Who Cares About Five Star Recruits?

The other day I read an article discussing how much Oregon recruiting is being hurt by Chip Kelly’s love of interviews.  I panicked for a moment.  The Ducks aren’t even in the top 25 for this year’s recruiting class, according to The Bleacher Report.  Just as I started to feel the panic overtake my body, I thought back to the Fiesta bowl from last week.  According to Rivals.com, do you know what Marcus Mariota’s star rating was?  Three.  How ’bout Kenjon Barner?  Three.  Well, the defensive player of the game, Micheal Clay, must have at least been a four star recruit, right?  Three.  These young men aren’t covered with stars, but they are outstanding athletes — they are perfect fits for Oregon’s style of play.

For every Colt Lyerla* there’s a Cameron Colvin*.  For every Johnathan Stewart* there’s a Lache Seastrunk*.  For every Haloti Ngata* there’s a Cliff Harris.  I have total faith in Kelly’s and Aliotti’s and Frost’s and Helfrich’s and Campbell’s ability to find the right kind of athlete (outside of maybe kickers) for our style of play.  I’m not going to get caught up in the galaxy of stars.  Sure, it’s nice to land the big fish sometimes, but they’re not always going to pan out.

Give me a three start recruit with good character, a strong work ethic, the tools to fit Duck football, and I’m happy.  I’ll gladly give up a five star guy with the obligatory ego and selfishness that comes from being told you’re the best.  A team of five star guys does not a national championship guarantee — just ask USC.


*Denotes a 5 star rating.

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Gabe Judah

Gabe Judah

Gabe Judah (Editor and Writer) is a high school educator, two time UofO graduate, a frenzied father of two, a fortunate husband of one, and a thoughtful fan of Duck athletics. While at the UofO, Gave pitched for the club baseball team, but perhaps his greatest contribution to Oregon sports was when he helped a Sporting News All-American safety pass a 200 level Spanish class.

  • Spike89

    Great analysis! A factor that is almost always overlooked is the difference between schemes. It is complex and certainly not absolute and varies by position, but overall it does contribute to lower overall class rankings for the Ducks. For instance, we look for “safety-type” linebackers for our defense, the entire scheme is built on the idea of really fast linebackers. We put a premium on those type, but ranking services tend to give more stars to big linebackers.
    Obviously everyone wants big and fast, but those are extremely rare. The reality is a school like Alabama chooses 250-260 lb linebackers that can plug up a running game, we choose 230 lb guys that can cover in space. Who can really say which is a better athlete, but the ranking services will consistently give extra stars to the big guys because they end up in the NFL (but may not have better college careers).
    It isn’t just our schemes we need to consider, but those of our primary competition. Alabama really only played one decent “speed” team in conference…and lost. We really only play one “power” team, and we lost. Of course, both Alabama and the Ducks did real well against the teams they are designed to beat.

  • maddog48

    Gabe, I generally tend to agree with your comments. Where I take some slight exception are the comparisons of Stewart to Seastrunk, and Ngata to Harris. With respect to Seastrunk, his story is unfinished. Simply because he chose to transfer to Baylor, closer to his home, does not mean he was a recruiting bust. If you paid attention to Baylor’s bowl game against UCLA you would know Seastrunk had a very nice game. He still has a couple of seasons to go. With respect to Harris, I don’t think anybody can seriously contest that his contributions to the team, when not suspended were pretty spectacular. Because Harris self-destructed off the field does not mean that his status as a recruit was any less than Ngata’s. Anybody Oregon recruits, no matter how many stars, is always going to be a risk for one reason or another.