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Inside the Numbers: The richest Rivals250 rankings since 2010

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

The Rivals250 is the standard for high school prospect rankings and many players on this prestigious list consistently make their way to the NFL. This summer we've seen some major recruits of the past earn huge contracts or contract extensions while the 2018 draftees and undrafted free agents sign their contracts.

Readers love pointing out that Houston Texans star J.J. Watt was a two-star prospect and is now one of the highest paid players in the NFL. On the flip-side, there are very few people that make it a point to attach the "he was a five-star" moniker to a player that actually was a five-star and lives up to that potential (e.g. Stefon Diggs and his new $72 million contract). With that in mind, we put all the Rivals250s since 2010 under the microscope to see which one is the richest in terms of their NFL contracts.

NOTE: No players from the 2016-18 Rivals250 have been drafted yet. Data from was used to compile this article. How rich each player is equals the sum of a player's career earnings and earnings remaining on their current contract.


Sammy Watkins
Sammy Watkins (AP Images)

The four hotbed states in the recruiting world are Florida, California, Texas and Georgia and the data shows that Rivals250 prospects that played high school football in those states have become the richest. In fact, the combined career earnings and earnings remaining on the contracts of players from those four states is about $70 million more than the rest of the states combined.

Led by Clemson's Sammy Watkins (over $65 million), Miami's Brandon Linder (about $55 million) and Florida State's Timmy Jernigan (more than $50 million), players from Florida have a combined value of more than $777 million. Brandin Cooks' more than $95 million (Oregon State), Robert Woods' $39 million (USC) and Marquise Lee's $39 million (USC) top California's list, which has a combined value of more than $510 million. Former Texas A&M stars Jake Matthews (about $103 million), Myles Garrett (about $30 million) and Luke Joeckel (about $28 million) are the richest players from Texas, a state with the combined value of almost $340 million. Georgia has a combined value of more than $290 million and its top two earners are former Notre Dame star Stephon Tuitt (over $64 million) and former Georgia star Alec Ogletree (about $58 million).


Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney (AP Images)

If you thought quarterbacks would be the richest position in the Rivals250, you'd be wrong. Defensive linemen account for over $700 million thanks to players like Tuitt and Jernigan. Former five-star and South Carolina great Jadeveon Clowney (about $34 million), USC's Leonard Williams (about $32 million), Michigan State's former five-star William Gholston (about $31 million) and Texas A&M's former five-star Myles Garrett are each above the $30 million mark.

In part because of the aforementioned Brandin Cooks, LSU's former five-star Jarvis Landry (almost $80 million), Maryland's former five-star Stefon Diggs (over $75 million) and Clemson's former five-star Sammy Watkins, wide receiver is the second richest position in the Rivals250 with a total north of $650 million.

Defensive back and offensive linemen are in a virtual tie for third place, both at about $625 million. This point is a bit misleading though because former Georgia star Alec Ogletree, who was No. 40 in the 2010 Rivals250 and Cal's former five-star Keenan Allen, who was No. 5 in the 2010 Rivals250, were both listed as safeties in high school. Ogletree, now a linebacker for the New York Giants and Allen, a wide receiver for the Los Angeles Chargers, are the two richest players that were listed as defensive backs. Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, Ohio State's Andrew Norwell (more than $70 million) and Miami's Brandon Linder are the richest offensive linemen in this study.

The rest of the positions rank as follows: running back - over $420 million; athlete - just under $300 million; quarterback - just under $195 million; linebacker - over $175 million; tight end - over $65 million.


DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins (AP Images)

Every high school prospect in the country fights to be the No. 1 player in the Rivals250 but that doesn't always bode well for their NFL future. In fact, former No. 1 prospects since 2010 are the 19th richest NFL players. Former five-stars Jarvis Landry, USC's Nelson Agholor (over $18 million), LSU's Tre'Davious White (about $10 million) and Florida State's Dalvin Cook (about $6 million) give the No. 18 spot in the Rivals250 the title of richest ranking in the Rivals250. Their combined earnings and earnings remaining on their contracts reach nearly $115 million.

Thanks in large part to former Clemson star DeAndre Hopkins (over $95 million), the aforementioned Jake Matthews and Brandin Cooks, Nos. 148, 48 and 240, respectively, are the next three richest rankings in the Rivals250. Matthews is the richest Rivals250 prospect since 2010 with combined earnings and remaining earnings totaling just over $103 million.

Rounding out the top five richest rankings in the Rivals250 is the No. 2 spot, which has featured players like Texas A&M's Myles Garrett, Florida's D.J. Humphries (about $18 million), UCLA's Josh Rosen (about $17 million), Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III (just under $15 million), Miami's Seantrel Henderson (about $5 million) and Ohio State's Curtis Grant (less than $1 million). Their combined earnings and earnings remaining on their contracts topped $85 million.


Stefon Diggs
Stefon Diggs (AP Images)

"Who is a five-star and who isn't a five-star" is generally the most controversial question when it comes to debating each Rivals250. Barring unforeseen circumstances, nearly all of them get their shot at the NFL and most of them make a pretty good living at the sport's highest level. Since 2010, less than 140 former five-stars have recorded earnings or are currently under contract in the NFL and, as it turns out, that group is richer than any Rivals250 since 2010 and it isn't all that close. All of the former five-stars since 2010 combined are more than $265 million richer than the richest Rivals250 over that same time period.

The richest five-stars since 2010 are Jarvis Landry and Stefon Diggs with totals over $70 million, Sammy Watkins and Stephon Tuitt are over $60 million, Keenan Allen and Florida State's former five-star quarterback Jameis Winston are over $40 million and the foursome of Robert Woods, Jadeveon Clowney, William Gholston and Myles Garrett are over $30 million.


Brandon Linder
Brandon Linder (AP Images)

All of the preceding points lead to this question but it should come as little surprise that the oldest class in this study, the 2010 Rivals250, is the richest. There are 12 members of the 2010 Rivals250 among the top 30 richest Rivals250 prospects in this study, led by Jake Matthews, DeAndre Hopkins, Andrew Norwell, Alec Ogletree and Brandon Linder. As a whole, the 2010 Rivals250 is more than $225 million richer than the 2011 Rivals250, which came in second.

One piece of data that was a bit surprising was that the members of the 2012 Rivals250, the third richest in this study, has already earned more than their 2011 counterparts, the second richest group in this study, by a little more than $13 million. The 2011 Rivals250, however, has a sizable advantage (about $108 million) in the amounts remaining on their contracts, giving them the edge when it comes to determining which is the richer Rivals250.

The 2013 and 2014 Rivals250s are in a virtual tie for third place with the 2013 Rivals250 leading by about $10 million. The 2015 Rivals250 unsurprisingly came in last place because all of its prospects eligible for this study just joined the NFL this year. It should be noted that, as of the writing of this article, the Chicago Bears have not signed draft pick Roquan Smith, the former star from Georgia. In addition, it should also be noted that the money 2015 Rivals250 prospect and Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray has earned from his Major League Baseball contract was not included in this study.