How draft prospects rated as recruits (cont.)
11. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
Bryant was considered the best receiver in Texas in his class, but colleges weren't sure if he'd be academically eligible. Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech stuck out the recruitment, and the Cowboys landed Bryant.
12. Sergio Kindle, DE, Texas
As a junior at Woodrow Wilson High in 2005, Kindle had been outside of the state of Texas just once. Before he committed to the Longhorns, Kindle planned to visit some of the schools recruiting him, which included USC and most of the Big 12 -- just to make sure he wasn't missing anything. Before he made the trip, Kindle changed his mind and committed to Texas. "He said 'Coach, I'll have my whole life to do some traveling,'" Wilson coach Bobby Estes told Rival.com in April 2005.
13. Joe Haden, CB, Florida
Haden played quarterback at Friendly High, but he projected as a receiver in college. He would have been a good one, too, but the Gators badly needed help in the secondary when Haden arrived on campus. He started immediately at cornerback and only got better in his three years in Gainesville.
14. Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Morgan was considered one of the best players in Pennsylvania, but he passed on an offer from Penn State -- as well as offers from Ohio State, Miami and Boston College -- to play for the Yellow Jackets. He joined a fantastic Georgia Tech class that produced 11 starters for the 2009 ACC champion.
15. Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
McClain didn't pick a side in the Alabama-Auburn rivalry until he committed to the Crimson Tide before his senior season in 2006. Even after Alabama fired coach Mike Shula, McClain never wavered. He wound up becoming the best player on a national title team.
16. Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan
Graham might have stopped a few hearts in Ann Arbor in November 2005 when he scheduled an official visit to Penn State, but he quickly changed his mind and never made the trip to State College. Like Kindle in the same class, Graham was a high school linebacker. Unlike Kindle, who didn't put his hand on the ground regularly until his senior season, Graham moved to the line as a freshman.
17. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Back when I covered Tennessee, the father of Volunteers quarterback Casey Clausen told me his youngest son would be pursued by just about everyone. Jim Clausen was absolutely correct. Jimmy Clausen was the top-ranked prospect in the class of 2007.
18. Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Wilson wasn't getting much interest as a high schooler, so his brother made a tape and sent it to 50 schools. Boise State, Richmond and Delaware offered scholarships. Later, hometown Rutgers also offered, but Wilson already had fallen in love with the coaching staff at Boise State.
19. Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
Weatherspoon wasn't huge, and he didn't run a blazing 40-yard dash as a high schooler, but he did dominate opposing offenses. Fortunately for an ascendant Missouri program, coaches from high-profile programs got too wrapped up in the measurables and forgot that they were recruiting football players and not sprinters. Weatherspoon originally committed to Houston, but he wound up choosing the Tigers over the Cougars, TCU, Iowa State and Memphis.
20. Earl Thomas, S, Texas
Thomas was one of those classic Texas recruits who committed almost a year before he signed with the Longhorns. Though the quiet Thomas didn't create much drama during the recruiting process, he impressed his future teammates almost immediately when he arrived in Austin. It's a testament to the depth in Mack Brown's program that Thomas redshirted in 2007 and only played two seasons for the Longhorns.
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