8 College Football Recruits in the BCS Era Who Really Deserved a 6th Star
The 5-star recruit.
It's an honor that only a small number of prospects have been given since recruiting coverage skyrocketed during the BCS era. It's also the most stars a recruit can have, as the 5-star rating system is the standard in the industry.
However, what if recruits could get a sixth star? Which of them deserved to have been considered a 6-star prospect coming out of high school?
Here are eight players in the BCS era who could have been a 6-star recruit.
Sammy Watkins, WR (2011)
The then-6'1" and 180-pounder was explosive off the line, had solid hands and dazzled in the run-after-catch phase of plays.
Watkins' ability to blow by defenders was remarkable, as was his skill set as a returner. He went on to catch 82 passes for more than 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns as a true freshman at Clemson.
Watkins finished his career with the Tigers with 240 receptions for 3,391 yards and 27 touchdowns. Looking back, it's obvious Watkins was a 6-star recruit.
Vernon Hargreaves III, CB (2013)
His ability to excel in all three coverage techniques, while standing 5'11" and weighing 185 pounds, was more than impressive. Hargreaves could press and mirror with ease in off-man, and his advanced instincts and awareness made him exceptional in zone coverage.
Although he just finished his true freshman season at Florida last fall, where he was an first-team All-SEC selection, Hargreaves already looks like he warranted a sixth star in 2013.
Percy Harvin, WR (2006)
A 5-star recruit in 2006, Percy Harvin was a trailblazer of sorts. At 5'11" and 185 pounds, the Virginia native wowed observers with his ability to play wide receiver, running back, slot receiver, Wildcat quarterback and to return kicks and punts.
Harvin's speed, quickness, athleticism and deceptive strength with the ball was phenomenal coming out of high school. He finished his career at Florida with 133 receptions for 1,929 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,852 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Many versatile athletes and receiver recruits today are often compared to the Seattle Seahawks receiver, who could have been considered a 6-star prospect.
Patrick Peterson, CB (2008)
He spurned all three big Florida schools by leaving the Sunshine State to play for LSU. Peterson weighed 195 pounds back then, while standing a bit taller than 6'0". He had excellent strength and athleticism, and he excelled in press-man coverage.
His fantastic speed and instincts also made him a dangerous returner, which sounds a lot like his current scouting report. Peterson's size, strength, exceptional athletic ability and great speed in high school were all 6-star quality.
A.J. Green, WR (2008)
Much of the debate in the 2008 class centered around two 5-star receivers, one of them being A.J. Green. Green, a South Carolina native, committed to Georgia early in the process and never wavered on his pledge.
The 6'4", 212-pounder had exceptionally smooth athleticism and movement skills on the field. Green's speed was deceptive, as he looked like he wasn't running fast due to how smooth he was. He had no issues getting in and out of his breaks to separate quickly from cornerbacks, plus he possessed advanced ball skills for his age.
He caught 166 passes for 2,619 yards and 23 touchdowns at UGA. Today, Green is one of the best receivers in the NFL and is a star for the Cincinnati Bengals.
However, he was once an elite recruit who deserved a sixth star.
Julio Jones, WR (2008)
As was previously stated, the 2008 class featured an intense debate over who was the No. 1 receiver in the country between two prospects. The other talented pass-catcher was Julio Jones, a 5-star prospect from Alabama.
At 6'4" and 220 pounds, Jones was a dominant force whose game was based on physicality, speed and athletic ability. He intimidated cornerbacks due to his imposing size, and he also had the ability to power his way through jams at the line of scrimmage.
Not many receiver prospects have had the physical tools Jones showed in high school, as he looked exactly how coaches wanted a perfect receiver prospect to look. Jones signed with Alabama, where he totaled 179 receptions for 2,653 yards and 15 touchdowns for his career with the Crimson Tide.
Jones not only looked like a 6-star receiver, but he also went on to produce like one.
Adrian Peterson, RB (2004)
No high school football player is physically ready to play in the NFL, but Adrian Peterson could have been an exception.
The Texas native was a dominant phenomenon in 2004, when he was the No. 1 recruit in the country. At 6'2" and probably more than the 210 pounds he was listed at, Peterson was the total package.
He combined excellent short-area quickness and explosiveness with outstanding speed, strength, balance, agility and tackle-breaking ability. Peterson had terrific vision for a high school running back, plus his ability to jump-cut and speed-cut at his size made observers' jaws drop.
It's the same skill set he showed during his time at Oklahoma, as well as what he shows now with the Minnesota Vikings. The 2012 NFL MVP may be the greatest football recruit of all time, which definitely means he could have been a 6-star prospect.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE (2011)
Again, jumping from high school to the NFL likely will never be done. Yet Jadeveon Clowney is another extremely rare prospect who may have been able to contribute to an NFL team coming out of high school.
Clowney was a 5-star defensive end and No. 1 overall recruit in 2011. At nearly 6'6" and 255 pounds, he used his freakish athletic ability to cause serious problems for offenses from the edge.
Clowney displayed excellent first-step explosiveness, agility and a great surge to finish on the ball. There have been stronger and more powerful defensive line prospects than Clowney, but he did show that he could convert speed to power at an above-average rate.
Clowney has always had a ton of hype and mystique surrounding him, but his 24 career sacks in three seasons at South Carolina shows he did produce.
He deserved a sixth star coming out of high school.
Regarding Clowney, in 2011, Chad Simmons of Scout.com said, "Clowney makes plays that only special players make."