football Edit

NCAA Championship Game: How the starters were rated as recruits

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

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence (AP Images)

Alabama or Clemson will take home the National Championship trophy on Monday. Both teams have recruited at an elite level and their rosters are loaded with highly rated prospects. Take a look at how the starting lineups for each team were rated as recruits.

Alabama National Championship Coverage from

Sunday morning notes from

FIVE-STARS: Alabama 9, Clemson 5

Damien Harris
Damien Harris (AP Images)

Alabama’s five-stars help build the identity of the Crimson Tide. Three of their offensive linemen (Jonah Williams, Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills) were five-stars, along with their best wide receiver (Jerry Jeudy) and best running back (Damien Harris). The Alabama defense also features five-stars at every level. Isaiah Buggs is on the defensive line, Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses at linebacker, and Patrick Surtain at cornerback.

Clemson is known for its defensive line, and its leader, Christian Wilkins, was ranked as a five-star. Linebacker Tre Lamar and cornerback A.J. Terrell were also five-stars as recruits. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the freshman leading Clemson’s offense, was a five-star and the No. 1 player in the country. One of his favorite targets and one of the most talented receivers in the country, Tee Higgins, was also a five-star that Clemson signed. Of note here: Suspended defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, who isn’t factored into the total above, may not be playing in the National Championship game but he was also a five-star prospect.

FOUR-STARS: Alabama 12, Clemson 8

Clelin Ferrell
Clelin Ferrell (AP Images)

The rest of Alabama’s core finished their recruitments as four-stars. Lester Cotton and Ross Pierschbacher, the remaining starters on the offensive line, were four-star prospects. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his other starting receivers (Devonta Smith and Henry Ruggs) didn’t get their fifth stars before the end of their recruitments. Seven of Alabama’s 11 starters on defense were four-star prospects. Quinnen Williams, Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings in the front seven were four-stars, and Nick Saban’s vaunted secondary starts four-stars at four of the five positions (Saivion Smith, Xavier McKinney, Deionte Thompson and Shyheim Carter).

Clemson’s dominant defensive line is led by five-star Christian Wilkins, but the rest of its starting defensive line for Monday night were four-stars (Clelin Ferrell, Albert Huggins, and Austin Bryant). Also on the defensive side of the ball is former four-star cornerback Trayvon Mullen. Four former four-star prospects start on offense for Clemson. Offensive linemen Mitch Hyatt and John Simpson were the highest-rated prospects that protect Trevor Lawrence. Tight end Milan Richard and receiver Amari Rodgers were also four-stars.

THREE-STARS: Alabama 1, Clemson 8

Irv Smith
Irv Smith (AP Images)

Alabama’s starting lineup features 21 players that were rated at least four-stars as recruits. The lone player that didn’t receive a rating that high was tight end Irv Smith.

The Tigers have developed eight three-star prospects into excellent players, and they have key roles on one of the best teams in the nation. Linebackers Isaiah Simmons and Kendall Joseph and defensive backs K’Von Wallace and Tanner Muse all used to be three-stars and are now making important plays for Brent Venables’ defense. Clemson owes a huge debt to running back Travis Etienne, a former three-star, for carrying the team at times this season. Three-star offensive linemen Justin Falcinelli, Gage Cervenka and Tremayne Anchrum helped pave the way for Etienne.


Hunter Renfrow
Hunter Renfrow (AP Images)

This has been written about plenty for the last three years, but people always love pointing it out. Hunter Renfrow was a two-star prospect out of high school that initially ended up at Clemson as a walk-on. He has since become one of the best receivers in the country and has made some huge plays for the Tigers throughout his career.