Not everyone who will be playing in the 2023 Super Bowl was a highly touted recruit.
The rosters for both the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs are great examples of how many players who were ranked as three-star prospects and below can have great careers in the NFL. Likely 2022 MVP Patrick Mahomes was a three-star recruit, while Travis Kelce was a two-star recruit and his brother Jason wasn’t ranked at all.
Jason Kelce isn’t the only unranked player who will play a key role on Feb. 12 either. Three starters on the Eagles’ offensive line weren’t ranked by Rivals, while three of the rookies playing key roles in the Chiefs’ secondary weren’t ranked either.
Here are how the key contributors for the Eagles stacked up as high school recruits, according to Rivals, and make sure to check out Rivals for everything you need to know about Wednesday's National Signing Day.
*Specialists were not included in these rankings due to the nature of rankings for kickers and punters.
5 stars, No. 15 overall, No. 2 inside LB (2006)
Round 1, Pick 13 (2010)
Graham was a five-star recruit out of Detroit back in 2006. He had offers from all over the country and was primarily recruited as a linebacker. Despite the nationwide interest, Graham committed to in-state Michigan as a high school junior. He moved to defensive end and compiled 138 tackles, 56 tackles for loss and 29.5 sacks in his college career.
DE Josh Sweat
5 stars, No. 34 overall, No. 2 WDE (2015)
Round 4, Pick 130 (2018)
Sweat was rated as a five-star recruit even after suffering a gruesome knee injury as a senior. Sweat, a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, eventually chose to play for Florida State over Virginia Tech, Oregon and Ohio State. The knee injury always seemed to hamper Sweat, but he still put up 138 tackles and 17.5 sacks in three seasons at FSU.
QB Jalen Hurts
4 stars, No. 231 overall, No. 9 dual-threat QB (2016)
Alabama, transfer to Oklahoma
Round 2, Pick 53 (2020)
Jalen Hurts was a four-star recruit from the Houston area who bypassed several local schools to play for Nick Saban at Alabama. His other finalists were Florida, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. He started as a freshman, lost his job as a sophomore, was the backup as a junior and had a fantastic senior season after transferring to Oklahoma.
4 stars, No. 39 overall, No. 1 all-purpose back (2016)
Round 2, Pick 53 (2019)
Miles Sanders was one of the top running backs in the country in 2016. A Pittsburgh native, Sanders initially chose PSU in the summer of 2014. There were other schools who kept in pursuit of Sanders, namely Michigan State and Pitt, but Sanders stuck with the Nittany Lions. He was the backup to Saquon Barkley for two seasons before becoming a starter as a junior.
WR AJ Brown
4 stars, No. 53 overall, No. 9 WR (2016)
Round 2, Pick 51 (2019 - Tennessee Titans)
Despite having Mississippi State in his hometown of Starkville, Mississippi, A.J. Brown signed with rival Ole Miss to play both football and baseball. Brown actually signed a contract to play pro baseball, so he could not play baseball for the Rebels. His football eligibility was not impacted, however, and he quickly became a star by catching 189 passes for 2,984 yards and 19 TDs in three seasons.
4 stars, No. 42 overall, No. 6 WR (2017)
Round 1, Pick 10 (2021)
DeVonta Smith committed to Georgia early in his recruitment but opened things up after the firing of Mark Richt. Following visits to Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Miami, Smith chose Alabama. He caught the national title-winning touchdown as a freshman and won the Heisman Trophy and another national title as a senior before landing in Philadelphia as a first-round pick.
4 stars, No. 43 overall, No. 1 guard (2016)
Florida State, transfer to Alabama
Round 2, Pick 37 (2021)
Dickerson was a top 50 recruit in 2016. A native of North Carolina, Dickerson picked Florida State over Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Tennessee on signing day. Dickerson started as a true freshman, but dealt with an array of injuries during his time at FSU. He finished his career at Alabama, starting games at both guard and center.
4 stars, No. 52 overall, No. 3 guard (2012)
Round 3, Pick 79 (2016)
Seumalo’s dad was the defensive line coach at Oregon State from 2006 to 2014. Isaac had offers from schools like Oregon, Stanford and USC, but he decided to stay at home and play for the Beavers. At No. 52 overall in the class of 2012, Seumalo remains the highest-rated recruit to ever sign with Oregon State.
DT Fletcher Cox
4 stars, No. 94 overall, No. 5 WDE (2009)
Round 1, Pick 12 (2012)
Hailing from Yazoo City, Mississippi, Cox was a four-star, top 100 recruit who did not stray far from home by committing to Mississippi State. Cox chose the Bulldogs over a host of other SEC offers and ended up signing with MSU even after a late visit to Alabama. Cox started four games as a freshman before blossoming into an All-SEC performer as a junior.
DT Jordan Davis
4 stars, not in top 250, No. 20 DT (2018)
Round 1, Pick 13 (2022)
Davis was more of a basketball player growing up in North Carolina but the transition to football quickly yielded some big scholarship offers. North Carolina and NC State both offered him after his sophomore year and others like Florida State, Georgia, Miami and Michigan followed. Eventually, Davis earned a four-star rating and committed to Georgia where he won a national title as a senior.
DT Ndamukong Suh
4 stars, No. 51 overall, No. 6 DT (2005)
Round 1, Pick 2 (2010 - Detroit Lions)
Suh was the sixth-best defensive tackle in the country as a high school senior in Portland, Oregon. He took official visits to Cal, Miami, Mississippi State and Oregon State but ended up choosing to play at Nebraska. He developed into a star for the Huskers, combining for 36.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks over his final two college seasons.
LB Kyzir White
4 stars, No. 19 JUCO (2016)
Round 4, Pick 119 (2018 - Los Angeles Chargers)
Kyzir White followed the same path taken by his two older brothers, Kevin and Ka’Raun White. All three started off at Lackawanna College, a junior college in Scranton, Pennsylvania, before moving on to play at West Virginia. White was one of the top JUCO recruits in the country when he picked WVU over Penn State, USC and several others.
DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
4 stars, No. 32 overall, No. 3 CB (2016)
Round 4, Pick 105 (2019 - New Orleans Saints)
Gardner-Johnson was a huge recruit in the state of Florida back in 2016 and was actually the highest-ranked four-star prospect in his class. He first committed to Miami but then flipped to Florida. His commitment wavered a few times. He backed off his pledge to UF, recommitted and also took other visits before eventually signing with the Gators.
3 stars, not in Rivals 250, unranked WR (2018)
Round 5, Pick 150 (2021)
Gainwell was a high school quarterback who was listed as a receiver prospect by recruiting services. Gainwell had offers from schools like Ole Miss, Tulane and Arkansas State but ended up committing to Memphis. He had a huge sophomore season, rushing for 1,459 rushing yards with 13 touchdowns along with 51 catches for 610 yards and three scores.
DT Linval Joseph
3 stars, not in top 250, unranked OT (2007)
Round 2, Pick 46 (2010 - New York Giants)
Joseph, who grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was a two-way lineman at Santa Fe High School in Alachua, Florida. He committed to Florida as a high school junior but the Gators’ staff (led by Urban Meyer) wound up pulling Joseph’s offer about a month before signing day. With his options limited, Joseph ended up at East Carolina and became a three-year contributor.
LB T.J. Edwards
3 stars, not in top 250, unranked OLB (2014)
A three-star recruit from Illinois, Edwards was committed to Western Michigan until he received a late offer from Wisconsin. It was Edwards’ only Power Five offer and he quickly jumped on the opportunity. He became a four-year starter for the Badgers before catching on in Philly as an undrafted free agent.
3-star ATH, not in Rivals 250 (2014)
Round 4, Pick 125 (2018)
A three-star prospect out of Detroit, Pitt was the first Power Five program to offer Maddox a scholarship. He committed about a week later and stuck to his pledge to the Panthers even as other schools started to recruit him. Listed as an athlete by recruiting services, Maddox ended up being a four-year starter at cornerback at Pitt.
CB James Bradberry
2 stars, not in Rivals 250, unranked safety (2011)
Arkansas State, transferred to Samford
Round 2, Pick 62 (Carolina Panthers - 2016)
Bradberry was a two-star recruit out of Pleasant Grove, Alabama, back in 2011. He committed to Arkansas State over other offers from Memphis, Troy and UAB. He spent just one season with the Red Wolves before transferring to Samford, an FCS program not far from his hometown in Alabama.
CB Darius Slay
2009: 2-star WR, 2011: 3-star safety (JUCO)
Round 2, Pick 36 (Detroit Lions)
Slay initially committed to Mississippi State back in 2009 when he was a two-star receiver recruit. However, Slay ended up having to head to junior college instead of enrolling at MSU right out of high school. After two seasons at Itawamba Community College, Slay stuck with his MSU commitment and ended up as a two-year starter at cornerback for the Bulldogs.
DB Reed Blankenship
2 stars, unranked ATH (2017)
An Alabama native, Blankenship was a two-star recruit in 2017. He committed to Middle Tennessee before his senior season and signed with the Blue Raiders even after getting late scholarship offers from Power Five programs like Illinois, Minnesota and Wake Forest. Blankenship started parts of five seasons at MTSU and has found a role on the Eagles’ defense after going undrafted.
RB Boston Scott
Walk-on at Louisiana Tech
Round 6, Pick 201 (2018 - New Orleans Saints)
At just 5-foot-6, Boston Scott did not receive any Division I scholarship offers out of high school, so he walked on at Louisiana Tech. A recent Philadelphia Inquirer story detailed how close Scott was to dropping out of school due to the financial burden of trying to pay his own tuition, but Scott was put on scholarship as a redshirt sophomore. He ended up rushing for more than 1,800 yards for the Bulldogs and was picked in the sixth round by the Saints.
TE Dallas Goedert
Walk-on at South Dakota State
Round 2, Pick 49 (2018)
A product of Britton, South Dakota (population: 1,215), Goedert told the Grand Forks Herald in 2016 that he was “hours away” from committing to Northern State, a Division II program in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Instead, he walked on at South Dakota State, one of the top FCS programs in the country. By the time his SDSU career ended, Goedert accumulated 198 catches for 2,988 yards and 21 touchdowns.
LT Jordan Mailata
Did not play football
Round 7, Pick 233 (2018)
A native of Australia, the 6-foot-8, 365-pound Mailata grew up playing rugby and never played a down of football in a game until his first NFL preseason game with the Eagles. Clips of Mailata playing rugby were seen by the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program and the Aussie made his way to IMG Academy in Florida to train as a tackle. The Eagles saw him work out and picked him in the seventh round in 2018. Five years later, he’ll be starting in the Super Bowl.
C Jason Kelce
Round 6, Pick 191 (2011)
Kelce played running back and linebacker in high school. He received no scholarship offers but walked on at Cincinnati. He first played linebacker before switching to offensive line for the Bearcats and earning a scholarship. He was a starter at guard by his redshirt sophomore season and then took over at center in his senior year.
RT Lane Johnson
Unranked (2008, 2009 JUCO)
Round 1, Pick 4 (2013)
Johnson was a high school quarterback in Groveton, Texas, who received very little recruiting attention. He ended up at a junior college and played quarterback and tight end. Johnson caught the eye of the Oklahoma coaches and made his way to Norman. He played multiple positions at OU (including tight end and defensive end) before blossoming into a first-round talent at offensive tackle.
EDGE Haason Reddick
Unranked (walk-on, 2012)
Round 1, Pick 13 (2017 - Carolina Panthers)
Reddick was a high school running back and safety from Camden, New Jersey, who ended up walking on at Temple. When Matt Rhule arrived at Temple, Reddick began to work his way up the depth chart until he eventually became a standout pass-rusher for the Owls. By the time his senior year rolled around, Reddick put up 22.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
DT Javon Hargrave
South Carolina State
Round 3, Pick 89 (2016 - Pittsburgh Steelers)
Hargrave had a limited recruitment coming out of Salisbury, North Carolina. Some ACC schools showed him interest, but he did not qualify because of academics. Hargrave eventually got a chance from South Carolina State, but he had to sit out a semester before joining the team. Once he did, he made the most of that opportunity and put up huge numbers for the FCS program.
DB Marcus Epps
Walk-on at Wyoming
Round 6, Pick 191 (2019 - Minnesota Vikings)
Epps arrived at Wyoming as a walk-on in 2014, but quickly worked his way onto the field. By the time he was a redshirt freshman, Epps was starting at safety for the Cowboys and had earned a scholarship. He started for four years at Wyoming before becoming a 2019 NFL draft pick.