With the 2021-22 recruiting cycle drawing to a close and Pac-12 fans elated by or fretting over the rankings assigned to their team, the Hotline would like to offer a morsel of perspective.
So consider …
The Pac-12’s only Heisman Trophy winner of the past 16 years, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, was assigned a three-star rating by both major recruiting services.
Aaron Rodgers was also a three-star prospect when he signed with Cal out of Butte Community College.
Neither of the major services, 247Sports and Rivals, listed Christian McCaffrey as a five-star recruit.
Reggie Bush? Not ranked as one of the top two tailbacks in the prep class of 2003. Those honors went to Demetris Summers and Kregg Lumpkin.
All of which is to say: The system has improved over time and often correlates to team success when the sample size is large enough: Add enough four- and five-star players in a multi-year cycle, and wins will likely follow.
But with individual players, the accuracy of the ratings naturally wanes.
To illustrate the flaws and settle nerves, the Hotline combed through the stellar 247Sports database to identify the five highest-rated recruits for each Pac-12 program over the past two decades.
We also listed a few players who didn’t make the top five for their school but went on to have stellar careers.
Notes on the following:
— Class listed is for high school senior year
— Positions may be different than where recruits played in college
— For each school, the database of top-ranked recruits is approximately 250 players long
— Ratings are based on a maximum score of 1.0000
1. WR Tetairoa McMillan: four stars/0.9780 rating/class of 2022
2. CB Devin Ross: four stars/0.9758 rating/class of 2006
3. RB Mike Bell: four stars/0.9671 rating/class of 2001
4. QB Nic Costa: four stars/0.9610 rating/class of 2001
5. TE Rob Gronkowski: four stars/0.9454 rating/class of 2007
Others: No. 21 QB Khalil Tate (four stars), No. 45 QB Anu Solomon (three stars), No. 57 RB Ka’Deem Carey (three stars). Not ranked: LB Scooby Wright.
1. LB Vontaze Burfict: five stars/0.9935 rating/class of 2009
2. TE Zach Miller: five stars/0.9892 rating/class of 2004
3. QB Jayden Daniels: four stars/0.9832 rating/class of 2019
4. DE Terrell Suggs: four stars/0.9765 rating/class of 2000
5. DT Corey Adams: four stars/0.9764 rating/class of 2009
Others: No. 6 WR N’Keal Harry (four stars), No. 17 TB Eno Benjamin(four stars), No. 65 QB Manny Wilkins (four stars), No. 114 WR Jaelen Strong (three stars)
1. S Keenan Allen: five stars/0.9949 rating/class of 2010
2. WR DeSean Jackson: five stars/0.9910 rating/class of 2005
3. WR Demetris Robertson: five stars/0.9905 rating/class of 2016
4. RB Marshawn Lynch: five stars/0.9892 rating/class of 2004
5. DE Lorenzo Alexander: five stars/0.9861 rating/class of 2001
Others: No. 39 QB Jared Goff (four stars), No. 109 DT Tyson Alualu (three stars), No. 157 DT Brandon Mebane (three stars), No. 160 QB Aaron Rodgers (three stars/JC)
1. RB Darrell Scott: five stars/0.9980 rating/class of 2008
2. RB Marcus Houston: five stars/0.9980 rating/class of 2000
3. OT Ryan Miller: five stars/0.9859 rating/class of 2007
4. ATH Russell Lovett: four stars/0.9751 rating/class of 2001
5. QB Craig Ochs: four stars/0.9739 rating/class of 2000
Others: No. 21 WR Paul Richardson (four stars), No. 63 WR Laviska Shenault (three stars), No. 113 LB Nate Landman (three stars), No. 210 CB Isaiah Oliver (three stars)
1. DE Kayvon Thibodeaux: five stars/0.9987 rating/class of 2019
2. LB Justin Flowe: five stars/0.9967 rating/class of 2020
3. DT Haloti Ngata: five stars/0.9962 rating/class of 2002
4. RB Jonathan Stewart: five stars/0.9952 rating/class of 2005
5. LB Noah Sewell: five stars/0.9935 rating/class of 2020
Others: No. 24 OT Penei Sewell (four stars), No. DL 86 DeForest Buckner (four stars), No. 221 TB LaMichael James (three stars/listed as LaMike James). Not ranked: QB Marcus Mariota, QB Justin Herbert
1. OL Isaac Seumalo: five stars/0.9876 rating/class of 2012
2. QB Derek Anderson: four stars/0.9827 rating/class of 2001
3. RB Steven Jackson: four stars/0.9743 rating/class of 2001
4. DE Simi Kuli: four stars/0.9667 rating/class of 2008
5. G Michael Philipp: four stars/0.9384 rating/class of 2009
Others: No. 31 RB Jacquizz Rodgers (three stars), No. 44 WR Brandin Cooks (three stars), No. 81 RB Jermar Jefferson (three stars), No. 169 DT Stephen Paea (three stars)
1. OT Kwame Harris: five stars/0.9978 rating/class of 2000
2. OT Foster Sarell: five stars/0.9968/class of 2017
3. LB Michael Craven: five stars/0.9954 rating/class of 2001
4. OT Walker Little: five stars/0.9952 rating/class of 2017
5. OT Kyle Murphy: five stars/0.9937 rating/class or 2012
Others: No. 10 OT Andrus Peat (five stars), No. 16 QB Andrew Luck (four stars), No. 35 TB Christian McCaffrey (four stars), No. 81 Zach Ertz (four stars)
1. DE Jaelan Phillips: five stars/0.9989 rating/class of 2017
2. DT Eddie Vanderdoes: five stars/0.9960 rating/class of 2013
3. QB Josh Rosen: five stars/0.9932 rating/class of 2015
4. LB Mique Juarez: five stars/0.9924 rating/class of 2016
5. DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa: five stars/0.9912 rating/class of 2010
Others: No. 26 LB Anthony Barr (four stars), No. 58 RB Maurice Jones-Drew (four stars), No. 92 LB Myles Jack (four stars), No.191 OT Kolton Miller (three stars)
1. RB Joe McKnight: five stars/0.9997 rating/class of 2007
2. QB Matt Barkley: five stars/0.9993 rating/class of 2009
3. DE Korey Foreman: five stars/0.9993 rating/class of 2021
4. QB Malachi Nelson: five stars/0.9993 rating/class of 2023
5. WR Patrick Turner: five stars/0.9992 rating/class of 2005
Others: No. 30 RB Reggie Bush (five stars), No. 86 QB Matt Leinart (four stars), No. 193 QB Sam Darnold (four stars), No. 235 WR Drake London (four stars)
1. CB Clark Phillips III: four stars/0.9744 rating/class of 2020
2. DT James Aiono (JC transfer): four stars/0.9667 rating/class of 2009
3. LB Ethan Calvert: four stars/0.9652 rating/class of 2021
4. CB Jaylon Johnson: four stars/0.9619 rating/class of 2017
5. LB Lander Barton: four stars/0.9588 rating/class of 2022
Others: No. 54 DE Mika Tafua (three stars), No. 99 QB Tyler Huntley (three stars), No. 151 DT Star Lotulelei (three stars/JC), No. 211 ATL Julian Blackmon (three stars)
1. S Shaq Thompson: five stars/0.9978 rating/class of 2012
2. WR Reggie Williams: five stars/0.9967 rating/class of 2001
3. OT Nathan Rhodes: five stars/0.9938 rating/class of 2002
4. QB Sam Huard: five stars/0.9935 rating/class of 2021
5. QB Matt Tuiasosopo: five stars/0.9890 rating/class of 2005
Others: No. 20 QB Jake Browning (four stars), No. 142 RB Myles Gaskin (three stars), No. 166 S Taylor Rapp (three stars), No. 233 DT Greg Gaines (three stars)
1. WR Michael Bumpus: four stars/0.9693 rating/class of 2004
2. WR Gabe Marks: four stars/0.9358 rating/class of 2012
3. RB Jermaine Green (JC): four stars/0.9333 rating/class of 2002
4. S Terry Mixon (JC): four stars/0.9333 rating/class of 2007
5. S Randy Estes: four stars/0.9222 rating/class of 2004
Others: No. 22 QB Jayden de Laura (three stars), No. 35 S Deone Bucannon (three stars), No. 193 WR River Cracraft (three stars), No. 223 OT Cody O’Connell (three stars)
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