It's National Signing Day in college football, and SB Nation has you covered for all the updates you need. You'll hear a lot of optimism from some college fan bases today, and some of the recruits will go on to play major roles. Others, however, will fade away and you'll be left wondering what happened. This becomes even more apparent at the NFL level, as the one thing that is clear is that the recruiting rankings don't translate to success in pro football.
I went to Rivals.com to take a look at where a few notable Colts were ranked coming out of high school, and here's what I found:
Quarterback Andrew Luck was a four star recruit by Rivals in 2008, ranking fourth at his position and 68th overall. He went to Stanford before becoming the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Colts, where he has quickly become one of the league's best quarterbacks.
Running back Daniel "Boom" Herron was a four star recruit by Rivals in 2007 and ranked 18th at his position. He went to Ohio State and was drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Bengals. He signed with the Colts a year ago and had an impressive 2014 campaign.
Running back Trent Richardson was a five star recruit by Rivals in 2009, ranked 2nd at his position and 6th overall. He played college football at Alabama and was drafted third overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Browns. He was traded to the Colts after just one season, however, and he has really disappointed in two years with the Colts.
Wide receiver T.Y. (Eugene) Hilton was a two star recruit by Rivals in 2008. Hilton went to Florida International University and was drafted by the Colts in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He has emerged as a top receiver through his first three years, making the Pro Bowl in 2014.
Tight end Coby Fleener was a three star recruit by Rivals in 2007 and ranked 40th at his position. He went to Stanford, where he played with Andrew Luck, and he was drafted by the Colts in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He has put together a solid first three years in the NFL as a receiving tight end.
Tight end Dwayne Allen was a four star recruit by Rivals in 2008 and ranked 12th at his position. Allen went to Clemson and was drafted in the third round by the Colts in the 2012 Draft. He missed the entire 2013 season due to injury but in the two seasons that he has played he has been impressive.
Left tackle Anthony Castonzo was a two star recruit by Rivals in 2007. He played collegiately at Boston College and was the first round pick by the Colts in the 2011 NFL Draft, and in his first four seasons in the league he has emerged as the pillar of the Colts' line and a good lineman.
Outside linebacker Bjoern Werner was a three star recruit by Rivals in 2010 and ranked 65th at his position. Werner went to Florida State and was drafted in the first round by the Colts in the 2013 NFL Draft. His first two years in the NFL, however, have been a disappointment.
Cornerback Vontae Davis was a three star recruit by Rivals in 2006 and ranked 33rd at his position. He went to Illinois and was drafted in the first round by the Dolphins in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was traded to the Colts in 2012, and from there his career really took off, reaching elite status in 2014 and making the Pro Bowl.
Punter Pat McAfee was a two star recruit by Rivals in 2005. McAfee went to West Virginia and was drafted by the Colts in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He earned a well-deserved payday last offseason, and in 2014 he was named to the Pro Bowl and a first team All-Pro as the league's best punter.
What does all of this show? It shows that, regardless of how many stars someone got coming out of high school, they can still work hard, apply themselves, and improve - which a number of players in the NFL, including some Colts, have done. Not all of them were rated very highly coming out of high school, or even out of college for that matter, but they stuck with it, worked hard, and some of them have had success at the NFL because of it.