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Richardson was highly recruited out of high school…and now college

Readers of my blog know that three stories will incite me to write:

1).  NFL Draft

2).  My distaste for LeBron James

3).  The sham known as the NCAA

This one would fall under No. 3.

National Signing Day is my annual reminder of what I detest about the NCAA.  It serves as a yearly reminder of the hypocrisy that governs college football.  I promise, I will get to the 2012 NFL Draft class but first I must stand on my soapbox.  As wall to wall coverage of “amateur” athletes fills the programming schedule of ESPN, I’m reminded of the big business that is NCAA sports.

These “amateur” athletes that will make the NCAA billions of dollars and the TV networks even more stand before us and announce their intentions to become student-athletes on national TV.  They will be lauded for their gifts (God forbid they take any) over the course of the next three to five years before the NFL sinks their meat hooks into them.  As a sat and listened to Dorial Green-Beckham announce his decision to enroll at the University of Missouri, I thought about this year’s NFL crop and what kind of prospects they were coming out of high school.

That said here’s a look at our top 10 prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft and what they brought to the table in 2008-09.

Andrew Luck, QB, Stratford HS (Texas)

Andrew Luck was the sixth rated quarterback in the class of 2008 behind Terrelle Pryor, Blaine Gabbert, Dayne Crist, E.J. Manuel, and Mike Glennon.  He was the 68th overall recruit according to Rivals.com and a four star prospect.  Luck was the gem of the Stanford recruiting class and was rated as the 4th best pro-style passer.  Luck received a four-star ranking from all major recruiting services.

Matt Kalil, OT, Servite HS (California)

Matt Kalil was a highly recruited tackle as he was the eleventh rated prospect in the 2008 recruiting class.  He was the third rated offensive tackle behind Mike Adams and Baker Steinkuhler.  Kalil was the top rated player in USC’s 2008 recruiting class that included ten players in the Rivals 100.  Kalil would be joined by Dallas Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith in this haul of lineman.  He was a five-star rated player.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Copperas Cove HS (Texas)

Robert Griffin III was the fourth rated dual threat quarterback by Rivals.com but failed to make the Rivals 100.  He was given four-star rankings by most recruiting services and was Baylor’s top player in the class of 2008.

Morris Claiborne, ATH, Fair Park HS (Louisiana)

Morris Claiborne was considered a bonus in the 2009 LSU recruiting class.  He was a three-star recruit that received little national attention and was considered the 58th ranked athlete in the 2009 class.  It seemed that only his high school coaches knew just how special Claiborne was.

Trent Richardson, RB, Escambia HS (Florida)

Every team in the country would have laid on the tracks for Trent Richardson’s services.  He was a five-star recruit that was the 6th rated player nationally in 2009.  Alabama secured Richardson early in the process on their way to locking in five Rivals 100 players.  As highly sought after as Richardson was there was one RB rated ahead of him…Bryce Brown.

Justin Blackmon, WR, Plainview HS (Oklahoma)

To say Justin Blackmon was a relative unknown would be an understatement.  Blackmon was the 91st rated WR in the 2008 recruiting class and didn’t sniff a top 200 list for recruiting services.  Blackmon was a late bloomer in high school that jumped on major college screens after posting great numbers his senior season at Plainview.

David DeCastro, OC/OG, Bellevue HS (Washington)

David DeCastro was the eleventh rated center prospect in the country and was given three stars by most major recruiting services.  DeCastro, Jon Martin, and Andrew Luck would prove to be a coup for Jim Harbaugh’s Cardinal.

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Gadsden City HS (Alabama)

Dre Kirkpatrick was the top rated cornerback in the class of 2009.  He was the eleventh rated prospect nationally and would join Trent Richardson and D.J. Fluker as the top prospects in Alabama’s 2009 recruiting class.

Riley Reiff, DE, Parkston HS (South Dakota)

Riley Reiff was recruited as a 6’6″ 255 pound defensive end by Kirk Ferentz.  He was a three-star recruit and 25th rated DE in the 2008 class.  Reiff’s recruitment proved to be a whirlwind for Iowa as he would commit to Iowa, Nebraska, and finally back to Iowa.

Kendall Wright, WR, Pittsburg HS (Texas)

Kendall Wright was an undersized receiver that was the 64th rated WR in the 2008 class.  Wright edged out fellow 2012 WR Justin Blackmon by almost 30 spots in the WR group.  He was a three-star recruit by most major recruiting services.

I guess the real premise of this story was that the hype surrounding National Signing Day is an overblown, media frenzy that amounts to nothing in four years time.  Six of my top ten players didn’t make the Rivals 100 board.  Of the top 10, (5) were listed as 3-star recruits, (2) 4 star-recruits, and (3) 5 star-recruits.  This inexact science is proven each year in April and this year will be no different.  The winners in this game remain those who’s pockets are lined on the backs of these “amateur” athletes.


  • Bachsoffice1

    Nice perspective! Especially the top two WRs being relative unknowns coming out of high school. Also Morris Claiborne being unranked. I think Honey Badger was unranked too. Gotta hand it to Les Miles developing those two.

    • Brad

      It’s incredible the amount of resources that go into the production of Nat’l Signing Day and it all comes down to player development. It’s the same story every year. The top of the NFL Draft is littered with 2, 3, and 4 star recruits

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