August 13, 2013

Ranking the all-time five-stars: Georgia

MORE RE-RANKED FIVE-STARS: Alabama - California

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.

HOW FARRELL RE-RANKS THEM
Name Year/Rank
1 Robert Nkemdiche 2013 No. 1
2 Eric Berry 2007 No. 3
3 Carl Lawson 2013 No. 4
4 Da'Rick Rogers 2010 No. 9
5 Ray Drew 2011 No. 9
6 Brandon Miller 2004 No. 7
7 Reshad Jones 2006 No. 14
8 Stephon Tuitt 2011 No. 22
9 Paul Oliver 2003 No. 9
10 Kregg Lumpkin 2003 No. 19

We Missed On...
Calvin Johnson 2004 No. 37
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 Farrell.

"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."

Behind the first three is the trio of Da'Rick Rogers, Ray Drew and Stephon Tuitt, all of whom are still in school. They are surrounded by a group of players who didn't pan out in Brandon Miller, Reshad Jones, Paul Oliver and Kregg Lumpkin.

"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 quite often."




 

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