Stars matter. There. I’ve admitted it for the hundredth time.
I’ve worked for three major recruiting websites: Scout (R.I.P.), Rivals (previously), and 247Sports (currently). When it comes to recruiting, stars carry a lot of weight.
There’s a ton of recruiting websites that give out their version of stars, but don’t be fooled. The three major recruiting websites that give out rankings and stars to football players are ESPN, Rivals, and 247Sports. Those are the Big 3 and they have the most juice when it comes to stars and rankings.
The questions I hear almost every day as a college football recruiting analyst: "Hey coach, how do I earn stars on Rivals?" and "How do I get a higher ranking on 247?" They are excellent questions without simple answers.
I’ve never given the final star rating for an athlete. But, I have given plenty of recommendations through the years that affected the final ranking of a player.
Here are a few things I can tell you about “stars” without giving away too many “trade secrets”.
There aren't enough scouts to rank everybody.
I can guarantee you that there are hundreds of Division I-caliber athletes that were not given a star ranking. I can also guarantee you a lot of them carry a grudge and feel disrespected by the fact they didn’t get stars.
Here’s the secret, though. There aren’t enough people to rank every single athlete in a class, so even a few great players can get missed. Without enough scouts to with the knowledge to evaluate every player accurately, there is a chance that a handful of good prospects will not have the a rating that reflects their abilities.
Offers will help your cause.
The truth is players with some type of Division I offer are more likely to get ranked than players with no offers. Is it fair? No. But, it is what it is.
Once a big school puts you on their radar, scouts and recruiting analysts start watching. And with more eyes on you, the more likely it is that your ranking will rise.
Yes, there are some players that are ranked without any offers. But, offers from an FCS or FBS school can land you on recruiting sites very quickly - where you will be seen by more scouts with the ability to move the needle for you.
Nobody Pays For Stars
This is the most ridiculous myth that I come across with player ratings.
Let me make this clear: No parent. No player. No coaches. No boosters are paying for stars. In my experience with 247Sports, Rivals, and ESPN, I've never heard of it.
Regional and National Analysts Are Giving Out The Stars
The people that give out the stars and make decisions on rankings are usually the regional and national recruiting analysts. I can’t give out the exact details. But, I do know that it’s usually not just one person who makes the final call on stars or rankings.
So, what does that mean? It means that you would need to be seen by a regional or national recruiting analyst to have the best chance of receiving any stars or getting a bump in your star rating.
Go To Events Where CFB Recruiting Analysts Are
There are a lot of event and "Exposure Camps" that slap on Rivals, ESPN, and 247Sports logos on their events. While they may have writers and analysts from those sites at the event, it’s no guarantee that they are there to evaluate everyone. Do your research before you attend a camp. The major events such as Rivals Camps, Underclassmen Camps, Pylon 7v7, and others attract national and regional recruiting analysts. Those events help analysts evaluate dozens, if not hundreds, of players at one location.
There are a lot of writers that have the power to recommend you for a star rating. But again, there is no guarantee that you’ll be ranked because an analyst was impressed.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s no simple answer to the “how do you get stars” question. If you believe you deserve a star rating on Rivals or 24/7, then sitting home during the offseason is not going to help your cause.
You have to be seen by those - the national analysts and the scouts - that are able to help you become ranked. You have to be on the same field with the best players in your class (at an offseason camp or during your season). You have to be seen by a couple of big schools (offers matter). Being part of the conversation helps your chances immensely.
I said that stars matter - and right now, they definitely do. It’s certainly better to have some, rather than none. These rankings can make a huge difference and will help an athlete stand out in the recruiting world.
But remember, the star ranking is just a number and an opinion. It is never too late to create your own story if someone isn't there to write it for you.