- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Super Bowl came and went with an exciting/mind-boggling ending, but as we looked at the rosters on both sides, it reminded us of one very important thing as we head into national signing day: Don't get all caught up in the golden-star hype.
As SBNation pointed out last week, just about every starter for the Patriots and Seahawks was ranked a three-star or lower coming out of high school. According to the article, both teams' starting lineups had an average star rating of 2.4 (based on 247Sports Composite).
I don't care what recruiting service you use, that's impressive.
Now, obviously, things are a little different at the college level. No Power 5 team is going to win a national championship with a roster chock full of two-star hard workers, but every now and then you'll find a gem hidden away in the high school ranks.
For our purposes, today we 're looking at the top two-star or worse high school prospects who made an impact in the SEC. We're going on ESPN's recruiting rankings, so 2010 is our cut off.
First, we'll look at five guys from the 2010 class who didn't play this past fall, and later we'll check out 10 players who did play in 2014. Sorry junior college transfers, you aren't eligible. We're going straight from high school with our rankings.
1. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt: Ranking: two-star, No. 153 WR: Talk about a rags-to-riches tale. Matthews went from unknown and unwanted out of high school to a third-team All-American in 2013 and a consensus first-team All SEC member after a record-breaking year -- and career -- with the Commodores. Matthews ended his Vandy career as the SEC's all-time leader with 262 career receptions and 3,759 receiving yards. As a senior, he set a new SEC record with 112 catches in a single season and his 1,477 receiving yards were the third-highest total ever by an SEC receiver.
2. Brad Wing, P, LSU: Ranking: two-star, No. 24 K: Wing actually made punting cool. The Australian-born stud of a punter was a tremendous weapon for the Tigers, who completely turned the field around every time he kicked. He burst right onto the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2011, ranking second in the SEC and 11th nationally with a 44.4-yard average per punt. He had a season-long of 73 yards (third-longest punt in school history) and was named an All-American. In two years as a starter before bolting to the NFL early, Wing downed 48 punts inside the 20-yard line and boomed 39 punts 50-plus yards.
3. Henry Josey, RB, Missouri: Ranking: two-star, No. 258 ATH: After rushing for 437 yards as a freshman, Josey exploded for a Big 12-leading 1,168 rushing yards through the first 10 games of the season before a devastating knee injury cut his season short. Josey would go on to miss the entire 2012 season before springing right back to his old self in 2013 -- and in the SEC. In his final year with the Tigers, Josey ranked eighth in the SEC with 1,166 rushing yards and had 16 touchdowns. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry and 92.9 yards per game in SEC play. Josey registered five runs of 50-plus yards in 2013, including a long of 86 yards.
4. Avery Williamson, LB, Kentucky: Ranking: two-star, No. 56 ILB: He played in all 49 games allotted to him during his four-year Kentucky career. Williamson started 23 of those games and was one of the SEC's most productive tacklers in his final two seasons with the Wildcats. As a junior, Williamson finished second in the SEC and seventh nationally with 135 tackles (70 solo), with eight double-digit performances, including registering 20 total tackles against Vanderbilt. He also had a four-game string in which he recorded at least 13 tackles in each contest. A year later, Williamson led Kentucky with 102 tackles, including 46 solo stops.
5. Kenarious Gates, OL, Georgia: Ranking: two-star, No. 139 OT: Gates become one of Georgia's most versatile and athletic offensive linemen during his time in Athens. He played in 46 career games, making 39 starts. Gates could move all around the line if needed and spent time at both left tackle and left guard as a junior. He even started at right guard against Tennessee as a freshman. It's a shame that Gates was never named a first- or second-team All-SEC member during his final two years at Georgia.
1118dEdward Aschoff and Chris Low