Recruit ratings in football can be wildly unpredictable.
Fans should keep that fact in mind today as five-star rated players are deemed "can’t miss" college performers by some services.
Often as not, the top-rated players turn out to be busts or merely average at the college level.
On the other hand, long shots routinely develop into college stars and pros in the making.
From regional colleges, here are five prime examples:
•Philip Rivers, N.C. State: As a high school player in Alabama in the late 1990s, only two schools recruited Rivers as a quarterback _ State and Ole Miss, then coached by David Cutcliffe. Other schools, including Auburn, offered Rivers a chance only to play tight end. With the Wolfpack, Rivers broke all passing records and now is an NFL star with the San Diego Chargers.
•Jeff Blake, ECU: As a high school quarterback in Sanford, Fla., during the late 1980s, Blake was 6-feet, 170 pounds and deemed too small to play the position at the college level. Only ECU promised him a legitimate chance to play quarterback. He responded by leading the ’91 team to an 11-1 record, finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy vote and went on to pass for almost 22,000 yards in the NFL.
•Ted Brown, NCSU: The all-time leading rusher in ACC history had two scholarship offers as a 5-foot-9, 170-pounder at High Point Andrews. He picked the Pack over ECU in 1974. After being relegated to the junior varsity team during his first month at State, Brown almost transferred to ECU. But he stayed, soon got his chance and rushed for 4,602 yards in regular-season games and went on to a seven-year career with the Minnesota Vikings.
•Darian Durant, UNC: Although the 5-11, 205-pound Durant wound up in the Canadian Football League rather than the NFL, his story was much the same as Blake’s. At Wilson High in Florence, S.C., Durant was a standout quarterback but recruited almost exclusively as a defensive back by colleges. He had a two-star rating in the 2000 class. At UNC, he got a break, made the most of it and passed for almost 9,000 yards in spite of some injury problems.
•Jerricho Cotchery, NCSU: In the same recruiting class with Rivers, Cotchery was so lightly recruiting at Birmingham (Ala.) Phillips that he was seen by most schools as a mid-major basketball prospect, if that. Wolfpack coach Joe Pate thought otherwise, signed Cotchery and convinced then new State coach Chuck Amato that the long shot wide receiver would pan out. Cotchery caught 21 touchdown passes at State and has been an NFL standout with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh.