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Three-Point Stance: Five-star QBs, two-stars cash in, Northwestern National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with a look at recent five-star quarterbacks, a list of former two-star prospects that cashed in as NFL free agents and a breakdown of Northwestern's very good week.

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Max Browne
Max Browne (AP Images)

I was recently interviewed about new Pitt quarterback Max Browne and one of the questions, whether we over-ranked Browne out of high school, got me thinking about recent five-star quarterbacks.

First, the answer is yes, clearly. We did over-rank Browne. If you don't recall, Browne was the top-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2013 class and the No. 7 prospect in the 2013 Rivals100. He signed with USC and waited his turn to start, finally earning his chance last season. He was promptly benched after three games as Sam Darnold emerged as a superstar for the Trojans. Browne has since transferred to Pitt and will try to shake off the bust label with the Panthers.

Outside of Browne, how have the rest of the five-star quarterbacks since 2013 fared? I decided to take a look.

Max Browne (2013, USC and Pitt) – Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but there were things I saw from Browne in camps and 7-on-7 settings that concerned me. His release wasn’t that quick, at times he looked like he struggled to see the field and he never seemed to have the proper clock in his head to get the ball out on time. But when I watched him on film, he was decisive, completing nearly 75 percent of his passes as a senior and having full command of the field. I deferred to the film despite the voice in the back of my head and, in this case, I was wrong.

Christian Hackenberg (2013, Penn State) – Hackenberg started off like gangbusters his freshman year at Penn State and regressed from there. He finished his career with a very average 56.1-percent completion rate to go along with 48 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. He clearly didn’t live up to five-star status despite the great start. Some of Hackenberg's performance could be attributed to the lack of a quality supporting cast due to NCAA sanctions and the change in offensive philosophy when Bill O’Brien left after Hackenberg's freshman year. Excuses aside, Hackenberg never made the full five-star grade.

Kyle Allen (2014, Texas A&M and Houston) – The jury is still out. He showed flashes of greatness at Texas A&M and showed signs of being a disaster as well. The transfer to Houston was to work with quarterback guru Tom Herman, but now Allen will have to rely on Major Applewhite to make him a star. He has the talent but can he be more consistent?

Deshaun Watson (2014, Clemson) – Not much needs to be said here, right?

Josh Rosen (2015, UCLA) – Rosen, the lone five-star quarterback in the 2015 class, is still the best quarterback I’ve ever scouted out of high school. However, after a great true freshman season where everyone had him penciled in as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, last season brought out the naysayers. His quarterback rating improved, his completion rating was about the same and his TD-to-INT ratio was nearly the same as well, but a year of battling injury has put him out of the mind of many. I still think he’s a sure first-rounder and future NFL star.

Shea Patterson (2016, Ole Miss) – Patterson's redshirt was burned late in the 2016 season following Chad Kelly's injury and he showed some flashes of brilliance. He’s going to be great.

Jacob Eason (2016, Georgia) – Eason had an up-and-down freshman year but he made a tremendous transition from high school to college. Maybe he will be the Washington state high school quarterback five-star that finally pans out.


A.J. Bouye
A.J. Bouye (AP Images)

Last week I talked about some former two-star prospects turning in standout performances at the NFL Combine. I'm going to follow that up today with a look at some former two-star prospects that just cashed in as free agents.

DB A.J. Bouye (from Arizona to Jacksonville) – Bouye, a two-star in 2009 with a lone UCF offer, cashed in with $26 million guaranteed in his deal. Not too shabby! He had a huge senior season after transferring to Tucker (Ga.), but never got a rankings boost.

OL TJ Lang (from Green Bay to Detroit) – Lang landed a three-year deal worth $28.5 million with $19 million guaranteed. We had honestly never heard of him until he signed with Eastern Michigan in 2005. Back in the day, our 4.9 Rivals Rating more often than not was awarded to prospects that we had never evaluated that signed with FBS programs.

DB Micah Hyde (from Green Bay to Buffalo) – Hyde was ranked as a two-star dual-threat quarterback in 2009. He signed with Iowa, his only Big Ten offer, after the Hawkeyes extended a late offer right before Signing Day. Hyde was huge for the Packers defensive backfield last year and is now guaranteed $14 million from Buffalo.

DB Jonathan Cyprien (from Jacksonville to Tennessee) – The two-star 2009 FIU signee was listed as a safety, projected to be a linebacker and played running back in high school. Now he has inked a four-year $25 million deal with $12 million guaranteed.

OL Ronald Leary (from Dallas to Denver) – Despite playing high school ball a stone's throw from LSU's campus, Memphis was Leary's lone committable FBS offer in 2007. Now? He's rich.


Devin O'Rourke
Devin O'Rourke (Jordan Wells/

How about some love for Northwestern? Not only did the Wildcats basketball team make the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever, but the football program added three key commitments this past week as well.

Rivals250 defensive end Devin O’Rourke is the headliner and has the frame and attitude to be a leader and star on the team. Pat Fitzgerald's program also added two tight ends, with Charlie Mangieri and Brian Kaiser coming on board as hybrid fullback tight/end "superbacks." The most intriguing of the two is Kaiser, who is 6-foot-7 and could cause some matchup problems.