BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
It's hard to believe that the latest Super Bowl is in the books, but we now close in on National Signing Day.
College coaches everywhere are scouring the nation for top recruits, hoping to land as many 5-star blue chippers as they possibly can. The higher a prospect's recruiting rating, the better chance of him winning a championship, right? Well, uh, wrong, especially if that recruit goes onto play in the NFL.
Go ahead and give me any Super Bowl statistic you want, but my favorite? There was not one 5-star recruit on either the Patriot's or Seahawk's roster. Not one.
Yet here they were, the NFL's two top teams, battling Sunday in front of the world. And the average recruiting ratings for those Super Bowl participants as they came out of high school?
According to 247 Sports, it's 2.4. No, I did not stutter. That's two-point-four. The Seahawk's Russell Wilson? He was a 3-star coming out of high school. Marshawn Lynch? A 4-star. Richard Sherman? A 3-star. And Kam Chancellor? Likewise. And your Super Bowl champs? Gronk was a 4-star, Lagarrette Blount a 4-star, Dont'a Hightower a 2-star, and Tom Brady? Heck, he's so old that back in 1995, recruiting services had yet to adopt their star ratings system (he would have been a 3 or a 4).
Let's compare some of these recruiting numbers to the College Football Final Four. When Alabama lined it up against Ohio State in that semi-final in New Orleans, a total of eight 5-star recruits started the game for the Crimson Tide: TJ Yeldon, Derrick Henry, OJ Howard, Cam Robinson, Jonathan Allen, A'Shawn Robinson, Trey DePriest and Landon Collins.
There you have it: Bama had eight 5-stars in their starting line-up, the Patriots none. The other college final four teams? FSU boasted eight, Ohio State three and Oregon two.
What's it all mean? It means that 5-star recruits are hard to come by. It means that most of your college and pro starters are 3 and 4-star athletes, with some 2-stars sprinkled in. It means that player development in college and the NFL is at times more important than your high school recruiting rating. It means that maybe, just maybe, those who receive 2, 3 and 4 stars coming out of high school may be more motivated than most.
Signing Day has become absolutely monstrous in our state. Years before, continuous live coverage on major networks came the best of the best turning to local TV to make their big announcements.
Woodlawn's Karlos Dansby committed to Auburn live on one of my sportscasts. Minor's Christion Jones committed to Alabama live on FOX6. Heck, former UAB receiver Kevin Drake proposed to his fiancée on one of my sportscasts (and she said “yes”).
Today, every sports network from ESPN to your neighborhood public access channel is in on the act, and quite frankly, that is good for everyone, as I'm all for more information.
So enjoy Signing Day 2015. Just don't get too caught up in the “Nick has more 5-stars than Gus” or vice versa. As the Seahawks and the Patriots have proven, the top football teams in the world don't need to be slammed full of 5-stars to success.
Yes, the Patriot's starting line-up averaged 2.4 on the recruiting scale, and while it may be hard to believe, if the Super Bowl champs were to line it up against the Tide or the Tigers, I'd have to pick the Patriots over any college football team chock full of 5-stars.
See you Wednesday online, on your phone and at 6:20 p.m., 9:45 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. for the state's deepest and most comprehensive Signing Day coverage. That, my friend, is a promise!