Recruiting 2015 - 2011 5-Star Recruits 26-50

Did it work out? Did the superstar prospects fulfill their promise? No. 26-50

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Where are they now? The Five-Star Prospects of the …
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- 2011 5-Star Recruits: Top 25

E-mail Rich Cirminiello
Follow me ... @RichCirminiello
Earn a Ph.D. in college football … class is in session at Campus Insiders

The five-star recruit, the ultimate symbol of success for any college coaching staff, university or passionate fan base. There are talented high school players, and then there are the five-star thoroughbreds, the crème de la crème of available candidates, and the caliber of players that programs and recruiting classes are built upon. However, the luster of landing one of these rare gems can sometimes fade even before the subsequent February’s class sets foot on campus.

The stark reality each year is that even the highest-rated recruits can be hits-or-misses, an inexact science that’s part inebriating and part maddening. To illustrate the point, all that’s required is a revisionist’s peek at the 50 blue-chippers from four years ago to see who was a beast and who wound up being a colossal bust. Only a fraction, a little less than one-third, have gone on to consistently perform at the top of their class, which ought to somewhat curb enthusiasm for this February’s Signing Day.

*Historical rankings from 2011 are courtesy of Scout.com

50. WR Jaxon Shipley , Texas
Jaxon was good in his four years in Austin. But it’s not as if he was big brother Jordan good. Jaxon has been a starter since his true freshman season, and a steady all-around performer. However, his production has been modest, due in part to the poor overall play of the Longhorn quarterbacks. Shipley finished his career with 208 receptions for 2,510 yards and 11 touchdowns, including just one in each of the last two seasons.
Worth the Hype? Not quite

49. QB Kiehl Frazier, Auburn
Gus Malzahn’s quarterback of the future was never able to hack it at Auburn. After starting the first five games of 2012, Frazier was benched in October after struggling badly through the air. There was a brief move to safety in 2013 before the decision to transfer to Division II Ouachita Baptist. In his return to quarterback last fall, Frazier rushed for 702 yards and four scores, while completing 144-of-245 passes for 2,051 yards, 19 touchdowns and five picks.
Worth the Hype? Nope

48. DT Jalen Grimble, Miami
Grimble is running out of time for approaching the enormous potential that existed when he graduated from Bishop Gorman (Nev.) High School. And if he does perform at an all-league level, it’ll be in the Pac-12, not the ACC. Grimble transferred to Oregon State last year following two quiet seasons as a backup with the Hurricanes. He had a head-turning spring in Corvallis, but a knee injury limited him to just six tackles in six games in 2014.
Worth the Hype? Not yet

47. RB James Wilder Jr. , Florida State
Were there flashes in Tallahassee? Sure. But sustained excellence eluded Wilder, and he was never more than a complement to Devonta Freeman, among others. Wilder’s best season was in 2012, when he rushed for 635 yards and 11 touchdowns on 110 carries. He left the Seminoles with a year of eligibility remaining, lumbered at the Combine and went undrafted. Wilder spent 2014 on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad, while promoting his I Am Wilder apparel line.
Worth the Hype? Not quite

46. OTBrey Cook , Arkansas
Cook was a classic five-star recruit with a three-star career. The 6-7, 314-pounder started six games as a sophomore in 2012 before becoming a full-timer and an offensive co-captain during the second-half of his Hog career. However, the ultra-steady Cook was never recognized as an All-SEC performer, and a career at the next level could require a shift inside to guard.
Worth the Hype? Not quite

45. DT Jordan Phillips , Oklahoma
Talent? No doubt. If Phillips stays healthy, he’s going to enjoy a long and productive NFL career. The Sooners, though, only got one good season out of their unexpectedly athletic 6-6, 340-pounder. Phillips earned Second Team All-Big 12 a year after missing most of 2013 to a nagging back problem. However, with two years of eligibility remaining, he’s announced he’ll be taking his game to Sundays.
Worth the Hype? Sort of

44. DE Stephon Tuitt , Notre Dame
Tuitt laid a foundation as a rookie in 2011 in South Bend before lifting off as a sophomore and a junior. He appears to be following the same blueprint with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tuitt compiled 19.5 sacks over his final two seasons with the Irish, earning All-American honors in 2012. Since leaving school early and being selected in the second round by the Steelers last May, he gradually worked his way into the starting lineup.
Worth the Hype? Yes

43. DT Desmond Jackson , Texas
Just when it looked as if Jackson was set to become a steady playmaker in the middle of the Horn line, he suffered a foot injury that ended his senior season after just three games. The silver lining is that he’ll recoup his abbreviated 2014 and return to bolster the D-line in 2015. Jackson will begin his finale with 16 career starts, topped by 11 as a sophomore in 2012.
Worth the Hype? Not yet

42. DESteve Miller , Ohio State
Miller’s Sugar Bowl pick-six in the upset of Alabama goes down in Buckeye lore, but similar plays were non-existent during a disappointing career. While he finally cracked the starting lineup as a senior, it only became possible after Noah Spence was suspended from the team for drug use. Miller wound up being a journeyman in Columbus, which was hardly the expectation when he left McKinley (OH) High School with offers from Florida to UCLA.
Worth the Hype? Nope

41. WR Sammy Watkins , Clemson
Watkins’ impact on Clemson was as sudden as one of his cuts. In his debut out of high school, he was an all-purpose wunderkind, earning All-American recognition with 83 receptions for 1,225 yards and 12 touchdowns. After slumping as a sophomore, Watkins regained his All-American form as a junior, setting the stage to be chosen No. 4 overall by the Buffalo Bills last May. The Rookie of the Year finalist caught 65 passes for 982 yards and six touchdowns as a rising star in 2014.
Worth the Hype? Yes

40. DEJermauria Rasco, LSU
Starter? Yes. Star? No. While Rasco was an important part of the Tiger D-line rotation, starting the last two seasons, the anticipated breakout season never happened. He had just four sacks in each of the last two years, yet showed the range and quickness to be an effective run defender. Provided he can make the transition to a standup outside linebacker, Rasco should have an NFL shot as a late draft pick or free agent.
Worth the Hype? Not quite

39. QBBrett Hundley, UCLA
In three years as a starter, Hundley set a bunch of school records, while sticking out as the face of the resurgence of Bruin football. The dual-threat in the Donovan McNabb mold leaves Westwood following his junior year, having thrown for 9,966 yards, rushed for 1,747 more and accounted for 106 touchdowns. Far more important than the numbers, though, Hundley was a key cog in a program that’s trending north, and just won 10 games in a season for the first time since 2005.
Worth the Hype? Yes

38. LBStephone Anthony , Clemson
From a rotational player as a rookie in 2011 to one of the nation’s top middle linebackers a year ago, Anthony steadily climbed up each rung throughout his Tiger career. The three-year starter peaked in 2014 by turning a team-high 75 tackles, 10.5 stops for loss and 2.5 sacks into a spot on the All-ACC First Team. Anthony’s intensity and run-stuffing ability from the interior of the second level will earn him a spot on an NFL team in 2015.
Worth the Hype? Yes

37. DT Lawrence Thomas , Michigan State
Finally healthy—and settled at one position—Thomas has begun to scratch at the surface of his potential. The first half of his career didn’t quite follow the script, blocking for Le’Veon Bell in 2012 and missing half of 2013 to a back injury. But Thomas played well as the starting nose tackle last fall, making 30 tackles, 4.5 stops for loss and three sacks. He has one more year to channel his inner-Jerel Worthy and make a push for All-Big Ten recognition.
Worth the Hype? Not yet

36. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State
A shoulder injury has been the only thing to effectively stop Miller since he arrived as a ballyhooed in-state recruit. Before missing the 2014 season, which opened the door for the heroics of J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, Miller was one of the most decorated quarterback in Buckeyes history. In three years, he’d been named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year … twice. Now, the prolific dual-threat must decide whether to remain in Columbus for his final year or transfer outside the program.
Worth the Hype? Yes

35. OTBrandon Shell , South Carolina
The Gamecocks’ massive right tackle continues to improve, but he’s yet to perform like a five-star recruit. The hope around Columbia is that Shell will hit his ceiling in 2015. While the senior-to-be hasn’t performed at an All-SEC level, he has been a fixture up front for South Carolina since 2012, starting 36 games. Shell is capable of grabbing NFL scouts’ attention with one more year of fine-tuning and development.
Worth the Hype? Sort of

34. QB Jeff Driskel , Florida
If Driskel avoids being labeled a wire-to-wire bust, he’ll do so to the benefit of Lousiana Tech, who recently signed the maligned former Gator. No matter what Driskel does in Ruston, Florida fans will forever remember a player who simply never developed as a passer in Gainesville. He started 22 games at Florida, too often plagued by turnovers and poor decisions. In three of his four seasons, Driskel threw more interceptions than touchdown passes.
Worth the Hype? Nope

33. DE Ray Drew , Georgia
Drew played a lot of football in Athens. However, he rarely played it at a five-star level. He started 18 games over the last two seasons, peaking as a junior in 2013 with eight stops for loss and six sacks. This past year, though, was a disappointingly quiet one for Drew, who managed to tally just a single sack among his 39 stops. He was a ‘tweener, not quick enough for the edge or tough enough for the interior.
Worth the Hype? Not quite

32. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins , Washington
Over the course of three seasons, Seferian-Jenkins evolved into one of the country’s premier all-around tight ends, winning the Mackey Award a year after being a finalist in 2012. At 6-6 and 260 pounds, he was too big and physical for college defenders, finishing his Husky career with 146 receptions for 1,840 yards and 21 touchdowns. A back injury limited Seferian-Jenkins to nine games, all starts, with Tampa Bay, which selected him in Round 2.
Worth the Hype? Yes

31. RB Aaron Green , Nebraska
It turns out Lincoln was merely a weigh station for Green, who’s recaptured his high school form in Fort Worth. After one season with the Huskers, he transferred to TCU to be closer to home and play in an offense that would get him space. Following a quiet start with the Frogs, Green took off last October and November to finish with a team-high 922 yards and nine touchdowns on 129 carries. He has one more year to maximize his ability as a slashing cutback runner.
Worth the Hype? Sort of

30. DT Timmy Jernigan , Florida State
Jernigan was a bit of an enigma in Tallahassee. On the one hand, he was as good as advertised, garnering All-American recognition in 2013, months before being chosen in last May’s second round by the Baltimore Ravens. However, he was a full-timer for just one season, his final one before declaring for early entry in the NFL Draft. There’s little doubt that Jernigan’s best football is ahead of him in the AFC North.
Worth the Hype? Yes

29. WR Jarvis Landry, LSU
In 2013, Landry was the perfect complement to Odell Beckham, Jr., catching 77 passes for 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns in what would become an All-SEC finale in Baton Rouge. In 2014, Landry began carving out his own identity as a high pick of the Miami Dolphins, pulling in a team-high 84 receptions for 758 yards and five scores. He plays the position out of the slot with linebacker-toughness, boosting his popularity in South Florida.
Worth the Hype? Yes

28. RB Herschel Sims , Oklahoma State
Just one year. That’s how long the blue-chipper lasted in Stillwater before being kicked off the Cowboys for stealing $700 from the bank account of a teammate. Since the dismissal, Sims has played for two FCS programs, Lamar and most recently hometown Abilene Christian. As a member of the Wildcats in 2014, he started six games and finished second on the team with 559 yards and four touchdowns on 106 carries.
Worth the Hype? Nope

27. WR George Farmer, USC
Yeah, speed kills. But Farmer’s jets haven’t helped him outrun a 2013 knee injury or a general lack of consistency. In three seasons, he’s caught just 30 passes for 363 yards and four touchdowns. The upshot? All four of those scoring plays came last fall, and Farmer does have one more season of eligibility left. He’ll be counted on to bring senior leadership to a young receiving corps that no longer has access to NFL-bound Nelson Agholor.
Worth the Hype?Not yet

26. DE Nathan Hughes , Oklahoma
One of the poster children for the Sooners’ struggles with this class, Hughes left the program two years after arriving in Norman. Originally a defensive end, the staff felt his 6-6 frame and light feet would translate well to a pocket-protecting tackle. But the experiment failed and Hughes decided to continue his career on a different campus that would allow him to sharpen his pass rushing skills.
Worth the Hype? Nope

- 2011 5-Star Recruits: Top 25


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