The Elephant In the Room: Why so Many 5 Stars?

The World was Once Flat.

If you've been led to believe that there are a very limited number of 5 star players, in every recruiting cycle, you are not at fault, for it is all that you have ever been conditioned to know and believe.   

At Football Gameplan, the company motto has always been, "Where Football Makes Sense." Realistically speaking, you have to do a deep dive into the numbers, to realize how ludicrous they are.

There are 65 Power 5 schools.

Those Power 5 schools each get 25 scholarships.

That's 1625 possible Power 5 scholarships.

There are 125 Division 1 FCS schools, pushing the number of possible incoming freshmen to 3125.  

Recent studies show that 20% of college freshman (full-time), drop out after year one.  Another 11% finish their degrees at another institution (the recent transfer portal can only inflate this number).  

Therefore, by default, 31% of the people on any list, may either not finish school, or finish their careers on a different campus. 

After becoming familiar with the raw scholarship numbers, you then have to understand the realities of life, that have little to do with athletic ability.  

Many athletes won’t finish school or reach their athletic potential for various reasons:

  1. Academics- If you don't make the grades, you will never see the field.
  2.  Injuries- Can happen to any player, at anytime.  Literally.
  3. Competition- Athlete may have the Big Man on Campus Syndrome.  When a great athlete has no want to compete with athletes that are of equal or better athletic ability. 
  4. Depth Chart- In some cases a player might be a competitor, but you have no clue who is going to sign in the class after yours.  If a more talented player signs, you just might lose your job.  Think Hurts and Bryant.
  5. Home Sickness- Some people can't handle being away from the nest. Being an athlete doesn't remove you from the realities of being a human being.  Some people do well away from home, others do not. You don't need stats to prove or understand this reality.
  6. Off the Field Behavior Issues- This is a limitless pool of possibilities. From the most minor to the most criminal,  anything is possible in the realm of player conduct.
  7. Staff Relationships: A player might have personality issues/ conflicts with any coach on the staff.  One players personality, may not be the ideal fit for another's style of coaching.  Human beings can only be human.  These frayed relationships, justified or not,  can then lead to a player seeing less playing time on the field.  It sounds shady, but it happens.  This is why the Transfer Portal is such a crucial remedy for saving players from bad situations. 
  8. Staff Changes: Sometimes the guy that recruited you, isn't the guy that watches you graduate.  In many cases, the guy who recruited you and made promises to you and your family, may not be there when you show up for Freshman Orientation. Changes in coaches, often means a change in scheme, that of which a player may no longer fit into.

Those eight examples are just to list a few.  

Now imagine having to study hard in class, playing hard at practice and having the maturity to handle the inherited celebrity (local or national) that comes with being a college athlete.  It often goes unnoticed, but many times the best player is not on the field, for reasons that have little or nothing to do with their ability to play football. 

Also, be aware that one signing class will have players that enter into three different draft classes.  First year juniors leave in three years.  Four year seniors enter the draft the following year.  Any redshirts or transfers could possibly come out after 5 years of college.  Therefore, it is critical to understand that everyone on the 400 list will not be a part of the same draft class.

  • Note: Football Gameplan was more than proud to debut The 400 with 162 5-Star Players.  

We can only grade what we see.  Grades are not handed out to meet some unspoken 5-star quota.  If you are a 5-Star caliber player, you will be graded as such. Grades don't rise and fall due to camp performances. The only thing that matters in football, is what you do on an actual field, with pads on, in a live game.