Five-Star History: States that produce the fewest
This week, Rivals.com is releasing a series looking at every high school five-star in company history dating back to 2002. Fourteen states have never produced a five-star. Today, we start with the bottom two dozen states that did produce at least one five-star.
It’s important to note Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy recruits are categorized by their home state as to not give Florida a falsely-inflated number.
Overview: The state of South Carolina has produced a surprising amount of outstanding defensive linemen in Sapp, Bowers, Thomas, Clowney, Pickens, Dunlap and Burch. Clemson is beating South Carolina 4-3 for in-state five-star recruits. Burch, who remains uncommitted, could even that score if the Columbia (S.C.) Hammond School star picks the Gamecocks.
Farrell’s take: The Palmetto State produces some talent led by Clowney, the best five-star I have ever scouted. Green is another superstar to come out of the state and Lattimore would have been a great college and NFL player if he didn’t suffer that gruesome injury.
Overview: Alabama and Michigan have done the best with five-star talent in the state of New Jersey, but the state seems wide open for any program to come in and compete. Penn State has only landed one five-star from New Jersey in Rivals history, which is surprising because it’s the closest Big Ten power.
Farrell’s take: Jersey has been hit-or-miss with guys like Nelson, Olsen, Peppers and Fitzpatrick as home runs and others not living up to their potential.
Overview: After South Carolina and New Jersey, which had 10 five-stars each, comes Arizona with nine and again it’s a state where players don’t seem to head to one particular school. Arizona and Arizona State have always had trouble keeping elite players home although it paid off for the Sun Devils with Harry. A bunch of top Arizona prospects go to play in the state of Texas with Kirk and Allen and now Ringo, who’s serious about Texas, Georgia, Ohio State and others.
Farrell’s take: Arizona is sneaky when it comes to five-stars with guys like Harry, Kennard, Griffen and Kirk having different levels of success but all showing five-star talent. Peat lived up to the hype as well as a first-rounder so the success level out of Arizona is pretty impressive.
Overview: Despite the state producing nine five-stars, Illinois has largely struck out with elite in-state talent, not signing a five-star since 2007 in Wilson. Iowa has found some success there especially with Epenesa, who has ties to the Hawkeyes and could be one of the game’s best players next season. USC might slow down its efforts with five-star talent in the state especially since Prater and Isaac were misses for the Trojans.
Farrell’s take: I’ve always felt Illinois was a little overrated when it came to talent when I started in this industry and many of these guys didn’t pan out, but Treadwell and Epenesa have been recent ones and very good. But out of high school, these guys were all studs.
Overview: USC, now the in-state Huskies, have had the most five-star success in Washington with Mays being the star by becoming a second-round NFL Draft pick. Other than USC, the state is a scattershot as only one five-star played for Washington, others went to Michigan, Oregon, Stanford and other locations. Smalls is an uncommitted five-star in this class and while Washington is high on his list so are some SEC and ACC powerhouses.
Farrell’s take: Some of these five-stars such as Stewart and Schilling had good careers but others flamed out. Mays was one of the most talented kids I’ve seen so it’s a surprise he didn’t have a great career. Time will tell for Eason and Sarell. Browne was one of the biggest busts.
Overview: It is surprising that Michigan, with such talented pockets of players in the Detroit metro area, has only had nine five-stars in Rivals history. The Wolverines have not missed their opportunities though. Michigan has landed four of those players while Michigan State has nabbed two. Nearby Notre Dame has signed just one five-star from Michigan in Hayes. Rogers is a five-star in this recruiting class who remains wide open with Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State, Georgia and others involved.
Farrell’s take: Michigan has had some dudes but not a ton of them panned out although Graham has been awesome and Woodley has been very solid. Peoples-Jones looks very promising and I think Rogers is a can’t-miss.
Overview: Seven players have earned five-star status in the nation’s capital with two of them this recruiting cycle in Jarrett and Sherman, who both play at St. John’s College High. Of the five other five-stars they all went to different schools and four of them headed south in Goldman to Florida State, Tabor to Florida, Hall to Alabama and Austin to North Carolina.
Farrell’s take: DC came alive in the mid 2000s with guys like Austin and Benn but Goldman has probably been the best. Jarrett, Sherman and Hall could all be stars down the line.
Overview: Fairly or unfairly, the Missouri coaching staff gets some criticism for not being able to keep more high-end talent at home but the Tigers signed three of the four five-stars from the state. Pipkins was the only one who got away when he chose Michigan.
Farrell’s take: This is a small but strong group with only Pipkins really flaming out. Green-Beckham was No. 1 in the country and never lived up to the hype, but he still had some great moments at Mizzou and ended up as a second-round pick.
Overview: With a total of four five-stars, New York is next on the list. This is another state where all five players chose different schools and all of them went outside the region. Wilson could be a stud on Georgia’s offensive line this season.
Farrell’s take: Easley was a home run and it looks like Wilson will be as well but it’s hard to figure how Williams and Gwaltney busted out because they were so talented.
Overview: Arkansas has done a good job as well locking up top-end in-state recruits with three of the four going to play for the Razorbacks. Only Dyer got away to Auburn. McFadden is the prize of the group, rushing for 4,590 yards and 41 touchdowns in three seasons before being the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Farrell’s take: McFadden is the star of this group and Mustain is the head-scratcher as he started off great at Arkansas and then whined his way off the team and flamed out at USC.
Overview: Purdue has been nicknamed the Cradle of Quarterbacks but none of the three five-star QBs from the state of Indiana went to play for the Boilermakers. Johnson chose Clemson but transferred out and can play this season at Northwestern. Banks went to Tennessee and Kiel was supposed to be a superstar but it never panned out.
Farrell’s take: Kiel was a bust and time will tell with Johnson. Smith was a home run and a great college player who is starting to make his way in the pros.
Overview: The good news for Kentucky football fans is that all three of the five-stars from the state have come since 2015 so there’s a chance more talent is coming from that area each recruiting cycle. The bad news for them is that Harris and Wills got pilfered by Alabama or it could have been a huge talent injection for the Wildcats.
Overview: Oklahoma has done a phenomenal job and has landed five-stars from all over the country but is hitting at 33 percent in its home state. McCoy is the only five-star to play for the Sooners as Meachem chose Tennessee and Hill picked Michigan after some drama in his recruitment.
Overview: The jury is still out on Gaoteote, who’s starting to emerge in USC’s linebacker corps and Washington, an uncommitted prospect in the 2020 class who has every national power after him. He’s a 6-foot-7, 255-pound freak show at tight end. Reynolds battled injuries throughout his college career and gave up football.
Overview: There has not been a five-star in Colorado since 2010 but the state has emerged with some high-level offensive linemen in the last few years. The 2020 class is loaded with outstanding players across the offensive line. Christian McCaffrey was a four-star and No. 77 nationally. That was a regrettable decision.
Overview: The state of Oregon’s five-stars could be chalked up to missed expectations because Tyner was an elite track star who was also special at running back and Lyerla was one of the best athletes in the West in Rivals history. But injuries limited Tyner and off-the-field issues kept Lyerla from being an elite player.
Overview: The state of Minnesota has only put out two five-stars in Rivals history but both are special players. I still remember being wowed by Henderson’s immense size at the Army All-American Bowl and Floyd had a tremendous career at Notre Dame before being a first-round NFL Draft pick.
Overview: The recruitment of both Brown brothers is a thing of recruiting lore as it was a wild ride that saw Bryce sign with Tennessee and Arthur go to Miami. Bryce Brown was the top-rated prospect in the 2009 class ahead of Rueben Randle, D.J. Fluker, Sheldon Richardson and Matt Barkley.
Overview: Ngata was a dominant force almost every time he stepped on the football field whether in high school, college or the pros. The former five-star retired in March as a Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowler. Gustin is a physical specimen but his career at USC was marred by injuries. He’s heading into this month’s NFL Draft.
Five-stars: Manti Te’o
Overview: After totaling 437 tackles in four seasons at Notre Dame, Te’o was a second-round NFL Draft pick and has played for the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints in his career.
Five-stars: Christian Wilkins
Overview: Wilkins is the only five-star from Connecticut but he’s a good representative for the state since he dominated so much at Clemson and could be a first-round pick in this month’s NFL Draft. In four years with the Tigers, Wilkins totaled 192 tackles and 16 sacks.
Five-stars: Josh Oglesby
Overview: It’s fitting that the lone five-star from Wisconsin was an offensive lineman since the Badgers produce so many great ones. Oglesby was on numerous Outland Trophy watch lists and was a free-agent signee of the Washington Redskins but had to retire due to injury. He’s currently the offensive quality control coach at UTEP.
Five-stars: Baker Steinkuhler
Overview: Of Nebraska royalty, Steinkuhler played defensive tackle for the Huskers even though he was ranked as a five-star offensive tackle. As of 2017, Steinkuhler had dropped 50 pounds and was working in the medical field.
Five-stars: Darnell Wright
Overview: After a busy recruitment where Wright was courted by almost every national power, the lone five-star from West Virginia signed with Tennessee. He has the size and talent to compete for early playing time on the Vols’ offensive line.
Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming have never had a five-star prospect.
A few guys that stand out to me from the states further down the list are Wilkins from Connecticut, Te’o from Hawaii and Ngata from Utah. There are so many good players in this group from states that don’t produce many five-stars and numerous guys made a huge impact on college football and in the NFL. Minnesota’s 1-2 punch of Henderson and Floyd is a fun one to look back on.