Where Lions rated in high school: Offense

Recruiting has been deemed a completely inexact proposition seemingly forever. Guys who are highly rated don’t pan out. Guys who were walk-ons turn into NFL players and, sometimes, stars.

So as teams across the country sign players Wednesday, here’s a look back at where the Detroit Lions were ranked when they were high school seniors. For rankings from 2006 forward, the rankings used are ESPN’s rankings. From 2002 to 2006, we used the Rivals.com rankings.

In some cases, no rankings were available. If something is not denoted as coming from another site, it is ESPN’s ranking from that year.

What you’ll see is most of Detroit’s players were not highly-rated players coming out of high school. Some had no ranking at all. Just goes to show how blue chip recruits in high school don’t always turn into top-level college or NFL players.

This post covers the offense. The next post will cover the defense and specialists.

Running backs:

  • Reggie Bush (2003): No. 1 running back per Rivals.com; No. 2 overall player per Rivals.com. Signed with USC.

  • Joique Bell (2005): Not listed anywhere among the Rivals rankings for the 2005 class. Signed with Wayne State.

  • Theo Riddick (2009): No. 48 athlete; No. 65 in his region (the Northeast). Signed with Notre Dame.

  • Mikel Leshoure (2008): Not ranked at all by the ESPN rankings. No. 28 running back by Rivals.com. Signed with Illinois.

  • Montell Owens (2002): No information on his recruitment was available. Signed with Maine.

  • Steven Miller (2009): Not rated in 2009 out of high school when he signed with Nassau Community College. Not rated in 2011 when he signed with Appalachian State.

Wide Receivers:

  • Calvin Johnson (2004): No. 6 wide receiver by Rivals.com and No. 37 overall player. (If you’re curious, Early Doucet was the No. 1 receiver in his class according to Rivals.) Signed with Georgia Tech.

  • Nate Burleson (2000): Can’t find a ranking for Burleson from 2000, but here’s an interesting story about his recruitment from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Signed with Nevada.

  • Kris Durham (2006): No. 66 receiver. No. 200 player in his region. Signed with Georgia.

  • Kevin Ogletree (2005): No. 59 wide receiver according to Rivals.com. Signed with Virginia.

  • Jeremy Ross (2006): No. 174 wide receiver. Signed with Cal.

  • Micheal Spurlock (2001): Nothing available from a rankings or story perspective. Signed with Mississippi.

  • Ryan Broyles (2007): Rated as the No. 58 wide receiver in his class. Signed with Oklahoma.

  • Cody Wilson (2009): Not rated in 2009. Signed with Central Michigan.

  • Corey Fuller (2008): Not rated by either service. Signed with Kansas on a track scholarship. Transferred to Virginia Tech for football. Was an indoor All-American in track in high school.

  • Patrick Edwards (2007): Not rated by either service. Was a walk-on at Houston.

Tight ends:

  • Brandon Pettigrew (2004): Was not ranked by Rivals.com with a number. A two-star recruit by Rivals. Signed with Oklahoma State.

  • Joseph Fauria (2008): No. 15 tight end. Signed with Notre Dame (eventually transferred to UCLA).

  • Michael Williams (2008): No. 26 tight end and No. 20 player in Alabama. Signed with Alabama.

  • Matt Veldman (2007): Not rated by ESPN or by Rivals. Signed with North Dakota State.

  • Dorin Dickerson (2006): No. 11 wide receiver in his class and No. 74 prospect overall.

Offensive linemen:

  • Dominic Raiola (1997): No available recruiting rankings, but he was the first player from Hawaii to accept a scholarship to Nebraska, according to the Nebraska website.

  • Rob Sims (2002): No. 20 offensive guard according to Rivals.com. Signed with Ohio State.

  • Riley Reiff (2008): Rated as the No. 84 defensive end. Signed with Iowa.

  • Larry Warford (2009): Rated as the No. 51 offensive guard. Signed with Kentucky.

  • Corey Hilliard (2003): Not rated by number as an offensive tackle in his class by Rivals.com. Rated as a two-star recruit. Signed with Oklahoma State.

  • Jason Fox (2006): Rated as the No. 22 tight end. Signed with Miami (Fla.).

  • Leroy Harris (2002): Rated as the No. 42 defensive tackle by Rivals.com. Signed with N.C. State.

  • Rodney Austin (2007): Not rated by ESPN.com or Rivals in his class. Signed with Elon.

  • Dylan Gandy (2000): Not rated by any service I could find, but here’s an interesting story from when he was drafted with some backstory of how he ended up at Texas Tech.

  • LaAdrian Waddle (2009): Rated as the No. 19 offensive tackle in his class and the No. 43 player in the Midlands. Signed with Texas Tech.