Rivals 5-Star-Rated Players Who Will Play in the Pac-12 This Season
There will be no less than 19 Rivals.com "5-star" rated football players on the 2011 Pac-12 rosters.
Why is that important?
Because a 5-star prospect is considered to be one of the nation's top 25 players.
They are franchise Players, elite prospects in the country, found in each respective year.
They are deemed to have excellent pro potential; high-major prospects.
Percentages indicate that they are almost guaranteed to play in the NFL. Who are they?
Ryan Miller: Colorado Buffaloes
Senior, Offensive Tackle
Ryan has already started 31 straight games as a tackle or guard. He should be an All-Pac-12 offensive lineman this year. First team most likely. Last year Ryan started with tackle Nate Solder, a first-round NFL pick. Ryan is on the 2011 Outland Trophy Watch List.
Marc Tyler: USC Trojans
Senior, Running Back
Marc had the most rushing yards for the Trojans last year with nine touchdowns. Will the Trojans feature Marc at RB, use him in the PR department, or will he be in a rotation that includes Dillon Baxter (Dillon is also a 5-star RB for the Trojans).
Chris Galippo: USC Trojans
Chris has 199 tackles, five interceptions, five forced fumbles and seven pass breakups, so far, in his career at USC. The Trojans were thin at the linebacker but now have 11 players supporting that roster position. Chris is a finalist for The Butkus Award.
Matt Kalil: USC Trojans
T.J. McDonald: USC Trojans
Junior, Defensive Back
T.J. is the Trojans starting free safety and was spectacular last year with a team high 89 tackles and three interceptions. He was selected for All-Pac-10 honors and should be All-Pac-12 this year.
T.J. is on the Bednarik watch list.
Patrick Hall: USC Trojans
Patrick tore his ACL and may miss part or most of the 2011 season. He has already missed a season due to injury and will petition for a sixth season of eligibility. If granted, Hall would have three years of eligibility remaining starting next year, which probably benefits USC since they are stacked with talent at this position.
Vontaze Burfict: Arizona State Sun Devils
Vontaze Burfict is a beast, a leader, and a future NFL first-rounder. He had a team-high 90 tackles last season and was second-team All-Pac-10.
He will be a first team All-Pac-12 honoree this year and could lead the Sun Devils to their first bowl game since 2007. Vontaze is on the Bednarik watch list and is also a finalist for The Butkus Award.
Devon Kennard: USC Trojans
Junior, Defensive End
Devon was the No. 1 defensive end in the country when he signed with USC. He converted to strongside linebacker and eventually to middle linebacker in meeting USC's depth needs at that position.
He recorded 72 tackles (7 TFL), two sacks and an INT while playing MLB. This year he switches back to his natural position and will be a top NFL prospect.
Matt Barkley: USC Trojans
USC's starting quarterback threw for over 2,700 yards in 2009 and 2010. Last year Matt had 26 touchdown passes and could throw over 30 this year.
Lache Seastrunk: Oregon Ducks
Freshman, Running Back
Lache Seastrunk redshirted last year because Oregon is loaded at the running back position. He will work his way into the rotation with LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner. Despite any mentoring relationships, Lache's speed, moves and acceleration are what make him a truly special player
Markeith Ambles: USC Trojans
Sophomore, Wide Receiver
According to Rivals.com, Markeith Ambles has really quick feet, making him hard to jam at the line of scrimmage. He also has excellent body control and can really go up and pluck the ball out of the air.
He adds to the wide receiver rotation of Robert Woods, Brandon Carswell, Kyle Prater, and De'Von Flournoy, who all have excellent talent.
Dillon Baxter: USC Trojans
Sophomore, Running Back
According to Rivals.com, Dillon Baxter is physically well-put-together with a muscular upper body and thick legs. For a big back, he runs excellent routes and has soft hands which will give him more opportunities in the open field.
He's got the hands of an all-purpose back, could play receiver, but can also take the pounding that the traditional back goes through on a daily basis.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa: UCLA Bruins
Sophomore, Defensive End
Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa has so much talent he worked his way into the starting lineup at UCLA as a freshman. In the second half of the season, he had 10 tackles (three TFL), and three sacks.
Owamagbe and defensive tackle Cassius Marsh anchor the Bruins' line. Owamagbe will be All-Pac-12 this year.
Robert Woods: USC Trojans
Sophomore, Wide Receiver
As a first-year freshman last year, Robert Woods was the Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year. He also made the 2010 Football Writers, Sporting News, Rivals, Phil Steele, and CollegeFootballNews.com Freshman All-American first team.
He was All-Pac-10 first team, as well as Sporting News and Scout.com Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. He made ESPN.com and Phil Steele All-Pac-10 first team. He also won USC's Bob Chandler Award and John McKay Award.
Keenan Allen: California Bears
Freshman, Wide Receiver
Keenan Allen was recruited as a defensive back, but his talent at wide receiver is so great, it cannot be denied. He will start at that position for Cal after nine starts in his freshman year.
He caught 46 passes for almost 500 yards and five touchdowns. This season he will have double-digit touchdowns and make All-Pac-12.
Kyle Prater: USC Trojans
Freshman, Wide Receiver
Kyle Prater redshirted as a freshman.
According to his USC bio, some of his 2009 honors included USA Today All-USA first team, Parade All-American, EA Sports All-American first team, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Scout.com All-American first team, Max Preps All-American first team, Sporting News Top 100 and Super Prep Elite 50.
Colt Lyerla: Oregon Ducks
Colt can play well at a few different positions, even in basketball. The question is, what position will he play?
Currently he is listed fourth on the three-deep at the tight end position. He will be a great one for the Ducks, although he might not see too much playing time this year.
De'Anthony Thomas: Oregon Ducks
Chip says the best players will play. So will De'Anthony Thomas see the field in place of suspended defensive back Cliff Harris?
The Ducks could not have a better talent at cornerback than the Black Mamba. De'Anthony may end up being a two-way player for the Ducks at corner and running back.
George Farmer: USC Trojans
Here is Robert Woods' unbelievable teammate from high school. Can you imagine two 5-star athletes on the same high school team?
With all the depth that the Trojans have at wide receiver, there is a pretty strong chance that George will redshirt for the 2011 season.
Where Did USC Get All That Talent?
Utah, Washington State, and Oregon State don't have any 5-star players. Not one!
Neither does Arizona, Washington, or Stanford. None!
Other than Oregon's three, Cal, Arizona State, UCLA, and Colorado only have one 5-star player each.
So how does USC end up with 12 5-star players on their rolls?
One possible answer is Pete Carroll.
Love him or not, he did bring a truck-load of top talent to the Trojans.
USC's Pro-style offense and defense helps create NFL-ready talent (see factory), which may be part of the reason so many 5-star players choose the Trojans.
It will be interesting to see if Lane Kiffin and staff can equal USC's recruiting achievements during Pete Carroll's reign of the last decade.