Five-Star Geography: Breaking down five trends at CB
There have been plenty of five-star cornerbacks in Rivals history dating back to 2002. Today, we ask Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell five questions about the position after analyzing some surprising numbers and breaking down the states.
1. Alabama and Louisiana have had only three five-star cornerbacks each. How impressive has their recruiting and development been considering that?
Overview: LSU and Alabama are arguably the two best programs at recruiting and developing cornerbacks nationally and it’s one reason why so many elite players pick those two programs. But the Tigers and the Crimson Tide have actually had a surprisingly low number of elite five-star cornerbacks from their respective states. Only Demarcus Milliner, Marlon Humphrey and Dre Kirkpatrick earned that ranking status from Alabama. From Louisiana came Tre’Davious White, Janzen Jackson and Derek Stingley, Jr. Still, both LSU and Alabama have found ways to recruit nationally and then develop those players into elite talents on the way to the NFL.
Farrell’s take: Its very impressive, but it proves that if you develop players at a certain position, you can recruit them from all over. Elias Ricks, an LSU commitment from California, proves that this year. And both Alabama and LSU have recruited five-stars from Florida like Patrick Surtain and Patrick Peterson respectively. Florida, Florida State and Texas are other schools that battle for the DBU title (Ohio State as well) but LSU and Alabama have bigger recruiting advantages.
2. Is Derek Stingley going to go down as the best ever defensive back out of LSU?
Overview: Patrick Peterson. Tyrann Mathieu. Morris Claiborne. Greedy Williams. Tre’Davious White. And on and on and on. There have been so many incredible defensive backs that have come through Baton Rouge, but none were ever ranked No. 1 overall in a recruiting class and none have ever had the bona fides on the high school level that Derek Stingley, Jr., had in the 2019 class. The chatter out of LSU is that Stingley has been dominant so far in practice and that he should be an immediate contributor in the Tigers’ defense. There have been so many huge names coming out of DBU, but Stingley might be the most special of them all.
Farrell’s take: That’s heady stuff. It’s hard to think anyone can have a better college career as a DB than the Honey Badger, but Stingley has the talent and potential to do it. At the very least, he could be the highest draft pick of the group and that’s saying something since Peterson and Claiborne went so high. Stingley has great potential but the Honey Badger was a Heisman candidate and that’s hard to do as a defensive back.
3. Seven of the nine five-star corners from California have earned that ranking since 2015. Have we been too aggressive with those West prospects?
Overview: Other than Florida, which leads the nation by far with 16 five-star cornerbacks in Rivals history, California is in second place with nine and there has been a whole rash of players in the last few recruiting cycles who have landed five-star rankings. Since the 2015 recruiting class, Iman Marshall, Jack Jones, Darnay Holmes, Isaac Taylor-Stuart, Olaijah Griffin, Chris Steele and Elias Ricks all have been five-stars. Some made it big, some are still making a name for themselves in college and Ricks is entering his senior year of high school. Only Donovan Warren in the 2007 class and JUCO transfer Andre Jones in 2006 did not come from that time period.
Farrell’s take: I don’t think we’ve been too aggressive because all of the recent five-stars have been very talented and some still have a chance to be great. Marshall was a surprise to me because I thought he’d be a sure first-rounder. He’s still going to be a very good pro but he just wasn’t developed at USC. My only concern with many of them is development at the college level as Taylor-Stuart, Griffin and Steele are all at USC now and the Trojans haven’t been doing a great job developing five-star talent in recent years.
4. Can Elias Ricks end up being one of the best on the five-star list?
Overview: There were a bunch of reasons why top-ranked cornerback Elias Ricks committed to LSU, including his knowledge of that program's ability to develop elite players at his position and his desire to soon play with Stingley and other terrific cornerbacks. Ricks has a lot going for him, whether it’s his incredibly long 6-foot-3 frame, his athleticism and playmaking ability (he had six pick-sixes last season) and so much more. But he’s also just going into his senior year in high school - at a school that’s still to be determined after playing his earlier years at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. There are a lot of outstanding names on the five-star cornerback list in Rivals history and Ricks is looking to make a name for himself as well.
Farrell’s take: He has a chance because he’s so tall and rare as a corner prospect with such good instincts. We could be looking at a Jalen Ramsey kind of talent in Ricks he’s that special. And that speaks to how good Kelee Ringo could be because he could end up ranked higher than Ricks in the end.
5. There have been 16 five-stars from Florida, by far the most of any state. How high among that group could Corey Collier land?
Overview: There is a long way to go in the 2021 class rankings, but if Corey Collier continues to play and develop at this clip then he could go down as one of the top few cornerbacks ever from the state of Florida. And there have been a lot of five-star CBs from that state. Ranked sixth overall in the 2021 group, only two cornerbacks - Patrick Peterson and Vernon Hargreaves III - were ranked higher in their respective classes and that’s out of 16 total five-star corners. Collier has a lot of special tools and he could make a run even higher in the rankings if he delivers on the field.
Farrell’s take: I love Collier’s instincts and aggressive nature, but it’s way to early to say right now. He has tremendous upside and I am excited to see how he develops over the next two years. Peterson was the best corner I’ve seen as I was never as high on Hargreaves as others were and it’s a tall task to beat out the Cardinals star.