Star rankings are a fan-friendly measurement of a college football prospect's ability and potential, but they aren't always an accurate portrayal, which is why accompanying grades and evaluations should always be considered.
Among the star rankings, none is more sought after than the five-star, which indicates the premier prospects in a respective class. The bar to receive that ranking for the ESPN 300 is high, and since 2010, 134 total prospects have received a fifth star.
A five-star prospect should not only have excellent ability and be able to make an instant impact, but they also must demonstrate the willingness and intangibles to maximize their great potential once arriving in college. Some of them met and exceeded those standards at the NFL level as well. Others fell short for various reasons.
Only once has a single recruiting class featured more than 15 five-star prospects. In 2016, there were only nine. We rank which recruiting class had the best group of five-star prospects.
1. Class of 2014
Five-star prospects: 15
NFL draft picks: 12
No. 1 prospect: RB Leonard Fournette
The 2014 class had a tremendous hit rate with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, multiple first-round selections, multiple college football award winners and NFL Pro Bowlers.