First of all, let me express my love for Bronco Nation, Bronco Fans, and run-on sentences containing too many hyphenated-words, with a special shout-out to those of you still daily-patrolling OBNUG in the off-season for any tidbit or scrap of news on anything Bronco Football. I do this. I wish more fans did this. So join me, hand-in-hand, mano-i-mano, as I sit here and seek to bring you things that you may not have thought about regarding College Football recruiting and the associated Star-Rating we so love/hate. Love/Hate is a Crazy/Beautiful thing.
Star ratings have little to do with potential...
Ranking stars are a reflection of a recruit’s IMMEDIATE impact at the FBS level of college football. A five star recruit is an athlete determined to present an IMMEDIATE mismatch at his respective position. Currently ,both Georgia and Boise State have ZERO five star recruits on their roster in a sense. An athlete’s star rating only applies to him as a prospective athlete. Upon enrollment, and arrival at spring/ fall camp, he is a freshman, not a 5 star athlete. He WAS a 5 star recruit, now he is just a frosh trying to make the depth chart, which is why they don’t carry over these star ratings when they appear on the roster.
The star ratings are consistently misunderstood as implying much more than intended beyond the athlete’s high school scouting report of their current talent/athleticism translated to the FBS level. If you have ever read a scouting report of say a 3 star athlete, you will often find phrases like, “…has adequate size and speed to compete at the major level of college football. This player has a frame that should allow him put on more bulk and potentially grow into a dominant DL/OL/LB etc…”
So schools that evaluate talent well don’t often have to wait long for that 3 star recruit to grow into that 5 star speed/ weight requirement. Finding that “late bloomer” is priceless because you’re getting a 3 star kid who is simply 1 or 2 years of physical development away from being considered 4 or 5 stars. This is the concept most people don’t understand, especially fans from the SEC. They wonder how it is that a team like BSU could ever compete with all of their 5 star talent. Well, the simple fact is that while many of the recruits on BSU team may have been overlooked or undervalued, they all developed physically into much better athletes than they were as high school seniors. While a 5 star RB who is already 225 lbs with a 4.4 40, may put on a few lbs and shave of a hundredth or two off his 40, that late blooming 185 lb 4.45 kid may be 205 with a 4.35 coming into his red-shirt sophomore year. If he had those stats as a senior, he would have been a 5 star recruit. While getting these 5 star recruits does help with your depth, it does not mean that the once “3 star” sophomores, juniors and seniors they’re lining up against haven’t made up a lot of ground on them physically. Simply put, the product put on the field is not the same product that was recruited. And in BSU’s case, the product they put on the field can compete with any product of any other program, regardless of the now irrelevant star rating those players had years before.
Doug Martin is a perfect example. He is now considered by my NFL analysts to be one of the top 5 prospects at RB for the 2012 draft. Was he overlooked coming out of high school? His potential certainly was, but his rating was certainly reasonable, though he probably deserved an additional star. Rivals had him listed in the 2007 class as a 2 star at 5’10" 188 with 4.5 40. He’s actually 5’9" but is now 215 lbs, runs a 4.41 and benches 400lbs with ankle-snapping agility. Most BSU fans would look back at his two star rating and say that rivals rating of him was wrong. Should he have been rated a 5 star? No, because that rating was only addressing his current size, speed etc. as it translated to his immediate impact at the FBS level of college football. In contrast, Adrian Peterson came in a 5 star and dominated as a true frosh. He was already so strong and fast that he simply could not make huge strides physically. He started a BAMF, and stayed one. Dougie Fresh, came to BSU a stud, but has developed into a BAMF to be sure.