There are 30 athletes in the 2017 class who have earned 5-star composite ratings.
Player No. 31, Hyattsville, Maryland, all-purpose back Anthony McFarland Jr., first noticed the 247Sports composite rankings for the 2017 class Tuesday evening. And while McFarland is happy about his current position in the rankings, he now has a new goal to shoot for.
McFarland, who represents Maryland powerhouse DeMatha Catholic, is a high 4-star recruit looking to prove that he deserves a fifth star. The upcoming camp and combine circuits will serve as perfect opportunities for him to impress the right people.
"I know people can say they really don't care about stars, but it's a big thing to me; it motivates me," McFarland said. "To be honest, it makes me a little more hungry. I feel like I should be one of those 5-stars. It makes me want to go out and line up against the best and prove myself."
McFarland, a 5'9", 189-pound athlete, is the No. 2 all-purpose back in the country. The No. 1 all-purpose back, Philadelphia's D'Andre Swift, holds the No. 30 spot in the overall rankings. He's also the last 5-star recruit. Their composite rating scores are separated by all of one one-thousandth of a point.
McFarland will be the first to admit that rankings are more for entertainment purposes, but being that close to adding a fifth star to his profile page serves as motivation for him as he prepares for nationwide camps and combines. He currently is rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals, Scout and ESPN.
While McFarland continues his chase for that coveted fifth star, he is also looking to find a winning program where he can continue to thrive as a student-athlete in college. McFarland has 26 reported offers, the latest coming from Syracuse on Feb. 1.
McFarland has offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Penn State, Georgia, Baylor, in-state school Maryland and a host of other programs. He said he's planning on attending Maryland's junior day this weekend. Although he isn't planning on making any major decisions anytime soon, McFarland said he knows what he wants in a winning program.
"I'm looking, most definitely, to see which schools play their freshmen," he said. "Of course, I'm looking at a good education, too. I just want to go where I feel good about going to an institution. Where will I feel like I am at home? That's what I want to know. To me, it's not just about football; it's everything around football.
"Honestly, I'm just blessed to have all of [the offers]. You only get one chance to do a process like this. It's really a blessing."
And what will a program get in McFarland? For starters, McFarland brings tons of speed to the table. He said he's been clocked in the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds (fully automated time) and 4.29 (handheld time). McFarland is also an explosive, athletic individual who can do a variety of things from a variety of positions.
"I feel like I'm one of the best players and most versatile players," he said. "I can play running back, I can play slot or I can line up wide and run deep routes. I can run out of the Wildcat [quarterback], or I can throw out of the Wildcat.
"I feel like you've got to have confidence if you want to be versatile, and I feel like I can score every play when I get the ball in my hands. When I go to camps, I just want to show my ability."
It's not hard to tell that McFarland is ready for what spring competition has in store. And thanks to one one-thousandth of a point, he now has added incentive to perform above and beyond his own expectations.
"Do I want it?" he said of a fifth star. "Most definitely."
Damon Sayles is a national recruiting analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles