The Ratings Game: Offense

With the Class of 2006 assembled, we thought it would interesting to take a unique look at the recruiting rankings of some recent Penn State players. In the February edition of Fight On State The Magazine we review the recruit rankings of the Class of 2001. For a twist, here is a look at PSU's 2005 starting lineup and how they ranked out of high school.

It is easy to believe that the 2005 edition of the Penn State football program solidified its place among the best Nittany Lion teams of all time. With an 11-1 record, a final No. 3 national ranking and an Orange Bowl championship, this squad earned some impressive credentials. But how did the starting lineup look coming out of high school?

Here is a closer look at the offensive starters and where they ranked heading into college:

Quarterback: Michael Robinson

Penn State Class: 2001

Stars (out of five): four

High School Overview: "Superman" led his team to four consecutive Central Regional championships. Over his high school career he rolled up 3,046 yards on the ground and 2,409 yards through the air.

Top Honors: SuperPrep ranked Robinson the third best athlete in the country. Two time All-State selection and Richmond Times Dispatch Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year.

Wide Receiver: Deon Butler

Penn State Class: 2004

Stars (out of five): one

High School Overview: One of Virginia's top receivers, Butler led Hylton to the Virginia Class AAA state championship. A four-year letterman, Butler made 41 receptions for 1,029 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior. He also had 26 kick returns for 763 yards and two touchdowns. A two-way starter, Butler recorded 73 tackles and nine interceptions as a defensive back in 2003 and grabbed 16 career interceptions.

Top Honors: An All-Met, All-State, All-District and All-Area selection.

Wide Receiver: Derrick Williams

Penn State Class: 2005

Stars (out of five): five

High School Overview: As a senior, Williams ran for 1,049 yards and nine touchdowns, threw for 800 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 11 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns on offense and added four interceptions on defense. He was widely considered as one of the top prospects nationally out of high school.

Top Honors: An All-Met, All-State selection. He was also honored as a USA Today and Parade All-American.

Running Back: Tony Hunt

Penn State Class: 2003

Stars (out of five): three

High School Overview: As a senior, Hunt ran for 1,243 yards and scored 14 touchdowns; he also grabbed 17 catches for 343 yards and three touchdowns. He totaled 2,794 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns and three interceptions during his career.

Top Honors: An All-Met selection and was named to George Michael's Golden Eleven. He was also named the Alexandria Sportsman Club Player of the Year.

Running Back: BranDon Snow

Penn State Class: 2002

Stars (out of five): four

High School Overview: A four-year starter, Snow led his team to a spectacular 47-1 record, winning the Division I state championship all four years. During his senior campaign, he ran for 450 yards on 44 carries with nine touchdowns.

Top Honors: A USA Today and Parade All-American, Snow was named the 2001 Delaware Gatorade Player of the Year.

Offensive Tackle: Andrew Richardson

Penn State Class: 2001

Stars (out of five): three

High School Overview: As a senior at North Hills High, Richardson caught 32 passes for 346 yards and five touchdowns at tight end.

Top Honors: First team All-State, Pittsburgh Post Gazette Fabulous 22 and Big 33 selections. He was also a Sportsline All-American.

Offensive Guard: Tyler Reed

Penn State Class: 2001

Stars (out of five): four

High School Overview: A two-way player on both lines, Reed had over 50 pancake blocks and 60 tackles as a senior.

Top Honors: Two-time All-State selection and consensus All-American, Reed was also a two-time Pittsburgh Post Gazette Fabulous 22 and Big 33 selection.

Center: E.Z. Smith

Penn State Class: 2001

Stars (out of five): four

High School Overview: Smith dominated as a center for Concord High and was considered one of the best offensive linemen in the nation out of high school.

Top Honors: A top 25 lineman in the nation, Smith was an All-State selection and choosen as a North Carolina/South Carolina Shrine Bowl All-Star.

Offensive Guard: Charles Rush

Penn State Class: 2001

Stars (out of five): five

High School Overview: He led Erie Cathedral Prep to a 14-0 record and the PIAA Class AAAA championship during his senior year, finishing that game with 18 tackles and two sacks. Considered one of the best linemen nationally out of high school.

Top Honors: A consensus All-American, Rush was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year by Gatorade and the AP. He was also a Big 33 and All-State selection.

Offensive Tackle: Levi Brown

Penn State Class: 2001

Stars (out of five): four

High School Overview: During his junior season, Brown made 102 of his 189 career tackles and led his team to an 8-2 record. He also had six sacks, caused four fumbles and made 22 tackles for losses as a senior.

Top Honors: Brown was an All-Tidewater selection. PrepStar rated him the No. 5 lineman in the Atlantic region and he was a U.S. Army All- American.

Tight End: Isaac Smolko

Penn State Class: 2001

Stars (out of five): three

High School Overview: A four-year starter in high school, Smolko caught 28 passes for 350 yards as a senior. That year he also made 95 tackles (25 for loss) and 12 sacks on defense.

Top Honors: Smolko was considered a Top 25 tight end prospect nationally. He was also the Ohio Division V Defensive Player of the Year and a Big 33 selecion, although he did not play in the game.

Reviewing the offensive starting lineup for 2005 you had a slew of honors, including All-Americans, Players of the Year and All-State selections. The recruit ratings ranged from one to five stars and the average star rating for the unit out of high school was 3.6 stars.

So how would you assess the starting lineup based on their projections? Were they overachievers, underachievers or spot on where they were expected to perform?

Cast your vote: Assess the Recruit Rankings of the 2005 starting offense

-30-


Fight On State Top Stories