David Fox, Mike Huguenin and Steve Megargee Rivals.com College Football Staff
National Signing Day was Wednesday, and fans' visions were filled by how their favorite team's coaches would be tinkering will all that incoming talent.
Fans of teams who signed five-star prospects probably were salivating the most, considering that the signature play of the most recent season came from a five-star prospect in the Class of 2010.
Oregon players thought they had tackled Auburn running back Michael Dyer in the final series of the BCS championship game, but Dyer's knee never hit the ground. Dyer got himself back up and ran for a 37-yard gain that set up Wes Byrum's winning 19-yard field goal.
But if you need more evidence about the uncertainty in ranking recruits, take a look at the five-star prospects from the Class of 2009.
Two of the top six recruits -- USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Alabama running back Trent Richardson -- already are star performers. The top 20 also featured Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, who have emerged as two of the nation's most productive linebackers.
But the No. 1 prospect in the 2009 class already has transferred and the No. 4 recruit won't begin his Division I career until this fall. That underscores how there are no sure things in recruiting.
Here is a look back at all the five-star prospects in the past five recruiting classes. (Click on their names to see them when they were recruits).
Buzz: Powell recorded 16 solo tackles, nine assists, three tackles for loss, one sack and two pass breakups, and spent about half the season playing linebacker. He made one start, and nine of his tackles came in a late-season game against Appalachian State. He is expected to play a key role on the 2011 defense.
Buzz: Henderson started at right tackle in each of Miami's last nine regular-season games and earned second-team Freshman All-America honors from Rivals.com. Miami improved its offensive production by about 70 yards per game after Henderson moved into the starting lineup. He graded out at 88.4 percent during the regular season.
Buzz: Prater enrolled in time for spring practice to get a head start on his college career, but he struggled with injuries for much of the preseason and ended up redshirting. He should get a chance to compete for a feature role in 2011 as the Trojans attempt to replace Ronald Johnson.
Buzz: Floyd made two starts this season - including the Outback Bowl victory over Penn State - and finished with 23 tackles. He recorded eight tackles for loss to tie for fourth on the team in that category. Floyd should move into the starting lineup next season.
Buzz: Listed as a defensive back during the recruiting process, Allen emerged as a standout receiver during his freshman season. He made nine starts and caught 46 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns. Allen caught a touchdown in three consecutive games during a midseason stretch against UCLA, USC and Arizona State.
Buzz: Woods earned Freshman All-America honors from Rivals.com after catching 65 passes for 792 yards and six touchdowns. He led the Trojans in total catches and receiving yards. He caught 12 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-35 loss to Stanford and had seven receptions for 116 yards and two scores the following week in a 48-14 rout of California.
Buzz: Easley played six games and made four tackles. Easley didn't accompany the team to a win at Vanderbilt for disciplinary reasons, and he was the subject of occasional transfer rumors. He is expected to compete for a starting job in spring drills.
Buzz: Odighizuwa made six starts and delivered 10 tackles - four for loss - to go along with three sacks. He had two sacks in a 35-7 loss to California and also produced a sack in the 28-14 loss to USC that closed the Bruins' season. He moved into the starting lineup midway through the season.
Buzz: Rogers finished his freshman season with 11 caches for 167 yards and two touchdowns. He caught a 45-yard touchdown pass in the Music City Bowl loss to North Carolina and had a 22-yard touchdown reception in a 50-14 triumph over Memphis. Five of his 16 catches came in the final two games of the season.
Buzz: Lattimore certainly lived up to the hype. The top running back prospect in the 2010 class rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns to make the biggest impact of any freshman this season. He rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over Florida that helped South Carolina clinch its first SEC East title. He reached the end zone three times against Troy and scored two touchdowns each against Southern Miss, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky.
Buzz: Dyer will live in Auburn lore forever for his unbelievable 37-yard run that set up the winning field goal in the Tigers' 22-19 BCS championship game victory over Oregon. Dyer ran for 143 yards against Oregon to cap a season in which he rushed for 1,093 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry.
Buzz: Jeffcoat recorded 15 tackles - six for loss - and 2.5 sacks to go along with seven quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery despite missing four games with an ankle injury. He should take on a larger role next season as Texas looks to replace star pass rusher Sam Acho.
Buzz: Crisp started at left tackle for North Carolina State's season-opening victory over Western Carolina and served as the second-team left tackle behind senior Jake Vermiglio the rest of the season. Vermiglio's departure gives Crisp a good chance of moving into the starting lineup in 2011.
Buzz: Anderson, who arrived at Miami intending to compete for the Hurricanes in football and track, left the football team in October because he was upset about his lack of playing time. In early January, Miami officials announced that Anderson had withdrawn from school in December.
Buzz: Hicks had 23 tackles and one sack in a reserve role this season. He had 11 tackles and a quarterback pressure in the Longhorns' 20-13 upset of Nebraska and recorded a sack in the 24-17 loss to Texas A&M that closed the season.
Buzz: After entering the national spotlight during spring practice with a spectacular run that created a frenzy on YouTube, Baxter struggled to make an impact during the season. He ran for 252 yards and one touchdown on 59 attempts. Baxter rushed for 75 yards in an early-season win over Washington State, but he had a total of five carries in USC's last four games.
Buzz: Martin, an Oakland native, announced in July that he was transferring from California because he was encountering too many distractions in the Bay Area. He landed at Florida and will be eligible to play this fall, likely as an outside linebacker.
Buzz: Ware closed his freshman season by rushing for 102 yards on only 10 carries in a Cotton Bowl victory over Texas A&M. Before the bowl game, Ware had only 24 carries for 175 yards. Stevan Ridley's decision to enter the NFL draft gives Ware a chance to emerge as LSU's main running back in 2011, though Michael Ford also will be competing for that role.
Buzz: Jones produced 18 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery in a reserve role this season. He likely will move into the starting lineup in 2011 as Florida State attempts to replace Kendall Smith and Mister Alexander at linebacker.
Buzz: Gholston had 13 tackles - one for loss - and half a sack to go along with five quarterback hurries as a backup defensive end before suffering a shoulder injury against Minnesota in the 10th game of the season. The injury knocked him out for the rest of the year. Gholston is expected to be ready for spring practice and should compete for a starting job.
Buzz: While his future teammates were driving toward a national championship, Coleman was undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Coleman was diagnosed with the disease last spring and enrolled in school in January with the 2011 early enrollees. He isn't expected to play in 2011, but he could be cleared in time to play the following season.
Buzz: Milliner made 11 starts at cornerback this season and ranked fourth on his team with 55 tackles. He also delivered four tackles for loss, one interception and seven pass breakups. Milliner made a season-high nine tackles in a 28-27 loss to Auburn.
Buzz: Ambles made just one catch all season before being suspended indefinitely in mid-October because he repeatedly was late for team functions. Recent reports had suggested that Ambles was transferring to a junior college, but Ambles said he has rejoined USC's team.
Buzz: Elam made 22 tackles - two for loss - and one sack while playing primarily in a nickel back role this season. He delivered his first career sack in a loss to Alabama. Elam will enter spring practice as the favorite to replace the departed Ahmad Black as Florida's starting strong safety.
Buzz: Seastrunk redshirted and spent the season on the scout team (he played the role of Michael Dyer in preparations for the BCS championship game). It will be interesting to see how Oregon works Seastrunk into the rotation next season, since the Ducks return LaMichael James (294 carries, 1,731 yards, 21 TDs) and Kenjon Barner (91-551-6).
Buzz: Brown rushed for 104 yards on just 11 carries against Western Kentucky in his college debut and finished his freshman year with 460 rushing yards on 101 attempts, but he transferred to Kansas State after the season. He sat out the 2010 season and will be eligible to play for his new team this fall. His move to Kansas Sate allows him to join older brother Arthur Brown, a former five-star linebacker prospect who began his college career at Miami.
Buzz: Randle moved into the starting lineup late in his freshman season, then caught 33 passes for 544 yards and three touchdowns in 2010. In LSU's victory over Alabama, Randle caught three passes for 125 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. He also caught six passes for 73 yards and a touchdown against eventual national champion Auburn. He should take over as LSU's go-to receiver next season as the Tigers look to replace Terrence Toliver.
Buzz: After redshirting in 2009, Fluker stepped into Alabama's starting lineup last season and was an instant success at right tackle. Although Fluker missed three games with a groin injury, he still earned freshman All-SEC honors from the league's coaches.
Buzz: Richardson failed to qualify academically out of high school and spent two seasons at the College of the Sequoias. He is back at Missouri now and will be eligible to play this season after being ranked as the No. 3 overall junior college prospect in the 2011 recruiting class.
Buzz: Barkley wasted no time establishing himself as USC's starting quarterback and has thrown for more than 2,700 yards each of the past two seasons. He went 236-of-377 for 2,791 yards with 26 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions in 2010. He threw five touchdown passes each in wins over Hawaii and California. If he reduces his interception total - he was picked off 14 times in 2009 and 12 times in 2010 - Barkley eventually should develop into an All-America candidate.
Buzz: Richardson has rushed for a total of 1,451 yards and 14 touchdowns the past two seasons while complementing 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram in the Tide's backfield. Richardson ran for 751 yards and eight touchdowns on 145 carries in 2009. He rushed for 700 yards and six touchdowns on 112 carries this past season. He filled in for an injured Ingram and ran for 144 yards in a 24-3 victory over Penn State. Now that Ingram has entered the NFL draft, Richardson should get more carries and could contend for All-SEC and even All-America honors next season.
Buzz: As a true freshman, Shepard rushed for 277 yards on 45 carries as a change-of-pace quarterback in LSU's "Wildcat" formation. He moved to wide receiver this past season and showed his versatility by catching 33 passes for 254 yards and carrying the ball 32 times for 226 yards. He rushed for two scores and caught a touchdown pass, though all three of his touchdowns came in LSU's first two games of the season.
Buzz: Kennard started the last four games of the 2009 season at strong-side linebacker and started the Trojans' first eight games at middle linebacker last season. He had 72 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception in 2010. He recently underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his left hip.
Buzz: Burfict started the last nine games of the 2009 season and ranked second on the team with 69 tackles to earn Rivals.com Freshman All-America honors. He recorded a team-high 90 tackles - 8.5 for loss - this past season and was a second-team All-Pac-10 selection. Burfict must do a better job of controlling his emotions, but he's one of the nation's most talented linebackers.
Buzz: Jenkins played just two games in 2009 before taking a redshirt, but he made 11 starts last season and ranked second on the team with 76 tackles. He recorded five tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception. He delivered a 47-yard interception return in a 33-29 loss to LSU.
Buzz: After serving as a backup in 2009, Kirkpatrick moved into the starting lineup this past season and produced 53 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass breakups. His three interceptions came in consecutive early-season games against Duke, Arkansas and Florida. He also had four tackles for loss, with all of them coming in the first seven games of the season.
Buzz: After making 10 starts and recording 63 tackles as a true freshman, Te'o developed into a legitimate star in his sophomore season. He posted 133 overall tackles - 40 more than any of his teammates - and 9.5 tackles for loss to lead a defense that improved as much as just about any in the nation over the course of the season. Te'o should contend for All-America honors as a junior.
Buzz: Armstrong filled a reserve role in 2009 before moving into the starting lineup this past season. He ranked third on the team with 79 tackles and tied for the team lead with three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He had nine tackles each against Ohio State and Florida State.
Buzz: Okafor recorded 22 overall tackles - two for loss - as a backup in 2009. He was a part-time starter at defensive tackle this past season and delivered 30 tackles, four tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hurries.
Buzz: McDaniel made two starts in 2009 and was the Seminoles' full-time starting nose guard this past season. McDaniel had 31 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and half a sack in 2010 despite dealing with an injured elbow for much of the season. He also picked off a pass in a 31-0 rout of Wake Forest.
Buzz: Paige-Moss compiled two sacks as a backup in 2009 and moved into the starting lineup at defensive end this past season. He had 49 tackles - 13.5 for loss - to go along with seven sacks. He tied for seventh in the ACC in sacks and ranked 11th in tackles for loss. Paige-Moss recorded 6 ? sacks over his final six games of the season, including two sacks against North Carolina State and 1.5 in the Music City Bowl victory over Tennessee.
Buzz: Jackson made nine starts at free safety as a true freshman and earned second-team All-SEC honors from the league's coaches as a sophomore. He tied for the team lead with five interceptions in 2010 and ranked third on the team with 69 tackles. Jackson picked off a pass in four of Tennessee's final five games this past season.
Buzz: Gilbert closed his freshman season by replacing an injured Colt McCoy and throwing two touchdown passes with four interceptions in the BCS championship game loss to Alabama. He went 260-of-441 for 2,744 yards with 10 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions this past season in his first year as the Longhorns' starting quarterback. He ranked 95th nationally in passing efficiency.
Buzz: Hall was suspended just before the start of the 2010 season. Although he was reinstated a month later, Hall didn't have much of an impact. He will continue competing for playing time and trying to work his way up the depth chart this season, though USC has plenty of experience at safety. USC returns T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling and Marshall Jones, who all made starts at safety last season.
Buzz: After redshirting in 2009, Loston played primarily in a backup role and made two starts in 2010. Loston finished the season with 22 tackles and made his lone interception against Louisiana-Monroe.
Buzz: Debose struggled with an ankle injury and eventually had surgery and redshirted in 2009. He returned last season and caught 10 passes for 96 yards as a backup receiver. He made his biggest impact on special teams, as he ranked 15th nationally with an average of 27.95 yards per kickoff return. He scored on kickoff returns against LSU and South Carolina.
Buzz: Michael was named the Big 12 offensive freshman of the year by the league's coaches in 2009 after rushing for a team-high 844 yards and 10 touchdowns on 166 carries. He rushed for 631 yards and four touchdowns on 126 carries in 2010 and missed the Aggies' final five games with a broken leg.
Buzz: This highly touted prospect never made an impact for the Gators. After redshirting in 2009, Brown was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery in February 2010 and was kicked off the team less than a week later. He landed at East Mississippi Community College, where he collected 69 overall tackles - nine for loss - and 3.5 sacks last fall.
Buzz: Winston served as a backup in 2009 before making six starts this past season. He finished the season with 23 tackles, one interception and two fumble recoveries. His lone interception came in a 58-21 victory over UTEP. He delivered a career-high nine tackles - including eight solos - in the 31-26 Cotton Bowl loss to Ohio State.
Buzz: Davenport has struggled to earn playing time in his first two season. He redshirted in 2009 and appeared in just two games in 2010. He has no solo tackles and one assist thus far. Davenport has a better shot at winning playing time this fall as the Tigers attempt to replace departed DTs Drake Nevis and Pep Levingston.
Buzz: After making four tackles and two pass breakups as a reserve defensive tackle in 2009, Campbell served as a backup in a variety of roles last season. He played nose tackle in the first part of the season before moving to the offensive line in November and working as a reserve guard. He also worked as a goal-line fullback in an early season win over Notre Dame.
Buzz: Reid picked off two passes and led the nation with an average of 18.4 yards per punt return as a true freshman in 2009. He ranked fourth on his team with 65 tackles and also recorded three interceptions and 14 pass breakups as a sophomore in 2010. He forced two fumbles and broke up four passes in the Seminoles' Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over South Carolina.
Buzz: Smith made one start as a true freshman and started nine games as a sophomore. He delivered 17 tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions in 2010. Smith also returned 10 punts for 143 yards. He missed three games last season after suffering a concussion.
Buzz: Walters took a medical redshirt in 2009 after aggravating a stress fracture in his left foot during a season-opening victory over Louisiana-Monroe. He returned to action this past season and made 11 starts at right guard to earn second-team Freshman All-America honors from Rivals.com.
Buzz: After playing special teams and serving as a backup strong safety in 2009, McDonald delivered a breakthrough performance this past season. He won a job as the Trojans' starting free safety and recorded a team-high 89 tackles while also picking off three passes to earn second-team All-Pac-10 honors.
Buzz: Brown redshirted in 2009 and was playing in a reserve role last fall before suffering a season-ending injury to his left knee in an Oct. 23 victory over Purdue. The injury also will likely sideline him for spring practice. Brown has a chance to compete for a larger role in 2011 as Ohio State attempts to replace 2010 starting CBs Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence, but the injury could force him to play catch up.
Buzz: Johnson started three games at weakside linebacker as a freshman and made six starts at middle linebacker as a sophomore. He made 33 tackles - 3.5 for loss - and picked off one pass last season. His interception came in a 31-6 victory over Florida.
Buzz: Bell redshirted in 2009 and worked as a backup weakside linebacker this past season. He finished the 2010 season with nine tackles. Bell missed three games to recover from a concussion. He should compete for a starting spot this fall as the Buckeyes attempt to replace departed LBs Ross Homan and Brian Rolle.
Buzz: Pryor's first three seasons have brought mixed results. He's shown enough to be twice named the Big Ten's preseason offensive player of the year. At the same time, he's never been named to the postseason all-conference team. Then again, Pryor is one of seven quarterbacks ever to lead his team to two BCS wins; in 2011, he'll have a chance to be the first starting quarterback to win three BCS games. As for the preseason and postseason honors - those could be a point of contention as Pryor is one of five Buckeyes who has been suspended for the first five games for accepting improper benefits. Pryor has passed for 6,177 yards, with 57 TDs and 26 picks, in his career; he also has rushed for 2,164 yards and 17 TDs.
Buzz: After an injury riddled sophomore season, Bowers was one of the top defensive players in the country as a junior. He won the Nagurski and Ted Hendricks awards and was a finalist for the Bednarik and the Lombardi. Clemson (6-7) struggled this season, but Bowers was worth watching on every down as he led the nation in sacks (15.5) and finished second in tackles for loss (26). He left school early for the NFL draft, where he's projected to be one of the first players taken. He finished his career with 150 tackles, 19.5 sacks and 26 quarterback hurries.
Buzz: Adams spent his first two seasons as a part-timer, then became the Buckeyes' starting left tackle as a junior this past season. He was named first-team All-Big Ten as the Buckeyes were second in the conference in total offense.
Buzz: Jones never was one of the most prolific receivers in the SEC, in part because of Alabama's run-first offense. Jones had his most productive season of his career as a junior. He caught 78 passes for 1,133 yards with seven touchdowns - all career-highs. He left school early for the NFL draft, where he'll be one of the top prospects in a deep group of receivers. He finished his career with 179 receptions for 2,653 yards and 15 TDs.
Buzz: Peterson flirted with Heisman candidacy through the first month of the 2010 season and finished as an All-American. He also won the Bednarik and Thorpe awards, then decided to turn pro a year early. Despite teams avoiding him - in the passing game and on special teams - Peterson finished with four interceptions and two punt return touchdowns. He's a prototypical shutdown corner who could be the first defensive back taken in the NFL draft. He finished his career with 135 tackles, seven picks and 22 pass breakups.
Buzz: Scott's decision to sign with Colorado with then-second-year coach Dan Hawkins was one of the major surprises in this class. But Scott rushed for just 438 yards in two seasons in Boulder and transferred to USF. He will be eligible to play for the Bulls this fall.
Buzz: Forston was a Rivals.com freshman All-American in 2008, but struggled as a sophomore. He played in just three games before his season ended following shoulder surgery. He was solid in his return from injury, starting 12 games this past season. His 12 tackles for a loss were second-most on the team, and he also had three sacks and an interception.
Buzz: Steinkuhler made the transition to defensive tackle, redshirting in his first season on campus and serving as a backup to Ndamukong Suh in his second. He was a starter this past season, earning honorable mention on the coaches' All-Big 12 team. He finished the season with 46 tackles and 3.5 sacks before he was suspended for the Holiday Bowl loss to Washington because of a DUI citation.
Buzz: Green's four-game suspension (he admitted to selling his Independence Bowl jersey to a man the NCAA considered an agent) to start the season probably cost him some national awards and the Bulldogs a win or two. When he was on the field, Green was one of the nation's best receivers. He caught 57 passes for 848 yards with nine touchdowns in eight games with a freshman quarterback this season. He left school early for the NFL draft, where he's projected to be a first-round pick. He finished his career with 166 receptions for 2,619 yards and 23 TDs.
Buzz: Hill started 15 games at free safety the past two seasons for the Gators before declaring early for the NFL draft. He had his ups and downs this season - he was suspended for the first two games - but he did make key plays in one of Florida's best wins this past season. He had two interceptions, including one off a tipped pass in overtime, in the win over Georgia. He finished his career with 144 tackles, four interceptions, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.
Buzz: After redshirting his first season on campus and spending his first active season as a backup, Kalil came into his own in 2010. He started all season at left tackle, and he will be on the spot in 2011 as one of just two returning starters on the offensive line.
Buzz: Brewster arguably has had the most accomplished career of any of the five-star prospects Ohio State signed in this class, picking up honors as a true freshman. He was a Rivals.com Freshman All-America performer in 2008. This past season, his third season as a starter, he was a Rimington finalist (given to the nation's top center) and a first-team All-Big Ten selection. He will open his senior season as one of nation's best centers and a leading contender for All-America honors.
Buzz: A series of injuries has rendered Washington's career a disappointment so far. He redshirted as a true freshman and has made seven tackles in 14 games, with two quarterback hurries and a half-sack, in the past two seasons.
Buzz: Throughout the recruiting process, Gabbert planned to go to Nebraska until the Huskers fired Bill Callahan. He instead enrolled at Missouri. He backed up Chase Daniel as a true freshman, then passed for 6,779 yards and 40 touchdown passes in two seasons as the starter before declaring for the NFL draft. He's expected to be the first quarterback taken in the draft and seems a lock to go in the top 10.
Buzz: Smith was Kalil's counterpart on the line, starting all but one game this season at right tackle. Smith was an All-Pac-10 selection and earned the league's Morris Trophy, awarded to an offensive lineman selected by the conference defensive lineman. He declared early for the draft.
Buzz: Bradham just finished his second season as a starter for the Seminoles, recording his second season with 90-plus tackles. He'll be one of the key seniors for FSU in 2011 after recording 219 tackles in three seasons.
Buzz: Urban Meyer gushed about Hunter, who appeared to be headed for instant stardom. That hasn't happened. He redshirted in 2008, then moved into a starting role in 2009, when he had 17 tackles. He started five games in 2010 and had 23 tackles and a blocked kick. He'll vie for a starting job in spring drills under new coach Will Muschamp.
Buzz: Patchan's career has been dominated by injuries and position switches. He played defensive tackle as a true freshman, finishing with 17 tackles. He then moved back to the offensive line, but missed 2009 with a torn ACL and 2010 with a wrist injury. If healthy, he should go into spring drills as a starting tackle.
Buzz: Calhoun missed much of this past season because of a torn ACL. He needs to make an impact during spring practice. Roy Finch, who rushed for 398 yards as a true freshman this past season, should head into 2011 as the top running back. Oklahoma has other top prospects at the position, including Jonathon Miller (also recovering from a knee injury), Brennan Clay and incoming five-star freshman Brandon Williams.
Buzz: When healthy, Rudolph was one of the nation's best tight ends, and he is taking his talents to the NFL. In his sophomore and junior seasons, he caught 61 passes for 692 yards with six touchdowns in 16 games. On the down side, he missed a total of nine games in the past two seasons because of injuries to his shoulder (2009) and hamstring (2010). He should be one of the first tight ends taken in the 2011 draft.
Buzz: Posey has been one of the Big Ten's most explosive receivers and reliable targets the past two seasons. He averaged 16 yards per catch in 2010 and caught 15 touchdown passes in the past two seasons. As with Pyror, Posey will miss the first five games of 2011 after violating NCAA rules by selling memorabilia.
Buzz: Brown elected to leave school early after three seasons, even though his best season was his freshman year. Brown has good reason for testing the NFL as soon as possible - his sophomore year ended with a gruesome broken left leg in the New Orleans Bowl against Middle Tennessee. He had further problems this past season with an arrest for disorderly conduct in the summer and another leg injury - this time to his right leg - during the season. After catching 114 passes for 1,902 yards with 21 touchdowns his first two seasons, he slipped to 20 catches, 305 yards and three touchdowns as a junior.
Buzz: After recording 17 tackles in two seasons at Miami, Brown returned to his home state to enroll at Kansas State. He sat out this past season because of NCAA transfer rules and will resume his playing career in 2011.
Buzz: Samuel started his career as a running back but slipped down the depth chart after two seasons. Before the 2010 season, he moved to linebacker, but never cracked the lineup there as he redshirted following a knee injury. When healthy, he's expected to compete at inside linebacker, where he had some experience in high school.
Buzz: Crist waited behind Jimmy Clausen for two seasons before getting his chance to start in 2010 in the first season under coach Brian Kelly. So far, his career has been marred by injury. He suffered a torn ACL in 2009, and then faced another knee injury in October that could keep him out through spring practice. In his first eight starts of 2010, Crist passed for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Buzz: Baldwin kept defenses honest when they faced run-heavy Pittsburgh, especially in 2009. Baldwin caught 57 passes for 1,111 yards with eight touchdowns as a sophomore, but the entire offense sputtered this past season. Baldwin caught 53 passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns. He probably could put up big numbers under new Pitt coach Todd Graham, but he'll head to the NFL draft instead. Given his physical gifts and experience in a pro-style system, Baldwin should be a high draft pick.
Buzz: Floyd is the last of a deep group of five-star receivers. He and DeVier Posey will be the last of the 2008 five-star receivers to test the NFL. After putting together his most productive season (79 catches, 1,025 yards, 12 touchdowns - all career highs), Floyd elected to stay in school to get his degree and fine-tune his game.
Buzz: This was the signing class that brought Alabama back to national prominence, but Scott was a footnote. He came in as a receiver, redshirted and moved to defensive back. Now he's transferring to South Alabama. He had ankle surgery in November and should be eligible immediately with the Jaguars.
Buzz: Good was a preseason all-conference pick in 2010 after starting seven games in 2009. The accolades were short-lived as Good started just the first two games last season before freshman Gabe Ikard took over at left guard.
Buzz: Clausen turned pro a year early. He finished his career with 8,148 yards, 60 TDs and 27 interceptions, and started all but three games of his career. He was a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: While he didn't quite live up to the Reggie Bush comparisons that accompanied his arrival at USC, McKnight still enjoyed a productive three-year career before choosing to enter the 2010 NFL draft. McKnight rushed for 540 yards and three touchdowns on 94 carries as a freshman and gained 659 yards and two touchdowns on 89 carries in 2008. He rushed for 1,014 yards and eight touchdowns on 164 carries in '09. McKnight also caught at least 20 passes in each of his three seasons. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Berry capped an outstanding three-year career at Tennessee by winning the 2009 Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. Berry picked off 14 passes at Tennessee and ranks second in NCAA history with 494 interception return yards. His most productive season came in 2008, when he picked off seven passes and scored on two interception returns. He was a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Mallett played one season at Michigan before transferring to Arkansas. He threw for 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns, with 12 picks, this past season, then decided to turn pro. He made three starts as a freshman at Michigan and went 61-of-141 for 892 yards, with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. He went 225-of-403 for 3,624 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions at Arkansas in 2009, and finished his career with 8,385 yards and 69 TDs.
Buzz: After playing extensively as a reserve in his first two seasons at Florida, Dunlap became a starter as a junior and finished with 39 tackles, nine sacks and six pass breakups. He announced that he was turning pro after the 2009 season and finished his career with 84 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 26 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hurries, four blocked kicks, and eight pass breakups. He was a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Griffen was an important reserve in his first two seasons with the Trojans before becoming a starter as a junior in 2009. He had 45 tackles and eight sacks, then decided to bypass his senior season and turn pro. He finished his career with 18 sacks and 84 tackles but never became quite as dominant as expected. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Austin was ruled ineligible this past season by the NCAA for receiving illegal benefits, and he is turning pro. After starting three times as a true freshman, Austin was a full-time starter for the Tar Heels as a sophomore and junior. He had 106 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, four pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble and a blocked kick in his career.
Buzz: Johnson finished up his Trojans career in 2010 with 64 receptions for 692 yards and eight touchdowns. He missed the first five games of his junior season with a broken collarbone, then returned to catch 34 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns. He had 33 catches as a reserve in 2008 and seven catches as a true freshman in 2007. He finished his career with 138 receptions for 1,750 yards and 20 TDs.
Buzz: Davis was a backup for FCS member Jacksonville State in 2009, finishing with 16 tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery, before deciding to turn pro. He wasn't drafted; he didn't play in 2010 but currently is on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster. He played in 19 games in two seasons at Florida, making 14 tackles as a reserve, before leaving the program in spring 2009. He did make one notable play at Florida, dropping Oklahoma's Chris Brown for a loss on a fourth-and-goal play in the first half of the 2008 national title game.
Buzz: A knee injury limited him to five games in 2010. Oglesby redshirted as a true freshman, started three times at left tackle in 2008, then started 10 times at right tackle in 2009, missing three games because of a knee injury. He has played in 28 games, starting 15, in his career.
Buzz: Galippo started six times in 2010, finishing with 29 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. He redshirted as a true freshman because of a back injury, then made 12 tackles as a backup in 2008. He was a starter in 2009 and finished with 70 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two interceptions, six pass breakups and two forced fumbles. For his career, 199 tackles, five interceptions, five forced fumbles and seven pass breakups.
Buzz: Wilson was injured for most of the 2010 season and played in just two games as a reserve guard. Wilson played in all 14 games as a backup guard in 2009, and played in 10 games as a backup guard in 2008 after redshirting in 2007. If healthy, he is expected to vie for a starting guard spot in spring practice.
Buzz: Toliver led the Tigers with 41 receptions this past season, good for 579 yards and five TDs. He started twice as a true freshman and twice as a sophomore before blossoming into a full-time starter as a junior in 2009. His junior season was his best, as he had 53 catches for 735 yards and three touchdowns. For his career, he had 126 catches - including 12 TD receptions - for 1,820 yards.
Buzz: Jones, who doubled as a hard-throwing reliever for LSU's baseball team, was a two-year starter for the Tigers after serving as a reserve as a true freshman. He announced he was turning pro a year early after a solid junior season in 2009 in which he had 73 tackles, three interceptions, five pass breakups, a forced fumble and a blocked kick. He finished his career with 187 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions, 15 pass breakups, four forced fumbles and one punt-return touchdown. He was severely injured in a car wreck last June and missed his rookie season; he had been a third-round pick of the New York Giants in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Devine had a disappointing senior season, rushing for 936 yards and six TDs. He ran for 1,465 yards and 13 TDs as a junior and for 1,289 as a sophomore. He finished his career with 4,317 yards and 29 TDs.
Buzz: Allen missed the 2010 season with a broken bone in his left foot after an impressive spring practice. He had been a backup guard and tackle in his three seasons with the Longhorns. He was a reserve guard in 2009 after playing tackle in his first two seasons. He has a chance to earn playing time at guard during the spring.
Buzz: Tyler led the Trojans in rushing with 913 yards and also had nine rushing TDs. He played in just one game in 2009 because of an injured toe that required surgery. He redshirted as a true freshman, then ran for 198 yards and a touchdown on 36 carries as a redshirt freshman in 2008. He heads into his senior season with 1,183 yards and 11 TDs.
Buzz: Donald redshirted as a true freshman, then played in nine games in two seasons without registering a tackle before deciding to transfer to FCS member Chattanooga after the 2009 season. He moved to defensive end for the Mocs and had 48 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles.
Buzz: Culliver was lost for the season with an injury in the eighth game. He was a two-year starter at free safety for the Gamecocks before moving to cornerback as a senior. He played sparingly as a wide receiver as a true freshman but made his mark as a kick returner that season, earning SEC all-freshman honors in that role. He finished his career with 156 tackles, three picks, 14 pass breakups and three forced fumbles.
Buzz: Martin missed the 2010 season because of an Achilles injury. After playing sparingly as a reserve in his first two seasons, Martin emerged as a key lineman for the Vols in 2009. He had 38 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. If healthy, he almost assuredly will start for the Vols this fall.
Buzz: Brown had a mildly disappointing senior season, finishing with just 23 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups. He was a part-time starter as a sophomore in 2008 before emerging as a key component of a solid Texas secondary in 2009. He finished the '09 season with 47 tackles, one interception - which he returned for a touchdown against Oklahoma State - seven pass breakups and a blocked kick. He finished his career with 108 tackles, two picks and 17 pass breakups.
Buzz: Jones blossomed as a junior this past season, leading the Tar Heels with 62 receptions for 946 yards and four TDs. His career before this past season was a checkered one, to be sure. Jones didn't qualify academically out of high school and went to Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy. He intended to re-sign with the Tar Heels, but UNC announced in the summer of 2008 that Jones wouldn't qualify for enrollment and he instead went to Division II Valdosta (Ga.) State. Then, UNC announced a few weeks later that it had misinterpreted his record and allowed Jones to enroll after all. He made five catches in his first two seasons with the Heels, but his 2010 performance would lead one to believe he could contend for All-ACC honors in 2011.
Buzz: Miller started all 12 games for the Buffs this past season at guard. In 2009, he started all 12 games as well - seven at guard and five at right tackle. He started seven games at right tackle as a true freshman, then missed the 2008 season with a broken leg. He will be a key performer for the Buffs at guard in 2011 and should be expected to contend for all-league honors.
Buzz: He turned pro after his junior season in 2009 and was a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft. He was the freshman of the year in the Big Ten and a freshman All-America selection in 2007, and that may have been the best season of his Illini career. The '09 season definitely was his worst; he finished with 38 catches for 490 yards and just two touchdowns. For his career, Benn had 159 catches for 2,221 yards and seven touchdowns. He ran for three scores and also scored on a punt return. He had 13 games with at least five catches in his first two seasons but just two such games as a junior.
Buzz: Warren was a three-year starter for the Wolverines who turned pro after his junior season in 2009; he went undrafted and is trying to get on a roster. Warren was a freshman All-America in 2007 and a first-team All-Big Ten selection in '09, when he had four interceptions, seven pass breakups and 66 tackles. He finished his career with six picks, 22 pass breakups, 170 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and three fumble recoveries.
Buzz: Wilson was moved to outside linebacker upon his arrival at Illinois, then moved to middle linebacker after the 2008 season. He had a solid season in 2010, leading the Illini with 112 tackles. He added 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, an interception, four pass breakups and three forced fumbles. Wilson decided to turn pro after the season. He suffered a season-ending neck injury in the '09 opener. He was a backup as a true freshman and became a starter as a sophomore in '08. He finished his career with 223 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, nine sacks, an interception, eight pass breakups, four forced fumbles, 11 quarterback hurries and a blocked kick.
Buzz: Taylor threw for 2,743 yards, with 24 TDs and five interceptions as a senior in 2010. He added another 659 yards and five TDs on the ground. He was a part-time starter as a true freshman in 2007, and the plan was to redshirt him in 2008. Instead, he ended up starting 10 games. He also was a full-time starter in 2009. He finished his career with 7,017 passing yards and 40 TDs; he also rushed for 2,196 yards and 23 scores.
Buzz: He won the Heisman and led Auburn to the national title this past season after transferring in from Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. He threw for 2,854 yards and 30 TDs and rushed for 1,473 yards and 20 TDs in his one season with the Tigers; he decided to turn pro after the season. He played in five games as Florida's backup quarterback in 2007, then redshirted in 2008. He transferred to Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, in January 2009 and led Blinn to the national junior college title that fall.
Buzz: O'Dowd started every game at center as a Trojans senior this past season. He was a part-time starter as a true freshman, then was a full-time starter as a sophomore in 2008, earning all-conference honors. He went into the 2009 season as the starter, but knee and shoulder injuries slowed him and he started six games and played in just seven.
Buzz: He finished his career at Florida in 2008, turning pro after his junior season. He ran for 1,852 yards and 19 TDs at Florida and had 133 receptions for 1,929 yards and 13 more touchdowns. He was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2009 NFL draft and was named NFL offensive rookie of the year.
Buzz: Smith was a three-year starter for the Tide before turning pro after his junior season. He was a first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the '09 NFL draft. He was a freshman All-America selection in 2006, a first-team All-SEC pick in '07 and a consensus All-America in '08.
Buzz: Wells was a backup as a true freshman, then started as a sophomore and junior for the Buckeyes before heading off to the NFL a year early. Wells finished his career with 3,382 yards and 30 TDs in 36 games. Wells was a first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2009.
Buzz: McCoy redshirted as a true freshman, then became a key three-year starter for the Sooners, earning All-America honors as a junior in 2009. He bypassed his senior season and was a first-round NFL draft pick. He had 34 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and 10 quarterback hurries this season; he finished his career with 83 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, 18 quarterback hurries, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He was a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Kindle was moved to defensive end full-time as a senior in 2009 and responded with some solid football. He had 58 tackles, six sacks, 15 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups. He was a backup linebacker as a true freshman and sophomore, then emerged as a starter at linebacker and end as a junior in 2008. He finished his career with 151 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 33.5 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hurries, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles and a blocked kick. He was a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Stafford left Georgia after his junior season and was the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. He was a part-time starter as a freshman at Georgia, then became the full-time starter in his final two seasons with the Bulldogs. He threw for 7,731 yards - with 51 touchdowns and 33 interceptions - in his career.
Buzz: Hazelton played three seasons at USC before transferring to Cincinnati. He played in just one game at Cincy this past season, catching six passes for 63 yards before suffering a season-ending injury. He caught one pass as a true freshman in 2006, then had a 50-catch, 540-yard, four-TD season in 2007. But he had just six receptions in an injury-plagued season in '08 and decided to transfer. He finished his career with 63 receptions.
Buzz: Spiller finished his career in 2009. In the process, he set an NCAA career record with seven kickoff-return touchdowns. He ran for 1,212 yards and 12 TDs as a senior, his only season as a full-time starter. Spiller shared starting duties with James Davis in his first three seasons. He finished his career with 3,547 rushing yards and 32 rushing touchdowns. For his career, he also had 11 touchdown receptions, threw two touchdown passes and returned a punt for a score. Spiller had 7,588 all-purpose yards in four seasons. He was a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Bradford played running back for the Trojans since he stepped on campus. He was USC's second-leading rusher this past season, with 794 yards and five TDs on 110 carries. He played sparingly as a true freshman in 2006 and as a sophomore in '07, rushing for a combined 66 yards and two TDs. He redshirted in 2008, then became a part-time starter in 2009, finishing with 668 yards and eight touchdowns. Bradford finished his career with 1,585 yards and 16 TDs.
Buzz: Mustain transferred to USC after his freshman season with the Razorbacks. He was 41-of-73 for 348 yards, one TD and one pick in 2010. He played in just two games in 2009 and did not attempt a pass. He was 11-of-16 for 157 yards, with two TDs and two picks, as a backup to Mark Sanchez as a sophomore in 2008. He started eight games as a true freshman at Arkansas in 2006, throwing for 894 yards, with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions; he left for USC after the season. He finished his career with 1,399 yards, 13 TDs and 12 picks.
Buzz: He started all 50 games of his Irish career, which is a school record for career starts. Forty of his starts were at right tackle, and he finished his career in 2009. He was a sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Rolle graduated in three years and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship; he spent the 2009 season studying at Oxford. He was a three-year starter for the Seminoles, finishing his career with 206 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one interception, 12 pass breakups and a forced fumble. Rolle's eventual goal is to become a surgeon. He was a sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Spikes was a three-year starter at middle linebacker for the Gators. He had 68 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions as a senior in 2009, and finished his career with 307 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 31.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions (four returned for TDs), 14 pass breakups, eight quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. He was a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Jones had 73 tackles, four interceptions and seven pass breakups in 2009 as a fourth-year junior, and he decided to bypass his senior season and turn pro. For his career, Jones had 206 tackles, 11 picks, 10 tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups and one forced fumble. He redshirted as a true freshman, was a part-time starter as a redshirt freshman and a full-time starter in his final two seasons with the Bulldogs. He was a fifth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Graham, who played defensive end at Michigan, finished his career in 2009 as the No. 2 guy in school history in sacks (29.5) and tackles for loss (56). He was the Wolverines' MVP as a junior and senior, becoming the first defender in school history to twice be named the team MVP. He played sparingly as a true freshman, was a part-time starter as a sophomore and a full-time starter in his final two seasons. He finished with 134 tackles, eight forced fumbles, three pass breakups and two blocked kicks. He was a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Mays was a four-year starter for the Trojans and gained acclaim as one of the nation's best free safeties during his career. He had 96 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups as a senior in 2009, and finished his time at USC with 276 tackles, five picks, 21 pass breakups and a forced fumble. He was a second-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Rose started four games in his career and missed his final college game - the Rose Bowl after the 2009 season - because of a suspension. He dealt with shoulder issues at times and finished his career with 31 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Johnson's 2009 season ended after a freak weightlifting accident on Sept. 28; the bar and weights (about 275 pounds) slipped from his hands and landed on his throat, necessitating seven hours of emergency surgery to repair his vocal chords, Adam's apple and torn throat muscles. He could've redshirted but instead decided to pro. He finished his USC career with 1,552 yards and 19 TDs; five of the TDs came in the first four games of the 2009 season. He was a part-time starter in 2007 and '08 after getting just three carries as a true freshman in '06. He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Wallace was a part-time starter as a sophomore and junior before winning a starting job as a senior in 2009. He led the Nittany Lions with three interceptions and added 36 tackles and three pass breakups. Wallace finished his career with 99 tackles, four interceptions and nine pass breakups. He went undrafted in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Woods was a starter as a senior in 2009 after serving as a backup in his first three seasons with the Tigers. He had 33 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and a sack in '09, and finished his career with 73 tackles, 3.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss and a blocked kick. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Sapp was a key backup as a true freshman, then was a three-year starter for the Tigers. He had 55 tackles, five sacks, 14 tackles for loss and seven quarterback hurries as a senior in 2009. Sapp finished his career with 142 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 38 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and 16 quarterback hurries. He was a fifth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: He finished his career as one of the most accomplished players in college history. He won the Heisman in 2007 as a sophomore, his first season as the Gators' starter. He finished his career in 2009 with 9,285 passing yards, 2,947 rushing yards, 88 passing TDs and 57 rushing TDs. He is fourth all-time in touchdowns accounted for and second all-time in career passing efficiency. He was a first-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Buzz: Gable had just 77 rushing attempts in his final two seasons with the Trojans. He started five times and played in all 13 games as a true freshman, finishing with 434 yards and five TDs. He redshirted in 2007 after suffering an early-season abdomen injury that required surgery. Gable had a strong sophomore campaign in 2008, rushing for 617 yards and eight TDs and starting 11 times. But he rushed for just 102 yards in 2009 and 253 this past season. He finished his career with 1,549 yards and 13 TDs.
Buzz: Warren had a checkered college career. He played extensively as a true freshman in 2006, being named to the ACC's all-freshman team after a season in which he had 28 catches for 301 yards and a touchdown. He transferred home to Tennessee and sat out the 2007 season. He played sparingly as a Vol in 2008, finishing the season with 10 receptions, then was booted off the team by coach Lane Kiffin in October 2009. He had seven catches for 54 yards and two TDs before his dismissal. He tied to rejoin the team but coach Derek Dooley refused last March. Warren finished up his career at Division II North Alabama but didn't catch a pass.
Buzz: He redshirted as a true freshman, was a reserve for three seasons, then played a key role in 2010. He had 59 tackles, with nine tackles for loss, six sacks and six quarterback hurries this past season. His senior season numbers dwarfed his totals from his first three seasons; he went into his senior season with 57 career tackles, 7.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and two interceptions.
Buzz: Schilling, who redshirted as a freshman, was a four-year starter for the Wolverines who finished up his career this past season. He started at tackle in 2007 and '08 before moving to guard for his final two seasons. He received some All-Big Ten acclaim and was invited to the Senior Bowl for his play in 2010.
Buzz: As a fifth-year senior in 2010, he started for the third season in a row for the Gators; he was a guard in 2008, began the '09 season at left tackle before moving inside again and played guard again this past season.