I saw the following graphic:

5-star recruits in Super Bowl 56

Is there any data that correlates 5-star recruits to pro career trajectory? How accurate is the recruiting rating system among the recruiting services (eg, 247sports, ESPN, et al.)?

I'm curious to see if recruiting rating a strong indicator of pro career trajectory.

1 Answer 1


The main difficulty in answering this question is how you define "pro career trajectory." Whether you're asking if a 5-star rating is correlated with getting drafted, winning Super Bowls or winning awards at the end of the season will change the answer.

The instinctive answer to all of the above from longtime fans will be no, being rated 5-star doesn't mean you'll have a successful career. Comprehensive data is sparse to come by for this question, although a brief search did turn up one study here that suggested rating is correlated with draft position, but not career earnings or titles. 247 and ESPN rarely disagree by much on the quality of prospects, and usually maintain that out of the thousands of players that play ball in college there are only 25-40 players worthy of the prestigious 5-star rating each year. If you look at who's achieved that in the past, it's easy to find current NFL players just by scrolling (take a look at 2017's list).

Another study that's easier to read is this one, which focuses solely on those 5-stars as opposed to all recruits. Its data strongly argues that the highest recruits have the highest chance of making it to the pros (but that should've been obvious anyway). It also points out that since players usually receive a numerical score in addition to stars, you can evaluate the absolute cream of the crop differently than the other top recruits, and even still there appear to be differences in pro success.

One thing to remember is roughly 2% of all college players make a pro roster, and even fewer become starters. Your graphic above lists 12 players from the two teams, which combine for 110 roster spots (that's about 11%) plus an unknown more on practice squads. So in conclusion, I'd say yes the data does suggest 5-stars are more likely to succeed in their football careers, but being rated that high going into college absolutely does not guarantee anything beyond getting a lot of attention from the media.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.