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August 16, 2013

Ranking the all-time five-stars: Pennsylvania

MORE: Georgia - Louisiana - Md./D.C. - N.C. - Ohio

Terrelle Pryor ran for 4,238 yards and passed for 4,340 at Jeannette (Pa.) High. He led the program to a pair of state titles and was named the No. 1 overall player in the class of 2008 before going to Ohio State.

While with the Buckeyes, Pryor was named the Big Ten Preseason Player of Year and won a Rose Bowl (and was named MVP of the game). He also was embroiled in an improper benefits scandal that made him a pariah at the school, and he was banned from all contact with the program. As part of the NFL supplemental draft, he was selected by the Oakland Raiders. He is hoping his dual-threat talent translates to the new NFL game.

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.

HOW FARRELL RE-RANKS THEM
  Name Year/Rank
1 Terrelle Pryor 2008 No. 1
2 Sharrif Floyd 2010 No. 4
3 Noah Spence 2012 No. 9
4 Callahan Bright 2005 No. 14
5 Anthony Morelli 2004 No. 12
6 Chad Henne 2004 No. 13
7 Dan Connor 2004 No. 24
8 Jonathan Baldwin 2008 No. 26
9 Justin King 2005 No. 19
10 Alex Anzalone 2013 No. 28
 
We Missed On...
  Jared Odrick 2006 No. 31
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.

Pennsylvania barely qualified for this exercise because it has had just 13 players rated with five stars by the team of analysts at Rivals.com. Most have been marginal players instead of the standouts many fans wanted.

The state clearly is regressing, and it is not producing as many elite players as it once did.

Aside from Pryor, only Sharrif Floyd, Noah Spence and Alex Anzalone made the cut after the class of 2008.

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell believes Pryor was the right player to be atop the national rankings and this state re-rank.

"Pryor is still one of the best jumbo athletes I've ever seen, and I still believe he could have led Ohio State to a national title had he not had his off-field issues," he said. "Floyd is an easy choice at No. 2 and proved us correct by being a star at Florida and a first-rounder."

Jonathan Baldwin was a member of the same class as Pryor. Baldwin became a first-round pick in the NFL.

The rest of the state rankings came from the classes of 2004 and 2005 -- which has proved to be disappointing, Farrell said.

Anthony Morelli, Chad Henne and Dan Connor hailed from the class of 2004, and all had some level of success in college. Henne and Connor are in the NFL.

Callahan Bright was one of the top defensive linemen in the class of 2005 but never got his grades in order to become a force on the field. Justin King went to Penn State and made it to the NFL from the same class.

Farrell said the group is not bad for a bottom half.

"The class of 2004 holds down slots 5, 6 and 7, with Morelli being a bust and Henne and Connor panning out," he said. "Callahan Bright is one of the biggest and meanest defensive tackles you'll ever see who didn't make it. Overall, this is a solid group."

Following through the next class was Jared Odrick, who should have been a five-star but didn't quite get the star treatment he deserved, Farrell said.

"Odrick was a huge, athletic kid with a ton of talent and potential, but he played horrible competition and was a bit too upright for us out of high school," Farrell said. "We had him ranked No. 31 overall in 2006, so we were close to pulling the trigger but held off.

"Obviously, based on his college career, we should have made him a five-star."

The only players not to make this top 10 who were five-stars were Corey Brown, Dorian Bell and Dorian Johnson. Brown and Bell went to Ohio State from Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway, and neither made the expected impact. Bell transferred to Duquesne. Johnson is just getting onto campus at Pittsburgh from the class of 2013, and the jury is out on his development.



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