Over the next two weeks, Rivals.com is taking a look at five-stars at each position from 2012 to 2015 (classes that are now nearly completely out of college football and off to the pros) and how they fared compared to our ranking to determine which spots we got right and which ones we got wrong. We move to running back.
FIVE-STAR RUNNING BACKS
Damien Harris, Derrius Guice, Jacques Patrick, Soso Jamabo, Leonard Fournette, Joe Mixon, Racean Thomas, Sony Michel, Dalvin Cook, Elijah Hood, Jalen Hurd, Derrick Green, Thomas Tyner, Greg Bryant, Ty Isaac, Taquan Mizzell, Johnathan Gray, T.J. Yeldon, Trey Williams, Duke Johnson
There are successes and failures, players who have achieved at the highest levels and others who completely disappointed and are now out of football. The running back position has had both highs and lows through the recruiting classes from 2012-15.
Of the 20 five-star running backs, seven were drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL draft, for a hit rate of 35 percent. By comparison, three of the seven five-star QBs in the same period were first-round picks, for a hit rate of 43 percent.
Fournette and Michel were first-round selections. Second-round picks out of these running backs is loaded with Guice, Mixon, Cook and Yeldon and then in the third round Harris was picked in this most recent draft, Hurd was drafted in the third but at wide receiver and Johnson was a third-round selection and he’s had a successful career so far with the Cleveland Brown at running back and receiver. Those are the major success stories. One other player drafted was Hood, who was picked in the seventh round.
Thomas was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings and Mizzell was picked up as a free agent by the Chicago Bears.
Williams was picked up the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent but he bounced around to seven NFL teams, a CFL team and then played for the San Antonio Commanders in the AAF before the league folded. Isaac went undrafted and was signed by the Birmingham Iron of the AAF.
Injuries ended the career of Gray, Bryant died from gunshot wounds in 2016, Tyner gave up football, Jamabo missed a good portion of last season with a concussion and he graduated, Green went to Michigan and then transferred to TCU before falling off the map and Patrick went undrafted last month. As of this report, he has still not been picked up as a free agent.
This is a lot of five-star running backs, probably too many considering only a few are selected in the first round. Michel and Fournette are obvious home runs and the biggest flop was, Green who never really got on track in his college career and just never added speed. I would say Jamabo is the other one that confuses me the most because I thought he would be a star at UCLA. Maybe we’ve ranked too many running backs as five-stars in recent years and need to be more picky. That’s what this list is telling me.