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CFB Playoff Rankings: Elite prospects dominate top five rosters

The first College Football Playoff ranking is out. Alabama leads the way at No. 1, followed by Clemson, Michigan, Texas A&M and Washington. Take a look at the top five teams based on the number of five- and four-stars that are starting. We break it down below.

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Jalen Hurts
Jalen Hurts (Getty Images)

Total five- and four-stars that start: 19

Standouts: Nick Saban and his staff have put together a roster littered with five- and four-stars. Ten former five-stars start for the Crimson Tide. Cam Robinson and Jonah Williams anchor the offensive line with former four-stars Lester Cotton, Ross Pierschbacher and Bradley Bozeman. Defensively, former five-stars Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster are the foundation of an outstanding front-seven while Minkah Fitzpatrick and Marlon Humphrey, both former five-stars, keep opposing wide receivers in check.


Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson (Getty Images)

Total five- and four-stars that start: 13

Standouts: Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson, a former five-star, is the engine that powers Clemson’s explosive offense. The Tigers have recruited defensive linemen better than any other position, led by former five-stars Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence. Carlos Watkins and Clelin Ferrell, both former four-stars, make the defensive line perhaps the most dominant in college football. The wide receiving corps features former five-star Ray-Ray McCloud and former four-stars Mike Williams and Artavis Scott.


Total five- and four-stars that start: 14

Standouts: Michigan do-it-all Heisman candidate Jabrill Peppers is the most high profile former five-star on Michigan’s roster. Peppers is joined by offensive lineman Kyle Kalis as the only two former five-stars that start for Jim Harbaugh. Kalis plays along side former four-stars Ben Bredeson, Mason Cole and Erik Magnuson. Of the 12 starters that are former four-stars, the majority of which are linebackers (Taco Charlton, Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray) and defensive backs (Jourdan Lewis, Dymonte Thomas and Delano Hill).


Total five- and four-stars that start: 17

Standouts: The Aggies are the only team in the top five of the College Football Playoff rankings that can match up with Alabama at nearly every position in terms of recruiting ranking. Former five-stars Christian Kirk and Speedy Noil give defensive backs fits and defensive end Myles Garrett, also a former five-star, is considered one of the best NFL prospects in the nation. Texas A&M’s recruiting prowess really shows in the trenches. There are three former four-stars that start on the offensive line and three former four-stars that start on the defensive line in addition to Garrett. Three-quarters of Texas A&M’s secondary is comprised of former four-stars as well.


Jake Browning
Jake Browning (USA Today Sports)

Total five- and four-stars that start: 4

Standouts: By all accounts, Washington has been a massive over-achiever this season and the recruiting rankings tell a similar story. Former four-star quarterback Jake Browning is the Husky with the most attention right now and the only other four-star that starts on offense is lineman Kaleb McGary. Chris Peterson’s defense features just two four-stars in the starting lineup. Elijah Qualls has helped the Huskies' tough pass rush while Budda Baker and the rest of the secondary make it tough for opposing quarterbacks to find open receivers.