The place each first-rounder ranked as a recruit


Earlier than they have been chosen within the first spherical of the 2021 NFL draft on Thursday evening, the 32 gamers who heard their title known as have been excessive schoolers with a dream.

Some have been rated by Rivals.com among the many nation’s most elite prospects. Others needed to scratch and claw simply to obtain a school scholarship. We determined to return and take a look at how all 32 have been perceived as highschool recruits.

Every story — from every five-star recruit to guys with only one FBS supply — is exclusive.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell holds a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey as he announces that the Jaguars had chosen Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first pick in the NFL football draft, Thursday April 29, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell holds a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey as he declares that the Jaguars had chosen Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the primary choose within the NFL soccer draft, Thursday April 29, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photograph/Tony Dejak)

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Staff: Jacksonville Jaguars

Rivals ranking: 5 stars, No. 1 total

2018 place rating: No. 1 pro-style quarterback

Trevor Lawrence lived as much as the hype. The No. 1 total rating by Rivals.com within the class of 2018, Lawrence was recruited by the highest applications across the nation and ended up committing to Clemson over in-state Georgia late in his junior yr. 

Lawrence gained the beginning job by Week 5 of his freshman season and by no means seemed again. He led the Tigers to a nationwide title that yr and introduced them again to the School Soccer Playoff as a sophomore and junior. In all, he threw for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns as a school QB. Now he’s off to Jacksonville because the No. 1 choose within the 2021 NFL draft.

2. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Staff: New York Jets

Rivals ranking: 3 stars, not in Rivals 250

2018 place rating: Unranked

Zach Wilson is the son of a Utah soccer participant however he ended up at rival BYU. The Utes, with a dedication from one other QB within the class of 2018, by no means supplied Wilson a scholarship. Through the summer time of 2016, Wilson gave a verbal dedication to Boise State. Greater than a yr later, simply earlier than the start of the early signing interval, Wilson backed away from that dedication. 

BYU entered Wilson’s recruitment late, however Wilson shortly jumped on the supply and signed with the Cougars. Energy 5 colleges like Cal, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon State and Syracuse all supplied Wilson, however none prioritized him like BYU did at that time within the course of. Wilson confirmed flashes of brilliance in his first two seasons on campus, however actually flourished in 2020 as a junior when he threw for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns.

3. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Staff: San Francisco 49ers

Rivals ranking:2 stars, not in Rivals 250

2018 place rating: Unranked

Trey Lance went from small-town Minnesota to FCS star to first-round choose within the span of three years. FBS colleges like Air Pressure, Boise State and Northern Illinois all gave Lance a glance as a quarterback, however many Energy 5 applications wished Lance to change positions. The College of Minnesota, in reality, was recruiting Lance as an athlete. 

However he wished to play quarterback and North Dakota State, which despatched Carson Wentz and Easton Stick with the NFL, was the most effective match. Lance grew to become the starter as a redshirt freshman and had a exceptional season: 2,786 passing yards, 1,100 speeding yards and 42 complete touchdowns. Now Lance is headed to San Francisco. 

4. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Staff: Atlanta Falcons

Rivals ranking:4 stars, not in Rivals 250

2018 place rating: No. 12 tight finish

Kyle Pitts started his highschool profession taking part in quarterback earlier than he made a transfer to tight finish. As soon as he established himself as a dynamic pass-catcher, he earned a four-star rating from Rivals and was rated because the ninth-best participant within the state of Pennsylvania and the Twelfth-best tight finish within the nation. He dedicated to Florida with Georgia and Virginia Tech as his different finalists. 

By the point he was a sophomore, Pitts progressed into one of many high offensive weapons within the SEC. Over his final two years at UF, Pitts caught 97 passes for 1,491 yards and 17 TDs.

5. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Staff: Cincinnati Bengals

Rivals ranking:4 stars, No. 67 total

2018 place rating: No. 12 broad receiver

Ja’Marr Chase’s recruitment went all the way in which to nationwide signing day in 2018. The four-star, high 100 prospect out of New Orleans reeled in dozens of presents earlier than narrowing his selections right down to LSU and Auburn. In the end, Chase opted to remain native by signing with LSU. It proved to be a large coup for the Tigers. 

Chase put up modest numbers as a real freshman earlier than rising as a star in 2019 with 84 catches for 1,780 yards and 20 TDs to assist LSU win a nationwide title. Chase opted out of the 2020 season, however the choice didn’t have an effect on his draft inventory in anyway as he was the primary receiver off the board.

6. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Staff: Miami Dolphins

Rivals ranking: 5 stars, No. 31 total

2018 place rating: No. 7 broad receiver

Jaylen Waddle was one in every of three five-star recruits to signal with Alabama in the course of the 2018 cycle. The Houston native was ranked by Rivals because the No. 31 total prospect within the nation. He took his choice to nationwide signing day with Alabama and Texas A&M as his two finalists. 

Some thought A&M, which had simply employed Jimbo Fisher, may swoop in and snag Waddle’s signature, however the speedster ended up going with the Crimson Tide. As soon as he landed in Tuscaloosa, Waddle grew to become an enormous play menace any time the ball touched his palms.

7. Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

Staff: Detroit Lions

Rivals ranking: 4 stars, No. 60 total

2018 place rating: No. 5 offensive sort out

Penei Sewell was the highest participant from the state of Utah in his recruiting class and ranked because the fifth-best sort out within the nation. After sorting by dozens of presents, Sewell whittled his selections right down to 4: Alabama, Oregon, USC and Utah. Sewell initially deliberate to make his alternative in the course of the fall of his senior yr, however Willie Taggart’s choice to depart Oregon for Florida State prompted him to reevaluate. 

Ultimately, Sewell signed with Oregon after shortly putting up a relationship with new coach Mario Cristobal. Sewell grew to become Oregon’s beginning left sort out as a freshman and by no means vacated that function. Just a few years later, he was the primary offensive lineman chosen within the NFL draft.

8. Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

Staff: Carolina Panthers

Rivals ranking: 4 stars, No. 189 total

2018 place rating: No. 20 cornerback

Like Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn is the son of a longtime NFL participant. For Horn, his father is Joe Horn, the previous New Orleans Saints receiver. The battle for Horn was hotly contested throughout the SEC. He first verbally dedicated to Tennessee in August of 2017, however he backed away after Butch Jones was fired. 

A month later, the Georgia native signed with South Carolina within the early signing interval. The four-star recruit ended up turning into a starter as a real freshman. By his junior yr, Horn grew to become one of many high corners within the nation. Now he’s a first-round choose.

9. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Staff: Denver Broncos

Rivals ranking: 5 stars, No. 8 total

2018 place rating: No. 1 cornerback

The son of longtime NFL CB Patrick Surtain, Patrick Surtain II earned a five-star billing from Rivals, who tabbed him as the highest cornerback within the nation. Gives poured in for the Florida native, and Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Miami and Ohio State have been all closely within the image. 

LSU was thought of the favourite for Surtain for a good portion of his recruitment, however he ended up signing with Alabama on nationwide signing day. Surtain ended up beginning 38 video games for the Crimson Tide and have become one of many high corners within the nation.

10. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Staff: Philadelphia Eagles

Rivals ranking: 4 stars, No. 42 total

2017 place rating: No. 6 broad receiver

Hailing from Amite, Louisiana, DeVonta Smith really dedicated to Georgia early in his recruiting course of. However when UGA fired Mark Richt, Smith opened up his recruitment. Smith made official visits to 4 colleges: Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Miami. 

Ultimately, Smith bypassed the native faculty and picked Alabama. The transfer paid off in an enormous method. He caught the nationwide title-winning landing as a freshman and gained the Heisman Trophy and one other nationwide title as a senior. Now he’s headed to Philadelphia as a first-round choose.

11. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Staff: Chicago Bears

Rivals ranking: 5 stars, No. 2 total

2018 place rating: No. 1 dual-threat quarterback

Simply behind Lawrence within the 2018 rankings was Justin Fields, one other Georgia native. Fields initially dedicated to Penn State. At that time (December 2016), Fields was rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals. Within the months that adopted, Fields rocketed up the rankings — all the way in which to No. 2 nationally. 

Fields would again away from his PSU pledge and finally signal with Georgia. He spent his freshman season because the backup at UGA and finally selected to switch to Ohio State. Fields was good in his two seasons in Columbus, throwing for five,373 yards and 63 touchdowns with two high 10 Heisman finishes.

12. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Staff: Dallas Cowboys

Rivals ranking: 5 stars, No. 6 total

2018 place rating: No. 1 outdoors linebacker

Micah Parsons was a five-star recruit out of Harrisburg, Pa., who primarily performed defensive finish and working again in highschool. He dedicated to Penn State as a sophomore, however later walked again on that verbal dedication. He was pursued by the highest colleges from across the nation and ended up circling again to the Nittany Lions. 

Regardless of not taking part in linebacker earlier than school, he led PSU in tackles as a freshman and have become an All-American as a sophomore. He opted out of the 2020 season, so he completed his school profession with 191 tackles and 18 tackles for loss in simply two seasons.

13. Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Staff: Carolina Panthers

Rivals ranking: 3 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: No. 36 offensive guard

Rashawn Slater was a little bit of an unheralded prospect popping out of Sugar Land, Texas, within the class of 2017. Slater had nice grades in highschool and Northwestern proved to be the proper mixture of athletics and lecturers. The three-star recruit selected the Wildcats over presents from Illinois, Kansas, Rice, SMU and Wyoming. Massive 12 colleges like Baylor and Oklahoma confirmed curiosity in Slater, however by no means supplied him a scholarship. Slater shortly moved into the beginning lineup for the Wildcats and ended up beginning 37 video games in his profession — 26 at proper sort out and 11 at left sort out.

14. Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC

Staff: New York Jets

Rivals ranking:4 stars, No. 176 total

2017 place rating:No. 17 offensive sort out

Hailing from Oakland, Alijah Vera-Tucker determined to move south to Los Angeles for his school soccer profession. The four-star prospect selected USC as a highschool junior and remained dedicated to the Trojans whilst colleges like Texas A&M and Washington continued to recruit him. Throughout his time in uniform with the Trojans, Vera-Tucker confirmed his versatility by beginning video games at each guard and sort out. The Jets clearly valued his skillset, so that they traded up and grabbed him at No. 14. 

15. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Staff: New England Patriots

Rivals ranking: 4 stars, No. 162 total

2017 place rating: No. 9 pro-style quarterback

A local of Jacksonville, Florida, Mac Jones initially dedicated to Kentucky in July of 2015. At that time, Jones was an unheralded three-star prospect who had only some presents. By early 2016, Jones was bumped as much as a four-star grade by Rivals and commenced to draw consideration from different colleges. A kind of colleges was Alabama. 

In June 2016, Jones flipped his dedication to the Crimson Tide, turning into the second QB in Bama’s 2017 class (alongside a man named Tua Tagovailoa who you might be aware of). Jones spent three seasons as a backup in Tuscaloosa earlier than turning into the starter in 2020. All he did was throw for 4,500 yards and 41 TDs whereas main the Crimson Tide to a nationwide title. Now he’s a member of the New England Patriots. 

16. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Staff: Arizona Cardinals

Rivals ranking: 2 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: Unranked

Popping out of tiny Hominy, Oklahoma, Zaven Collins performed quarterback and security for his highschool group. Tulsa was the one FBS faculty to supply him a scholarship, although he did entice consideration from Oklahoma State. Earlier than he dedicated to Tulsa in August of 2016, Collins had only one different supply and it got here from Central Oklahoma, a Division II faculty. Collins made the transition to linebacker in school and thrived, incomes a number of nationwide awards as a redshirt junior in 2020.

17. Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama

Staff: Las Vegas Raiders

Rivals ranking: 5 stars, No. 4 total

2017 place rating: No. 1 offensive sort out

Alex Leatherwood dedicated to Alabama early, making his choice in the summertime between his sophomore and junior years of highschool. He was already a heralded prospect at that time, however he ended up ascending to the highest of the Rivals rankings for the category of 2017. Leatherwood ended up because the No. 1 participant from the state of Florida, the No. 1 offensive sort out within the nation and No. 4 total. By his sophomore yr, Leatherwood was a starter. He ended up taking part in each guard and sort out for the Crimson Tide. 

18. Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami

Staff: Miami Dolphins

Rivals ranking: 5 stars, No. 6 total

2017 place rating: No. 2 weakside defensive finish

Jaelan Phillips was one of many top-rated recruits in your complete nation when he signed with UCLA within the class of 2017. However a string of accidents ended up chopping his time in Westwood quick. In a while, he resurfaced at Miami and confirmed the traits that made him such a coveted recruit. In his lone season at Miami, Phillips had 45 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Regardless of a number of the medical considerations, the Dolphins grabbed Phillips within the first spherical. 

19. Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky

Staff: Washington Soccer Staff

Rivals ranking: 3 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: Unranked

Jamin Davis was rated as a three-star recruit popping out of the talent-rich state of Georgia within the class of 2017. Davis dedicated to Kentucky in March of 2016 however didn’t waver together with his dedication after receiving a number of different Energy 5 presents later that yr. Davis ended up as an early enrollee for the Wildcats, however didn’t emerge as a starter till 2020. He mixed for 42 tackles in his first two seasons. In 2020 he put up a whopping 102 tackles. That prime degree of play put him on the radar of NFL groups.

20. Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Staff: New York Giants

Rivals ranking: 3 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: No. 63 athlete

Kadarius Toney was a quarterback at Blount Excessive College in Alabama, however schools recruited him as an athlete. Toney ended his recruitment earlier than his senior season by selecting Florida earlier than even stepping foot on campus. Even when different colleges entered the image later that yr (together with Alabama), Toney caught with the Gators and enrolled early. He took some snaps at QB early in his UF profession, earlier than settling in as an offensive weapon and in a while as a receiver. That versatility helped Toney land within the first spherical of the 2021 NFL draft.

21. Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan

Staff: Indianapolis Colts

Rivals ranking: 3 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: No. 35 defensive finish

There aren’t many top-tier recruits that come out of Rhode Island, and Kwity Paye was fast to pounce on a Energy 5 supply when he acquired one. That got here in December of 2015 when Paye made a verbal pledge to Boston School over UMass and Rhode Island. In a while, although, Paye would entice extra consideration. After practically a yr as a BC commit, Paye acquired a late supply from Michigan and it was an excessive amount of to move up. After a four-year profession at UM, Paye ended up as a first-round choose within the 2021 draft.

22. Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

Staff: Tennessee Titans

Rivals ranking: 4 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: No. 32 athlete

Caleb Farley was a highschool quarterback who dedicated to Virginia Tech as a large receiver. Virginia Tech was the second faculty to supply him a scholarship, doing so only a day after Wake Forest. A month later, he picked the Hokies and caught with that dedication even after a number of different Energy 5 presents got here in. Farley was injured early in his VT profession and finally switched to defensive again. He flourished in that place and, regardless of a number of again surgical procedures, labored his method into the primary spherical.

23. Christian Darrisaw, OL, Virginia Tech

Staff: Minnesota Vikings

Rivals ranking: 2 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: Unranked

Christian Darrisaw had three presents, all from FCS applications (Central Connecticut State, Morgan State and North Carolina Central), earlier than Virginia Tech got here into the image. Shortly after receiving a suggestion from the Hokies, Darrisaw dedicated. The Maryland native took a post-graduate yr at Fork Union Navy Academy, however stayed dedicated to Virginia Tech. Darrisaw ended up being a three-year starter at left sort out for the Hokies.

24. Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Staff: Pittsburgh Steelers

Rivals ranking: 5 stars, No. 1 total

2017 place rating: No. 1 working again

Najee Harris had one of many extra notorious recruitments in current reminiscence. A five-star recruit within the 2017 class, Harris dedicated to Alabama as a highschool sophomore. The California native was set to enroll early at Alabama, however Michigan continued to remain within the image. 

The rumors swirled all the way in which as much as the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, and Harris apparently had three airplane tickets with him throughout that journey: one to Alabama, one to Michigan and one other again house to California. Ultimately, he caught together with his Alabama dedication. He grew to become a star within the SEC, and now he’s a first-round choose.

25. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Staff: Jacksonville Jaguars

Rivals ranking: 3 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: No. 26 working again

Travis Etienne grew to become “the one which bought away” for LSU coach Ed Orgeron. Etienne, a local of Jennings, Louisiana, was a three-star recruit who pulled in a slew of presents from throughout the nation. LSU was a type of colleges, however the supply got here too late within the course of — in December of 2016 when Orgeron was interim head coach. A month later, Etienne dedicated to Clemson. Etienne grew to become a star for the Tigers, finally ending his school profession because the ACC’s all-time chief in speeding yards, speeding TDs, complete TDs and yards from scrimmage.

26. Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern

Staff: Cleveland Browns

Rivals ranking: 3 stars, not in Rivals 250

2018 place rating: No. 36 security

Greg Newsome, an Illinois native, opted to remain in his house state for school — even after ending out his highschool taking part in profession at IMG Academy in Florida. He picked Northwestern over presents from colleges like Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Virginia and Virginia Tech. 

Newsome cracked Northwestern’s beginning lineup as a real freshman and ended up taking part in in 21 video games with 18 begins over three seasons. He totaled 20 move breakups and made a spotlight reel interception in opposition to Justin Fields and Ohio State within the 2020 Massive Ten title sport. 

27. Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Staff: Baltimore Ravens

Rivals ranking: 4 stars, not in Rivals 250

2018 place rating: No. 59 broad receiver

Minnesota introduced Bateman, a four-star recruit out of Georgia, as much as the Twin Cities within the class of 2018. The Gophers have been on Bateman early and Bateman caught with Minnesota even after a number of SEC colleges, together with Georgia, started recruiting him. Bateman made a right away affect, catching 51 passes for 704 yards and 6 TDs as a freshman. In 2019, Bateman grew to become a star with 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 TDs as Minnesota emerged as one of many shock groups within the nation. 

28. Payton Turner, DE, Houston

Staff: New Orleans Saints

Rivals ranking: 2 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: Unranked

A Houston native, UH was Payton Turner’s finest supply by a big margin. Aside from his hometown group, Turner’s solely different listed presents on Rivals have been Alcorn State, Military, Brown, Cornell and Texas Southern. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 270 kilos, Turner proved to be a steal for the Cougars. He was a three-year starter at UH who completed his profession with 114 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. 

29. Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia

Staff: Inexperienced Bay Packers

Rivals ranking: 3 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: No. 51 athlete

A lanky cornerback identified for his velocity, Eric Stokes was recruited at quite a lot of positions. However the Bulldogs noticed him as a defensive again and have been capable of land the signature of the Georgia state champion monitor star in February 2017. Stokes’ different presents included Florida, LSU, Ole Miss and West Virginia. At UGA, Stokes grew to become a full-time starter in 2019. In 2020, he was voted a second-team all-SEC choice by the league’s coaches. 

30. Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami

Staff: Buffalo Payments

Rivals ranking: 4 stars, not in Rivals 250

2018 place rating: No. 15 athlete

Gregory Rousseau performed all around the discipline throughout his highschool profession and was listed as an athlete by Rivals. The Florida native narrowed his selections right down to LSU, Miami, Oregon and USC. And as soon as he stayed native and selected Miami, the coaches there molded him right into a pass-rusher. Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season, however put up enormous numbers in 2019: 54 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. 

31. Jayson Oweh, DE, Penn State

Staff: Baltimore Ravens

Rivals ranking: 4 stars, No. 140 total

2018 place rating: No. 9 strongside defensive finish

Jayson Oweh was a basketball participant for the early components of highschool. However when he took up soccer, school coaches started swarming. Oweh racked up dozens of presents however finally whittled his selections down to 2 Massive Ten East colleges: Ohio State and Penn State. 

Oweh ended up choosing PSU, the place he ended up displaying his uncooked move rush abilities. He notably didn’t register a single sack in 2020, however the Ravens seemed previous the stats and noticed the freakish athleticism.

32. Joe Tryon, DE, Washington

Staff: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Rivals ranking: 3 stars, not in Rivals 250

2017 place rating: No. 39 strongside defensive finish

A local of the state of Washington, Joe Tryon initially dedicated to Washington State in August 2016. Later within the course of, although, Tryon acquired presents from Oregon, Utah and Washington. Tryon caught together with his WSU dedication after the presents from Oregon and Utah, however he ended up flipping to Washington in January 2017. As a sophomore in 2019, Tryon put up 12.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He opted out in 2020, however was nonetheless capable of slide in because the final choose of the primary spherical.

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