There are currently six defensive ends who rank as five-stars in the newly signed 2014 recruiting class, with Alabama-bound Da’Shawn Hand and Texas A&M-bound Myles Garrett headlining the six.
Here is how all five-star defensive ends turned out in the last decade, 35 in total:
*All prospect rankings are determined by 247Sports’ Composite Player Rankings
2004 – 4 DEs
Brandon Miller, Georgia: Miller played 37 games with 15 starts, posting 37 tackles and six sacks. He had a solid career, but perhaps it wasn’t the five-star career everyone thought. Miller went undrafted and signed with the Falcons. He last played with the Seahawks in 2009.
Derrick Harvey, Florida: Harvey played in 36 games in his career, starting eighteen of them. He finished 20.5 sacks and 51.5 tackles for loss. Harvey went on to be a first-rounder in ’08, and he was last on the Bengals’ practice roster in 2012.
Jeff Schweiger, USC: Schweiger flashed potential early in his career, but it became increasingly obvious he wouldn’t play up to expectations. He finished his career at San Jose State and was one of the bigger busts on this list.
Charles Johnson, Georgia: Johnson played nine games as a freshman and 13 as a sophomore and made five sacks during both years, but he blew up as a junior. Johnson led the Bulldogs with 7.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, nine pass breakups and 27 QB pressures. He was drafted in the third round by the Panthers, where he still plays.
DEs ranked lower: Vernon Gholston, Brian Orakpo, Willie Young, Chris Long, Charles Alexander, Tyson Jackson and Elvis Dumerville
2005 – 1 DE
Melvin Alaeze, Maryland: Alaeze failed to qualify as a freshman and went to prep school, but due to violating terms of his scholarship, he was let go by Maryland. He was arrested and charged with intent to distribute Mary Jane. He then transferred to Illinois, where he was suspended and had his scholarship revoked. Alaeze was then arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted assault, armed robbery, car theft and use of a handgun in commission with a violent crime, according to Baltimore County court records.
DEs ranked lower: Everette Brown, Ricky Jean-Francois and Brandon Deaderick
2006 – 3 DEs
Ricky Sapp, Clemson: Sapp had a great career at Clemson, totaling 142 tackles, 38 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks. Sapp became a fifth-round pick with the Eagles but played with the Texans in 2013.
Eddie Jones, Texas: Jones entered Texas with high hopes, and he appeared in 50 games, including eight starts. He recorded 111 tackles, 13.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss, but it was tough living up to all that hype. He went undrafted in ‘11 and was on the Jets practice roster in ‘12.
Maurice Evans, Penn State: Evans started contributing immediately as a freshman, and he was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. In his sophomore season, Evans recorded 12.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. Evans was arrested and suspended in 2008 for a marijuana charge and played in 10 games. He made just 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks, and he left for the NFL Draft after his junior season. He went undrafted and signed with the Giants.
DEs ranked lower: Jerry Hughes, Jermaine Cunninghan, Aaron Maybin, Adrian Clayborn, Jeremy Beal and Geno Atkins
2007 – 4 DEs
Carlos Dunlap, Florida: Dunlap had a good career at Florida with tremendous upside. He totaled 77 tackles, 19 sacks and three blocked kicks. Dunlap entered the draft early and was a second-rounder to the Bengals, where he currently still plays.
Martez Wilson, Illinois: Wilson was a DE upon entering Illinois, but he switched to linebacker at 6-4, 250 pounds. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2010, and he averaged 9.1 tackles per game as a junior. Wilson was a third-round pick with the Saints, and he currently plays with the Cowboys.
Everson Griffen, USC: Griffen started as a true freshman for the Trojans, and he amassed 21 tackles for loss and 18 sacks in three years. He left school early for the draft and became a fourth-round pick with the Vikings, where he still plays.
Ben Martin, Tennessee: Ben Martin had trouble living up to his huge potential at Tennessee. He only registered 6.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks for his career.
DEs ranked lower: JJ Watt, Cliff Matthews, Jaye Howard, Justin Houston, Von Miller, Travian Robertson and Justin Trattou
2008 – 2 DEs
RJ Washington, Oklahoma: Washington struggled to live up to his hype at Oklahoma, and he was a backup for three solid years. He started seven games as a senior, and he only made 8.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in his four-year career.
DaQuan Bowers, Clemson: Bowers had a strong three-year career at Clemson and left early for the NFL. While at Clemson, Bowers won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. He was a second-round pick with the Bucs, where he still plays.
DEs ranked lower: Jason Pierre-Paul, Quinton Coples, Robert Quinn, Dion Jordan and Damion Square
2009 – 3 DEs
Devon Kennard, USC: Kennard made an impact as a freshman, making 34 tackles, and he has been a good player in three seasons. He missed 2012 with a torn pectoral, but he had a monster 2013 season, making 13.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks, along with 10 QB hurries as an outside linebacker.
Donte Paige-Moss, UNC: Moss played three years at Carolina, making 83 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. Moss opted to leave school early and went undrafted in ‘12. He played for the Sacramento Mountain Lions and the Toronto Argonauts the last two seasons, and he’s now with the Portland Thunder.
Alex Okafor, Texas: Okafor had a great career at Texas, starting 33 games and making 150 total tackles, 34 tackles for loss and 23 sacks. Okafor was selected in the third round with the Arizona Cardinals, but he was placed in injured reserve in 2013.
DEs ranked lower: Jarvis Jones, Fletcher Cox, Sam Montgomery, Cornelius Carradine, Barkevious Mingo and John Simon
2010 – 4 DEs
Ronald Powell, Florida: Powell looked like he would finally break out as a sophomore, and then he tore his ACL. He returned in 2013, but he didn’t have the impact everyone expected. Powell left Florida early for the NFL Draft, but he never lived up to the expectation at Florida. He made just seven tackles for loss and four sacks as an outside linebacker for Florida.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA: Along with having the most difficult name to say and spell, it’s been tough for Odighizuwa to live up to his five-star hype. He’s made 75 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in three seasons, but he suffered a season-ending hip injury in 2013. He returns for 2014.
Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: Jeffcoat has had a big career in Austin, thanks to a monster senior season. Heading into the 2013 season, Jeffcoat totaled 92 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks, but he racked up 86 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 13 sacks in 2013.
Sharrif Floyd, Florida: Floyd was listed in 247Sports’ rankings as a defensive end, but he was a true defensive tackle in college. He made 26 career starts and played in 37 games, making 115 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He also blocked three career field goals. Floyd was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings last year.
DEs ranked lower: Corey Lemonier, Adrian Hubbard, Damontre Moore and Bjoern Werner
2011 – 4 DEs
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina: Clowney was arguably the most gifted defensive end to ever play in college. He totaled 24 sacks and 47 tackles in three career years. He could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Anthony Chickillo, Miami: Chickillo immediately became a starter once he set foot on Miami’s campus, and he totaled 129 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in three years. And he’s coming back for his senior season.
Ray Drew, Georgia: Drew finally started to show some flashes as a junior in 2013, making eight tackles for loss and six sacks. Drew hasn’t lived up to the full expectation yet, but he still has his senior season to do so.
Aaron Lynch, Notre Dame: Lynch started at Notre Dame, but he transferred to South Florida to finish his career. He made 33 tackles, 5.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss while at Notre Dame, and he made 12.5 tackles for loss and six sacks this past season at USF. Lynch is heading for the NFL Draft.
DEs ranked lower: Ishaq Williams, Stephon Tuitt and Todd Barr
2012 – 7 DEs
Noah Spence, Ohio State: Spence has played two seasons for the Buckeyes, and he’s made 15.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. He was suspended for testing positive for ecstasy in 2013.
Adolphus Washington, Ohio State: Washington has played two years for the Buckeyes and totaled 7.5 tackles for loss and five sacks.
Jonathan Bullard, Florida: Bullard made an impact in his first year, and he’s totaled 7.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He has yet to become a breakout player.
Darius Hamilton, Rutgers: Hamilton totaled 65 tackles and 13 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks for Rutgers in two seasons.
Chris Casher, Florida State: FSU has been loaded along the defensive line, and Chris Casher hasn’t really had an opportunity to make an impact yet. Last year, he recorded 25 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks.
Channing Ward, Ole Miss: Ward has had a tough time living up to expectations through two seasons at Ole Miss. He’s made 45 tackles and just one sack. The Rebels have a lot of depth at defensive end, and Ward needs a breakout season in 2014.
Jordan Jenkins, Georgia: Jenkins moved from defensive end to rush linebacker for the Bulldogs, and he’s played well through two seasons. He made five sacks and eight tackles for loss as a freshman, and he followed it up last year with 12 tackles for loss and five sacks. He’s due for a big 2014.
DEs ranked lower: Dante Fowler, Leonard Williams and Se’von Pittman
2013 – 3 DEs
Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss: Nkemdiche moved from end to tackle once at Ole Miss, and he played well in 2013. Nkemdiche made 34 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two sacks, and he’s going to be a big-time player.
Chris Jones, Mississippi State: Jones was a beast for the Bulldogs as a freshman, and like Nkemdiche, Jones switched from end to tackle. He recorded 32 tackles, seven tackles for loss and three sacks, along with 10 QB hurries. His future is very bright.
Carl Lawson, Auburn: On any other team, perhaps Carl Lawson would have been an every-down starter, but he played behind Dee Ford and LaDarius Owens. Lawson made 20 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks, along with seven QB hurries. He’s going to be a monster.
DEs ranked lower: Tim Williams, Daeshon Hall, Demarcus Walker, Joey Bosa and Elijah Daniel
Lived up to the hype
- Charles Johnson, Georgia
- Derrick Harvey, Florida
- Ricky Sapp, Clemson
- Carlos Dunlap, Florida
- Everson Griffen, USC
- DaQuan Bowers, Clemson
- Devon Kennard, USC
- Alex Okafor, Texas
- Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
- Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
Switched positions and still lived up to the hype
- Martez Wilson, Illinois
- Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Good careers but mixed reviews
- Brandon Miller, Georgia
- Maurice Evans, Penn State
- Eddie Jones, Texas
- Donte Paige-Moss, North Carolina
- Aaron Lynch, Notre Dame and USF
- Jeff Schweiger, USC
- Melvin Alaeze, Maryland
- Ben Martin, Tennessee
- RJ Washington, Oklahoma
- Ronald Powell, Florida
- Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA
- Anthony Chickillo, Miami
- Ray Drew, Georgia
- Noah Spence, Ohio State
- Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
- Jonathan Bullard, Florida
- Darius Hamilton, Rutgers
- Chris Casher, FSU
- Channing Ward, Ole Miss
- Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (OLB)
- Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (DT)
- Chris Jones, Mississippi State (DT)
- Carl Lawson, Auburn
Photo Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports