Rating Success – PSU recruiting, 2002

This is Part 1 of an ongoing series taking an in-depth look at past Penn State recruiting classes (2002-present) and whether ‘ratings’ really matter….

Today, rating systems such as Scout, Rivals, 247, and ESPN have taken over the recruiting process; however, it was not until 2002 did such ranking systems first become available.  Many question the accuracy of such systems, rightfully so.  Most 4 and 5 star athletes tend to excel at the college and perhaps professional level, but you can always find a handful of under-ranked players who exceed expectations.  Aaron Rogers, Patrick Willis, Joe Flacco — all rated 3 stars coming out of high school.  Chris Johnson, Matt Forte — 2 stars.  A sports consultanting group came up with the following probabilities of a prospect with a particular star rating being named all-conference at some point in his career.

  • 5-stars 33.8%
  • 4-stars 20.0%
  • 3-stars 11.6%
  • 2-stars 7.2%

All of this made me curious as to how past PSU players have fared given their Rivals rating.  So I went back and did some searching — found all the committed players for each recruiting class, their rating, and then set out to find how they did at PSU and beyond.   We start with the recruiting class of 2002.  By no means is this an entire list of all players for the class of 2002.  Rather, this is the Rivals commitment list, which supposedly reflects the top scholarship athletes joining the team.   Are the ratings indicative of success?  Let’s find out.

 Recruiting Class of 2002



Jason Alford 4 Played 4 years in NFL;  now plays in CFL
Brian Borgoyn 4 Neck injury at PSU ended career
Levi Brown 4 NFL; Currently for Arizona Cardinals
Mark Farris 4
Tamba Hali 4 NFL; Currently for Kansas City Chiefs
Josh Hannum 4 Transferred (due to family illness)
Jim Kanuch 4
Calvin Lowry 4 Current NFL free agent
Brandon Snow 4 Former NFL free agent
Chris Wilson 4 Left team
JR Zwierzynski 4 Transferred
Chris Auletta 3
Patrick Hall 3
Maurice Humphrey 3 Kicked off team (assault charges)
Donnie Johnson 3 Former NFL free agent
Ed Johnson 3 NFL; Currently for Carolina Panters
Lee Lispi 3
Robert Price 3
Tim Shaw 3 NFL; Currently for Tennessee Titans
Vince Gliatta 2 Transferred
Jeremy Kapinos 2 NFL; Currently for Pittsburgh Steelers
Steve Roach 2

The 2002 class currently has 5 players in the NFL (avg Rivals rating of 3.2).

Best in Class
Tamba Hali (LB) – 2012 Pro-Bowl selection

Tamba Hali

Over-performers (played above rating)
Edward Johnson
Tim Shaw
Jeremy Kapinos
Donnie Johnson

Under-performers (played below rating)
Mark Farris
Brian Borgoyn
Josh Hannum
Jim Kanuch
JR Zwierzynski

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