Former 5-Star Recruits Set to Finally Live Up to Hype
Not all 5-star recruits walk in and dominate at the college level. What many forget is that in reality, once a recruit signs with a school, he is no longer a 5-star prospect. Instead, he's just another freshman football player.
Some freshmen make bigger impacts than others. But if a 5-star guy doesn't amaze early on, don't be alarmed.
From a wide receiver at Missouri to a pass-rusher at Georgia to a running back at Texas and a defensive tackle at LSU, there are hungry former 5-star recruits everywhere. Here are 12 who have the makings of a breakout season.
Josh Shaw, DB, USC
Shaw was a 5-star DB in 2010 and signed with Florida. The California native has since transferred to USC, where he played CB last season.
This spring, Lane Kiffin moved Shaw back to his natural safety spot and he is now the leader of the USC secondary. With Clancy Pendergast coaching him, look for Shaw to have a big year in Los Angeles.
James Wilder, Jr., RB, Florida State
Wilder is a 6'2", 228-pound running back with excellent strength, straight-line speed and instincts..
After rushing for 635 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, Wilder look ready to become the No. 1 back. And since FSU will be breaking in a new QB, that could mean more emphasis on the running game.
A breakout year by Wilder, a 2011 5-star, could push the big back to the NFL.
Noah Spence, DE, Ohio State
One of the most explosive pass-rushers in recent history, Spence was a 5-star DE in the 2012 class. From Pennsylvania, he signed with Ohio State after consistent urging from Urban Meyer.
As a freshman, Spencer registered 12 tackles and a sack in limited action. This season those totals should sky rocket, as the 6'3" Spence is too quick and gifted to not be a star in Columbus.
Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas
Brown was the No. 1 running back in the 2011 recruiting class and signed with Texas. He ran for more than 740 yards as a true freshman, scoring five TDs.
But last year was a step back, as Brown ran for just 324 yards. Look for this year to be the year Brown shows clearly why he was a highly touted 5-star RB.
Karlos Williams, S, Florida State
Williams played sparingly over the past seasons in Tallahassee. He has returned kicks and played LB, plus the FSU coaches even tossed around the idea of using him as an offensive player.
However, the 6'2", 230-pounder will not get his time to shine as a pure safety prospect in 2013. Back in his comfortable spot, look for the athletic Williams to make big hits and live up to his 2011 5-star hype.
Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
Agholor spurned the Florida schools for USC in 2012. He was a 5-star athlete who projected as a safety, but got his wish to play on offense for the Trojans.
After moonlighting as a RB initially, he moved to WR and caught 19 passes for 340 yards and two TDs as a freshman. This season, Robert Woods is gone and former 5-star WR George Farmer is out for the season with a torn ACL. Also, Marqise Lee will face rolling coverage almost every snapr.
So that will leave favorable matchups for Agholor in the passing game. Look forthe USC QB to find Agholor open more often this year.
Jordan Jenkins, OLB/DE, Georgia
Jenkins flashed brilliance last season for UGA. He had five sacks, 31 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He also broke up two passes and was credited for 23 QB pressures.
With Jarvis Jones now gone, Jenkins becomes Todd Grantham's top pass-rusher. UGA's defense will be young, but Jenkins, an explosive 6'3', 246-pounder, should excel.
Look for him to be All-SEC this year.
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
As a 5-star QB recruit in 2012, Winston stood 6'4" and weighed 190 pounds. Today, he's 218 pounds and is expected to be the starting QB at Florida State. Winston, who is from Alabama, is also is a great baseball player.
He has great arm strength, accuracy and running ability. He's projected to develop into a better passer and player than E.J. Manuel.
The 2013 season begins Year 1 of the Jameis Winston era in Northwest Florida.
Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
Johnson was a beastly DT recruit in 2011 and has flashed 5-star credentials at LSU. He hasn't put it all together, but with four veteran defensive linemen gone, he's the main man in the defensive trenches for the Tigers.
At 6'3", 304 pounds, Johnson is an athletic DT with outstanding power and quickness. He can shoot his hands hard to punch blockers, anchor against the run and finish in pursuit.
To date, he has 42 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and four sacks. Those totals should increase dramatically this season.
Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida
It is time for Driskel to show why he was the top QB in the 2011 class. He's 6'4", 237 pounds and has a good skill set.
Driskel is a mobile QB who has a strong arm. As a sophomore, he completed more than 63 percent of his passes for 1,646 yards, 12 TDs and just five interceptions. As a junior, Driskel needs to at least double his yardage and TD totals.
He has the potential to do so.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
The top recruit in 2012, Green-Beckham is a 6'6", 220-pound wide receiver with great speed, length and big-play ability.
As a freshman, he appeared in 10 games and caught 28 passes for 395 yards and five TDs. He missed two games due to a suspension for a marijuana arrest, but he caught eight passes for 135 yards and a TD in the Tigers' spring game.
DGB will be Mizzou's go-to WR this year and should post huge numbers.
Landon Collins, S, Alabama
As a safety from Louisiana, Collins was a 5-star prospect in 2012. He spurned LSU for Alabama, much to the ire of his mother.
As a freshman, he had 14 tackles and blocked a punt. Robert Lester has moved on to the NFL and Collins is ready to join former 5-star safety HaSean Clinton-Dix in the Crimson
Tide secondary. The 6'0", 215-pounder is explosive, instinctive and athletic.
Should Collins have a good sophomore season and follow it up with a good junior year, he could leave early for the NFL.
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 and Cleveland Browns.