebacker – Khaseem Greene, Rutgers – 2 star
Cornerback – Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State – 3 star
Safety – John Boyett, Oregon – 3 star
Safety – Bacarri Rambo, Georgia – 3 star
Cornerback –Johnny Adams, Michigan State – 3 star
Think I left someone out? Tweet me @Einsane to express your opinions and appear in this weeks Gold Rush.