Revisiting Stars and All American Achievement

I’ve heard/read that 5-star recruits are much more likely to be All-Americans in college football than other recruits of lower star designation. I don’t doubt that has been historically true, but I was curious as to whether that still stands true today. Short answer, it does.

I took roughly the top 1000 rated recruits (Composite) from 2006 through 2017 and compiled their recruit rating and star designation. I then pulled the All-American teams from 2010 through 2018 from

Out of 11,843 recruits, here is what I got:

Stars 5 4 3
Count 397 3432 8014
Percent 3% 29% 68%

So we see that 5-stars make up 3% of this sample, 4-stars 29%, and 3-Stars 68%.

Then I tallied up the counts for All-Americans. Kickers and Punters were removed, as they can’t be ranked higher than 3-stars in the composite rankings for some silly reason.

Stars 5 4 3 2 Total
Count 36 65 68 48 217
Percent 17% 30% 31% 22% 100%

We can see here that, relative to the percentage of the sample, 5-stars are over-represented, 4-stars are consistent and 3-stars are under-represented. 2-stars are probably under-represented, but since my comparison population didn’t include 2-stars, I don’t know what percentage of all players they represent.

Here is how the All-Americans breakdown by position and stars:


When looking at relative success rates, 5-stars come out ahead. Out of the 397 5-stars drawn, 36 of them were All-Americans. But wait! What if a player was All-American more than once? Well, that happened 15 times. One was a punter (Tom Hackett), so that record was removed. Out of the 14 remaining players that were 2x All-Americans, 2 were 5-stars, 4 were 4-stars, 7 were 3-stars and one was a 2-star*. Position-wise, there were 2 WR, 3, LB, 2 RB, 3 OL, 3 DL, and 1 DB.

Adjusted for duplicates, the table now looks like this:


Stars 5 4 3 2 Total
Count 34 61 61 47 203
Percent 17% 30% 30% 23% 100%


As we can see, removing duplicates doesn’t change the takeaway. If you breakdown the relative success rates for players from the sample, here is what you get:

Stars 5 4 3
Representation 9% 2% 1%

9% of the 5-stars from the sample went on to be All-Americans. By far the most. So, yea. 5-stars are generally more successful if you agree that being an All-American is a metric for success.

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