How top–ranked prospects over the last decade have fared in college

We looked back on the last 10 top–ranked football prospects and how they have fared in college. 
Publish date:

As National Signing Day approaches, top-ranked class of 2016 prospect Rashan Gary is set to make a decision on his college future. 

While the defensive tackle looks like a can’t–miss prospect, ranking high schoolers is an inexact science. Not every No. 1 recruit is guaranteed to find success on the field in college. 

Here's a look at each of's No. 1 recruits over the last decade and how they fared during their college careers. 

2006 - Beanie Wells, Ohio State

Wells was a solid running back for the Buckeyes over his three college seasons, twice rushing for over 1,000 yards and earning first–team All–Big Ten honors in 2007. He had his best season as a sophomore, rushing for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns. Wells finished his college career with 3,382 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. He was an important part of an offense that helped the Buckeyes win Big Ten titles each season he was at the school. 

2007 - Everson Griffen, USC

Griffen was a good player for the Trojans, but never turned into the force that coach Pete Carroll had hoped for. Griffen recorded his best season as a junior in 2009, tallying eight sacks and 45 total tackles. He earned second–team All–Pac 12 honors in 2009, his final season before declaring for the draft. He finished his college career with 18 sacks and 84 total tackles.  

2008 - Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State


Pryor led the Buckeyes to two Big Ten championships, was named a Rose Bowl MVP and earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. Despite his on–field success, Pryor’s college career was also known for a scandal that brought his days at Ohio State to an end. Pryor was alleged to have sold memorabilia and received improper benefits from a tattoo parlor during his time in Columbus, leading to the resignation of coach Jim Tressel and Pyror’s eventual withdrawal from the school in June 2011. He threw for 6,177 yards and 57 touchdowns during his college career. 

2009 - Bryce Brown, Tennessee


Brown's college career didn't take off as expected. He carried the ball 101 times for 460 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman, but transferred to Kansas State after coach Lane Kiffin left the Volunteers for USC. After sitting out a year, Brown carried the ball just three times during his only season with the Wildcats. He declared for the 2012 NFL draft as a junior. 

2010 - Seantrel Henderson, Miami

Henderson played in 43 games over his four seasons at Miami, earning FWAA freshman All-America honors in 2010 and two All–ACC honorable mentions. However, he was suspended three times for marijuana use during his career with the Hurricanes. 

2011 - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

Let's just get this out of the way. 

But Clowney wasn't just about “The Hit.” At his best, he was was arguably the best defensive player in country during his time with South Carolina. However, he wasn't consistent and saw a major drop in performance during his final season. Clowney registered his best season as a sophomore, recording 54 tackles and 13 sacks. He entered his junior year surrounded by talks of being a Heisman candidate, but managed just three sacks. He was drafted No. 1 by the Houston Texans after his junior season. 

2012 - Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri

Green-Beckham’s college career never really got on track, as the receiver ran into legal issues during his time at Missouri. He played in 25 games with the Tigers, making 87 catches for 1,278 yards and 17 touchdowns. Green-Beckham was arrested for possession of marijuana in 2012 and 2014, eventually being dismissed from the Missouri football team in April 2014. He transferred to Oklahoma, but never played a snap for the Sooners before declaring for the draft.  

2013 - Robert NkemdicheOle Miss

Recruited as a defensive end, Nkemdiche ended up adding bulk and settling in as a defensive tackle at Ole Miss. He recorded six sacks over three seasons, helping the Rebels gain national prominence. Nkemdiche made 26 total tackles and three sacks his junior year. He was arrested for marijuana possession on Dec. 21 after he fell out of a hotel window and announced that he would headed to the NFL draft soon afterwards. 

2014 - Leonard FournetteLSU

Fournette has been one of the most dominant running backs in college football since joining the Tigers. In just two seasons, he has rushed for 2,987 yards and 32 touchdowns, both good for fourth–best in school history. In 2015, Fournette carried the ball 300 times, tallying 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns. Fournette finished sixth in  2015 Heisman voting after being the favorite for much of the early part of the season. 

2015 - Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee


The 6’3”, 344-pound defensive tackle saw plenty of time as a freshman for the Volunteers, playing in all 13 games. McKenzie recorded 24 total tackles on the season and picked up his first sack against Missouri on Nov. 21. He helped the Volunteers finish the year 9–4.