How Would the Starting QB’s in the NFL Playoffs Have Ranked as Recruits?

ByLogan Furey

Published on Mon Feb 01 2021

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7 min read

How Would the Starting QB’s in the NFL Playoffs Have Ranked as Recruits?

The star ranking system has been around for close to 20 years and is the most commonly accepted method of ranking high school recruits. The stars are given on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best. Receiving 5 stars is a strong indicator of a player who will not only be successful in college, but also has a chance to play on Sundays.

According to SB Nation, from 2000-2014, 53% of five-star recruits went on to eventually be drafted. This compares to 20% for four-stars, 6% for 3-stars, and 3% for two-stars. As you can see, the more stars that you have, the better your chances of making it to the league and the percentages have been climbing.

With that being said, we decided to look at all of the starting quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Playoffs to see how they would have stacked up if they were all in the same high school class. Some of the veteran quarterbacks pre-dated the star ranking system, so we gave them our best guess star rankings. Those players will be denoted with an asterisk.

All ranking information was obtained courtesy of 247 Sports. We used 247 Sports composite ratings to rank the players with the same number of stars.

  1. Tom Brady, Pro-style QB – San Mateo, CA (Junipero Serra)
    Class of 1996
    Ranking: 4-star*
    Current Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Career Stats: 79,204 Passing Yards; 581 TD’s; 191 INT’s. 6 Super Bowls

The ageless wonder predated the star ranking system, but we are giving him a retroactive four-star ranking. He had several offers from blue-chip programs, but he eventually went to Michigan. He was drafted in the 6th round and has gone on to have one of, if not the greatest career ever for a quarterback.

2.  Mitch Trubisky, Dual-threat QB – Mentor, OH (Mentor)
Class of 2013
Ranking: 4-star
Current Team: Chicago Bears
Career Stats: 10,609 Passing yards; 64 TD’s; 37 INT’s.

Mitch Trubisky was a highly touted recruit out of Ohio, as he was rated the #6 Dual-threat QB in the country. He received offers from UNC, Alabama, and Michigan State, among others. He eventually committed to UNC and went on to be drafted #6 overall by the Chicago Bears.

3. Jared Goff, Pro-style QB – Greenbrae, CA (Marin Catholic)
Class of 2013
Ranking: 4-star
Current Team: Los Angeles Rams
Career Stats: 18,171 Passing Yards; 107 TD’s; 55 INT’s.

Jared Goff was another player with high expectations, as he was the #15 ranked pro-style QB in the country coming out of high school. However, he only received offers from Cal, Boise State, and Washington State. He committed to Cal and then went on to be the #1 overall pick by the Rams.

4. Patrick Mahomes, Dual-threat QB – Whitehouse, TX (Whitehouse)
Class of 2014
Ranking: 3-star
Current Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Career Stats: 14,152 Passing Yards; 114 TD’s; 24 INT’s. 1 Super Bowl.

Patrick Mahomes was a relatively unheralded prospect coming out of high school. The only offers he received were from Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Rice. He committed to Texas Tech to play for Kliff Kingsbury and was later drafted #10 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, winning the NFL MVP in his second season.

5. Lamar Jackson, Dual-threat QB – Boynton Beach, FL (Boynton Beach Community)
Class of 2015
Ranking: 3-star
Current Team: Baltimore Ravens
Career Stats: 7,085 Passing Yards; 68 TD’s; 18 INT’s.

Lamar Jackson was ranked the #12 dual-threat QB in the country in high school. He received four offers, from Louisville, Florida, Mississippi State, and Nebraska. He committed to Louisville en route to winning the Heisman Trophy and being drafted in the first round at pick #32 by the Baltimore Ravens, winning the NFL MVP in his second year.

6. Ryan Tannehill, Pro-style QB – Big Spring TX (Big Spring)
Class of 2007
Ranking: 3-star
Current Team: Tennessee Titans
Career Stats: 26,995 Passing Yards; 178 TD’s; 88 INT’s

Ryan Tannehill was rated the 80th best recruit in Texas alone. He only received one offer, from Texas A&M, who he later committed to. After a stellar college career, he was drafted 8th overall by the Miami Dolphins. He struggled initially but has experienced a career resurgence after being traded to the Tennessee Titans.

7. Baker Mayfield, Dual-threat QB – Austin, TX (Lake Travis)
Class of 2013
Ranking: 3-star
Current Team: Cleveland Browns
Career Stats: 11,115 Passing Yards; 75 TD’s; 43 INT’s.

Baker Mayfield is one of the more famous stories of a walk-on making it to the NFL. Coming out of high school, he received offers from FAU, New Mexico, and Rice. He elected instead to walk-on at Texas Tech, where he won the starting job before later losing it to a kid named Patrick Mahomes. He transferred to Oklahoma, won the Heisman, and was the #1 overall pick by the Cleveland Browns.

8. Russell Wilson, Dual-threat QB – Richmond, VA (Collegiate School)
Class of 2007
Ranking: 3-star
Current Team: Seattle Seahawks
Career Stats: 33,946 Passing Yards; 267 TD’s; 81 INT’s. 1 Super Bowl

Coming out of high school, Russell Wilson was a two-sport star. He received offers from NC State, Duke, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin. He committed to NC State, but transferred to Wisconsin to for the final season his collegiate career. He was then drafted in the 3rd round by the Seattle Seahawks and has gone on to be one of the best QB’s in the league.

9. Drew Brees, Pro-style QB – Austin, TX (Westlake)
Class of 1997
Ranking: 2-star*
Current Team: New Orleans Saints
Career Stats: 80,358 Passing Yards; 571 TD’s; 243 INT’s. 1 Super Bowl

The current all-time leader for passing yardage in the NFL, Drew Brees only had two offers coming out of high school. He also predated the star ranking season, but we estimated a two-star rating for him, seeing as how Purdue and Kentucky were the only schools to express interest. He committed to Purdue and went on to set numerous Big 10 records while there. He was drafted by the Chargers with the first pick of the second round. He later signed with the New Orleans Saints and eventually won a Super Bowl with them.

10. Philip Rivers, Pro-style QB – Athens, AL (Athens)
Class of 2000
Ranking: 2-star*
Current Team: Indianapolis Colts
Career Stats: 63,440 Passing Yards; 421 TD’s; 209 INT’s.

Philip Rivers is another veteran NFL QB who was relatively unheralded coming out of high school. The only school that ended up giving him an offer was NC State, but he took it and ran with it. After a stellar career, he was infamously drafted in the first round by the Giants before being traded to the Chargers for Eli Manning. He has had a long, successful career with the Chargers and, most recently, Colts.

Alex Smith, Dual-threat QB – La Mesa, CA (Helix)
Class of 2002
Ranking: 2-star
Current Team: Washington Football Team
Career Stats: 35,650 Passing Yards; 199 TD’s; 109 INT’s.

Alex Smith only received one offer coming out of high school, from Utah. He committed and went on to excel as a dual-threat QB under Urban Meyer. He would go on to be drafted #1 overall by the San Francisco 49ers. Despite early struggles, he has gone on to have a long and successful career, culminating with his incredible comeback story from a gruesome leg injury.

12. Ben Roethlisberger, Pro-style QB – Findlay, OH (Findlay)
Class of 2000
Ranking: 2-star*
Current Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Career Stats: 60,348 Passing Yards; 396 TD’s; 201 INT’s. 2 Super Bowls

Big Ben did not start at his high school until his senior year. As a result, he only received one collegiate offer, from Miam (Ohio). He committed there and was drafted 11th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He went on to win the OROY and has won two Super Bowls with the Steelers. He predated the star system, but we estimate that he would have been about a two-star.

13. Aaron Rodgers, Pro-style QB – Chico, CA (Pleasant Valley)
Class of 2002
Ranking: Unranked
Current Team: Green Bay Packers
Career Stats: 51,245 Passing Yards; 412 TD’s; 89 INT’s. 1 Super Bowl

Out of high school, the only offer that Rodgers had was from Illinois as a preferred walk-on. He contemplated quitting football, but instead went to JUCO at Butte College in CA. He became a three-star recruit and later committed to Cal. He had a stellar career at Cal before becoming one of the biggest draft-day falls ever. He eventually was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the 24th pick and has gone on to have an illustrious career, including two MVP’s and one more likely to come this season.

14. Josh Allen, Dual-threat QB – Reedley, CA (Firebaugh)
Class of 2015
Ranking: Unranked
Current Team: Buffalo Bills
Career Stats: 9,707 Passing Yards; 67 TD’s; 31 INT’s

Josh Allen was unranked coming out of high school and did not receive any scholarship offers. He elected to enroll in Junior College at Reedley College, where he earned a 3-star ranking and ranked as the #5 dual-threat JUCO QB in the country, and 199th JUCO recruit overall. He only received 1 offer, from Wyoming, but still went on to be the #7 overall pick.

So, as you can see from this list, stars are not the end-all-be-all. Players like Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen were unranked coming out of high school but were still able to go on and have extremely successful collegiate careers and get drafted in the first round. Meanwhile, Tom Brady may have been the highest rated in high school but ended up being the lowest drafted QB of the group.

At the end of the day, your star rating will not make or break your career. With players like Brees, Roethlisberger, and Rivers, they were likely rated lowly due to lack of exposure. Russell Wilson and Josh Allen were two players who were multi-sport stars and likely did not get as much football-specific exposure either.

At the end of the day, the key to getting to the next level is getting exposure and taking advantage of your opportunities. All of the players on this list did so at some point, and their careers have flourished as a result. Take advantage of the opportunities available to you and claim your profile at GMTM.com to showcase your game on a bigger stage and get your film in front of eyes on the next level.

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