Originally Published: April 16, 2013

Takes a little extra to earn a fifth star

By Tom Luginbill | ESPN RecruitingNation

The reality of recruiting rankings is that it is an inexact science. There are a lot more two- and three-star prospects out there than there are four- and five-star players for each and every class. Moreover, the amount of five-star players in each class is nowhere near 30, or even 50, players as some might believe. If there were that many, there would be 20-plus true freshmen making an impact or starting for college programs each season.

Below is a look at our 11 five-star players for the first edition of the ESPN 150 for the 2014 class and what elevated them to the elusive fifth star.

RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine)
Ht.: 6-1 | Wt.: 232 | ESPN 150 rank: 1 | Position rank: 1 | Grade: 95
College: Undecided | Eval Insider | Highlights Video
They don't come around this big and this fast often, and what makes Fournette such a rare prospect is the fact that he is also elusive and can make defenders miss just as effectively as he will run them over. If he lands in a downhill offense, we see major production at the next level, and it should come early. While an excellent running back prospect with immediate impact ability, he might be just as impressive at outside linebacker, which shows the real significance of his five-star value.


CB Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic )
Ht.: 6-1 | Wt.: 205 | ESPN 150 rank: 2 | Position rank: 1 | Grade: 95
College: Undecided | Eval Insider | Highlights Video
Originally evaluated in the athlete category, this lockdown corner shines on offense, defense and special teams, and his versatility is highly coveted. His blend of size, speed and ball skills as a skill player is exceptional, and his transition to the college level should be as smooth as his transitional skills in coverage. He is fast, fluid and physical at the corner position and should be able to lock down from day one and also set the edge on run support.


DT Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith)
Ht.: 6-4 | Wt.: 285 | ESPN 150 rank: 3 | Position rank: 1 | Grade: 94
College: Undecided | Eval Insider | Highlights Video
A defensive lineman might not sit atop the initial release of the 150 this year, but the position is still well represented among the five-star prospects led by Brown, the No. 3 prospect in the 2014 class. He is an explosive player capable of being a disruptive and physical presence inside. He needs to keep developing his game as a defensive tackle, but he displays the tools to be a tough and stout run defender and can grow into a strong interior pass-rusher. Interior players who can defend both the run and pass at a high level are a premium, and Brown has displayed the tools to have an impact from the D-tackle position. That is why he currently sits atop this group of defensive linemen.


DE Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge)
Ht.: 6-4 | Wt.: 245 | ESPN 150 rank: 4 | Position rank: 1 | Grade: 93
College: Undecided | Eval Insider | Highlights Video
Hand brings some very good natural tools to the table. He has the ability to be a tough edge run defender as well as a disruptive pass-rusher. He needs to keep growing as a player, but he possesses very good size, strength and first-step quickness and gives good effort in his play. A physically talented player, Hand has promising upside. As he further sharpens his technique and begins to maximize his strengths as a player on a consistent basis, he can develop into a very good college defender.


CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra)
Ht.: 5-11 | Wt.: 183 | ESPN 150 rank: 5 | Position rank: 2 | Grade: 92
College: Undecided | Eval Insider | Highlights Video
Lockdown cornerbacks are highly coveted. Jackson's top-end speed, short-area burst and ball skills make him a very difficult player for opponents to target. The fact that he also plays both ways and exhibits ball skills makes him dangerous with the ball in his hands. Don't forget about his skill set as a return specialist. He is a field-position changer.


DE Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin)
Ht.: 6-5 | Wt.: 247 | ESPN 150 rank: 6 | Position rank: 2 | Grade: 91
College: Undecided | Eval Insider | Highlights Video
This is a defensive end with a wonderful combination of size and athleticism. Garrett can be an exciting prospect at the position when you take into account his ability and upside. With excellent size, he demonstrates the ability to move around almost effortlessly at times and possesses the tools to be a player who can create problems, whether he is chasing down ball carriers or hunting down quarterbacks. Garrett comes out of the same high school program that produced TCU DE Devonte Fields, the AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and Garrett has better physical ability and arguably more upside, which is a bit of a scary thought when you consider that Fields, a former ESPN 150 member and Under Armour All-American, was a heck of a prospect in his own right.


OT Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe)
Ht.: 6-6 | Wt.: 325 | ESPN 150 rank: 7 | Position rank: 1 | Grade: 90
College: Undecided | Eval Insider
Robinson possesses the necessary size and strength to be an engulfing run-blocker, yet shows the feet and agility to anchor and set the edge as a pass protector. Also, we feel he has the skill set to stay on the left side or blind side at the next level. He is a bit more polished at this early stage than Class of 2013 five-star prospect and Ole Miss signee Laremy Tunsil was last year.


ATH Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr)
Ht.: 6-0 | Wt.: 176 | ESPN 150 rank: 8 | Position rank: 1 | Grade: 90
College: Undecided | Eval Insider
In today's game Noil could have a Tavon Austin type of impact offensively, only he is bigger than the West Virginia wideout. With his top-end speed and ability to make plays in space, we felt that he was a cut above others in the class. He has a high ceiling due to the fact that he has not settled in at one position, so his best might still be ahead of him.


CB Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover)
Ht.: 6-0 | Wt.: 179 | ESPN 150 rank: 9 | Position rank: 3 | Grade: 90
College: Undecided | Eval Insider | Highlights Video
There are not many true cornerback prospects at the high school level who are as polished and ready to take the college step as Humphrey. He is well-groomed from both a technical and mental standpoint at the nuances of one of the more difficult positions at the high school level. While refined, Humphrey also has the size and strength to succeed in physical schemes out on the perimeter and the foot speed and hips to play man on an island. That scheme versatility really adds to his worth as a prospect.


DT Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest)
Ht.: 6-4 | Wt.: 300 | ESPN 150 rank: 10 | Position rank: 2 | Grade: 90
College: Undecided | Eval Insider
Of the four defensive linemen among the initial five-stars, Gaillard had the least amount of hype coming into the initial evaluation period, but after watching his film it didn't take long to realize that he belongs among the top defensive linemen in this class. He is an explosive presence inside, capable of creating problems. Like many big men, he needs to learn to use his hands better and could likely benefit from continuing to better develop his frame, but he can get off the ball in a hurry, stay low and be an active and disruptive presence inside. There might not have been much talk about Gaillard originally, but he is certainly creating a buzz now.


S Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside)
Ht.: 6-2 | Wt.: 196 | ESPN 150 rank: 11 | Position rank: 1 | Grade: 90
College: Virginia | Eval Insider | Highlights Video
Athletic safeties with linebacker size and physicality are a commodity, and when you add in polished ball skills, you have a five-star prospect like Blanding. The Virginia native can cover ground better than he can cover in space, and his range is equally effective from a high-point, centerfield-type position as it is in a sideline-to-sideline role in run support when positioned in the box. His well-rounded skill set warrants five-star status.

Craig Haubert and Billy Tucker also contributed to this report.