Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 NFL Draft Meets National Signing Day


College athletic office fax machines started receiving signed letters of intent this morning as high school seniors can officially end their recruitment thanks to the arrival of national signing day. Meanwhile, a group of now former college football players have their sights set on making the transition from college to the pros.

It is essentially a foregone conclusion that Andrew Luck will be picked first overall in April’s NFL draft but it was just four years ago that he was just a high school prospect sending in his signed letter of intent. Luck was a highly touted prep star so his standing heading towards the draft is not particularly surprising, however that isn’t the case for everyone. Here is a look at the 32 players in Mel Kiper’s first mock draft and where they were ranked as they made their move from high school to college (ratings from scout.com):

Pick Name Pos Pos Rank Rating Class
1 Andrew Luck QB 4 5 Star 2008
2 Justin Blackmon WR 58 3 Star 2008
3 Matt Kalil OT 3 5 Star 2008
4 Robert Griffin III QB 12 4 Star 2008
5 Trent Richardson RB 2 5 Star 2009
6 Morris Claiborne WR 90 3 Star 2009
7 Quinton Coples DE 21 4 Star 2008
8 Dre Kirkpatrick CB 5 5 Star 2009
9 Riley Reiff DE 69 3 Star 2008
10 Courtney Upshaw DE 18 4 Star 2008
11 Devon Still DT 12 4 Star 2007
12 Melvin Ingram MLB 20 3 Star 2007
13 Jonathan Martin OT 60 3 Star 2008
14 David DeCastro C 3 4 Star 2008
15 Luke Kuechly SLB 23 3 Star 2009
16 Mark Barron WLB 1 5 Star 2008
17 Alfonzo Dennard CB 80 3 Star 2008
18 Cordy Glenn OT 15 4 Star 2008
19 Michael Floyd WR 5 5 Star 2008
20 Nick Perry DE 5 4 Star 2008
21 Lamar Miller RB 7 4 Star 2009
22 Kendall Wright WR 67 3 Star 2008
23 Zach Brown WLB PG 4 Star 2008
24 Dontari Poe DT 92 2 Star 2008
25 Fletcher Cox DE 17 4 Star 2009
26 Mohamed Sanu S 62 3 Star 2009
27 Michael Brockers DE 16 4 Star 2009
28 Whitney Mercilus DE 114 2 Star 2008
29 Zebrie Sanders OT 27 4 Star 2008
30 Vontaze Burfict MLB 1 5 Star 2009
31 Alshon Jeffery WR 22 4 Star 2009
32 Andre Branch DE NR 2 Star 2007

While the focus today will be on the four and five star rated players, we see here that three of the players that could be first round draft choices into the NFL were rated at just two stars. It also needs to be pointed out that Morris Claiborne, likely the first cornerback selected in April, was rated as the 90th best wide receiver when he signed with LSU. Similarly, Riley Reiff went to Iowa as the nation’s number 69 defensive end and will leave as a first round offensive tackle.

Just as a number one rated recruiting class doesn’t guarantee a national championship, a recruiting ranking only speaks to the prospect’s potential at that given point in time. A whole lot can change, for better and worse.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Draft Andrew Luck Justin Blackmon Matt Kalil National Signing Day Robert Griffin III Trent Richardson