Average players can someday be NFL stars
04/23/2012 11:19 PM
06/08/2013 11:52 PM
When Christian Ponder was a senior, it might have looked like he was a future NFL prospect.
But first, he'd have to be a future college prospect.
And the Colleyville Heritage quarterback had a ways to go before that happened. He was rated only a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, a recruiting tracking web site, as a senior for the Panthers.
But that did not doom his NFL chances. He went on to become the 12th player drafted in last year's NFL draft.
Indeed, a modest star rating as a high school player does not appear to limit the chances of being drafted. Last year, the first round of the NFL draft included 10 three-star athletes, 10 four-star athletes and seven five-star athletes.
Four were two-star athletes.
One did not even play football in high school.
Still, the five-star athlete is rare, and it means something. Six of the first 10 picks were five-star high school players, including the Cowboys' pick at No. 9, offensive tackle Tyron Smith.
A look at last year's draftees and their star rating out of high school:
Cam Newton, QB
Rivals was high on him. Everybody was after his time at Blinn JC.
Von Miller, LB
Aggies picked up a prize who was considering OU and Florida.
Marcell Dareus, DT
Rivals had him only a three-star prospect, perhaps because he was a late qualifier.
A.J. Green, WR
Speed and hands, evident from a very early stage.
Patrick Peterson, CB
A no-doubt-about-it star who got away from Sunshine State recruiters.
Julio Jones, WR
Built to be a receiver. Used an official visit on Texas Tech.
7. San Francisco
Aldon Smith, LB/DE
Forced seven fumbles and blocked a punt as a senior.
Jake Locker, QB
Also wanted by Major League Baseball as a pitcher.
Tyron Smith, OT
Size was off the charts. Recruiters amazed themselves projecting his college frame.
Blaine Gabbert, QB
An elite pro-style QB prospect. Headed to Nebraska before Bill Callahan left.
J.J. Watt, DE
Recruited by Minnesota as a tight end, already 6-5.
Christian Ponder, QB
Colleyville Heritage product rated Texas' 50th-best prospect.
Nick Fairley, DT
Recruiters were split on his position, but the size - 6-4, 257 - was clear.
14. St. Louis
Robert Quinn, DE
A major high school prospect because of his size and quickness.
Mike Pouncey, C
With twin Maurkice, part of a multi-player Lakeland High haul for Gators in 2007.
Ryan Kerrigan, DE
Indiana's fourth-ranked recruit, but not a national name.
17. New England
Nate Solder, OT
At 6-8, had basketball background in high school.
18. San Diego
Corey Liuget, DE/LB
At 6-3, 260, rated seventh-best prospect at his position.
19. NY Giants
Prince Amukamara, CB
Arizonian did not get much attention outside Southwest and Pac-10.
20. Tampa Bay
Adrian Clayborn, DE
Missouri player of year as senior and four-year letterman in football and basketball.
Phil Taylor, DE
Already at 346 pounds as a high school senior, rated Maryland's sixth-best prospect.
Anthony Castonzo, OT
Left his Illinois high school for military school in Virginia.
Danny Watkins, G
Went to high school in Canada and did not play football. Noticed at California JUCO.
24. New Orleans
Cameron Jordan, DE
Had 17 sacks as a senior, but rated only 37th defensive end.
James Carpenter, OT
Rivals did not rank him on its position, state or national lists.
26. Kansas City
Jonathan Baldwin, WR
At 6-6, rated fifth-best receiver prospect in the nation.
Jimmy Smith, CB
64th-ranked prospect in California as a senior.
28. New Orleans
Mark Ingram, RB
Football, track and baseball numbers as a senior are eye-popping.
Gabe Carimi, OT
A 6-7, 285-pound Wisconsin kid who wanted to go to Wisconsin.
30. NY Jets
Muhammad Wilkerson, DT
Two-time state champion basketball player in high school.
Cam Heyward, DT
Rated the country's 13th-best defensive tackle.
32. Green Bay
Derek Sherrod, OT
OT rated Mississippi's No. 5 overall prospect as a senior.
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