Daily Blog •February 4, 2013

Signing Day is now just two days away and it certainly is one of the most important days in building a successful football program. Generally the teams that recruit the best on a year-to-year basis are the teams that finish the season among the nation’s elite.  While it is not always the case as certain programs such as Boise St and TCU have found ways to develop elite programs without consistently ranking among the nation’s Top 25-30 recruiting classes, today I thought it would be a great time to take a look back 5 years ago and see how my top recruiting classes turned out and also who were the hits and misses among many of my VHT (Very Highly Touted) recruits.

In 2008, my Top 5 Recruiting Classes were:

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Ohio St
  3. Alabama
  4. USC
  5. Florida

In 2012, the AP Top 5 Prior to the Bowls was:

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Alabama
  3. Ohio St
  4. Florida
  5. Oregon

Clearly, this shows the value of recruiting at a high level. Notre Dame enjoyed their best season in two decades this past fall while Ohio St went a perfect 12-0. Alabama claimed their third national title in four years while USC was preseason #1 and Florida beat four teams that finished in the AP Top 15 on their way to 11 wins. 

Now on to the top players from 2008. 

I have come up with my own terminology for the players’ ratings out of high school. I do compile my rankings based on the many different recruiting services across the country that follow and scout HS football year round. I not only like to use all of the biggest and best services, but I also use regional reports as well.

When I receive a recruiting magazine, I translate each player's ranking into a points system from 1-100 and then log each and every player into the computer and give them a point total from each source. Naturally, the more they are mentioned and the higher they are rated by each publication, the more total points they accrue. After months of entering all of this information, I sort the list by position and by total points and then rank the players from most points to least.

First, a HT (Highly Touted) is a player who is rated highly at his position. Out of the 10,000 or so kids who are on my list out of high school, the top 1,660 fall into the HT category (about 16%). A VHT (Very Highly Touted) is similar to a first round pick. There are only 535 of these players each year (5%) with varying amounts at each position. That comes out to just 10.7 players per state, so we are talking about the crème de la crème of recruits.

Each year in my National College Preview, I list my Top 500 Incoming Recruits and most of the time the top players turn out to become the top players in college and then in turn get drafted highly into the NFL.

So which 2008 VHT’s Lived Up to Their Billing and Which Players Disappointed? Here is a position-by-position look.


My top four quarterbacks coming out of high school in 2008 were Terrelle Pryor (PS#1 QB), Mike Glennon (PS#2), Landry Jones (PS#3) and EJ Manuel (PS#4) and I would consider all four a success as each started at least two years at their respective schools while leading their teams all to multiple bowl games.

There were three QB’s that ended up becoming 1st-round draft picks in PS#8 Andrew Luck, PS#10 Blaine Gabbert and PS#34 Robert Griffin III so overall I would call the 2008 crop of quarterbacks a success.

Running Backs:

The same cannot be said for my 2008 top frosh running backs as PS#1 RB Darrell Scott, PS#2 Jermie Calhoun and PS#3 De’Anthony Curtis all failed to live up to their billing. The most successful backs from the class clearly were PS#41 LaMichael James and PS#66 Mark Ingram.

Wide Receivers:

This arguably was the most successful group as in 2008 my top wide receivers coming out of high school were PS#1 WR Julio Jones, PS#2 Michael Floyd and PS#3 AJ Green and all three of them had outstanding college careers and each were taken in the 1st round of the NFL Draft.

Tight Ends:

My top ranked TE coming out of high school was Blake Ayles in 2008 but the most successful was arguably my PS#2 TE Kyle Rudolph who had a great career at Notre Dame before being drafted in the 2nd round and just last week was named Pro Bowl MVP.

Offensive Line:

Another position that was hit and miss. PS#1 OL Baker Steinkuhler moved to the defensive side and had a decent career while PS#5 Tyron Smith and PS#7 Matt Kalil who both went to USC and both became 1st-round draft picks.

Defensive Line:

My PS#1 DL in 2008 was Da’Quan Bowers who went on to have a solid career at Clemson and was drafted in the 2nd round. The two players who overachieved the most both came from Alabama as Courtney Upshaw was a PS#48 and Don’ta Hightower was a PS#53.


Steve Filer who went to Notre Dame was my top rated linebacker in 2008 and failed to live up to his billing while PS#5 Arthur Brown was a big reason for Kansas St’s resurgence each of the past two years and was an All-American.

Defensive Backs:

Patrick Johnson of LSU who was my top ranked defensive back changed his name to Patrick Peterson, went on to win the Thorpe Award as the nation’s best DB and became a first round draft pick.

In the coming days, I will continue to break down this year’s incoming frosh as don’t forget to check out my 2013 Spring Guide which we continue to update on a weekly basis.