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August 12, 2013
Ranking the all-time five-stars: California
Winning a Heisman Trophy, a BCS national title and a Super Bowl are all accolades
that will forever be the second part of the sentence when Reggie Bush's
legacy is discussed because of his involvement in an improper benefits scandal that
rocked USC in the late 2000s.
None of the players identified as midseason five-stars for the class of 2014 is considered for this ranking. Each ranking is subject to change through the regular season and all-star game evaluations.
The state of California has the population base to consistently have multiple prospects ranked among the nation's elite, but Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said this group may be among the most confounding of any state.
"This list has some very good players but is loaded with guys who just didn't or haven't lived up to their talent out of high school," Farrell said. "How does Reggie Bush rank No. 1 here if there's no hindsight involved over two players who were No. 1 in the country overall?"
Farrell put Bush ahead of former Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian quarterback Jimmy Clausen and Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde defensive end Ronald Powell. Both were top players in the country for their classes.
"It's a tough choice, but Bush was essentially 1B behind Ernie Sims his year and he has one of the top five highlight tapes you'll ever see, so we could easily make the case for him as an overall No. 1," Farrell said. "Clausen had a very good college career and was a different breed of quarterback coming out of high school despite the haters, but after him there is a run of players who never lived up to the billing."
Below that top group are two relative busts in Lorenzo Booker and Whitney Lewis, with former UCLA quarterback Ben Olson just below at No. 7.
Players such as George Farmer, Shaq Thompson, Rey Maualuga and De'Anthony Thomas still have time to prove their worth.
"Thompson at No. 8 is still a work in progress and Maualuga had a very good career and Thomas is dynamic," Farrell said. "But the middle of this group busted out when you consider their rankings."
Many others have gone on to bigger and better things, but limiting the re-rank to just their high school attributes leaves DeSean Jackson, Marcedes Lewis, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, Trent Edwards, Tyron Smith and Vontaze Burfict on the outside of the top 10.
Another player who didn't earn a fifth star has also gone onto be a factor at the next level -- and to haunt Farrell.
"We are kicking ourselves for this one," he said. "Marshawn Lynch has gone from a trivia question -- who was the No. 2 running back in the country behind Adrian Peterson coming out of high school? -- to an NFL beast."