Does it really matter to get the superstar players, or is the whole star system overblown? The top players of the 2012 class should’ve been the main men for their programs – so how did the top 50 recruiting prospects do?
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Is it worth the millions of dollars, countless hours, and all of the work needed to get the love and attention of the top high school prospects? Are the superstar of five-star players worth the effort? Short answer, no, but if you get one of the elite guys who does live up to the expectations, that can be all the difference between winning big things and being an also-ran.
Out of the CFN Top 50 prospects from the 2012 class, how many did what they were supposed to? How many fizzled, and how many couldn’t succeed under the ridiculous hype? Here are the top 50 and what they all did.
50. WR Chris Black, Alabama
After starting out his career at Alabama – and making just 25 catches for 290 yards and two touchdowns in three seasons – he transferred to Missouri. He didn’t do much more with the Tigers, making just 17 grabs for 257 yards and a score.
49. CB Davonte’ Neal, Notre Dame
After originally going to Notre Dame, Neal transferred to Arizona where he was fine, but hardly a five-star prospect, finishing with 85 tackles with just two interceptions.
48. OT Kyle Kalis, Michigan
A nice part of the Wolverine offensive line, he turned into an all-star guard. While he was mostly known as the five-star guy who blew off his commitment to Ohio State to go to That School Up North, he turned in a nice career.
47. CB Brian Poole, Florida
Okay, but overshadowed by other Gator star defensive backs, Poole stepped up in his sophomore season and finished his career with 120 career tackles with six interceptions and 23 broken up passes. While he went undrafted, he became a nice part of the Atlanta Falcon defense.
46. WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
Cooper was supposed to be great, but he turned out to be even better than the expectations making 228 catches for 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns. The All-American and Heisman candidate closed out with a 124-grab, 1,727-yard season before turning pro early. Oakland snapped him up with the fourth overall pick in 2016.
45. OG Jordan Simmons, USC
Knee problems kept him from ever doing much. He moved around on the O line before moving to the defensive side, but he just never, ever had any injury luck.
44. LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Nailed it. All-American, All-SEC, and the leader of a national champion, the 2015 SEC Defensive Player of the Year stepped it up in his final two seasons with 195 tackles and 17 tackles for loss. Buffalo took him in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
43. OT Kennedy Estelle, Texas
A key part of the massively underachieving 2012 Texas recruiting class, he was suspended before being later dismissed by Charlie Strong.
42. QB Devin Fuller, UCLA
While he was hardly worth a top 50 spot, and wasn’t a quarterback, he wasn’t a bust. After switching positions, he caught 146 career passes for 1,322 yards and ten scores as a midrange receiver.
41. OT Avery Young, Auburn
Very, very good, he started late in his freshman season and was a regular up front over his final three seasons. While he might not have been a superstar, he was a versatile part of the line for his entire career. Undrafted, he landed with New Orleans.
40. DE Dante Fowler, Florida
Kaboom. With 140 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and 33 tackles for loss, Fowler grew into a deadly star of the Florida defensive front before getting picked third overall by Jacksonville in 2015.
39. WR Shaq Roland, South Carolina
Roland only caught 56 passes for 891 yards and ten touchdowns in his three years. He had his moments, but not enough of them.
38. WR Cyrus Jones, Alabama
A decent starter for the defensive side after starting out as a receiver, he made 69 tackles and five picks in his last two years, and was deadly whenever he got his chances as a kick and punt returner. The 2015 Cotton Bowl MVP was taken in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by New England.
37. DE Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
Sometimes it’s okay to get a top-shelf prospect who came up with a really, really solid career. Jenkins lived in the land of the very good, making 204 career tackles with 19 sacks. The Jets drafted him in the third round in 2016.
36. RB Mario Pender, Florida State
Nope. He ran for just 346 yards and five touchdowns in his two years before getting booted off the team after being arrested.
35. DE Channing Ward, Ole Miss
Okay, not great, he was a steady producer over his four years finishing with 109 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
34. S Nelson Agholor, USC
As a safety, Agholor turned into a whale of a wide receiver. Okay as a freshman, he caught 56 passes for 918 yards and eight scores as a sophomore and roared with a 104-catch, 1,313-yard, 12 touchdown junior campaign. Philadelphia drafted him with the 20th overall pick in 2015.
33. RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
While he might not have come up with the legendary career of a Mark Ingram, Derrick Henry, or a Trent Richardson, he had two straight 1,000-yard seasons and ran for 979 as a senior. He left early with 3,322 yards and 37 scores, averaging almost six yards per carry. Jacksonville took him in the second round in 2015.
32. WR Thomas Johnson, Texas A&M
An all-timer for all the wrong reasons. He caught 30 passes for 339 yards as a freshman, disappeared, got into some off-the-field issues, was off the team, and was sent to jail for allegedly hacking a man to death with a machete.
31. OG Joshua Garnett, Stanford
Stanford just doesn’t miss on its offensive line recruits – at least most of them. The All-American started right away and grew into job, winning the Outland as a blaster of a run blocker in his senior season. San Francisco drafted him in the first round.
30. CB Ronald Darby, Florida State
Overshadowed by other FSU defensive stars, Darby had a decent, but hardly special career – blossoming as a junior making 43 tackles – before leaving early for the NFL. Buffalo took him in the second round of the 2015 Draft.
29. QB Gunner Kiel, Notre Dame
The can’t-miss prospect had one of the more interesting college careers. First, he was supposed to be an Indiana Hoosier, and then he was going to LSU, and then Notre Dame, where eventually signed. Not getting any playing time, he bolted for Cincinnati where he threw for 6,835 yards and 56 touchdowns and 26 picks in his three years.
28. OG Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State
A phenomenal get for the Beavers, he started out well earning CFN Freshman All-America honors on the way to a nice college career. He was drafted by Philadelphia in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
27. DE Darius Hamilton, Rutgers
An excellent producer during his four years and change, he missed almost all of 2015 hurt. With 168 tackles, 11 sacks and 27 tackles for loss, he was a great player on several bad teams.
26. DE Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
A solid part of a great Buckeye line during his final three seasons, and a nice producer for a national champion, he finished with 142 tackles and 13.5 sacks. He was drafted by Buffalo in the third round in 2016.
25. RB Rushel Shell, Pitt
While he had a few nice moments as a freshman at Pitt, but he turned out to be a solid producer after transferring to West Virginia and rushing for 2,000 yards and 20 scores in three years.
24. OT Andrus Peat, Stanford
Boom. He grew into an All-American and Pac-12 all-star as a terrific blocker on a great Cardinal line. New Orleans took him 13th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
23. S Eddie Williams, Alabama
There were a whole slew of problems. Nick Saban kicked him off the team after being charged in the beating of a student.
22. DE Chris Casher, Florida State
Expected to be an elite pass rusher, he wasn’t much more than a part of a rotation with just 62 tackles and nine career sacks in his four years.
21. RB Trey Williams, Texas A&M
An elite kick returner, he averaged over 24 yards per try in his three seasons, while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. He ran for 1,343 yards and 18 scores in an okay, not special, college career.