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College Football Playoff: How Rivals rated the rosters

Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati will play in the College Football Playoff on Friday. All four teams had their own recruiting path to this point. Below is a breakdown of those rosters by how they were rated by Rivals' star rankings.

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FIVE-STARS  

Georgia's Nolan Smith
Georgia's Nolan Smith (AP Images)

Georgia (17): Darnell Washington, George Pickens, Kendall Milton, Zamir White, James Cook, Nolan Smith, Kelee Ringo, Derion Kendrick, Brock Vandagriff, Arik Gilbert, JT Daniels, Adam Anderson, Tate Ratledge, Broderick Jones, Amarius Mims, Jamaree Salyer, Clay Webb

Alabama (11): Ga’Quincy McKinstry, Trey Sanders, Bryce Young, Dallas Turner, Camar Wheaton, Tommy Brockermeyer, Evan Neal, Will Anderson, Demouy Kennedy, Chris Braswell, JC Latham

Michigan (2): Christopher Hinton, Daxton Hill

Cincinnati: None

Overview: Both Georgia and Alabama are absolutely loaded with five-star talent, but the Bulldogs have pulled ahead in recent years and have five-stars all over the field, especially in the backfield and along the offensive line. Some are producing and some are not. Some are still behind others waiting their turn to be next. But Nolan Smith is having a big year on defense and Zamir White and James Cook are performing well out of the backfield.

For Alabama, Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy. Will Anderson is also dominant along the defensive line with an incredible 32.5 tackles for loss including 15.5 sacks. Evan Neal will arguably be the first offensive lineman drafted.

The two five-stars on Michigan’s roster both came in the 2019 recruiting class, when Christopher Hinton committed in the summer before his junior season and stuck with the Wolverines, and Daxton Hill, who backed off his pledge to Michigan and picked Alabama before flipping back to the Wolverines on signing day.

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  FOUR-STARS  

Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson
Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson (AP Images)

Alabama (60): Jameson Williams, Demarco Hellams, Jalen Milroe, Daniel Wright, Terrence Ferguson, Javion Cohen, Darrian Dalcourt, Deontae Lawson, Damon Payne, Kendrick Blackshire, Quandarrius Robinson, Shane Lee, Ian Jackson, Chris Allen, Brian Robinson, Devonta Smith, Josh Jobe, King Mwikuta, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Javon Baker, Ja’Corey Brooks, Christian Harris, John Metchie, Jordan Battle, Jojo Earle, Henry To’oto’o, Traeshon Holden, Kristian Story, Terrion Arnold, Christian Leary, Malachi Moore, Brian Branch, Paul Tyson, Slade Bolden, LaBryan Ray, James Brockermeyer, Braylen Ingraham, Emil Ekiyor, Timothy Smith, Jahleel Billingsley, Keanu Koht, Drew Sanders, Jase McClellan, Major Tennison, Stephon Wynn, Monkell Goodwine, Tim Keenan, Jamil Burroughs, Justin Eboigbe, Jah-Marien Latham, Byron Young, Agiye Hall, Kendall Randolph, Amari Kight, Cameron Latu, Phidarian Mathis, Kaine Williams, Jahquez Robinson, Tommy Brown, Roydell Williams

Georgia (49): Rian Davis, Brock Bowers, Arian Smith, Warren McClendon, Lovasea Carroll, Sedrick Van Pran, Xavian Sorey, Adonai Mitchell, Carson Beck, Trezmen Marshall, Lewis Cine, Nakobe Dean, Nyland Green, Smael Mondon, Kamari Lassiter, Jalen Kimber, Kenny McIntosh, Jermaine Burton, Quay Walker, Dominick Blaylock, Mekhail Sherman, Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Micah Morris, Austin Blaske, Channing Tindall, Travon Walker, Dylan Fairchild, Tymon Mitchell, Julian Rochester, Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins, Jonathan Jefferson, Devonte Wyatt, Zion Logue, Warren Brinson, Jordan Davis, Warren Ericson, Marcus Rosemy, David Daniel, Robert Beal, John Fitzpatrick, Jalen Carter, Daijun Edwards, Chad Lindberg, Kearis Jackson, Nazir Stackhouse, Justin Robinson, Tykee Smith, Christopher Smith, William Poole

Michigan (39): Blake Corum, Brad Hawkins, Rayshaun Benny, Jaydon Hood, Andre Seldon, Greg Crippen, Karsen Barnhart, Kechaun Bennett, Trente Jones, George Rooks, Jordan Morant, AJ Henning, Gemon Green, Darion Green-Warren, Giovanni El-Hadi, Mazi Smith, Cornelius Johnson, Raheem Anderson, Zak Zinter, Chuck Filiaga, Junior Colson, Kalel Mullings, Trevor Keegan, Jeffrey Persi, Louis Hansen, Michael Morris, Erick All, Aidan Hutchinson, Tristan Bounds, Donovan Edwards, Donovan Jeter, Makari Paige, JJ McCarthy, Cristian Dixon, Jalen Perry, Braiden McGregor, Cade McNamara, Joshua Ross, Quinten Johnson

Cincinnati (9): Evan Prater, Leonard Taylor, Jowon Briggs, Chamon Metayer, Jadon Thompson, Jaheim Thomas, Malik Vann, Cameron Jones, Blue Smith

Overview: Alabama’s top running back, Brian Robinson, and top two receivers, John Metchie and Jameson Williams (an Ohio State transfer), were all four-star prospects, along with leading tackler Henry To’oto’o, a transfer from Tennessee. Elite four-stars, many of whom could have been five-stars based on their college performance and NFL Draft projection, are productive across the board for the Crimson Tide.

Looking back, four-star Brock Bowers is playing much better than the eighth-best tight end in the 2021 class, leading the Bulldogs with 47 catches for 791 yards and 11 touchdowns. Four former four-stars Channing Tindall, Nakobe Dean, Lewis Cine and Quay Walker lead Georgia in tackles, while Dean also has five sacks.

Aidan Hutchinson was ranked as the eighth-best strong-side defensive end and 129th in the 2018 class, both clearly way too low for what his production has been at Michigan, especially considering he could be the No. 1 overall draft pick. Linebackers Joshua Ross and Junior Colson are having big seasons and both were four-stars, as was running back Blake Corum, the big-play specialist in the Wolverines’ offense.

For Cincinnati, Malik Vann has 8.5 tackles for loss this season and a few of the Bearcats’ four-stars are transfers like Blue Smith from Ohio State and Jowon Briggs from Virginia. They could contribute more in the coming years.

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THREE-STARS

Cincinnati's Jerome Ford
Cincinnati's Jerome Ford (AP Images)

Cincinnati (54): Charles McClelland, Ahmad Gardner, Ja’von Hicks, Justin Harris Ethan Wright, Jordan Jones, Ja’Quan Sheppard, Coby Bryant, Tre Tucker, Isiah Cox, Michael Young Jr., Arquon Bush, Deshawn Pace, Bryon Threats, Sammy Anderson, Iesa Jarmon, Alec Pierce, Tyler Scott, De’Arre McDonald, Ryan Montgomery, Drew Donley, Daved Jones, Jerome Ford, Ty Van Fossen, Taj Ward, Cameron Junior, Brady Lichtenberg, Myjai Sanders, Marquez Bell, Myles Montgomery, Malik Rainey, Armorion Smith, Zeiqui Lawton, Caleb Schmitz, Landon Fickell, Justin Wodtly, Devin Hightower, Leroy Bowers, Joel Dublanko, Luke Collinsworth, Chris Scott, Josh Whyle, Noah Davis, Jacob Dingle, Payten Singletary, Sterling Miles, John Williams, Marcelo Mendiola, Gavin Gerhardt, Mao Glynn, Jake Renfro, Jah-Mal Williams, Jack Dingle Robert Jackson

Michigan (36): Andrel Anthony, Ja’Den McBurrows, Julius Welschof, Gabe Newburg, Taylor Upshaw, Ike Iwunnah, Jordan Whittley, Kris Jenkins, Joel Honigford, Luke Schoonmaker, Jack Stewart, Reece Atteberry, Ryan Hayes, Andrew Stueber, David Ojabo, Eamonn Dennis, Nikhai Hill-Green, TJ Guy, Jaylen Harrell, German Green, Joey Velazquez, Hassan Haskins, Tyler McLaurin, George Johnson, Michael Barrett, Tommy Doman, Tavierre Dunlap, Rod Moore, Vincent Gray, Alan Bowman, Dan Villari, Roman Wilson, Mike Sainristil, DJ Turner, RJ Moten, Anthony Solomon

Georgia (18): Ameer Speed, Brett Seither, Jared Zirkel, Jake Camarda, Tramel Walthour, Ryland Goede, Ladd McConkey, Jackson Meeks, Javon Bullard, Chaz Chambliss, Latavious Brini, Cameron Kinnie, Justin Shaffer, Xavier Truss, Owen Condon, Devin Willock, Marlin Dean Jared Wilson

Alabama (12): Khyree Jackson, Thaiu Jones-Bell, DJ Dale, Anquin Barnes, Jaeden Roberts, Caden Clark, Will Reichard, Damieon George, Seth McLaughlin, Chris Owens, Robbie Ouzts Tanner Bowles

Overview: Many of Cincinnati’s top playmakers were three-star recruits. Leading rusher Jerome Ford was a three-star Alabama transfer. Leading receivers Alec Pierce and Tre Tucker were three-stars, too, as was leading tackler Joel Dublanko, who has 106 stops so far this season.

Michigan is loaded among three-star prospects and, to be quite honest, many of them should have been at least four-stars after their performances on the field. Michigan and Purdue were the only Power Five offers for RB Hassan Haskins, but he’s leading the Wolverines with 1,294 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Speedy receiver Roman Wilson from Honolulu St. Louis is second on the team in receiving yards. Linebacker David Ojabo has 11 sacks (only three fewer than Hutchinson) and a team-high five forced fumbles. He was a high three-star out of Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy.

For Georgia, Ladd McConkey leads all wide receivers and is a top target in the Bulldogs’ offense. Defensive back Latavious Brini has 38 tackles and has totaled eight pass breakups, tied for the team lead. Damieon George is a major contributor along the offensive line for the Crimson Tide.

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THE REST  

Georgia's Stetson Bennett
Georgia's Stetson Bennett (AP Images)

The biggest miss in the recruiting rankings when it comes to the College Football Playoff is arguably that Georgia starting quarterback Stetson Bennett was a two-star. But Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder was a two-star as well, and he had no other offers. The Bearcats have 25 two-star prospects on their roster.

Michigan receiver Ronnie Bell was supposed to be one of the biggest targets for the Wolverines this season, but he injured his knee in the season opener. He was a two-star out of Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill who listed no other Power Five offers.

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