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NFL Draft Projections Vindicate the Star Rating System

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Every true fan of college football can probably name at least a few players that fall into one of the following two categories:

  1. Players who were unknowns coming out of high school, yet ended up developing into NFL standouts.
  2. Players who were highly rated coming out of high school, yet either failed to continue developing or wasted their opportunity via poor decision-making.

I have always considered players that fall into those two categories to be exceptions to the rule. Marion Barber III and Walker Ashley both fit into these categories. Generally, the star rating systems are accurate more often than not. Upon completion of this year's NFL draft, I will take a look at how star ratings relate to draftees. For now, let's consider the top draft projections from Yahoo.com:

PLAYER SCHOOL RIVALS.com STARS
Sam Bradford Oklahoma 3
Ndamukong Suh Nebraska 4
Gerald McCoy Oklahoma 5
Russell Okung Oklahoma State 3
Eric Berry Tennessee 5
Trent Williams Oklahoma 3
Joe Haden Florida 4
Jason Pierre-Paul South Florida 4
Bryan Bulaga Iowa 4
Earl Thomas Texas 4
Rolando McClain Alabama 4
Dan Williams Tennessee 3
C.J. Spiller Clemson 5
Brandon Graham Michigan 5
Jimmy Claussen Notre Dame 5

Out of the top 15 draft prospects four are 3 star recruits, six are 4 star recruits, and five are 5 star recruits. There are far fewer 5 and 4 star ratings dished out each year than 3 star ratings. In 2010, there were only 26 players given 5 stars.

Check back after the draft for a more detailed look at how recruiting ratings translate into NFL draft status.