top of page

CAMPUS TO CANTON - Rival's 5 Star Recruit Rankings Systems Analysis - Part 1

Trevor Lawrence: #1 Overall High School Recruit 2018

Welcome to the FF_Astronauts offseason Campus to Canton series.

@FF_Spotlight uncovers trends about successful players from high school through the NFL. Campus to Canton fantasy leagues draft players coming out of high school and field a college and NFL roster while keeping players year after year through their career

What is a five star recruit? How successful is the ranking for predicting college and NFL success? What other trends are there between high performing high school, college and professional football players? Lastly, there will be a detailed list of every class going back to the origin of the five star recruit with the 2003 high school class. Data will be released incrementally, so stay tuned!

What is a Five Star Recruit?

The five star recruit ranking is the state of the art for evaluating high school football players. Rivals (@Rivals on Twitter) pioneered this back in 2003 and since then 247 Sports Recruiting (@247Recruiting on Twitter) also puts out comprehensive rankings for five star college prospects. The focus for this article is Rivals because they have data going back the furtherest in time.

There are around 30 high school players that are ranked as 5 star recruits each year and this number varies from year to year. Some players never play a down in college, some go on to be first round picks in the NFL. High school players avidly seek to get their game film out to get noticed by college scouts. Some companies also specialize in creating films with analytics dedicated to this topic alone, like Recruiting Analytics (@RAanalytics on Twitter).

According to an article from by Mike Huguenin (@MikeHuguenin on Twitter) from February 3, 2014, at that time there were 29 players per year with 5 star recruit status. Rivals had started the ranking system in 2002 and between 2002 and 2014 there were 262 players that had been ranked as 5 star recruits. 116 of the 262 (44.3%) were drafted into the NFL and 42 of 262 (16%) were drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. For reference, 2500 players are drafted into the FBS each year and only 1% of those players are considered 5 star recruits. Two of those 5 star recruits were drafted number one overall (Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton).

Stay tuned for five star recruit analysis from 2004 to today!



Only covers offensive skill players, QB, RB, WR and TE. ATH stands for athlete

Numbering system lists,

”A” - Rank with respect to yearly class

“B” - Rank with respect to entire class

How data is presented...

#A) B. Player name, Position, School they committed to

NFL draft round, Team that drafted them, Year they were drafted

Additional comments on their career


#1) 2. Reggie Bush, RB, USC

1st Round, 2006, New Orleans

Heisman Trophy winner...

Reggie Bush: #2 Overall High School Recruit 2003


#1) 2. Reggie Bush, RB, USC

1st Round, New Orleans, 2006

Heisman Trophy winner who later returned it due to conflicts over sanctions. NCAA Division I Champion, 2004. Played in NCAA Division 2005 loss vs. Texas

#2) 3. Whitney Lewis, ATH, USC


#3) 4. Andre Caldwell, WR, Florida

3rd Round, Cincinnati, 2008

#4) 5. Kyle Wright, QB, Miami


#5) 7. Tony Hills Jr., TE, Texas

4th Round, Pittsburgh, 2008

#6) 10. Greg Olson, TE, Miami

1st Round, Chicago, 2007

#7) 17. Chad Jackson, WR, Florida

2nd Round, New England, 2006

#8) 19. Kregg Lumpkin, RB, Georgia


#9) 20. Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee

1st Round, New Orleans, 2007

#10) 21. Demetrius Summers, RB, South Carolina


General 2003 Draft Comments:

25 players in the five star recruit class

Total offensive skill players: 10


3 RB - 33% hit rate into the NFL (1 of 3)

1 QB - 0% hit rate into the NFL (0 of 1)

3 WR - 100% hit rate into the NFL (3 of 3)

2 TE - 100% hit rate into the NFL (2 of 2)

1 ATH - 0% hit rate into the NFL (0 of 1)


30% RB (3 of 10 total players)

10% QB (1 of 10 total players)

30% WR (3 of 10 total players)

20% TE (2 of 10 total players)

10% ATH (1 of 10 total players)

Overall class of 2003 success rate into the NFL, 6/10, 60%. Likely no Hall of Fame players. Greg Olson may play in 2021, but everyone else has since retired.

In terms of college success, the #1 high school offensive recruit won the Heisman and was debatably the most electric offensive college playmaker in that decade.

USC, Florida and Miami all had two 5 star recruits commit. USC even had the top

two offensive prospects.

Adrian Peterson: #1 Overall High School Recruit 2004


#1) 1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma

1st Round, Minnesota, 2007

7th overall pick in the NFL Draft. 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player, 4 time All-Pro,

#2) 2. Ted Ginn Jr., CB, Ohio State

1st Round, Miami, 2007

Became a wide receiver

#3) 3. Early Doucet, WR, LSU

3rd Round, Arizona, 2008

#4) 4. Rhett Bomar, QB, Oklahoma

5th Round, Giants, 2009

#5) 12. Anthony Morelli, QB, Penn State


#6) 13. Chad Henne, QB, Michigan

2nd Round, Miami, 2008

#7) 16. Matthew Tuiasosopo, QB, Washington

Pursued baseball

#8) 17. Cameron Colvin, RB, Oregon


#9) 19. Fred Davis, WR, USC

2nd Round, Washington, 2008

#10) 21. Lance Leggett, WR, Miami


#11) 22. Xavier Carter, WR, LSU

Pursued track

General 2004 Draft Comments:

25 players in the five star recruit class

Total offensive skill players: 11


2 RB - 50% hit rate into the NFL (1 of 2)

4 QB - 50% hit rate into the NFL (2 of 4)

5 WR - 60% hit rate into the NFL (3 of 5 )

0 TE - 0% hit rate into the NFL (0 of 0)

0 ATH - % hit rate into the NFL (0 of 0)

Overall class of 2004 success rate into the NFL, 6/11, 55%. Adrian Peterson has a good shot of being in the Hall of Fame, and is still active in the NFL (2021). Ted Ginn Jr. may play in 2021, Chad Henne is backing up Patrick Mahomes on the Chiefs, and everyone else has since retired.

In terms of professional success, the #1 high school overall recruit is likely a hall of fame running back. 3 of the 11 five star recruits are still playing in 2021, 14 years later.


Rookie Guide Banner Ad Network.jpg
bottom of page