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Ask Farrell: Who is the most surprising five-star RB miss?

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Noel Devine
Noel Devine (AP Images)

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There have been 81 five-star running backs in Rivals history dating back to 2002. Some of the game’s biggest players at that position made the list and some of the biggest busts in recent memory are there as well.

Adrian Peterson is on the list as the No. 1 prospect in the 2004 class. He’s had a pretty good career. Reggie Bush was a five-star running back out of San Diego (Calif.) Helix and is arguably one of the best college football players of all-time.

Some other five-stars who have definitely backed up their rankings whether as fantastic college players and/or blossoming into phenomenal NFL players include Leonard Fournette, Alvin Kamara, C.J. Spiller, Dalvin Cook, Randy “Duke” Johnson, Joe Mixon, Brandon Jacobs and many others.

But there have also been some surprising busts – guys who looked like surefire future stars only to never gain traction for one reason or another.

Bryce Brown was the top-ranked prospect in the 2009 class but never turned into an NFL superstar after a rollercoaster ride in the sport. Michael Dyer was a big-time high school prospect but he ended up at four different colleges and went undrafted.

Trent Richardson had a stellar career at Alabama and was the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft but he never got going in the pros. Noel Devine was one of the fastest and most electric running backs in Rivals history, set all kinds of records in high school along with scoring 92 touchdowns. He put up solid numbers at West Virginia, but he went undrafted and never caught on in the NFL.

Derrick Green, Soso Jamabo, Johnathan Gray, Darrell Scott, Thomas Tyner and others on the list could be considered busts as well.

We ask National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell which five-star running back "bust" was the biggest surprise to him?


“By far, and many will agree with me, it’s Noel Devine out of Florida. He wasn’t the biggest back in the world but he was the most electrifying I’ve ever seen and was sneaky strong for his size. I truly thought he would end up as a Heisman winner at West Virginia and was the perfect replacement for Steve Slaton. He had a solid career at West Virginia but never turned into the star I thought he would at the college level and beyond.

"It’s a shame as well because he’s one of the most talented kids I’ve ever scouted in my career. The things he did in games were mind-bending. Check out his freshman highlight tape if you haven’t already, you’ll be amazed. I even bragged about him on ESPN as a kid to watch. I’m puzzled why he didn’t do more.”