Forget the star system


Now that college football recruiting has
gotten so big (and so year-around), admit it, you’re like everyone
else, you’re into the player and class rankings – and really into the
the number of stars that are assigned to each recruit by the recruiting

If he’s a two-star recruit, you don’t want him. If
he’s a three-star guy, well, maybe. But you want your favorite school’s
class filled with four and five-star recruits (who wouldn’t?). Anything
less and your team might drop out of the top 10 in the rankings (what a
disaster, huh?).

But here’s some advice about judging prospects by the number of stars by their name: Don’t do it.

I could cite many examples. I choose just one.

Sam Robey.

was a three-star recruit out of Louisville a year ago. I saw him at a
Florida practice in the fall of 2007, and I’ll admit, I was not that
impressed. I knew he was the son of former Kentucky basketball star
RickRobey , so I figured he was a good enough athlete. But he didn’t
look very big, didn’t look very strong. In fact, he looked a little
soft, maybe too soft to play on the offensive line at Florida, in the

Obviously, I was way off.

The problem was I wasn’t
projecting the way college recruiters do when they are targeting and
scouting prospects. Certainly, they judge recruits on what they do in
high school (and how they rate on the eye test). But, in the case of
Urban Meyer and his staff, they go way beyond what a recruit is today.
They project what he’s going to be one, two, three years down the road.

In the case of Robey, the UF
coaches saw a big, athletic kid, a character kid, who would grow into a
strong, physical presence in a year or two. A kid with a great work
ethic and great bloodlines who would work his butt off and become a

Now, a little more than a year after signing with the Gators, Robey is having a great spring and closing in on possibly becoming the starting center as a redshirt freshman. If he can handle the job (and the coaches are pretty convinced he can), it will free up Maurkice Pouncey to return to guard, where he was a freshman All-America in 2007.

Yes, Robey was a three-star recruit coming out of high school. But he’s looking like a five-star prospect now.

So, forget about those star rankings. They really don’t mean much. Trust the coaches, instead.