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Turns out, there’s an easy way to turn yourself into a nearly guaranteed NFL draft pick: be a 5-star recruit.
Shannon Terry of On3.com examined the results of the 2023 draft and found that talent and success in high school often translates to football’s higher levels.
Over 81% of five-star recruits from relevant high school classes were drafted last week.
That made them more than 21x more likely to be taken than someone with a two-star ranking or lower.
There’s a pretty obvious conclusion to be drawn here; if you’re good young in high school, you have a much better chance of being good in college.
Examples of former five-star recruits taken this year include Alabama’s Bryce Young, who went first overall to the Carolina Panthers.
Will Levis, who fell to the Tennessee Titans, much to the dismay of OutKick founder Clay Travis, was just a three-star recruit in 2018.
Recruiting Rankings Are Pretty Darn Good
Will Anderson Jr. was another former five-star recruit, meaning two of the top three picks were exceptional high school prospects.
Devon Witherspoon was as well, meaning three of the top five were five-star players coming out of high school.
It’s not particularly surprising that good recruits make good NFL prospects. But it does highlight just how good high school recruiting rankings have become over the years.
Talent evaluators, inside and outside school athletic departments, are better than ever at identifying elite talent at an early age.
It’s also a credit to college coaching, which has generally been seen as significantly below the NFL level.
But these players don’t develop themselves, and as the level of coaching rises, players more frequently reach their potential.
Team recruiting rankings in college football are often correlated to success in the coming seasons. Turns out, they’re also meaningful for how many players your program will send to the NFL.
It might be early, but look out for young recruits like Dylan Raiola and Jeremiah Smith on the draft red carpet soon.