The star-lite Super Bowl
Updated: January 26, 2010, 11:36 AM ETBy Bruce Feldman
It's an intriguing time around football: there were two entertaining games in the NFL conference title weekend; the countdown to the signing day is in full swing and the Senior Bowl week is about to kick off. Keep the Colts in mind if your favorite college team doesn't sound like it is cleaning up on signing day next week because the AFC champions are a very interesting study about what a group of mostly unheralded or off-the-radar recruits can become. (Or maybe they are a testament to what can happen to an NFL team if you have one for-the-ages, all-time great running the show.)
Anyhow, I went back to check their depth chart to see how the guys who start for the Colts were rated as recruits. Of those ones who have come through in the online recruiting era marked by the "star" system, it's pretty interesting.
Starting left tackle Charlie Johnson was deemed a two-star tight end prospect; left guard Ryan Lilja was a three-star O-lineman; RG Kyle DeVan was a three-star; Austin Collie was a three-star receiver.
Of the remaining starters on the Colts' offense, you either have guys who entered college before the boom of the Internet recruiting era -- QB Peyton Manning (who would've had to have been a five-star); center Jeff Saturday, WR Reggie Wayne, RB Joseph Addai, RT Ryan Diem -- or guys like TE Dallas Clark, WR Pierre Garcon and H-back Gijon Robinson, all of whom were around the two-star range.
On defense, the lone starter ranked above the three-star level is startling left cornerback Kelvin Hayden, who was labeled as a four-star ... but at wide receiver. After that it was DT Antonio Johnson, a three-star JC recruit; LB Philip Wheeler, a three-star; LB Clint Session, a three-star; DB Melvin Bullitt, a three-star, and the same for CB Jacob Lacey.
To read Bruce's breakdown of the rest of the "stars" of the Super Bowl, plus a mountain of recruiting notes on Notre Dame, Stanford, Texas and others, you must be an ESPN Insider.