College Football Stars That Were All Hype And No Bite

Football | 9/25/21

College football is full of stars. Some, like Tim Tebow, are deserving of all the hype they receive. Others, like Cardale Jones, become superstars based solely on the programs they attend. They might not like the title “overrated” by that’s exactly what they are. These are the most overrated college football stars of all-time!

Rober Nkemdiche Rode One Good Year To The NFL

A top high school recruit, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche played his college ball at Ole Miss. From 2013 to 2015 he was stalking the sidelines. Then he was named to the All-SEC team in his final season, a season he rode to being a first-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals.

robert nkemdiche
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Cardinals should have looked at all of the overrated star’s tape, though. He fizzled in the desert and has bounced around the league looking for a place to call his permanent home.

Ryan Perrilloux Falsey Predicted His Future

When Ryan Perrilloux committed to LSU he made a bold prediction – that he would win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman. The claim instantly placed him in the national spotlight.

ryan perrilloux
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

His big season never materialized, and after being benched he watched his team win the National Championship with Matt Flynn under center.

Byron Cowart Went From The Number One High School Recruit To A Fifth Round Draft Pick

How does a player who is the top recruit out of high school end up become a fifth-round draft pick? This is the story for Byron Cowart, a defensive tackle with all the potential in the world that he failed to unlock.

Maryland v Michigan
byron cowart
byron cowart

Cowart committed to Auburn out of high school, and in two years failed to find consistent playing time, leading him to transfer to Maryland, where he did enough to get taken late in the draft by the Patriots.

Jake Fromm Flashed Brilliance

Jake Fromm was brilliant as a freshman at Georgia, and if he didn’t need to spend three years in college, he might have been a first-round draft pick.

SEC Championship - Georgia v LSU
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

After that sensational first year, though, Fromm regressed, only flashing signs of the talent that made him one of the hottest names in NFL scouting circles his first year.

Cardale Jones Should Have Declared For The Draft Early

When Cardale Jones got his first chance to start at Ohio State, it was only for three games. The most impressive of which came in the CFP National Championship. After that momentous moment, Jones considered declaring for the NFL Draft but decided to stay in school instead.

cardale jones
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The decision cost Jones his position as possibly a first-round draft pick. After being benched for JT Barrett, Jones did enter the NFL and was drafted in the 4th round by the Bills.

Jake Locker Was Supposed To Be The Next Steve Young

Entering college, Jake Locker was seen as the rare QB (at the time) who could throw and run. As a freshman at the University of Washington, he set several records, including rushing yards for a QB.

jake locker
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Unfortunately, Locker wasn’t a winner in college. By the time he entered the draft, he had a 16-34 record. His NFL career would not be much better.

Brian Bosworth Could Have Been So Much More

Brian Bosworth had all the talent to live up to his hype. He was an AP national champion in 1985 and a Heisman Trophy finalist in 1986, proving to be a wrecking ball when his head was screwed on right.

Brian Bosworth
Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images
Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

Bosworth had personal issues though and even wrote letters to NFL teams warning them not to draft him. He lasted three years in the NFL

Jeff Demps Was Fast

Playing for Florida, Jeff Demps was fast – otherworldly fast. That speed helped put his name on the map, but it also made his game lack layers. If Demps caught a defender in the open field, they had no chance to tackle him.

jeff demps
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Force Demps into traffic, however, and there’s not much he could do. His talent got him through college, but he only lasted four seasons in the NFL.

Tate Martell Was A Five Star Recruit

Tate Martell was such a sought-after recruit in high school that he committed to the University of Washington when he was just 14-years-old. He later switched his commitment to Texas A&M before ultimately enrolling at Ohio State.

tate martell
Chris Unger/Getty Images
Chris Unger/Getty Images

His talent didn’t translate to college success, however, and he transferred out of Ohio when Justin Fields committed to the school. Martell opted out of 2020 and transferred to UNLV before the 2021 college football season.

Josh Freeman Had A Cannon For An Arm

A lot of times, all it takes for college football quarterbacks to make scouts fall in love is arm strength. Josh Freeman, who had arm strength for days, made NFL scouts salivate at his professional potential.

Kansas v Kansas State
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

That “arm talent” turned Freeman into a first-round draft pick. One good season made it look like Tampa Bay had found their franchise player, but he never repeated that success.

Speedy Noil Couldn’t Replicate His Freshman Season

As a freshman wide receiver at Texas A&M, Speedy Noil caught 46 passes for 583 yards and five touchdowns. It was a promising season, but one that he would be unable to repeat.

speedy noil
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

As a sophomore Noil caught four fewer passes for significantly fewer yards. His college career ended when he was arrested for illegal substances.

Kyle Wright Was Supposed To Be The Next Big QB

One of the most highly recruited players of his generation, Kyle Wright committed to Miami, where he started for three seasons. As a freshman, he delivered exactly what was expected of him, leading the team to a 9-3 record.

kyle wright
Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images
Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images

The next year he went 7-6, and then he went 5-7. In that final season, he was benched several times in favor of Kirby Freeman.

Josh Rosen Was “Chosen”

Nicknamed “Chosen Rosen,” Josh Rosen was the pride of UCLA when he was the team’s starting QB. Full of potential, Rosen was incredibly intelligent and decently athletic, ultimately making just enough of a splash in college to become a first-round draft pick in 2018.

josh rosen
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

If NFL scouts had really dissected Rosen’s college game, they might have been more hesitant. He left UCLA with 18 wins and 20 losses, a much better record than he would have in his NFL career.

Rashan Gary Topped Every List

Before entering college, high school players are subject to four major recruiting services. When linebacker Rashan Gary was making the transition, he was ranked as the top recruit by all four.

rashan gary michigan
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Once Gary entered college, it became clear the recruiting services may have missed the mark. Year over year, his performance declined, which should have been even more of a red flag for NFL teams.

Jimmy Clausen Was “The Kid With The Golden Arm”

Quarterback for Notre Dame, the uber-hyped Jimmy Clausen was once dubbed “The Kid With The Golden Arm” by Sports Illustrated. The publication, which heaped praise on the young man, never pointed out just how inferior his college competition was.

jimmy clausen
Kirby Lee/Getty Images
Kirby Lee/Getty Images

Once Clausen made it to the NFL as a first-round draft pick, all of his weaknesses were exposed. He went 1-5 in his first six professional starts before getting benched.

Robert Marve Lost His Winning Touch

Another major recruit who couldn’t fulfill his potential, Robert Marve played his freshman football at the University of Miami. A highly touted player coming out of high school, he went 6-5 with the ‘Canes before being benched.

purdue qb marve
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Upset with his demotion, Marve transferred to Purdue where he didn’t fare much better. He finished his Boilermaker career with a 17-21 record.

Bryce Brown Never Found A Program To Call Home

Out of high school, running back Bryce Brown committed to Tennessee. A five-star recruit, he only lasted a year in the program before transferring to Kansas, where he was given the opportunity to play with his brother.

bryce brown
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Sadly, Brown only lasted for one game at Kansas before leaving the program. The young runner was able to save his draft stock with an impressive pro day and wound up with a four-year NFL career.

Seantrel Henderson Was The First Of His Kind

Coming out of Cretin-Derham Hall High School, Seantrel Henderson was the first-ever offensive lineman to be ranked as the top recruiting prospect in the modern era.

seantrel henderson
Geoff Burke/Getty Images
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Despite his obvious talent and potential, Henderson couldn’t reach the mountain top. In four years at the University of Miami, he failed to crack the starting offense consistently.

Mitch Mustain Should Have Stayed At Arkansas

Arkansas got a steal when they successfully convinced QB Mitch Mustain to commit to the school as a freshman. He was an instant success for the Razorbacks, too, going 8-0 in his first year.

mitch mustain
Matthew Kutz/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images
Matthew Kutz/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

Mustain made the decision after that first year to transfer to USC, where he only made one start, ending his hopes for an NFL career.

Shea Patterson Was A Can’t-Miss Prospect

Quarterback Shea Patterson was given the label “can’t miss prospect” coming out of high school. Hindsight is 20/20, and we’re sure if they could, those scouts would take it all back.

shea patterson
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Patterson wound up at Michigan after initially committing to Ole Miss. He played well enough in college to get a chance in the NFL with the Chiefs, but only lasted a year before joining the Canadian Football League.