Help me understand...4 star vs 5 star...

Submitted by NeilGoBlue on May 3rd, 2011 at 12:20 AM

I was looking at James Ross's scout profile and they have him listed as the #2 middle linebacker in the country.  How does the #2 middle linebacker in the country not get a 5* rating?

I don't claim to know anything... and am truly looking to understand how this works.



May 3rd, 2011 at 12:26 AM ^

There are usually only 25-30 5* players. It's entirely possible that the #2 MLB wouldn't be included. I'd guess that Ross would be a 5* if he were 3 inches taller.


May 3rd, 2011 at 1:26 AM ^

That is exactly is. When you consider all of the positions outside of K/P, you have to essentially get 30 5* kids out of that. That is not many and when you consider the premium on positions like QB you can really see how a #2 MLB can be a 4*.

Still, the star ranking system is only a general thing. If you look at any draft class you will find as many 5* kids that make it as you will those that bust out. Same goes for any ranking.

Maize and Blue…

May 3rd, 2011 at 6:30 AM ^

has 50 5 stars and will again by the end of the year.  I do not remember a single year where any service had only 25 5 stars.  BWC was 26th overall and was a 5 star.  I was wrong.  Checked Rivals database 2002-current and in 03 and 04 only had 25 the high was 38 and the average over their 10 year existence is 28.8.


May 3rd, 2011 at 7:54 AM ^

Rivals had only 26 five-stars for a couple years, but that was their lowest output in a while.  I think they typically have about 30.  One of their analysts explained that 5-star prospects were considered to be potential first round picks, so that explains why there would only be 30-ish.


May 3rd, 2011 at 12:25 AM ^

Rivals only has 10 players currently ranked. Ross may very well by a five star, but he could just as likely miss out. Let's roughly assume that there are about 15 positions on a football field. MLB is one of those fifteen, or maybe twelve to be a little more precise. Eventually, rivals will introduce about 22-30 five star ratings. If the positions weight out equally, which they may or may not do depending on available talent, he has a decent shot at becoming a five star. Typically, though, there are far more five star running backs and linemen. It all depends on where they perceive the talent to be located in the class. 


As a brief aside, rivals is biased against midwest recruits, as they don't even having a recruiting analyst for the region. 


May 3rd, 2011 at 12:26 AM ^

There just aren't that many 5 stars per year. Something like 20-30. Usually, these sway in favor of skill positions too (qbs, rbs, etc). So, it is not that surprising to see one (or zero) mlbs in the top 30 players nationwide b


May 3rd, 2011 at 12:27 AM ^

5* are for the elite. He's the #2MLB and if he's a 4* I would assume he's pretty much borderline 4/5*. Of course rankings will be revised. A 5* looks nice but that doesnt really mean much to me. Scout has him ranked as their #2MLB in the country. If hes a 4/5 * doesnt matter to me, they obviously think highly of his game and more importantly so does the Michigan coaching staff.


May 3rd, 2011 at 12:32 AM ^

I think it is important to note that they evaluate talent throughout the whole year - that being said, a recruit REALLY has to stand out as a sure thing to earn a 5 star rating this early in the process.  After the season progresses they will hand out more ratings, of 3, 4, and 5 stars


May 3rd, 2011 at 12:40 AM ^

5 star  - > 25+ offers from national programs (including offers from top 15 programs nationally)

4 star -> regional 15+ offers from the region/ conference the commit is part of including top BCS teams in said conference .. some out of conference/ state interest from mid BCS programs

3 star -> state level 7+ offers from programs in the state and some offers from mid-level BCS teams


This works pretty well for me. So if you give me a 3 star kid with 30 offers from mid-high level offers chances are he is 4 or 5 star

and if you have a kid listed as 5 star but only 5 offers - chances are he is over rated (of course you have to consider early commitment affecting this)


May 3rd, 2011 at 6:17 AM ^

Ron Thompson is rumored to be on the verge of several large offers, but if he'd committed to M 2 weeks ago, obviously those wouldn't come. Who's to say Ringer wouldn't have had the same. It's still very early, but Funchess/Ringer/Bolden/etc will only get more offers if they lead teams to believe they're still open.
<br>And some programs don't offer based on their own situation and need. M won't offer any more LBs, for example. So a lack of offer for any local kids won't mean anything at this point other than no more room. That may extend even to next year to some degree. Very similar to tSIO and LBs this year.
<br>Offers are a good data point, but they're incomplete indicators by themselves. Using offers along with rankings by Scout, Rivals, ESPN, and now 247 seems to be the best route. Getting a view from a source like Scouting Ohio or Magnus (TTB) doesn't hurt either.


May 3rd, 2011 at 11:29 AM ^

I've heard it explained as:

  1. N/R
  2. Non-BCS starter or special teams in the big six conferences.
  3. BCS level starter.
  4. Potential all-conference.
  5. Potential all-America/ first round NFL potential.

It seems to basically fit what I've seen, so I'll just continue thinking this way unless someone can explain it better.


May 3rd, 2011 at 1:48 AM ^

He could earn a 5th star by the end of his senior season, similar to what happened with dare I say it Dee Hart. Regardless though he's a great player so I could care less if he gets the extra star or not. 

M go Bru

May 3rd, 2011 at 2:53 AM ^

The number of 5-star recruits also varies by whose recruiting network you are referencing. Rivals will only have about 25 total 5-star recruits but Scout will have about 50 when all is said and done. Currently Rivals has 12 listed and Scout has 33. I also believe Scout has a much larger number of  4-star recruits vs. Rivals. To confuse the issue Rivals also has a 4.9-6.1 numerical rating system. 

Currently there is only 1 5-star MLB (the only LB) listed on Scout. He's  a 6'-4 245 lb LB from the State of Alabama, committed to Alabama.

The local Scout affilliate is, while the local Rivals affiliate is

Two other recruiting services, ESPN and  Rivals have a numerical rating system.

ESPN's system 

85 -100 = 5-star

79.5 - 84.99 = 4-star


6.1 = top 25 player

5.8 - 6.0  = top 300 player



May 3rd, 2011 at 3:37 AM ^

Scout's top fifty players are five stars. That isn't dependent upon position, though. Rivals usually ends up with 20-25 five star players. My guess is that Ross is just outside the top fifty and that he could be a five star in Scout's database by the end of the season. He'll surely be a solid four star when Rivals rates him.


May 3rd, 2011 at 6:02 AM ^

Well, Devin Gardner was the #1 quarterback to Rivals in 2010, but he still wasn't a 5-star.  So there's no guarantee that the top position player will be a 5-star.


May 3rd, 2011 at 8:10 AM ^

It's a pretty easy concept. All classes aren't equal so you can't just assume that because a player is "the best in the class" that he's a five star player. All that means is that the is the best of the senior HS players this year. If there are no elite CB's in the class this year then a four star player is going to be the best out there, they don't just elevate his ranking because the #1 player is the best of the rest. 

Similarly there could be 10 five star DT's in a class, or  any other position. So a five star might not even be in the top five of his own class.

Basically it comes down to - there is no elite player in the position group, and if there was they would be ranked higher than the curent #1 or #2 guy.

While Ross is ranked as the #2 player at his position he's only ranked as the #72 player in the country - hence no five star status.


May 3rd, 2011 at 8:15 AM ^

I coach football and I've never seen a 5 star kid play in person, and I've seen some pretty good players.  5 Star guys are among boys.   It's rare to have one in your STATE, no less one in your league or on your team.  (Which makes my head spin when I think Dr. Phillips HS in Florida had TWO on the same squad last year!!).

R Kelly

May 3rd, 2011 at 9:18 AM ^

I believe Kevin Grady was a 5 star recruit.  I know he didn't have a great career at Michigan, but he was unbelievable in HS.  I went to HS about an hour south of GR so I went up to see Kevin play a few times his junior and senior years.  That much size and speed together was pretty ridiculous at the HS level.


May 3rd, 2011 at 9:01 AM ^

4 Star = Admiral or General.  5 Star = Fleet Admiral or General of the Army.  If I remember correctly, the 5 star came about because the US needed a rank that was equivalent to a Field Marshall.  In World War I, this would have been called General of the Armies whom I believe was Pershing.  The last 5 Star General was Bradley.  There was talk of giving Schwartzkopf or Powell a 5th Star but that never happened.  It might still be possible for Petreaus to get one.


May 3rd, 2011 at 9:05 AM ^

I've never understood why a player's star ranking is influenced by their offer list. It seems reverse causal to me. Shouldn't a player be rated on his abilities/upside alone?


May 3rd, 2011 at 9:24 AM ^

Well, if a Rivals scout thinks he's awesome, but only the coaches Toledo and BGSU agree...

...then the Rivals scout probably thinks that there's something wrong with the recruit.

I agree that players should be graded on talent alone, but I don't think talent scouts should completely ignore the fact that a player might be ignored by big-time programs.  On the flip side, though, sometimes you see lesser talented recruits getting offered by big-time schools.  The thing to keep in mind, though, is that sometimes a school like Alabama might have an interest in maintaining a pipeline to School X, even though the 3-star from School X is the equivalent of a 3-star from some random school that they've never recruited before.

In summary...

If a player has no offers from big-time schools, there's probably something wrong with him.

If a player has offers from every big-time school, he's probably pretty good.

If a player has offers from a smattering of schools at various levels of competition, then there might be reason to be skeptical.

Steve in PA

May 3rd, 2011 at 10:39 AM ^

5*-  The kid projects to Start on Sundays and be drafted in an early round.

4*-  All conference player projected to start in college

3*-  Projected college starter

2*-  Projected to make the team

1*-  Really?


These are how Rivals does it.  Don't know about the others.


May 3rd, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

 5* = an immediate impact player , 4 year starter

 4* = 3-4 year starter, possible all conference

Rivals actually breaks down their star rankings.... I think it was rivals.. could be scouts.

 Players are judged by their offer list , but alot of that has to do with how they perform in Tape and at camps with other recruits.