We do not poll coaches, sportswriters, or fans. Nor does our staff make any judgments on the merits of any individual team. Prior season history, school size, and comments on message boards are not considered in the MaxPreps Computer Rankings.
The system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents) and strength of schedule.
For example, a team’s ranking is hurt more by losing to a team that is ranked below them verses a team ranked ahead.
Other factors that will affect the rankings are times when MaxPreps has incomplete or inaccurate information. We will correct errors when they are reported to us. If we are missing a score, report it to us on the team’s MaxPreps page. If we are missing a game on the schedule, send us a correction request.
Playoff wins are weighed higher compared to a regular season game.
Movement indicates the up or down movement within the rankings when compared to our previously published rankings.
This is our human poll. Our writers’ determine who will be in this poll. They use many factors to determine the Top 25. Some examples include, strength of schedule, talent, quality wins, returning starters, and connecting with local media from around the country.
Before starring at Louisville, Lamar Jackson played high school football in Florida.John Raoux/Associated Press
Elite college football players come from all over the country, but the largest concentration of them originated from high schools in Texas and Florida over the past seven years.
To rank the states by elite talent produced, a list was compiled of every 5-star recruit and every AP first-team All-American from 2010-16. Based on the state in which Scout.com reported they played high school, each player was then assigned to his home state.
Any player who was only a 5-star recruit or only an All-American was worth one point. Players who were both* or who were two-time first-team All-Americans counted for three points. Heisman winners were worth five points, while 5-star Heisman winners were worth seven.
The higher the score, the better the state ranked.
*If an All-American was a 5-star recruit prior to 2010, he only counts for one point, as we’re only interested in recruiting pull since 2010.
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Eddie Goldman is the highest-rated player to come out of Washington D.C. in the 2010s.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press
The following states (and district) only produced one player who was either a 5-star recruit or a first-team All-American from 2010-16.
38. District of Columbia
After growing up in the nation’s capital, Eddie Goldman spent three seasons as a defensive tackle at Florida State. He led the Seminoles in sacks in 2014 before becoming a second-round draft pick.
James Quick was a 5-star recruit who decided to stay close to home. The Kentucky native spent four years in Louisville, finishing his career with more than 2,000 receiving yards.
Seantrel Henderson was rated by Scout as the No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2010. Four years later, he was almost Mr. Irrelevant, drafted late in the seventh round—further proof that high school rankings aren’t always a stepping stone to greatness.
The most accurate kicker in college football history came from Nebraska. Alex Henery made 99.5 percent of PATs and 89.5 percent of field goals attempted in his career with the Cornhuskers. He missed just one kick as a senior en route to being named an All-American.
Before Devon Still became the NFL’s most prominent face in the fight against cancer, and before he was named the 2011 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, he was just a kid from Delaware, destined to become one of the best football players the state has ever produced.
Iowa hasn’t had any 5-star recruits in a long time, but it did have one All-American who became the fifth overall draft pick in 2015. Brandon Scherff has also made quite the impact at the professional level. The offensive lineman was named to the Pro Bowl last year in just his second season.
States with a Few Players
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Before leading Ohio State to the College Football Playoff, Curtis Samuel played high school ball in New York.Jay LaPrete/Associated Press
There have been four 5-star recruits from Kansas since 2010—Braden Smith, Blake Bell, Jordan Phillips and Justin McCay—but the state has not had a single All-American during that time. As a result, it is the lowest ranked among states with at least two qualifying players.
Nevada has had a couple of 5-star recruits, but the only noteworthy player it has produced was Oklahoma safety Quinton Carter. The 2010 All-American spent a few years in the NFL with the Denver Broncos.
It’s a minor miracle that Arkansas is usually competitive in the SEC West, given the limited supply of high school talent it has to pull from. No. 46 Brey Cook and No. 49 Kiehl Frazier just barely qualified as 5-star recruits in 2011, and they make up 50 percent of the state’s players on this list. Tight end Hunter Henry was the only first-team AP All-American from Arkansas in the past seven years.
The Huskies have had next to nothing to boast about in recent years, but maybe that would be a different story if they could have convinced Bjorn Werner to play in his home state. The defensive lineman recorded 23.5 sacks in his three seasons with Florida State in the process of becoming an All-American. Offensive lineman John Moffitt was also an All-American from Connecticut.
28. New York
College football in New York has been almost as bad as in Connecticut, but the Empire State also partly has itself to blame. 5-star recruits Dominique Easley and Ishaq Williams each went out of state, as did All-Americans Curtis Samuel and Tyler Matakevich.
Limited 5-Star Talent
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Christian McCaffrey was originally from Colorado before becoming a college star in California.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
Stephen Paea and Star Lotulelei both spent their high school days in Utah before becoming AP All-Americans. Utah was also responsible for one 5-star recruit. However, Osa Masina had little impact on the football field in his one season at USC prior to being suspended from the team.
The pride and joy of Colorado high school football will forever be linked to a different state for his collegiate contributions. Christian McCaffrey went from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, to Stanford to become an all-purpose stud, All-American and the eighth overall draft pick in April.
What Wisconsin lacks in 5-star talent, it makes up for with top-notch offensive line development. Gabe Carimi, Kevin Zeitler and Ryan Ramczyk were unheralded recruits who became All-American linemen and first-round draft picks.
Dorial Green-Beckham was the No. 1 overall recruit in 2012 and had a couple of solid years with the Missouri Tigers. However, the bigger college star was a running back who opted to play in a different state. Montee Ball played high school ball in Missouri before becoming a two-time All-American for Wisconsin.
If nothing else, Oklahoma proved early in the decade that it can catch passes. Justin Blackmon was a two-time All-American wide receiver at Oklahoma State. In 2010, he and Oklahoma WR Ryan Broyles were both named first-team All-American, giving the Sooner State a monopoly on the position for one year.
Though Oregon and Oregon State have each had three first-team All-Americans in the past seven years, only one of those players (Jordan Poyer) was originally from the Beaver State. Still, high schools in Oregon have churned out four 5-star recruits and a pair of All-Americans, which was enough to just barely miss the top 20.
20. (tie) Mississippi
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Score: 7 (Five 5-Star Recruits; Two AP All-Americans)
Most Noteworthy Player: Senquez Golson (Ole Miss CB, 2011-14)
In Cody Prewitt and Senquez Golson, Ole Miss had a pair of home-grown All-American cornerbacks. The duo had a combined 28 interceptions from 2011-14, spearheading what was a fairly dominant secondary in their final two seasons. Golson was responsible for 10 of those picks as a senior.
Aside from those recruits from outside the Scout Top 250 faring better than advertised, high schools in Mississippi have churned out more 5-star misses than hits. Though Chris Jones had a solid three seasons before becoming a second-round draft pick, Quay Evans, Channing Ward and Tony Conner all failed to live up to lofty expectations heading into college.
One possible exception is defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, who was rated as the No. 10 overall recruit in 2016 prior to recording 40 tackles as a freshman at Mississippi State. However, it’s still too early to state with any certainty if he’ll live up to the hype.
20. (tie) Michigan
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Jourdan Lewis became an All-American at Michigan, less an hour away from his hometown of Detroit.Paul Sancya/Associated Press
Score: 7 (Five 5-Star Recruits; Two AP All-Americans)
Most Noteworthy Player: Jourdan Lewis (Michigan CB, 2013-16)
As was the case with Mississippi, both All-Americans who played high school football in Michigan were defensive backs. Unlike Mississippi’s teammates, though, Desmond King and Jourdan Lewis became conference rivals in college. The former went to Iowa while the latter stayed at Michigan, but they were both fantastic as juniors in 2015, combining for 124 tackles, 33 passes defended and 10 interceptions.
Of the five 5-star recruits, the defensive linemen panned out much better than the quarterbacks. Malik McDowell was a second-round pick this past April, and William Gholston and Lawrence Thomas are already playing in the NFL. But neither Devin Gardner nor Shane Morris ended up being among the best QBs in their respective classes. Heck, Morris never even threw a TD in his four seasons with the Wolverines.
Though he didn’t factor into this equation, keep an eye on Donovan Peoples-Jones for the next few years. The top recruit from Michigan in this year’s class could make an immediate impact at wide receiver for the Wolverines given the dearth of returning options they have.
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The Volunteer State is still upset about letting Jalen Ramsey get away.Charles Krupa/Associated Press
Score: 7 (One 5-Star Recruit; Three All-Americans; One two-time AP All-American)
Most Noteworthy Player: Jalen Ramsey (Florida State DB, 2013-15)
Tennessee has only produced five applicable players in the past seven years, but each one has been great.
Barrett Jones was a two-time first-team All-American at Alabama, where he was a linchpin on the offensive line for three BCS national champions. Were it not for a Lisfranc injury suffered near the end of his senior year, he almost certainly would’ve played more than 10 games in his NFL career. Jones’ Crimson Tide teammate, Dont’a Hightower, was an All-American in 2011 and an NFL pro bowler in 2016.
Tennessee also produced Green Bay Packers WR/KR Randall Cobb, as well as sack machine and 2017 first-round draft pick Derek Barnett.
The cream of that strong crop, though, is probably Jalen Ramsey. A defensive star for Florida State for three years, Ramsey was the No. 5 pick in last year’s draft. He put up solid numbers in his first season, despite suffering a meniscus tear in rookie training camp. It shouldn’t be long before he’s an All-Pro cornerback.
The future is bright, too. Offensive tackle Trey Smith and safety Jacoby Stevens were both 5-star recruits in this year’s class, and wide receiver Tee Higgins didn’t miss that designation by much.
17. (tie) Indiana
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Ryan Kerrigan tackled quite a few QBs during his time with Purdue.Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Score: 8 (Four 5-Star Recruits; One AP All-American; One 5-Star All-American)
Most Noteworthy Player: Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue DE, 2007-10)
If and when Jaylon Smith gets healthy, he will likely become the most noteworthy product of an Indiana high school in the past decade. The linebacker was the No. 3 overall recruit in 2013 and a first-team All-American for Notre Dame in 2015. Smith was also a second-round draft pick in 2016, despite tearing his ACL and LCL in his final college game.
Until we’re able to see how Smith fares in the NFL, though, Ryan Kerrigan sits on the throne for Indiana. The two-time Pro Bowler for the Washington Redskins was an All-American in 2010 and a first-round draft pick a few months later. He probably won’t ever make a noticeable dent on the all-time sacks leaderboard, but he’s one of just seven players to amass at least 55 sacks over the past six years.
The Hoosier State had a few other 5-star recruits, but none of them quite panned out, save for Gunner Kiel throwing 31 TD in his first season at Cincinnati.
17. (tie) South Carolina
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Jadeveon Clowney has long been a terror for opposing offensive linemen.RAINIER EHRHARDT/Associated Press
Score: 8 (Four 5-Star Recruits; One AP All-American; One 5-Star All-American)
Most Noteworthy Player: Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina DE, 2009-11)
For most of states, there’s at least an argument to be made for a second option as most noteworthy player.
For South Carolina, though, it’s an open and shut case. Jadeveon Clowney was the No. 1 overall recruit in 2011 and the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2014. In between, he terrorized offensive linemen, quarterbacks and running backs, including the iconic hit in the 2013 Outback Bowl which still stands as one of the most memorable defensive moments of this generation. It only took him three years to become a Pro Bowler.
But in addition to Clowney being a beast, the real reason there’s no argument here is that no one else from South Carolina lived up to the hype.
Da’Quan Bowers had one great season at Clemson, but his NFL career never got off the ground. Marcus Lattimore had a chance to be a star, but after a great freshman season with the Gamecocks, injuries derailed his train to reaching his potential. And let’s just say it wasn’t too hard to rule out Shaq Roland for SC’s top player after three lackluster seasons. Nevertheless, each of those players contributed to South Carolina’s top-20 score.
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Maryland product Cyrus Kouandjio (71) helped pave the way for two Alabama championships.Butch Dill/Associated Press
Score: 9 (Five 5-Star Recruits; One AP All-American; One 5-Star All-American)
Most Noteworthy Player: Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama OT, 2011-13)
While Jadeveon Clowney was the No. 1 recruit in 2011, Cyrus Kouandjio was right behind him at No. 2. The 6’7″ giant started at left tackle for the Crimson Tide when they won the 2013 national championship. The following year, he was a first-team All-American and a second-round NFL draft pick.
The majority of Maryland’s other products have been speedsters. Stefon Diggs, Tavon Austin and Cyrus Jones each returned a number of kicks and punts, while Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby made it to the NFL as defensive backs. Aside from Kouandjio, the one exception was Kenny Bigelow—a 5-star 300-pound defensive tackle whose knees limited him to just 10 tackles over the past four years.
Maybe Chase Young will have better luck staying healthy on the defensive line. The No. 12 recruit in the 2017 class played in Hyattsville, MD, before signing with Ohio State. Given how loaded OSU’s defensive front seven already is, Young might not see much action this year. However, he’s got the size and speed to become a force of nature in the near future.
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Marcus Mariota wasn’t the only CFB stud to grow up in Hawaii.Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
Score: 10 (Two 5-Star Recruits; Three AP All-Americans; One Heisman Winner)
Most Noteworthy Player: Marcus Mariota (Oregon QB, 2012-14)
Six of the past seven Heisman winners originated from states in the top five on this list. Had we simply awarded one point for Heisman winners instead of five, it actually would have done nothing to change those rankings. However, that bonus was huge for Hawaii, as the extra four points from Marcus Mariota gets the island state up to No. 15 as opposed to a three-way tie for 21st.
Mariota threw for 105 TD against just 14 interceptions while leading Oregon to a 36-5 record in his three seasons. The No. 2 pick in the 2015 NFL draft has been special in the NFL, too, throwing nearly three times as many touchdowns as interceptions in just his second season in the league. He’s got some work to do to bypass Mosi Tatupu and Olin Kreutz on Hawaii’s list of all-time NFL greats, but it’s hard to argue with the start he’s had.
After Mariota, Hawaii’s next-best product in recent years was Manti Te’o—even though most people probably now remember him for his girlfriend hoax/catfish scandal rather than his All-American play as a Notre Dame linebacker. Washington linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha and UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn also received All-American honors.
14. North Carolina
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Melvin Ingram opted to go to college south of the border, but he grew up in North Carolina.Phil Sandlin/Associated Press/Associated Press
Score: 11 (Eight 5-Star Recruits; Three AP All-Americans)
Most Noteworthy Player: Melvin Ingram (South Carolina DE, 2007-11)
The one year where Jadeveon Clowney and Melvin Ingram overlapped at South Carolina was remarkable. With those edge-rushers combining for 27 tackles for loss, the Gamecocks ranked third in the nation in total yards allowed per game and won 11 games in a season for the first time in school history.
The native of North Carolina, Ingram had 10 sacks that year, as well as two interceptions, two fumble recoveries returned for touchdowns and a 68-yard rushing touchdown. It took a few years and a torn ACL for him to start putting up comparable numbers in the pros, but he has recorded 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons with the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers.
The Gamecocks aren’t the only South Carolina school crossing the border to find stars. Clemson took Stephone Anthony, Dwayne Allen and Dexter Lawrence from the Tar Heel State. Anthony was a first-round draft pick, Allen was an All-American and given the 6.5 sacks Lawrence had as a true freshman last year, he might be on his way to checking off both of those boxes.
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Ka’Deem Carey put up some ridiculous numbers in his home state of Arizona.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
Score: 11 (Six 5-Star Recruits; Two AP All-Americans; One two-time AP All-American)
Most Noteworthy Player: Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona RB, 2011-13)
There were quite a few great options from Arizona. Taylor Lewan was an All-American lineman for Michigan before becoming a Pro Bowler just three years after being taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Prince Amukamara was also a first-round pick. Brett Hundley and Christian Westerman made it to the pros, and Christian Kirk isn’t far behind them.
But based on success in college, Ka’Deem Carey reigns supreme.
One of the only ones who actually stayed in Arizona, Carey was a backfield monster for the Wildcats for two seasons. He averaged better than 170 yards from scrimmage in his sophomore and junior years, amassing 44 touchdowns and a pair of first-team All-American titles. Beginning with an absurd 366 rushing yards and five touchdowns in one game against Colorado, he finished his college career on a streak of 16 games with at least 119 rushing yards.
In addition to Kirk at Texas A&M and Kyle Allen at Houston, one Arizona product to keep an eye on in the near future is USC tackle Austin Jackson. The incoming freshman is the highest-rated offensive lineman the Trojans have signed since 2008, so it shouldn’t be long before he’s out there protecting the likes of Sam Darnold and Jack Sears.
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Washington native David DeCastro (52) was responsible for keeping Andrew Luck off the turf.Paul Sakuma/Associated Press
Score: 11 (Five 5-Star Recruits; Three AP All-Americans; One 5-Star All-American)
Most Noteworthy Player: David DeCastro (Stanford OG, 2008-11)
Andrew Luck isn’t from Washington, but one of his most important cohorts was. David DeCastro started all 39 games at right guard during his three seasons with Stanford. He anchored an offensive line that produced three consecutive top-20 rushing offenses and only surrendered 25 sacks in his entire time there. In addition to All-American honors and a spot in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, DeCastro has been named a first-team and second-team All-Pro in the past two years.
Washington has also produced All-American linemen Joshua Garnett and Cody O’Connell. The former was a first-round pick in 2015 and the latter may well be one next April. And the best Washington OL of all might be on the way, as Foster Sarrell was rated as the No. 2 overall recruit in this year’s class.
Washington’s QBs haven’t been nearly as good. Jacob Eason is out to a great start at Georgia, but 5-stars Jake Heaps and Max Browne both came nowhere close to living up to the hype. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is another story, though. One of just seven 5-star tight ends in the past seven years, he hauled in 21 TDs in three years before becoming a second-round draft pick.
11. New Jersey
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Jabrill Peppers is one of several highly touted players to leave New Jersey for a national powerhouse.Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press/Associated Press
Score: 11 (Five 5-Star Recruits; Two 5-Star All-Americans)
Most Noteworthy Player: Jabrill Peppers (Michigan LB, 2014-16)
New Jersey’s list of unique players is nowhere close to that of each state in the top 10. But with a pair of 5-star recruits who went on to become first-team All-Americans, the Garden State scored the best of the rest.
For now, Jabrill Peppers is the more noteworthy of the two. He was the No. 3 overall recruit in 2014 before going to Michigan and playing virtually every football position ever created. Save for maybe Alabama’s Jonathan Allen, there was no more oft-discussed defensive player in the country this past season. Despite questions about what position he’ll actually play in the pros, it was no surprise when he was selected in the first round of the draft this past April.
This time next year, though, Minkah Fitzpatrick might be the most noteworthy star from New Jersey. Alabama’s defensive back was named an All-American as a sophomore, thanks in large part to his three-interception game against Arkansas. With the possible exceptions of LSU’s Arden Key and Florida State’s Derwin James, there isn’t a bigger defensive star heading into the 2017 season.
But give it another two years and both of those guys might be replaced by Rashan Gary. The No. 1 overall recruit in 2016 is, by far, the most promising thing about a Michigan defense that lost 10 starters from last year. He didn’t make much of an impact as a true freshman, but that should change in a big way this season.
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Corey Davis is one of the many Illinois products who became AP All-Americans in different states.Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
Score: 14 (Seven 5-Star Recruits; Seven AP All-Americans)
Most Noteworthy Player: Corey Davis (Western Michigan WR, 2013-16)
Now we’re getting serious.
Illinois has had more All-Americans in the past three years than any lower-ranked state has had in the last seven. It’s just too bad its colleges have been unable to keep that high school talent within state borders. Indiana got Tevin Coleman and Dan Feeney, Laken Tomlinson went to Duke, Jack Allen played for Michigan State and Corey Davis became a star at Western Michigan.
Of the bunch, Davis is clearly the biggest stud. He set the FBS record for career receiving yards with 5,278 of them, hauling in 52 touchdowns along the way. After recording 1,500 yards and 19 TDs as a senior, he was chosen with the No. 5 overall pick in April. If all goes according to plan in Tennessee, he and Marcus Mariota will become the best QB-WR combo in the NFL since Tom Brady and Randy Moss.
Despite a respectable number of All-Americans, Illinois hasn’t had much luck with its 5-star recruits. Thus far, Laquon Treadwell was the only one of the seven to make it to the NFL. Kyle Prater was the No. 4 overall recruit in 2010, but he finished his college career with just two TDs. Ty Isaac never made much of an impact at USC or Michigan, nor did Tommy Schutt at Ohio State. Iowa fans are hoping they can break that curse with incoming freshman A.J. Epenesa.
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Aaron Donald grew up in Pittsburgh before registering 30 sacks for the Panthers.Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
Score: 16 (12 5-Star Recruits; Four AP All-Americans)
Most Noteworthy Player: Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh DE, 2010-13)
At the beginning of the decade, Pennsylvania was churning out 5-star recruits like a small factory. The Keystone State had 10 such players from 2010-13, but of the bunch, Ohio State’s Noah Spence was the only one to be selected in the first six rounds of an NFL draft. Tight end Adam Breneman will likely become the second next April.
Rather, the best players to come out of Pennsylvania were the ones receiving decidedly less attention in high school.
Both Aaron Donald and Malik Hooker ranked outside of Scout’s Top 225 in their respective classes before becoming All-Americans who were selected in the first half of the first round of the NFL draft. Andre Williams was barely regarded as a top-100 running back prior to averaging 167 rushing yards per game as a senior at Boston College. And Carl Nassib was a walk-on at Penn State who had 15.5 sacks as a junior.
Factoring in NFL success, though, Donald is easily Pennsylvania’s best product in recent years. In each of his three years, he has been named to the Pro Bowl. He was the defensive rookie of the year in 2014 and was a first-team All-Pro in each of the past two seasons.
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Alabama’s defensive star for the last two seasons, Jonathan Allen is originally from Virginia.Roger Steinman/Associated Press
Score: 17 (12 5-Star Recruits; Two AP All-Americans; One 5-Star All-American)
Most Noteworthy Player: Jonathan Allen (Alabama DE, 2013-16)
Much like Pennsylvania, Virginia’s success rate among 5-star recruits hasn’t been superb. Phillip Sims, Curtis Grant, Trey Metoyer and Derrick Green were all top-25 recruits from 2010-13, yet, not one of them was drafted.
But for the most part, Virginia has been a great source for defensive players.
Eli Harold and Quin Blanding were both 5-star recruits who stayed close to home to play with the Cavaliers. The former had 17.5 sacks before becoming a third-round draft pick; the latter has recorded 356 total tackles over the past three years—the second-most among all players during that time. Virginia also produced Da’Shawn Hand (Alabama) and Josh Sweat (Florida State), who should be pivotal defensive linemen for title contenders this year.
Clemson’s Shaq Lawson is a solid runner-up, but Virginia’s best product of the past seven years has to be Jonathan Allen. He won the Chuck Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy last season before arthritis concerns led to him slipping down to the No. 17 pick in the NFL draft. Considering what he was able to do over the past two seasons with shoulders that needed surgery, this 5-star All-American could be an all-time great before all is said and done.
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Ohioan Luke Kuechly averaged 14.0 tackles per game in his three seasons with Boston College.Rob Carr/Associated Press
Score: 19 (11 5-Star Recruits; Five AP All-Americans; One two-time AP All-American)
Most Noteworthy Player: Luke Kuechly (Boston College LB 2009-11)
If you’re looking for speed from your high school recruits, there are much better options than Ohio. The state has produced one 5-star running back (Bri’Onte Dunn), one 5-star wide receiver (Jalin Marshall) and one 5-star defensive back (Dymonte Thomas) in the past seven years, not one of which became an All-American nor a draft pick.
But if you’re looking for help in the trenches or at linebacker, this is the state for you.
Since 2010, Ohio has produced two of each of the following: 5-star offensive linemen, All-American offensive linemen, 5-star defensive linemen, All-American defensive linemen and 5-star outside linebackers. Ohio was also the original home of two-time All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly, who has also been named first- or second-team All Pro in each of the past four years.
On the other side of the ball, Ohio’s biggest star in recent years is probably Taylor Decker. The former Buckeye was a first-round draft pick last year who started all 16 games as a rookie left tackle with the Detroit Lions.
Though No. 7 on this list, the future isn’t particularly bright for Ohio. According to Scout, the state did not have a 5-star recruit in 2015, 2016 or 2017, and it doesn’t have anyone with a 5-star rating in 2018. It’s kind of amazing what Ohio State has been able to do over the past several years, given the lack of can’t-miss talent in its backyard.
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After three dominant collegiate seasons, big things are expected in the NFL from Louisiana’s Leonard Fournette.Samantha Baker/Associated Press
Score: 22 (10 5-Star Recruits; Three AP All-Americans; Three 5-Star All-Americans)
Most Noteworthy Player: Leonard Fournette (LSU RB, 2014-16)
Top-10 recruits from Louisiana are batting 1.000 over the past few years.
Landon Collins was the No. 8 recruit in 2012 before becoming a unanimous All-American defensive back for Alabama and a Pro Bowl safety for the New York Giants. Two years later, Louisiana was home to both the No. 1 and No. 2 overall recruits, Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson. Both players earned first-team All-American honors once before being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars—Fournette with the No. 4 overall pick; Robinson at No. 34.
Could a fourth 5-star All-American be coming Louisiana’s way soon?
If it’s not junior LSU DB Donte Jackson, perhaps it’ll be 2018 recruit Terrace Marshall Jr. Currently rated as the No. 12 player in next year’s class, Marshall could do what Trovon Reed, Jarvis Landry, Malachi Dupre and Speedy Noil all failed to do: Earn All-American honors after being rated as a 5-star wide receiver in high school.
Elsewhere, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention LSU’s dynamic duo of defensive backs at the beginning of the decade. Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu were both 3-star recruits from Louisiana prior to being named All-Americans in 2011 for anchoring a Tigers defense that allowed just 11.3 points per game.
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Alabama has kept most of its talent in state, but Jameis Winston was a big fish that got away.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Score: 32 (Eight 5-Star Recruits; Five AP All-Americans; Three 5-star All-Americans; One two-time AP All-American; One 5-star Heisman Winner)
Most Noteworthy Player: Jameis Winston (Florida State QB, 2013-14)
The list detailing each state’s score just keeps getting longer as we climb into the top five. Already, we’re dealing with states that have scores higher than Nos. 17-20 combined. But just wait until you see the top two, each of which has a higher annual score than the 11th-best state’s total seven-year score.
In Alabama, we find the first of the two 5-star Heisman winners. Jameis Winston was rated as the No. 41 overall recruit in 2012, but it didn’t take long for him to prove he was even better than advertised. As a redshirt freshman, Winston led Florida State to a 14-0 record by throwing for 40 TDs and more than 4,000 yards. His NFL debut wasn’t too shabby, either, as he was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Winston and Alabama LB C.J. Mosley were both All-Americans in 2013, marking the second straight season Mosley received the honor. The future first-round draft pick was the leading tackler for the Crimson Tide en route to the 2012 national championship. There are a few more Crimson Tide defenders who scored big on this list. Dee Milliner, Reggie Ragland and Reuben Foster were all 5-star recruits who went on to become first-team All-Americans.
Other recognizable names from Alabama high schools include: Nick Fairley, Mark Barron, Zach Cunningham, Rashaan Evans, Ben Davis and O.J. Howard.
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Cam Newton played college football in Florida, Texas and Alabama, but never in his home state of Georgia.Dave Martin/Associated Press
Score: 39 (19 5-Star Recruits; Nine AP All-Americans; One 5-star All-Americans; One two-time AP All-American; One Heisman Winner)
Most Noteworthy Player: Cam Newton (Auburn QB, 2010)
For several of Georgia’s 20 5-star recruits from the past seven years, it’s still way too early to declare that they won’t eventually become first-team All-Americans. Still, it’s hard to believe that only one has done so thus far. That title belongs to Ohio State’s Vonn Bell, who had 156 tackles, eight interceptions and 15 passes defended in his final two seasons.
Georgia has also had just one two-time All-American—hometown hero Jarvis Jones. After originally committing to USC, he came back home to UGA for two years’ worth of obliterating opposing QBs. He had 28 sacks in 26 games, and another 16 tackles for loss en route to becoming a first-round draft pick.
And then there’s Cam Newton, who spent two years at Florida as Tim Tebow’s backup before eventually landing at Auburn and winning the 2010 Heisman behind a combined 50 passing and rushing touchdowns. Newton led the Tigers to a 14-0 record and a national championship, resulting in him being the No. 1 overall pick in the subsequent NFL draft.
In total, Georgia has produced 31 unique players who were either 5-star recruits or All-Americans, including Deshaun Watson, Robert Nkemdiche, Isaiah Crowell, Alec Ogletree, Vic Beasley and about two-dozen others.
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Robert Woods was a sensational wide receiver for the Trojans.Jonathan Moore/Getty Images
Score: 55 (34 5-Star Recruits; Nine AP All-Americans; Three 5-star All-Americans; One two-time AP All-American)
Most Noteworthy Player: Robert Woods (USC WR, 2010-12)
Despite a long list of qualified names, California has the weakest most noteworthy player among the top seven states.
No offense to Robert Woods. With more than 4,600 all-purpose yards in three years as a wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner, he more than backed up his 5-star rating by becoming an All-American. Likewise, Shaq Thompson and Adoree’ Jackson made seamless transitions from 5-star recruit to All-American to first-round draft pick.
But even a dozen top-10 recruits over the past seven years wasn’t enough to get California a Heisman winner.
UCLA QB Josh Rosen could catapult to the top of the list with a monster junior year—which, based on 2018 NFL mock drafts, everyone seems to be expecting him to do. A shoulder injury derailed his 2016 campaign, but after averaging more than 280 passing yards per game as a true freshman in 2015, Rosen has to be the nation’s top candidate for comeback player of the year.
California also has some sensational players on the way this fall. Najee Harris (No. 1), Jaelan Phillips (No. 5) and Stephen Carr (No. 8) give the state three more top-10 players. Perhaps they can help break the California’s All-American cold spell. Jackson was the only All-American from a California high school in either of the past two seasons.
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To make up for Florida State taking Jameis Winston from Alabama, the Crimson Tide snagged Derrick Henry from Florida.Brynn Anderson/Associated Press
Score: 83 (41 5-Star Recruits; Nine AP All-Americans; Six 5-star All-Americans; One two-time AP All-American; One Heisman Winner; One 5-star Heisman Winner)
Most Noteworthy Player: Derrick Henry (Alabama RB, 2013-15)
With two consecutive Heisman winners and 28 more points than California in third place, it’s hard to believe Florida was unable to lock down the top spot on this list.
Close but no cigar for the state that can claim Derrick Henry and Lamar Jackson as former residents.
The Alabama RB was a 5-star recruit in 2013 before winning the 2015 Heisman with 2,219 rushing yards and 28 TDs. Were it not for T.J. Yeldon obstructing his path to playing time for the first two seasons, Henry might have put up historical career numbers, considering he averaged 10.9 yards per carry as a true freshman.
But no conversation about ridiculous stats is complete without Jackson. The reigning Heisman winner was only a 3-star recruit in 2015, but he had 51 rushing and passing touchdowns as a sophomore. The college football nation is waiting with bated breath to find out if he can avoid the post-Heisman slump to have another highlight-reel season for a title contender.
In addition to those two names etched in history, Florida has produced a ton of multi-year stars. Roberto Aguayo was a two-time All-American kicker for the Seminoles. Dalvin Cook, Vernon Hargreaves III, Lamarcus Joyner, Matt Elam, Joey Bosa and Sammy Watkins were all 5-star recruits who became All-Americans—and there’s a reasonable chance that Calvin Ridley, Derwin James, Bo Scarbrough, Tarvarus McFadden and Martez Ivey all join that club this year.
All told, the Sunshine State has 59 unique 5-star recruits or All-Americans in the past seven years.
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Von Miller paid a lot of visits to opposing quarterbacks while at Texas A&M.Dave Einsel/Associated Press
Score: 91 (40 5-Star Recruits; 20 AP All-Americans; Six 5-star All-Americans; One two-time AP All-American; Two Heisman Winners)
Most Noteworthy Player: Von Miller (Texas A&M LB, 2007-10)
It should come as no surprise that the state which served as the setting for Friday Night Lights has been responsible for a ton of college football’s stars. Heisman winners Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel both played high school and college football in Texas. Two-time Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck also played high school ball in Texas.
However, rather than choosing from that list of great college QBs, we’re giving the “Most Noteworthy Player” title to a five-time Pro Bowl LB who has made a living out of terrorizing quarterbacks. Before becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, Von Miller recorded 33.0 sacks for Texas A&M. He did the vast majority of that damage in his final two seasons, averaging better than one sack per game from 2009-10.
With Myles Garrett, Jackson Jeffcoat, Malcom Brown, A’Shawn Robinson, Malik Jefferson and Ed Oliver also available as options, one could make an impenetrable defensive front seven just from guys who went to high school in Texas. And in addition to the aforementioned QBs, offensive weapons like D’Onta Foreman, LaMichael James, Mike Evans, Josh Doctson and Dede Westbrook would make the Lone Star State an unstoppable scoring machine, as well.
All told, Texas has produced 29 All-Americans in the past seven years. That’s almost as many as the 31 that Florida and California have combined for during that time. And it’s why head coach of the Longhorns remains one of the most sought-after positions in college football despite seven consecutive seasons with fewer than 10 wins.
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