The Falcons rookies were ahead of the curve as high school prospects

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Fact: Tyler Starr not only does the hokey pokey, he turns it all around, because that's what it's all about

High school prospects don't always pan out in college. Whether it's gratuitous tomfoolery, readily available booze, or lack of focus, some of the best high school prospects underachieve in college. You can watch the high school all star games with bated breath, but in reality, pros are made in college. Still, it's interesting to see where players came from and how far they've come. If anything, if gives us some context, helping us understand what makes them tick.

Jake Matthews

4 star recruit and 7th ranked tackle in 2010 class, just 2 spots behind eventual teammate Luke Joeck. You could say Texas A&M lucked out that year. He earned "blue chip" ratings in every category except strength, likely a result of his 275 pound frame at the time. He's gained over 30 pounds in the four years since he graduated high school, and it shows. Interestingly, Matthews didn't start playing on the offensive line until his sophomore year of high school, having played quarterback as a freshman.

Ra'Shede Hageman

3 star recruit that was the 6th ranked tight end in the 2009 class. His 18 points in a 2009 state championship game led his team to victory. Interestingly, he was ranked 4 spots ahead of Zach Ertz that year. Minnesota of course converted his to defensive tackle, and the rest is history.

Dez Southward

2 star recruit Rivals considered a mid-major prospect. He was unranked, both nationally and by position. Southward only played one year of high school football, but Wisconsin couldn't ignore his freakish athleticism. He apparently ran a 4.3 40 yard dash and sported a 40 inch vertical as a senior in high school. That said, Wisconsin wasn't even eying him until another recruit committed to Boston College and his former high school teammate/Wisconsin verbal commit Connor O'Neill floated his name.

Devonta Freeman

4 star recruited that was the 10th ranked running back in the 2011 class. He rushed for 26 touchdowns averaging 8.5 yards/carry as a high school senior. Florida State also signed the 2nd ranked running back in the 2011 class, James Wilder, Jr. For what it's worth, Wilder went undrafted last weekend, though he did sign as an UDFA with the Bengals.

Prince Shembo

4 star recruited that was the 7th ranked inside linebacker in the 2010 class. He was a smart, strong kid, boasting a 3.7 GPA while benching over 300 pounds and squatting over 500 pounds. He had NFL size already, measuring 6'2 and weighing 230 pounds. It's no surprise he went to Notre Dame.

Ricardo Allen

3 star recruit ranked the 4th most physical corner back in the 2010 class. While Allen eventually committed to Purdue, the undersized corner (5'9 and 170 pounds as high school senior) was offered by SEC schools Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

Marquis Spruill

4 star recruit ranked the 13th best prep school player in 2010. Syracuse didn't offer him in his senior year, but they came knocking the next year, scholarship in hand. He committed to Syracuse in November of his prep school year, and as a result, receiving just two other offers (from Temple and James Madison).

Yawin Smallwood

3 star recruit ranked the 4th best Massachusetts senior in 2010. Smallwood stayed true to his East Coast roots, focusing heavily on the ACC and Big East in his recruitment. Connecticut basically battled it out with UMass, ultimately signing the 6'4, 225 pound prospect before his senior campaign.

Tyler Starr

A poor high school student who only drew serious interest from South Dakota State. He was a lanky kid, measuring 6'4 and weighing just 195 pounds. If you're counting, he now weighs 250 pounds, adding only a 1/4 inch but over 50 pounds to his frame in college. He became a dad in 2011, which drove his football development going forward.

Quite a varied bunch, eh? Your thoughts?

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