What Heisman Trophy winners were like as college football recruits

Quarterback Lamar Jackson was not ranked in the 2015 ESPN 300. He went on to be a Heisman winner and NFL star. Tom Hauck for Student Sports

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is the favorite to be named the best player in college football this Saturday night in New York City. The Heisman Trophy is fitting award, as Young was rated the top QB prospect in the 2020 class and the No. 5 overall player.

However, not all Heisman Trophy winners have had a college projection that accurate. We talk often about the unknown variables when evaluating a high volume of high school prospects based on their film and combine results. Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett was a three-star prospect and our 25th-rated pocket passer in the 2017 class. Our scouting report refers to him as "wiry and accurate."

In fact, the Heisman Trophy winners from the past decade represent a wide spectrum of projections, including one winner who didn't even hold a scholarship offer.

Here is how the past 10 Heisman Trophy winners were viewed as high school prospects.

2011: QB Robert Griffin III
Class of 2008 ranking: three stars

Griffin was originally a Houston verbal commit to Art Briles coming out of the 2008 class but flipped when Briles took the Baylor job. A high three-star and 40th-ranked QB in the class who was dangerous as both a runner and passer, Griffin broke the state marks in the 110-meter hurdles (13.55) and the 300-meter hurdles (35.33). Griffin would go on to help rebuild and rebrand the Baylor Bears into a college football fixture. He became a four-year starter and completed 72% of his passes for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns in his Heisman season.