5-star DTs in the last decade: several elite pass rushers panned out
As we examine the 5-star recruits over the last decade in our daily series, read about each position:
There are six five-star defensive tackle prospects in the 2015 recruiting class, the most in any single recruiting cycle in more than a decade. Thus far, three have committed to SEC schools while two others could join the nation’s most competitive league as well in February.
Let’s take a look at every five-star defensive end since 2005 and determine how they fared at the college level:
NOTE: Player ratings based on 247Sports recruiting rankings.
2005 – 5 DTs
Demarcus Granger, Oklahoma (bust): The cousin of former Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger, this consensus five-star prospect was bitten by the injury bug during his time in Norman, never matching his lofty projection in a class which also featured Ndamukong Suh.
Callahan Bright, Florida State (bust): Bright never played a down for the Seminoles after failing to qualify academically. He wound up at Division II Shaw University (Raleigh, N.C.) after a JUCO season, but struggled in the classroom there as well.
Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss (average): Due to academic responsibilities, Powe didn’t actually arrive in Oxford, Miss. until the 2008 season and became a full-time starter the following campaign. As a 24-year-old draft entry, Powe dropped to the sixth round in 2011 to the Kansas City Chiefs. He was signed by the Houston Texans last season.
Kade Weston, Georgia (average): Weston was never the every-down pass rusher the Bulldogs thought they landed in the five-star tackle, but he did make an impact in Athens during his career with nearly 90 total tackles and a third-team All-SEC selection as a senior. After a couple years in the NFL, Weston last played in the Canadian Football League for the Edmonton Eskimos in 2012.
Roy Miller, Texas (star): A stellar student-athlete for the Longhorns from 2005-08, Miller finished his career with 138 tackles and 10 sacks including an All-Big XII selection during one season. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009, Miller now plays for the Jaguars.
2006 – 2 DTs
Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma (star): One of the few for Bob Stoops defensively who has lived up to the hype in recent years, McCoy came into his own as a junior and started dominating opposing offensive lines in the Big XII. He parlayed back-to-back All-American awards into a first-round selection (No. 3 overall) in 2010 and still plays for the team that drafted him — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Al Woods, LSU (average): Started 16 games over his career and accumulated 73 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Woods never became an impact interior lineman, but made his presence felt as a situational pass rusher as senior.
2007 – 2 DTs
Marvin Austin, North Carolina (star): USA Today’s national defensive player of the year in 2005, Austin burst onto the scene as a freshman All-American and earned a spot as a three-year starter. After his standout junior season in 2009, Austin became the center of an NCAA investigation stemming from illegal benefits and was suspended for the 2010 campaign. He was drafted in the second round the following year and currently plays for his fourth tea, the Denver Broncos.
Torrey Davis, Florida (bust): A key contributor as a freshman and sophomore for Urban Meyer’s club, Davis ran into off-the-field trouble as a junior ultimately leading to his transfer to Jacksonville State. Davis played one season with the Gamecocks and went undrafted.
2008 – 2 DTs
Marcus Fortson, Miami (average): The South Florida native suffered two season-ending injuries during his time with the Hurricanes after earning freshman All-America status in 2008 and eventually skipped his senior campaign to enter the draft.
Omar Hunter, Florida (average): A five-year player in Gainesville who earned the full-time starter spot at nose tackle early in his career, Hunter made 31 total starts for the Gators and finished with 111 tackles.
2009 – 5 DTs
Jacobbi McDaniel, Florida State (average): McDaniel decided to pursue a football career with Seminoles after being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009. Multiple injuries derailed promising starts to two seasons at Florida State, but he still managed to be one of the team’s brightest off the field, graduating with a 3.5 GPA and degree in criminology. McDaniel signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 after going undrafted.
Sheldon Richardson, Mizzou (star): After a two-year stint at a JUCO in Visalia, Calif., this fierce pass rusher nearly played two productive seasons for Gary Pinkel before being suspended from the team toward the end of the 2012 campaign. Richardson was selected 13th overall by the New York Jets in 2013 after skipping his final year of eligibility for the Tigers and won the NFL’s rookie of the year award that season.
Gary Brown, Florida (bust): Dismissed as a redshirt freshman in 2010 following a misdemeanor battery arrest, Brown’s flop continued a recent trend of busts along the defensive line for the Gators
Jamarkus McFarland, Oklahoma (bust): McFarland never put up the numbers the Sooners expected after being one of the nation’s top recruits out of Texas, but did find a niche up front by his senior season in 2012.
Chris Davenport, LSU (bust): This rotund run-stopper never started a game in Baton Rouge due to the Tigers’ tremendous depth at the position and eventually transferred to Tulane as a redshirt junior in January 2013.
2010 – 2 DTs
Dominique Easley, Florida (average): Had two ACL tears not damaged his overall production, Easley may have left Gainesville in 2013 as one of the most productive interior lineman in program history. He was drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots last season and remains on injured reserve.
George Uko, USC (average): In two seasons as a starter for the Trojans under the direction of former assistant coach Ed Orgeron, Uko contributed 10 sacks, enough — he figured — to skip his senior season for the NFL. Uko was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
2011 – 2 DTs
Anthony Johnson, LSU (average): Johnson earned a starting job on John Chavis’ defense by his junior season and earned second-team All-SEC honors after recording a team-best nine tackles for loss and three sacks. Before deciding to skip his final season, Johnson tallied 77 career tackles and seven sacks.
Tim Jernigan, Florida State (star): Jernigan was one of the Seminoles’ key defensive standouts on their 2014 national championship squad along with two ACC title teams, anchoring one of the nation’s best front sevens. A second-round selection by the Baltimore Ravens in 2014, Jernigan was a two-time All-American at Florida State (2011, 2013) and piled up many tackles behind the line of scrimmage with a great initial burst.
2012 – 4 DTs
Mario Edwards, Florida State (star): A three-year player who started up front his final two seasons for Jimbo Fisher, Edwards was a two-time all-conference player as the Seminoles’ top tackler at his position. He recently decided to skip his senior season for the 2015 draft along with cornerback Ronald Darby and fellow tackle Eddie Goldman.
Malcolm Brown, Texas (star): Another NFL Draft early-entry following dominant seasons as a sophomore and junior, Brown was a consensus first-team All-American in 2014 and a finalist for several awards including the Outland and Nagurski. He posted a career-high 72 tackles to go along with two forced fumbles and 6.5 sacks.
Eddie Goldman, Florida State (average): In three seasons, Goldman posted 62 tackles and six sacks. He’s one of five Seminoles who could be taken in the first round in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Ellis McCarthy, UCLA (bust): Despite making just eight careers starts for Jim Mora’s Bruins, McCarthy decided to skip his senior season following a lackluster career in the Pac-12. This season, he finished with 21 tackles and three sacks.
2013 – 2 DTs
Montravius Adams, Auburn (too early)
Kenny Bigelow, USC (too early)
Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA (too early)
2014 – 1 DT
Andrew Brown, Virginia (too early)