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.
- Tom Brady, Pro-style QB – San Mateo, CA (Junipero Serra)
Class of 1996
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.