Recruiting a 1st Round Pick
Every year, during NFL Draft time, the debate on whether or not stars matter rages on. The draft is a measuring stick for recruiting rankings, not that being drafted in the 1st Round is any more of a guarantee of NFL success as being ranked as a 5-star is of college success, but it is a point at which we can see which kids capitalized on their high school success and talents and which came from nowhere to rise to the top.
So using Jamie Newberg’s Top 100 Draft Prospects, we broke down several demographics to see where the top 32 kids came from.
Stars: Of the top 32, the average star rating was just short of four-stars at 3.75. Seven were five-stars, 14 were four-stars, seven were three-stars and four were two-stars. I’ve seen people take data like this and say, ‘so it’s just as likely to be a 1st Round pick as a three-star as a five-star?’ The answer is no, as there are roughly 20 times more three-stars than fives, so that must be considered when looking at the numbers.
Offers: I hear fans often say they look at offer list rather than stars. It can be a good metric, but again, offer list is no guarantee either. The same kids the stars missed, the offers missed. The four two-star kids had only ten offers between them. For Jason Verrett and Khalil Mack, the two schools they ended up at, TCU and Buffalo respectively, were their only offers. Michigan State was Darqueze Dennard‘s only BCS offer.
Location: Where do the 1st Rounders come from? An astounding 18 of the 32 were from the South followed by the Midlands (5), West (4), East (2) and Midwest (2). The state of Florida alone has more than any of the other regions with 11 kids on Newberg’s top 32 list.
Size of High School: I hadn’t seen anyone break this down before, but I was curious. Do these kids come from big high schools or small high schools? The assumption is that most of them would be coming from bigger schools, but I wanted to know for sure.
The average enrollment at the schools of the top 32 was 1,487, a very good sized high school. Only eight of the 32 attended a high school with an enrollment under 1,000 with just two at schools under 500. The smallest school producing a 1st Rounder is Twiggs County in Georgia (307 students) where the aforementioned Darqueze Dennard hails from. The largest school on the list is Orlando’s Dr. Phillips High School (3624 students) where Alabama safety HaHa Clinton-Dix was a five-star prospect.
What Did We Learn?
There are so many kids playing high school ball out there. There is never a sure-thing. And just because this year’s data shows certain trends, doesn’t mean next year’s class will fall right in line.
However, we can glean that if you’re at a bigger high school from the South (and moreso if you’re in Florida) and a four or five star prospect, you have a good shot. That does not mean there will not be Khalil Macks or Darqueze Dennards that pop up, but that is what the data shows.
|Rank||Name||High School||City||State||Rating||HS Enroll|
|1||Jadeveon Clowney||South Pointe HS||Rock Hill||SC||5||1520|
|2||Khalil Mack||Westwood HS||Fort Pierce||FL||2||1328|
|3||Greg Robinson||Thibodaux HS||Thibodaux||LA||4||1505|
|4||Sammy Watkins||South Ft. Myers HS||Fort Myers||FL||5||1708|
|5||Jake Matthews||Ft. Bend Elkins HS||Missouri City||TX||5||1996|
|6||Anthony Barr||Loyola HS||Los Angeles||CA||4||1256|
|7||Blake Bortles||Oviedo HS||Oviedo||FL||2||2191|
|8||Johnny Manziel||Tivy HS||Kerrville||TX||3||1320|
|9||Taylor Lewan||Chaparral HS||Scottsdale||AZ||4||2111|
|10||Teddy Bridgewater||Northwestern HS||Miami||FL||4||1773|
|11||Timmy Jernigan||Columbia HS North||Lake City||FL||5||1768|
|12||Aaron Donald||Penn Hills SHS||Pittsburgh||PA||4||1527|
|13||C.J. Mosley||Theodore HS||Theodore||AL||4||1700|
|14||Mike Evans||Ball HS||Galveston||TX||3||1873|
|15||Darqueze Dennard||Twiggs County HS||Jeffersonville||GA||2||307|
|16||Ryan Shazier||Plantation HS||Plantation||FL||4||2137|
|17||Justin Gilbert||Huntsville HS||Huntsville||TX||3||1624|
|18||Marqise Lee||Junipero Serra HS||Gardena||CA||4||187|
|19||Eric Ebron||Ben L Smith HS||Greensboro||NC||3||1171|
|20||Zack Martin||Bishop Chatard HS||Indianapolis||IN||3||730|
|21||Ra’shede Hageman||Washburn HS||Minneapolis||MN||4||970|
|22||HaHa Clinton-Dix||Dr. Phillips HS||Orlando||FL||5||3624|
|23||Louis Nix||Raines HS||Jacksonville||FL||4||974|
|24||Derek Carr||Bakersfield Christian HS||Bakersfield||CA||4||2755|
|25||Kony Ealy||Central HS||New Madrid||MO||4||575|
|26||Lamarcus Joyner||St. Thomas Aquinas HS||Ft. Lauderdale||FL||5||2194|
|27||Dee Ford||St. Clair County HS||Odenville||AL||4||566|
|28||Cyrus Kouandijo||Dematha Catholic HS||Hyattsville||MD||5||1000|
|29||Jason Verrett||Santa Rosa HS||Santa Rosa||CA||2||1745|
|30||Calvin Pryor||Port St. Joe HS||Port St. Joe||FL||3||347|
|31||Kelvin Benjamin||Glades Central HS||Belle Glade||FL||4||1110|
|32||David Yankey||Centennial HS||Roswell||GA||3||2000|