How Michigan’s roster stacks up against recent national champions

How Michigan's roster stacks up against recent national champions


Michigan won the national championship Monday night in a 34-13 decision over Washington. Here is a look at how the five previous winners stacked up from a star ranking perspective among the starters versus the Wolverines.

MICHIGAN (2023 national champions)

Blake Corum
Blake Corum

Five-star (1): Will Johnson

Four-star (11): JJ McCarthy, Blake Corum, Colston Loveland, Cornelius Johnson, Karsen Barnhart, Trente Jones, Trevor Keegan, Makari Paige, Braiden McGregor, Mason Graham, Junior Colson

Three-star (9): AJ Barner, Roman Wilson, Drake Nugent, LaDarius Henderson, Mike Sainristil, Rod Moore, Jaylen Harrell, Kris Jenkins, Jr., Michael Barrett

Two-star (1): Josh Wallace

OVERVIEW: Whether it is to Michigan’s credit or missed rankings, the Wolverines were the only team in at least the last six years that did not have any offensive five-stars or multiple five-stars among the starters to win a national championship.

Cornerback Will Johnson was the only five-star among Michigan’s starters but it was overlooked three-star Mike Sainristil that stole the show in a convincing win over Washington. On offense, four-star quarterback JJ McCarthy, running back Blake Corum and so many others were so important.

The question now: Will coach Jim Harbaugh look to repeat next season or is he off to the NFL again?

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*****

GEORGIA (2022 national champions)

Stetson Bennett
Stetson Bennett (AP Images)

Five-star (5): Broderick Jones, Tate Ratledge, Amarius Mims, Darnell Washington, Kelee Ringo

Four-star (12): Marcus Rosemy, Sedrick Van Pran, Brock Bowers, Kenny McIntosh, Nazir Stackhouse, Jalen Carter, Smael Mondon, Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Robert Beal, Kamari Lassiter, Christopher Smith, Malaki Starks

Three-star (4): Ladd McConkey, Xavier Truss, Tramel Walthour, Javon Bullard

Two-star (1): Stetson Bennett

OVERVIEW: The Bulldogs had one fewer five-star on the 2023 championship team that won its second-straight national title but potentially more first-rounders. Broderick Jones was the No. 14 pick in April’s NFL Draft and now Amarius Mims is expected to be a first-round pick in this upcoming draft.

Georgia also had two fewer four-star starters in 2022 than 2021 but again Jalen Carter was a fringe five-star who didn’t make the cut but should have because he was the ninth overall pick and then Malaki Starks has been impressive and Brock Bowers is elite.

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*****

GEORGIA (2021 national champions)

Nolan Smith
Nolan Smith (AP Images)

Five-star (6): Jamaree Salyer, Darnell Washington, Zamir White, Nolan Smith, Kelee Ringo, Derion Kendrick

Four-star (14): Adonai Mitchell, Jermaine Burton, Sedrick Van Pran, Warren Ericson, Warren McClendon, Brock Bowers, Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt, Nakobe Dean, Quay Walker, William Poole III, Christopher Smith, Lewis Cine

Three-star (1): Justin Shaffer

Two-star (1): Stetson Bennett

OVERVIEW: Georgia got significant contributions from many of the five-stars on this championship team that beat Alabama, 33-18, but only Nolan Smith ended up as a first-round NFL Draft pick.

Four-star Travon Walker ended up No. 34 nationally right on the fringe of five-star status but ended up as the No. 1 overall pick so while he wasn’t exactly a miss, he should’ve been ranked higher. Four-star Brock Bowers is one of the best tight ends in recent memory and is a virtual lock as a first-round pick.

Jordan Davis was another one who was a four-star who really emerged in Athens and ended up as a first-round pick. Stetson Bennett was a two-star who bounced around early in his college career and then starred in Athens but it was impossible to predict when he was in high school.

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*****

ALABAMA (2020 national champions)

Devonta Smith
Devonta Smith (USA Today Sports Images)

Five-star (6): Alex Leatherwood, Evan Neal, Najee Harris, Dylan Moses, Will Anderson, Patrick Surtain

Four-star (12): Devonta Smith, Slade Bolden, Emil Ekiyor, John Metchie, Mac Jones, Christian Barmore, Brian Branch, Christian Harris, Chris Allen, Jordan Battle, Demarco Hellams, Josh Jobe

Three-star (4): Deonte Brown, Chris Owens, Miller Forristall, DJ Dale

OVERVIEW: The five-stars on this Alabama team were excellent in college and all of them except Dylan Moses were first-round NFL Draft picks so they were considered hits from a rankings perspective.

The two obvious misses among the four-stars on that Crimson Tide roster were Mac Jones, who has struggled recently in the NFL but was the No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 draft so he should have earned five-star status. Devonta Smith had 235 catches for 3,965 yards and 46 touchdowns in Tuscaloosa, won the Heisman and definitely played like a five-star. In high school, though, he was undersized and that was the concern there.

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*****

LSU (2019 national champions)

Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow (USA TODAY)

Five-star (5): Terrace Marshall Jr., Tyler Shelvin, Jacob Phillips, Derek Stingley, Jr., Jacoby Stevens

Four-star (11): Ja’Marr Chase, Saahdiq Charles, Austin Deculus, Thaddeus Moss, Glen Logan, Rashard Lawrence, Damone Clark, Patrick Queen, K’Lavon Chaisson, Kristian Fulton, Grant Delpit

Three-star (4): Adrian Magee, Damien Lewis, Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Two-star (2): Justin Jefferson, Lloyd Cushenberry

OVERVIEW: A 42-25 decision over Clemson secured the discussion that this LSU team was the best in the last few years as the offense was unstoppable under Ohio State QB transfer Joe Burrow, a three-star, with four-star Ja’Marr Chase, who received five-star consideration but ended one notch below, Terrace Marshall and others. No. 1 overall Derek Stingley Jr., led the way for the Tigers’ defense that was also loaded.

Misses were there as well. Justin Jefferson was a two-star prospect and almost ended up at Nicholls State because of academic issues but got into LSU late. Burrow was a three-star and couldn’t win the starting job with the Buckeyes before starring in Baton Rouge.

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*****

CLEMSON (2018 national champions)

Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence (AP)

Five-star (5): Tee Higgins, Trevor Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, Tre Lamar, AJ Terrell

Four-star (8): Mitch Hyatt, John Simpson, Garrett Williams, Amari Rodgers, Clelin Ferrell, Albert Huggins, Austin Bryant, Trayvon Mullen

Three-star (8): Justin Falcinelli, Gage Cervenka, Tremayne Anchrum, Travis Etienne, Kendall Joseph, Isaiah Simmons, K’Von Wallace, Tanner Muse

Two-star (1): Hunter Renfrow

OVERVIEW: Clemson crushed Alabama, 44-16, in the championship game as Trevor Lawrence threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns and Travis Etienne rushed for two scores.

There were some major hits along the way as Lawrence was the No. 1 prospect in the 2018 class and then Higgins, Wilkins and others were stars on that team. Etienne and Isaiah Simmons are definitely misses as three-stars as they were stars at Clemson and now in the NFL. Who could have predicted Renfrow’s success as he was rated a two-star.



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