Recruiting is perhaps one of the most gut-wrenching hobbies of the college football enthusiast. It’s just as enjoyable as it is nerve-wracking. Fan bases celebrate when four- and five-star prospects commit to their school, but the lofty expectations that come with those rankings don’t always pan out.
Let’s have a look back at the top 10 players of 2012 according to Rivals.com to see who stepped up, who slumped and who surprised.
1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
No. 1 Dual-Threat, No. 10 Nationally
During Winston’s brief but magical two years, he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to a national championship as a redshirt freshman. He’s now the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being selected No. 1 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Who was No. 1: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
2. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
No. 6 Wide Receiver, No. 45 Nationally
Cooper had an unheard of 1,727 receiving yards coupled with 16 touchdowns as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2014. He chose to opt out of his senior season and was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Who was No. 2: D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida
3. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
No. 5 Running Back, No. 42 Nationally
A premier rusher in the SEC during his career, Gurley racked up 3,285 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns over three years of play. That’s particularly impressive considering he sat out several games of his sophomore and junior seasons due to injury.
Who was No. 3: Mario Edwards, DT, Florida State
4. Keenan Reynolds, QB, Navy
N/A QB, N/A Nationally
One of the finest athletes to play the game, Reynolds holds multiple records including rushing touchdowns (31), career and individual rushing touchdowns (88 and 64, respectively) and yards from scrimmage (1,191).
He also collected 180 points on 2015 Heisman Trophy ballots despite playing for a military academy with little sexy media buzz.
Who was No. 4: Shaq Thompson, S, Washington
5. Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford
No. 2 Guard, No. 33 Nationally
The 2015 Outland Trophy Award winner, Garnett helped make way for Stanford’s No. 19 rushing attack and open holes for the sensational Christian McCaffrey.
Who was No. 5: Johnathan Gray, RB, Texas
6. Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
No. 1 Inside Linebacker, No. 43 Nationally
A 2015 consensus All-American, Ragland also was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year as the Crimson Tide marched on to claim their most recent national championship. He notched 220 tackles (117 solo), 17.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks and four forced fumbles during his four-year career.
Who was No. 6: Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
7. Taylor Decker, OT Ohio State
No. 23 OT, No. 221 Nationally
A consensus 2015 All-American, Decker spent his two years at Ohio State being a reliable pillar of excellence on the offensive line. Thanks to his play, the Buckeyes went on to win the first-ever College Football Playoff in 2014.
Who was No. 7: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
8. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
No. 1 Wide Receiver, No. 1 Nationally
A selection by the Tennessee Titans in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Green-Beckham helped show that Missouri could compete in the SEC. He totaled 1,278 in his two-year college career and lead the conference in receiving touchdowns with 12 in 2013.
Who was No. 8: Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
9. Adolphus Washington, DE, Ohio State
No. 2 DE, No. 25 Nationally
Washington spent his four years as a Buckeye being a destructive force. He tallied 142 tackles (71 solo), 25 tackles for a loss, 13.5 sacks, forced three fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown.
Who was No. 9: Noah Spence, DE, Ohio State
10. Mario Edwards, DT, Florida State
No. 1 Defensive Tackle, No. 3 Nationally
A defensive demon for the Seminoles, Edwards tallied 78 total tackles (46 solo), 20.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles in his sophomore and junior years.
Who was No. 10: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
The Best of the Rest:
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama
No. 2 Running Back, No. 12 Nationally
Stefon Diggs, WR Maryland
No. 2 WR, No. 8 Nationally
Cardale Jones, QB Ohio State
Not Ranked QB, Not Ranked Nationally
Ty Darlington, Center, Oklahoma
No. 2 Center, No. 163 Nationally
Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford
No. 3 OT, No. 19 Nationally
DeVante Harris, CB, Texas A&M
No. 3 CB, No. 69 Nationally
Tyler Matakevich, OLB, Temple
N/R OLB, N/R Nationally
Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
No. 1 DE, No. 6 Nationally
DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
No. 17 DE, N/R Nationally
Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame
No. 18 DT, No. 224 Nationally
Trae Elston, S, Ole Miss
No. 28 S, N/R Nationally
Vadal Alexander, OT, LSU
No. 11 OG, No. 234 Nationally
Darius Hamilton, DE, Rutgers
No. 2 DE, No. 11 Nationally
D.J. Foster, ATH, Arizona State
No. 5 ATH, No. 71 Nationally
Deon Bush, S, Miami
No. 6 S, No. 83 Nationally