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August 16, 2013

Ranking the all-time five-stars: Texas

MORE: Ga. - La. - Md./D.C. - N.C. - Ohio - Pa.

The state of Texas stunningly is third among five-star producers during the Rivals.com era with 42 such athletes. It is one of the few with multiple players who have been ranked No. 1, and it has the richest history of quarterback success.

Figuring out how to rank the state's all-time five-stars was difficult because Adrian Peterson was one of the best in high school, college and the pros. Meanwhile, despite having limited success on the NFL level, quarterback Vince Young carried his teams in high school and college -- nearly single-handedly -- to titles, becoming one of the best ever at both levels.

Those two top the list of talented players who were simply outstanding in high school.

Following the summer evaluation period, the Rivals.com team of analysts is meeting this week to discuss how to reshape the rankings for the class of 2014 Rivals100 presented by Under Armour. This presented a perfect opportunity to look back at former five-star prospects and re-rank them among the other elite prospects from their home states.

Name Year/Rank
1 Adrian Peterson 2004 No. 1
2 Vince Young 2002 No. 1
3 Mario Edwards 2012 No. 3
4 Ryan Mallett 2007 No. 4
5 Rhett Bomar 2004 No. 4
6 Sergio Kindle 2006 No. 5
7 Matthew Stafford 2006 No. 6
8 Johnathan Gray 2012 No. 5
9 Reggie McNeal 2002 No. 5
10 Russell Shepard 2009 No. 7

We Missed On...
Andrew Luck 2008 No. 68
From the class of 2002 -- when Rivals.com established the Rivals100 -- to the class of 2013, there have been 11 states to have double-digit players earn five-star rankings. This week, it is time to turn back the clock and put those players in order based on what they did in high school.

None of the players identified as midseason five-stars for the class of 2014 is considered for this ranking. Each is subject to change through the regular season and all-star game evaluations.

Texas was edged by two prospects by California and was clearly behind the 58 of Florida, but it may have more success stories than the others.

On the high school level, the state has become known for its quarterbacks, but Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell went with a running back at the top of his re-rank.

"This is the toughest call at the top of any state," he said. "How do you choose between Adrian Peterson and Vince Young at No. 1? I'll go with Peterson because he's still the best all-around running back I've ever seen in high school and Young was a raw passer, but it was a close call."

Young players such as Florida State defensive lineman Mario Edwards and Texas running back Johnathan Gray have plenty of time to prove their rankings correct, while the judgments on many of the signal callers are in.

"In addition to Young, we have quarterbacks Ryan Mallett, Rhett Bomar, Matthew Stafford, Reggie McNeal and Russell Shepard on this list," Farrell said. "There are busts (Bomar, Shepard) and booms (Stafford) and a few in between. But it was too many quarterbacks ranked too highly in retrospect."

One quarterback who didn't make the five-star cut was Andrew Luck. He has proven to be better than almost anyone who did achieve the elite ranking level.

"Luck was No. 68 in the country in 2008, so he wasn't exactly knocking on the door of five-stars, but geez, we kind of missed the boat a bit," Farrell said. "We had him as the top pro-style quarterback in the state that year, and he was fourth at his position with two five-stars ahead of him, but with his size and mobility and the fact he was just starting to develop, we probably should have seen more."

NFL players Alex Okafor, Justin Blalock and Martellus Bennett did not make the new top 10, and neither did college running backs Christine Michael, Lache Seastrunk, Malcolm Brown and Trey Williams.

Farrell said there are those who can continue to prove Texas high school football is near the top nationally.

"Guys like Edwards and Gray can still make this list a bit better," he said. "But this is the best one-two punch of any state."

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