The tweet rolled across my phone screen last week, touting a 4 star recruit that just committed to Iowa State, imploring us to understand just how big this was – CYCLONES LAND 4 STAR FROM FLORIDA!

What the tweet didn’t say was that 4 star was ranked #329 overall in the nation, not exactly what is normally known as a “Blue Chip” player.

Nothing against that young man.  Being named a 4 star is an honor and not only that, being the 329th player in a nation of 100s of thousands of high school players is an accomplishment that shouldn’t be minimized.

It’s just that they’re not all the same.

While the 5 star designation is an exclusive designation, currently reserved for the top 33 prospects of players in all of high school football, the four star designation is not as picky.  Currently, they comprise players 34-357

All 324 of them.

I’m not splitting the atom here, but the 357th best player is not the same as the 34th ranked player, so saying a program got a “4 star” without context is not great reporting, whether you’re a pro or a Twitter troll.

Fans of teams will use this when hyping their recruiting, which is understandable, but when you take a closer look it’s generally a desperate move in an effort to gain momentum.

There are teams out there that think they are “ahead” of Clemson in recruiting, because of the relatively small number of commitments Clemson has taken.  Some of them are right, but they’re not the ones that spend time talking about it.  

The ones that talk about it are typically wrong and will spend the Fall of 2022 wondering how their great recruiting class went 4-8 and (some of them) got crushed by that Clemson team we “beat” in the recruiting rankings.

I’m not saying Texas is one of those teams, but since their 2022 class is currently ranked higher than Clemson and they have a similar number of 4 star recruits, let’s use them to illustrate our point.

One way to look at it, the simple way, is to say Texas has ten 4 star commitments and Clemson has 9. More is better.

Or we can look at it this way:

Clemson and Texas 4 star recruits current rankings grouping

Who has the “better” crop of 4 stars, at least on paper? Clemson is getting elite, nearly top end talent, solid blue chippers. 

Every single one of their 4 stars is in the top 200.

Texas has some of those for sure.  Just not as many as the “4 star” designation would lead you to believe and two of theirs are near the tail end of the list.

Clemson’s 9? 2 in top 50. 5 in top 150. All 9 in top 200.

Not all 4 stars are the same.

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