Super Bowl 2021 rosters: How the Buccaneers and Chiefs starters rated as high school recruits

It’s almost time for Super Bowl LV from Tampa, Florida. The Kansas City Chiefs will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a classic showdown of top quarterbacks. But how did those quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady — rank as high school recruits? We’re going to take a deep dive on the starters for each team on offense and defense and see how they rated as prospects coming out of high school ahead of the Feb. 7 showdown.

For example: four players from the Chiefs were blue-chip prospects (meaning four- or five-star) coming out of high school. The two five-stars were wide receivers Sammy Watkins and defensive tackle Chris Jones. But, mostly, the Chiefs’ starting lineup is comprised of former two-star or three-star players. In fact, one of the team’s best players, receiver Tyreek Hill, was a track star coming out of high school and thus unranked. Hill didn’t earn blue-chip status until he was a four-star junior college recruit that signed with Oklahoma State.

The Buccaneers have more of a blue-chip feel to them with half of the team’s starting 22 ranking as four- or five-star prospects. This is especially notable in the skill spots — running back Ronald Jones, wide receiver Chris Godwin and TE Rob Gronkowski were four-stars — and on defense. 

Of course, this list is incomplete. “Backups” like Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman or Bucs running back Leonard Fournette, both of whom played massive roles in their team’s success, were five-star recruits with Fournette being the No. 1 prospect in the country. Conversely, Tom Brady’s time as a recruit came well before the star system was implemented. 

With that in mind, here’s a look at the Chiefs’ offense based on the team’s depth chart (all are high school rankings courtesy of 247Sports Composite):

QB Patrick Mahomes

3

No. 398

No. 22 Pro-style QB

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

3

No. 378

No. 5 APB

FB Anthony Sherman

3

No. 1,028

No. 48 ILB

WR Tyreek Hill

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

WR Sammy Watkins

5

No. 20

No. 4 WR

TE Travis Kelce

2

No. 1,583

No. 85 TE

LT Eric Fisher*

2

No. 1,944

No. 159 OT

LG Nick Allegretti 

3

No. 843

No. 11 C

C Austin Reiter

2

No. 2,182

No. 167 OT

RG Andrew Wylie

No. 2,011

No. 193 OT

RT Mike Remmers

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

Fisher is not expected to play in the game due to an Achilles injury.*

Now let’s take a look at the Chiefs’ defense:

DE Tanoh Kpassagnon

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

DT Chris Jones

5

No. 18

No. 2 SDE

DT Derrick Nnadi

4

No. 97

No. 7 DT

DE Frank Clark

3

No. 692

No. 42 ATH

LB Anthony Hitchens

3

No. 1,559

No. 116 OLB

LB Damien Wilson

3

No. 154

No. 7 ILB

CB Charvarius Ward

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

CB Bashaud Breeland

3

No. 452

No. 35 S

CB Rashad Fenton

3

No. 948

No. 86 CB

S Daniel Sorensen

3

No. 549

No. 50 S

S Tyrann Mathieu

4

No. 218

No. 55 CB

Let’s switch over the the Buccaneers and check out their offense based on the team’s official depth chart:

QB Tom Brady

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

RB Ronald Jones II 

4

No. 40

No. 4 RB

WR Chris Godwin

4

No. 168

No. 26 RB

WR Mike Evans

3

No. 733

No. 83 WR

TE Rob Gronkowski

4

No. 101

No. 4 TE

TE Cameron BrateN/AUnrankedUnranked

LT Donovan Smith

4

No. 164

No. 16 OT

LG Ali Marpet

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

C Ryan Jensen

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

RG Aaron Stinnie

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

RT Tristan Wirfs

4

No. 331

No. 33 OT

And here’s the defense, which has some big former blue-chip players anchoring both the defensive front and back end. 

Player

Stars

Overall rank

Position rank

DE Ndamukong Suh

4

No. 48

No. 6 DT

NT Rakeem Nunez-Roches

3

No. 1,276

No. 90 DT

DE William Gholston

5

No. 18

No. 4 DE

OLB Jason Pierre-Paul

2

No. 2,159

No. 124 DE

ILB Devin White

4

No. 135

No. 5 RB

ILB Lavonte David

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

OLB Shaquil Barrett

N/A

Unranked

Unranked

CB Carlton Davis

4

No. 340

No. 32 CB

CB Jamel Dean

4

No. 325

No. 29 CB

S Antoine Winfield Jr.

3

No. 1,415

No. 128 CB

S Jordan Whitehead

4

No. 105

No. 13 CB

What’s the takeaway? At this stage, there isn’t much of one. A look at the Chiefs roster says that stars don’t matter. A look at the Bucs roster says it matters to a degree. The truth is somewhere in the middle. 

Recruits of the two- or three-star variety vastly outnumber the four- and five-star recruits, annually. For reference, 247Sports typically awards somewhere between 30 and 35 players five-star status every cycle. Another 300 or so prospects earn four-star recognition. Meanwhile, there are literally thousands of high school and junior college football players. The odds of a two-star or three-star (or unranked) player starting in the Super Bowl are better simply because there are significantly more of them on record. Development through the years plays a major factor at the highest level and most careers aren’t linear. 

But there is a lesson on the page for young football players everywhere: no matter how many stars are next to your name, if you have talent and work ethic, coaches will find you. And you can start on a Super Bowl-bound team. 

Published: 2021-02-06 18:34:49

Tags: #Super #Bowl #rosters #Buccaneers #Chiefs #starters #rated #high #school #recruits

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