The nature of this article is simple. All too often, unheralded recruits that grade lower than highly-touted prospects end up having better college careers. Does this mean that too much stock is put into recruiting grades? Not necessarily.
Highly graded recruits do have to earn those grades. Much like preseason polls, grades are merely a projection of how a player should perform based on their talent (size and athleticism) and past performance (high school). In many ways, recruiting grades are the college equivalent of the NFL Scouting Combine. Sometimes highly graded prospects work out; sometimes they bust. It's a regular occurrence.
Just to put things into perspective, here are the top-rated recruits from each of the Sooners' recruiting classes dating back to 2006 (excluding 2012):
- 2011: Brandon Williams, Running Back, Grade 82
- 2010: Tony Jefferson, Athlete, Grade 84
- 2009: Jamarkus McFarland, Defensive Tackle, Grade 83
- 2008: Jermie Calhoun, Running Back, Grade 90
- 2007: Austin Box, Safety, Grade 82
- 2006: DeMarco Murray, Running Back, Grade 92
Of the players listed, Tony Jefferson is the only one that has the chance of being named the best player from his recruiting class. DeMarco Murray was great, but he was in a class with Gerald McCoy, Jermaine Gresham and Sam Bradford—all rated lower.
Here is a list of five recent Sooner recruits that didn't garner too much respect or attention coming out of high school. These five guys were all close to the bottom of each Sooner recruiting class in terms of grades, but they certainly didn't let that stand in their way of having fantastic college careers.