National Signing Day is upon us. It’s become one of the biggest days for college football fans because it’s how teams shape their rosters for the next few years. If your team is lucky enough to land a couple of five star prospects you have a shot at contending for a national title. However, four and five star guys don’t always pan out. Walk-ons and two star prospects have developed into first round draft picks in recent years.
We thought it would be fun to revisit the Top 10 recruits from 2011 to see how they fared in college and if they made it into the NFL. This will be interesting.
10. Jeff Driskel Florida
Driskel was a highly touted QB prospect when he signed with the Gators on National Signing Day. At 6’4, 225 pounds Driskel was sought after by Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and just about every school in the SEC before committing to Florida. The prospect from Hagerty high school played in five games as a freshman and became the starter in his sophomore year. After breaking his leg in 2013 in the third game Driskel missed the rest of the season. Upon returning he couldn’t beat out Treon Harris and transferred to Louisiana Tech. In his only season there he passed for 4,033 yards and 27 touchdowns. It’ thought that Driskel will be a late round draft pick or sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.
9. Tony Steward Clemson
Steward was one of the most coveted linebackers of the 2011 class. Alabama, Florida State, Florida and may other top schools offered him but Steward opted to go to Clemson. As a freshman he tore his ACL and missed most of the season. He was hampered by injuries for most of his career but played in 11 games as a senior finishing fourth on the team in tackles with 68, 10 of which were for a loss. Steward was drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. In his rookie season he played in three games before being placed on injured reserve in December.
8. La’El Collins LSU
Collins turned down Florida State, USC and Ole Miss to stay in his hometown to play at LSU. He was considered the second best offensive lineman in 2011 behind Cyrus Kouandjio who is later on the list. As a freshman Collins played sparingly as a backup before becoming a starter as a sophomore. In his junior year he moved to left tackle and became one of the most dominant lineman in the SEC. Many thought he would enter the NFL Draft but he decided to come back for his senior year. He probably should’ve come out then. Collins came back to Baton Rouge for one more year and earned All-SEC honors but went undrafted when he was interviewed by police after a pregnant girl he was associated with was killed. The former LSU star signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent and became the starting left tackle in October.
7. Malcolm Brown Texas
Brown was a highly touted running back out of Cibolo, TX that decided to stay in stat and play for the Longhorns. In his first year in Austin Brown led the team in rushing despite missing the last two games due to injury. As a sophomore he missed five games due to injury and didn’t put up big numbers. In his Junior season Brown led the team in rushing and all-purpose yards. However, when Charlie Strong came to Texas his numbers dipped in his senior year and he went to the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and was added to the 53 man roster late in the year.
6. Christian Westerman Auburn
Westerman picked Auburn over Alabama, Texas, Florida, Michigan, and Arizona State. He redshirted as a freshman but played in only three games as a sophomore after being injured. In 2013 Westerman transferred to Arizona State to be closer to home. In his junior year for the Sun Devils he found his groove and started to live up to the hype. As a senior Westerman was named All-Pac-12 Second Team and is currently projected to be a mid-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
5. Karlos Williams Florida State
Williams was a highly touted three sport star who picked Florida State over Auburn, Ohio State and USC. He played at safety in his first two years but switched to running back as a junior after the first game and finished with 730 rushing yards and 11 TDs. As a senior Williams was the #2 back behind Dalvin Cook but still rushed for 689 yards and 11 touchdowns. The former Seminole was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. In his first year in the NFL Williams rushed for 517 yards and 7 TDs.
4. Isaiah Crowell Georgia
Crowell picked Georgia over just about every other SEC school as a high school senior in Columbus, GA. During his freshman season he ran for 850 yards and five touchdowns leaving Bulldogs fans hopeful for the future. Unfortunately Crowell got popped with a firearm the summer before his sophomore season and he was kicked off the football team. Crowell then transferred to Alabama State where he had to good seasons before announcing he was leaving for the NFL Draft. He signed with Browns as an undrafted free agent and made the roster. Last season he rushed for 706 yards and 4 TDs.
3. Cyrus Kouandjio Alabama
Kouandjio initially announced he would sign with Auburn on National Signing Day. However, he had a change of heart and signed with Alabama. In his freshman season Kouandjio played in every game before getting hurt against Tennessee in October which resulted in him missing the rest of the year. As a sophomore and junior he was dominant as the starting left tackle for the Tide. Kouandjio left after his junior year and was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Bills. During his career in Buffalo injuries have kept him being a big contributor on the offensive line.
2. Anthony Johnson LSU
Johnson was a phenom in high school breaking Louisiana’s high school sack record. The 6’4 295 pound defensive end opted to stay in Louisiana and play for LSU and Les Miles. As a freshman and sophomore he was mostly a backup but played in every game. As a junior Johnson started every game and was named second team All-SEC. Johnson decided to forgo his senior year and declare for the draft. However, he probably should’ve stayed in school as he didn’t get drafted and wound up signing as an undrafted free agent with Miami. Johnson didn’t make the roster and signed to the Redskins practice squad in 2015.
1. Jadeveon Clowney South Carolina
Clowney was a South Carolina native who shocked the world by staying home to play for Steve Spurrier. In his freshman season Clowney played in every game and was voted second team All-SEC. As a sophomore he took over the SEC. Against Clemson the Gamecock defender sacked Tajh Boyd 4.5 sacks cementing him as one of best players in the country and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting. His junior year was still pretty good but he was double teamed most of the year and some nagging injuries cause him to not have the same numbers he had as a sophomore. After the Gamecocks bowl win over Wisconsin Clowney announced he was going pro and was picked first in the 2014 NFL Draft by Houston. In his first year with the Texans he played in only one game before being put on IR for the remainder of the year. Last season Clowney played in 14 games registering 4.5 sacks.
Marcus Mariota was a three star QB who signed with Oregon on National Signing Day 2011. He won the Heisman Trophy and made it to the first ever College Football Playoffs Championship Game. He was drafted by the Titans in the first round of the 2015 draft at pick #2. Kevin White who was drafted five picks later was a three star receiver from West Virginia.