Every year the emphasis on recruiting five-star players makes headlines and gives football fans a false since of hope and expectations. From 2002 until 2010, both Scout and Rivals have agreed on 21 five-star prep defensive tackles according to their research and player evaluations. Scout has been “star happy” since 2002, in praising 43 prep defensive tackles as five-star recruits. Rivals only handed out 22 five-star ratings to defensive tackles in their annual rankings.
This year a pair of Florida Gators, Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley, were given the dubious honor. Looking at history, Florida hasn’t had much luck with five-star defensive tackles since 2002. Now it is time to evaluate the recruiting rankings and ask the question: Are five star defensive tackles worth the expectations?
Players Given Five-Stars from Both Scout and Rivals
2002 : Haloti Ngata (Oregon), Rodrique Wright (Texas)
2003 : Nate Robinson (Rutgers)
2004 : DeMario Pressley (North Carolina State), Frank Okam (Texas)
2005 : DeMarcus Granger (Oklahoma), Callahan Bright (Florida State), Jerrell Powe (Mississippi)
2006: Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma), Al Woods (LSU)
2007 : Marvin Austin (North Carolina), Torrey Davis (Florida)
2008: Marcus Forston (Miami), Omar Hunter (Florida)
2009 : Jacobbi McDaniel (Florida State), Gary Brown (Florida), Sheldon Richardson (Missouri), William Campbell (Michigan), Chris Davenport (LSU)
2010: Sharrif Floyd (Florida), Dominque Easley (Florida)
Most Five-Star Recruits by School: Florida (5), Texas (2), LSU (2), Oklahoma (2), Florida State (2).
Top Five of the Five-Stars (Lived up to the hype)
1. Haloti Ngata
Ngata is the only player on this list become an NFL All-Pro defensive tackle. In three years with the Ducks, Ngata recorded 151 tackles, 10 sacks, and an impressive seven blocked kicks. Ngata was selected with the 12th pick of the 2006 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
2. Rodrique Wright
When purely looking at statistics, Wright is the class of five-star defensive tackles since 2002. Wright was drafted in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL draft after a solid four-year career at Texas. In his time with the Longhorns, Wright had 227 tackles, 17.5 sacks, and 41 tackles for a loss. He was a member of the 2005 BCS champion Texas team.
3. Marvin Austin
4. Gerald McCoy
The third pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010, McCoy notched an impressive 14 sacks and 77 tackles during his Sooner career. He will move up this list, depending on his professional career.
5. Frank Okam
A fifth round draft pick by the Houston Texans in 2008, Okam paced the Longhorns with 111 tackles and nine sacks during his collegiate career.
Bottom Five of the Five Stars (Should have been one-star)
1. Callahan Bright
Bright committed to the Seminoles in 2005, and never managed to find his way onto the field. His career included jail time, maturation issues, and a short stint at Shaw University, before attempting to sign on as a NFL free agent in 2010.
2. Torrey Davis
After two seasons at Florida, Davis transferred to Jacksonville State to finish his collegiate career. He recorded 31 tackles and 4.5 sacks in his time with the two schools.
3. Jerrell Powe
Powe is currently a junior at Ole Miss, after signing with the Rebels in 2005. Eligibility issues has slowed the progression of Powe, but with a steady 2010 season, he could become a high draft pick in 2011.
4. Gary Brown
After spending time on the scout team in 2009, Brown was dismissed from the Gators in 2010.
5. Nate Robinson
After two years at Rutgers, Robinson spent his final two years at Akron. Robinson recorded 49 tackles, and three sacks for the Zips.
Different Opinions (Defensive tackles who received one five-star ranking)
1. Glenn Dorsey, LSU
Scout saw more in Dorsey as a prep than Rivals, branding him with five-stars in 2004. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Dorsey with the fifth pick of the 2008 NFL draft. At LSU, Dorsey recorded 15 sacks and 179 tackles.
2. Brian Price, UCLA
Price paced the Bruins with 12 sacks and 92 tackles. The 2009 Pac-10 defensive player of the year was a second round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Five-Star Defensive Tackles Collegiate Statistics (2002-2010)
1. Rodrique Wright, Texas (2002). 227 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 41 tfl
2. Haloti Ngata, Oregon (2002). 151 tackles, 10 sacks, 24.5 tfl
3. Frank Okam, Texas (2004). 111 tackles, nine sacks
4. DeMario Pressley, North Carolina St. (2004). 111 tackles, four sacks
5. Marvin Austin, North Carolina (2007). 103 tackles, nine sacks
6. Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma (2006). 77 tackles, 14 sacks
7. DeMarcus Granger, Oklahoma (2005). 75 tackles, three sacks.
8. Al Woods, LSU (2006). 73 tackles, 3.5 sacks, eight tfl
9. Nate Robinson, Rutgers/Akron (2003). 70 tackles, five sacks, 13 tfl
10. Jerrell Powe, Mississippi (2005). 41 tackles, three sacks
11. Torrey Davis, Florida/Jax St (2007). 31 tackles, 4.5 sacks
12. Jacobbi McDaniel, Florida St. (2009). 25 tackles, one sack
13. Marcus Forston, Miami (2008). 18 tackles, three sacks, 4.5 tfl
14. Omar Hunter, Florida (2008). 15 tackles, No sacks
15. William Campbell, Michigan (2009). No stats
15. Chris Davenport, LSU (2009). No stats
15. Sheldon Richardson, Junior College
15. Gary Brown, dismissed from Florida
15. Callahan Bright, No stats