Robert Nkemdiche has yet to play a snap at Ole Miss, but
the Loganville (Ga.) Grayson defensive end is still the most touted player --
during the Rivals.com era -- to come out of a Georgia high school.
The wire-to-wire No. 1 player in the nation from the class of 2013, it is
unknown if Nkemdiche will deserve to remain at the top of the list or whether he
will become a bust. Without the use of hindsight, it may be a moot point.
From the class of 2002 -- when Rivals.com established the Rivals100 -- to the
class of 2013, there have been 11 states to have double-digit players earn
five-star rankings. This week, it is time to turn back the
clock and put those players in order based on what they did in high school.
None of the players identified as midseason five-stars for the class of 2014 is
considered for this ranking. Each is subject to change through the regular
season and all-star game evaluations.
Georgia has had 21 players rated as five-stars over the last dozen classes, and
the list figures to grow this year.
Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell said the talent in the
Peach State has been on the rise and so has the profile of the state.
"Georgia is a state that has emerged as a threat to the Big Three of Florida,
Texas and California," Farrell said. "At least it has in recent years -- but
especially in 2011 and 2013."
Without the gift of hindsight to adjust players or the foresight to project
Nkemdiche in this exercise, the pole position became an easy selection for
"Nkemdiche is the only Georgia player ranked No. 1 overall, so he is the choice
at the top here," Farrell said. "But Eric Berry isn't far behind at all
and Carl Lawson made a push in 2013 when Nkemdiche was the guy."
"Rodgers had a ton of talent out of high school, and Drew and Tuitt were an
amazing 1-2 punch in 2011," Farrell said. "However, this list is filled as much
with busts based on rankings as it is with success stories, whether it was due
to injury, not stepping things up at the next level or off-the-field issues.
"How can Oliver and Lumpkin be on here and Cameron Newton isn't? That's the
way rankings shake out at times, and Newton, No. 28 overall in 2007, just wasn't
as polished a product as some others through the years."
Outside of Newton, there are few success stories from Georgia prospects.
Greg Reid was dismissed from Florida State for violating team
rules and ended his career at Valdosta State. Isaiah Crowell was
dismissed from Georgia after being hit with weapons charges and has
landed at Alabama State.
Markeith Ambles transferred from USC
after multiple issues, including academics, and is now at Houston after
spending time at an Arizona community college.
One player who was nearly a five-star went on to star in college and in the NFL.
Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek superstar
Calvin Johnson was highly ranked but
is still identified as a miss by the analysts.
"He came close and was in the discussion and we liked him quite a bit, but he
didn't make the cut and now in hindsight we look bad," Farrell said. "He was a
great talent before he became 'Megatron,' and we should have bumped him up. No.
37 overall is good, but not good enough for the fans who point this one out