football

Ranking the all-time five-stars: California

MORE:
Re-ranking the five-stars: Alabama
Winning a Heisman Trophy, a BCS national title and a Super Bowl are all accolades
that will forever be the second part of the sentence when Reggie Bush's
legacy is discussed because of his involvement in an improper benefits scandal that
rocked USC in the late 2000s.
Prior to becoming a two-time consensus All-American in college -- and a 2008
All-Pro selection in the NFL -- Bush was a five-star talent at La Mesa (Calif.)
Helix. Then a 6-foot, 180-pound speedster, he was ranked as the No. 2 player in
the country. He is one of 42 players from California to be ranked a five-star
prospect.
Following the summer evaluation period, the Rivals.com team of analysts is
meeting this week to discuss how to reshape the rankings for the class of 2014
Rivals100 presented by Under Armour. This presented a perfect opportunity to
look back at former five-star prospects and re-rank them among the other elite
prospects from their home states.
HOW FARRELL RE-RANKS THEM
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From 2002 -- when Rivals.com established the Rivals100 -- to 2013, there
have been 11 states that have produced 10 or more players who have earned five-star
rankings. Over the next five days, it will be time to turn back the clock and put
those players in order based on what they did in high school.
None of the players identified as midseason five-stars for the class of 2014
is considered for this ranking. Each ranking is subject to change
through the regular season and all-star game evaluations.
The state of California has the population base to consistently have multiple
prospects ranked among the nation's elite, but
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said this
group may be among the most confounding of any state.
"This list has some very good players but is loaded with guys who just didn't or
haven't lived up to their talent out of high school," Farrell said. "How does
Reggie Bush rank No. 1 here if there's no hindsight involved over two players
who were No. 1 in the country overall?"
Farrell put Bush ahead of former Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian
quarterback Jimmy Clausen and Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde
defensive end Ronald Powell. Both were top players in the
country for their classes.
"It's a tough choice, but Bush was essentially 1B behind Ernie Sims his year and
he has one of the top five highlight tapes you'll ever see, so we could easily
make the case for him as an overall No. 1," Farrell said. "Clausen had a very
good college career and was a different breed of quarterback coming out of high
school despite the haters, but after him there is a run of players who never
lived up to the billing."
Below that top group are two relative busts in Lorenzo Booker and
Whitney Lewis, with former UCLA quarterback Ben Olson just below at
No. 7.
Players such as George Farmer,
Shaq Thompson, Rey Maualuga and
De'Anthony Thomas
still have time to prove their worth.
"Thompson at No. 8 is still a work in progress and Maualuga had a very good
career and Thomas is dynamic," Farrell said. "But the middle of this group
busted out when you consider their rankings."
Many others have gone on to bigger and better things, but limiting the
re-rank to just their high school attributes leaves DeSean Jackson,
Marcedes Lewis,
Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, Trent Edwards,
Tyron Smith and
Vontaze Burfict on the outside of the top 10.
Another player who didn't earn a fifth star has also gone onto be a factor at
the next level -- and to haunt Farrell.
"We are kicking ourselves for this one," he said. "Marshawn Lynch has gone from
a trivia question -- who was the No. 2 running back in the country behind
Adrian Peterson coming out of high school? -- to an NFL beast."
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