2010 Florida Gator Football: How Drafted Gators Prove Star Rankings Have Flaws

John PattonContributor IMay 1, 2011

Not counting Cam Newton, center/guard Mike Pouncey was the only former Gator to shake Roger Goodell's hand at the 2011 NFL Draft.
Not counting Cam Newton, center/guard Mike Pouncey was the only former Gator to shake Roger Goodell's hand at the 2011 NFL Draft.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Sometimes those star rankings attached to big-name high school football prospects don't give exact indicators about who will become the best players.

Two cases in point were evident in last week's 2011 NFL Draft.

In 2006 Carl Johnson was ranked the No. 3 offensive guard prospect in the country, according to rivals.com. The product of Southern High School in Durham, NC took his 5-star rating to Gainesville, Fla., where, at 6'6", 348 pounds, it was expected he could earn All-American honors blocking for fellow '06 signee Tim Tebow.

That same year, Florida also signed 3-star Maurice Hurt out of Milledgeville, Ga. He was the nation's 38th-ranked guard, and his name didn't create quite the buzz Johnson's did.

Also signing on in 2006 was 4-star Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, who many college coaches didn't think was as bright a prospect as fellow Raiders' tackle Sam Young (who signed with Notre Dame).

UF's 2007 signing class included a soft-spoken 4-star defensive back from Lakeland, Fla. named Ahmad Black. He wasn't even the biggest name from his high school that inked national letters of intent to Florida that day, as six other Lakeland Dreadnaughts, including 4-star twin offensive linemen Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, speedy 4-star tailback Chris Rainey and highly coveted 4-star defensive tackle John Brown also became Gators.

A year later, 6'3", 203-pound Will Hill, rivals No. 1 "athlete" prospect signed on to play free safety for Urban Meyer.

The 2011 draft began Thursday and concluded Saturday. There were 254 players selected. None were named Carl Johnson or Will Hill.

As expected, Mike Pouncey was the first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins (15th overall). Then, in the second round (63rd overall) the Steelers added Gilbert to an offensive line includes former Gators in veteran tackle Max Starks and second-year center Maurkice Pouncey.

The Tampa Bay Bucs selected Black in the fifth round (151st overall), and Hurt was chosen by the Washington Redskins in the seventh (217th overall).

Most of the time, the services are pretty much on when it comes to projecting talent at the next level. Florida's 2011 NFL draftees prove evaluating high school kids can be an inexact science.

Just ask Carl Johnson and Will Hill.