Recruiting has been deemed a completely inexact proposition seemingly forever. Guys who are highly rated don't pan out. Guys who were walk-ons turn into NFL players and, sometimes, stars.
So as teams across the country sign players Wednesday, here's a look back at where the Detroit Lions were ranked when they were high school seniors. For rankings from 2006 forward, the rankings used are ESPN's rankings. From 2002 to 2006, we used the Rivals.com rankings.
In some cases, no rankings were available. If something is not denoted as coming from another site, it is ESPN's ranking from that year.
What you'll see is most of Detroit's players were not highly rated players coming out of high school. Some had no ranking at all. Just goes to show how blue chip recruits in high school don't always turn into top-level college or NFL players.
This post covers the defense and special teams. This post from earlier took care of the offense.
Ndamukong Suh (2005): Rated as the No. 6 defensive tackle by Rivals.com and the No. 51 player overall. Signed with Nebraska.
Nick Fairley (2007): Rated as the No. 31 offensive tackle. Signed with Auburn but went to Copiah-Lincoln Community College for two years before heading to Auburn.
Willie Young (2004): Rated as the No. 14 defensive end by Rivals.com. Signed with N.C. State and went to Hargrave Military Academy in 2004 before going to N.C. State in 2005. Was the No. 18 prep school player in the country in the Class of 2005.
Ziggy Ansah (2008): Not rated in ESPN's database. Not surprising considering he went to BYU from Ghana. He tried out for basketball, was on the track team in 2009 and started playing football in 2010. His story is documented here from colleague Ohm Youngmisuk.
Devin Taylor (2008): Rated as the No. 69 defensive end in his class and No. 21 player in South Carolina. Signed with South Carolina.
Jason Jones (2004): Not rated by Rivals.com, but was labeled a two-star prospect by the service. Signed with Eastern Michigan.
C.J. Mosley (2001): Not in Tom Lemming's Top 100 for 2001 but Missouri's website says Mosley was one of the top 55 defensive line prospects in the country in 2001. Signed with Missouri.
Andre Fluellen (2003): Rated as the No. 28 defensive tackle in the country and No. 22 player in Georgia his year. Signed with Florida State.
Israel Idonije (2000): Played football at Manitoba in Canada.
Xavier Proctor (2008): He was not rated by either service in 2008 and signed with North Carolina Central. Here's an interesting story about his past from the Baltimore Sun.
Jimmy Saddler-McQueen (2005 or 2006): No information is available on Saddler-McQueen. He signed with Texas A&M-Kingsville, where he played from 2006 to 2009.
Stephen Tulloch (2003): Rated as the No. 28 inside linebacker in his class and No. 51 player in Florida by Rivals.com. Signed with N.C. State.
DeAndre Levy (2005): Rated as the No. 49 outside linebacker in his class and the No. 4 player in Wisconsin by Rivals.com. Signed with Wisconsin.
Ashlee Palmer (2006): Information on Palmer's recruitment is confusing. Was unranked in the Class of 2007 by ESPN. He was the No. 38 junior college player in the class of 2006 by Rivals.com as a safety. He initially signed with Nebraska out of high school, then signed with Washington out of Compton Community College before landing at Mississippi. There are some nuggets about Palmer's recruiting saga in this Scout.com story.
Rocky McIntosh (2001): Rated as the No. 15 linebacker in the nation by SuperPrep according to the Miami (Fla.) website, where he signed.
Tahir Whitehead (2008): Not ranked as a safety out of high school. Signed with Temple.
Julian Stanford (2008): Not rated by either service in 2008. Signed with Wagner.
Brandon Hepburn (2008): Not rated by either service in 2008. Signed with Florida A&M.
Travis Lewis (2007): Rated as the No. 79 running back in the country by ESPN and No. 20 outside linebacker by Rivals.com. Signed with Oklahoma.
Cory Greenwood (2006): Played football in Canada.
Louis Delmas (2005): Not rated by Rivals.com, but was a two-star recruit. Signed with Western Michigan.
Glover Quin (2006): Not rated by either service out of Southwest Mississippi Community College in 2006. More interesting -- both Rivals and ESPN had his name spelled at Glover Quinn with two "n's" in their bios.
Rashean Mathis (1998 or 1999): Mathis broke his leg his senior year at Englewood High School according to Jacksonville.com, costing him high Division I scholarships. He ended up at Bethune-Cookman. No recruiting information exists about him.
Chris Houston (2003): Rated as the No. 32 cornerback in his class and No. 66 player in Texas by Rivals.com. Signed with Arkansas.
Darius Slay (2009): Rated as the No. 109 safety and No. 76 player in Georgia in 2009. Signed with Mississippi State but went to Itawamba Community College before re-signing with Mississippi State in 2011, when he was unrated.
Don Carey (2005): Not rated as a safety by Rivals.com in his class. Signed with Norfolk State.
Bill Bentley (2008): Went from Pahokee, Fla. to Dodge City Community College. Didn't play there, but signed with Louisiana. Was not rated by ESPN.
Jonte Green (2007): Not rated out of high school by either service. Signed with Benedict College before transferring to New Mexico State.
Chris Greenwood (2007): Not rated out of high school. Went to Division II Northwood and then Division III Albion.
DeJon Gomes (2007): Not rated out of high school. Attended City College of San Francisco and then Nebraska in 2009. He was not rated then, either.
John Wendling (2002): Not rated as a running back out of high school by Rivals.com. Two-star recruit. Signed with Wyoming.
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (2006): Not rated as a running back. Signed with Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania and had an interesting recruiting story in Sports Illustrated.
David Akers (1993): No information is available here. Signed with Louisville.
Don Muhlbach (1999): Signed with Texas A&M. No information available on his recruitment.