Not every single top-flight recruit will live up to their hype and fulfill the lofty expectations placed upon them. Many prospects arrive on campus with much fanfare every fall and only a handful of these hyped recruits actually pan out.
With the 2012-2013 college football season winding down, there are many players that I see who were big-time recruits coming out of high school. Looking at the senior class, there are several players that you can label as a "big-time recruiting bust".
For this read, we're going to look at six seniors who fit that label to a perfect mold. Here are six senior college football players who were big-time recruiting busts.
McFarland was Rivals' 26th best prospect in 2009 and a 5-star recruit from what I can remember. He just never played up to that potential.
When OU signed McFarland, they weren't expecting to get a player that topped out as just an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 player. The 6'2", 288-pound DL played in 46 games and notched just 7.5 sacks.
Lincoln High School in Tallahassee s one of the top high school programs in the country.
Known for putting out elite prospects, in 2009 Lincoln had an elite 4-star safety named Jawanza Starling that was among the best prospects in the nation.
Starling signed with USC and never really made any substantial impact. Starling started 20 games but made just one interception in his Trojan career.
As his senior year of high school went on at Long Beach Poly, Telemaque's recruiting stock rose. He made play after play, week after week for the Jackrabbits, which elevated him to an upper echelon 4-star prospect.
USC finally offered him, but he felt they came on too late and signed with Miami. Telemaque has been productive for the 'Canes, but he hasn't lived up to his hype and is expected to be an undrafted free agent.
A year before Starling signed with USC, the Trojans got Bryant from the same school. Labeled as one of the best pure athletes in the country and an elite CB prospect, USC had high hopes for Bryant.
Except, he really made no impact. Which is shocking for a recruit that some rated as high as 5-stars.
Bryant eventually transferred to Troy for his senior season this year where he played in 10 games—but failed to notch an interception and broke up just three passes.
The No. 1 dual-threat QB and a top 10, 5-star prospect overall in 2009, per Rivals, Shepard is a sure bust.
He was expected to light it up in Baton Rouge due to his tremendous speed, but he just never got going.
Shepard has played in 36 career games and only has grabbed 52 balls and scored just five times.
I'm not sure what is the reason for why the 6'1", 195-pounder's troubles, but the former 5-star recruit will go down as a recruiting bust.
Crist was a 5-star QB headed to Notre Dame in 2008, whom Charlie Weis felt would replace Jimmy Clausen when time came. Only when it did, under Brian Kelly, Crist didn't play well.
Blessed with great size at 6'5" and nearly 230 pounds, with a cannon for a right arm, Crist transferred to Kansas to play for Weis this past summer.
Crist was benched during the season this year and has never looked anything like the 5-star QB prospect we thought he was. He's the biggest recruiting bust of the senior class this year.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.