From Chris Lee at Vandysports: What's in a star?
That begs the question as to how Rivals assigns ratings. Here are the stated criteria for the numerical rating system that Rivals has in place:
? 6.1 (five-star): Franchise Player; considered one of the elite prospects in the country, generally among the nation's top 25 players overall; deemed to have excellent pro potential; high-major prospect.
? 6.0-5.8 (four-star): All-American Candidate; high-major prospect; considered one of the nation's top 300 prospects; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on college team.
? 5.7-5.5 (three-star): All-Region Selection; considered among the region's top prospects and among the top 750 or so prospects in the country; high-to-mid-major prospect; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on college team.
? 5.4-5.0 (two-star): Division I prospect; considered a mid-major prospect; deemed to have limited pro potential but definite Division I prospect; may be more of a role player.
? 4.9 Sleeper (one-star); No Rivals.com expert knew much, if anything, about this player; a prospect that only a college coach really knew about.
The biggest problem, it seems, is that Rivals' diligence in player evaluation has backed itself into a corner. A three-star player signing with Auburn was always going to be a three-star player, but now, a player signing with Vanderbilt or Kentucky-whose video and offers are remarkably similar to those of the kid going to Auburn-is now a three-star as whereas he was once a two.
But the upshot of it all is that the interests of fairness and diligence, coupled with the five extra FCS teams that weren't around in 2002, have caused the river to overflow its banks: by definition, a list that should only include 750 players has swelled to over 2,000.
Using this year's numbers, that means each of the 120 FCS teams would sign, on average, 17.19 three-, four-, or five-star players. Of course, there will be some melt from that number as some players chose other sports or other divisions, fail to qualify, or engage in self-destructive behavior that prohibits them from enrolling in school.
But with each team averaging just 21.5 scholarships per year (85 divided by four), the two-star player is now the exception to the rule.