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West Breakdown: Five-star boom and bust watch

There are plenty of five-star prospects from the West competing in college football today and many of them are having tremendous careers. Here is a look at six of those five-stars, four who are doing well so far and two who have struggled to get going.

MORE FIVE-STAR TRACKERS: Mid-Atlantic | Southeast | Midwest


Jacob Eason (USA Today Sports)

There might be no better time than now to spotlight Eason, who threw a game-winning touchdown pass on fourth down last week as Georgia defeated Missouri on the road, 28-27. The former five-star and top-ranked pro-style quarterback picked the Bulldogs and stuck with his commitment despite the program's coaching change. It seems like the plan is working out so far early in his career. Eason has secured the starting job at Georgia, which has had struggles along the offensive line so far, but still find itself 3-0 heading into a very challenging environment at Ole Miss this weekend. So far, Eason has thrown for 643 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions.

N'Keal Harry (USA Today Sports)

Harry was the top-ranked receiver and No. 18 overall prospect in the 2016 class and he’s already backing up his ranking in a big way. The former five-star is tied with Tim White for most receptions (15) and leads the Sun Devils in receiving yards and touchdowns, 181 and two, respectively. Harry is also averaging an impressive 12.07 yards per catch because his size and speed on the outside is nearly impossible to handle. About a month ago we wrote, “Harry has the size and ability to immediately contribute to an Arizona State offense that needs some playmakers on the outside.” He’s backed that up splendidly in the first month of the season.

Juju Smith-Schuster (USA Today Sports)

Smith-Schuster was ranked as a five-star safety at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, which speaks to his ability on both sides of the football. He was second at his position behind only Virginia’s Quin Blanding, but once Smith got to USC, he immediately worked out at receiver and was a tremendous hit. Last season, Smith-Schuster finished with 89 catches for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns. Second on the receiving list was Steven Mitchell with 52 fewer receptions, 1,119 fewer yards and six fewer scores, so Smith had a phenomenal season. Through three games this season, Smith-Schuster is third on the team with 11 catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns as he’s been targeted much less in the Trojans’ offense.

Jonah Williams (USA Today Sports)

Williams was all business in high school, rarely attended camps and hardly ever did interviews, but his dominance on Folsom’s offensive line was only a preview of what has already come to Alabama. The former five-star and second-best offensive tackle in the 2016 class behind Gregory Little is the starting right tackle for the Crimson Tide and is already doing a phenomenal job. He was the SEC Freshman of the Week in Alabama’s season-opening slaughter of USC and has also played well in wins over Western Kentucky and Ole Miss. The top-rated Crimson Tide average 46 points per game, more than 233 rushing yards per outing and have already scored eight rushing touchdowns.


Max Browne (USA Today Sports)

Browne landed the starting quarterback job at USC but lasted only three games and will be replaced by redshirt freshman Sam Darnold this week against Utah. The Trojans are averaging just 20.3 points per game and Browne completed 63 percent of his passes for 474 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The former five-star was ranked as the top pro-style quarterback in the 2013 class and seventh overall.

Mique Juarez (USA Today Sports)

It is far too early to consider Juarez a complete bust, but there are certainly questions about what’s going on with him, when or if he’ll return to the UCLA football team and what has kept him away from football so far this season. The top-ranked player in California last recruiting cycle and the No. 2 inside linebacker stopped showing up to fall camp just a few days in this preseason and is not back with the team. Citing pressure, but not detailing the issues, Juarez is reported to be planning to attend classes starting this week, but his return to the football field, while expected, is unknown. And to top it off, this week, Juarez and senior defensive end Takkarist McKinley traded barbs on Twitter after McKinley seemed to question Juarez’s dedication to UCLA football.