Breaking Down How Top 10 4-Star Recruits Can Earn Coveted 5th Star

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IJuly 17, 2014

Breaking Down How Top 10 4-Star Recruits Can Earn Coveted 5th Star

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    Credit: 247Sports

    There's been some changes and shuffling in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. New 5-star recruits have emerged, but several 4-star prospects just missed being awarded an extra star.

    Don't worry, there's still enough time for each 4-star recruit to earn a fifth star. Some need to have big seasons this fall, while others just need to show they've improved in a weak area or two.

    A 4-star receiver must show he has improved his speed, while a 4-star safety needs to display better ball production. Plus, a 4-star athlete can get a fifth star by continuing to add bulk to his frame.

    All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports' Composite Rankings.
    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Jashon Cornell, DL

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    Credit: 247Sports

    As things stand right now, Jashon Cornell is a bit of a 'tweener. He currently plays defensive end, but the 4-star recruit looks like he may be on pace to be a defensive tackle.

    The only thing with the latter is that the 6'4" Minnesota native is "only" 260 pounds. Cornell has the strength, athleticism and short-area quickness in pursuit to make plays, but he needs to either show he's a true defensive end or move inside and dominate at defensive tackle to become a 5-star prospect. 

    He is committed to Ohio State.

Deon Cain, WR

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Lsited as a receiver, Deon Cain is a 4-star recruit who has spent most of his high school career playing quarterback. He has 5-star potential at receiver, but there just isn't enough tape of the Clemson commit taking reps at the position.

    The Florida native has performed well at his future position wherever he has gone this offseason. His athleticism at 6'1" and 190 pounds is off the charts, plus he runs better routes than one would imagine.

    Cain likely needs to play receiver a bit more often this fall at Tampa Bay Tech High School in Florida to show he warrants another star.

Jamal Peters, S

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    Credit: 247Sports

    At 6'3" and 200 pounds, 4-star safety Jamal Peters has terrific size for his position. However, Peters plays in the box so much at Bassfield High School in Mississippi that he is practically an outside linebacker.

    He displays all of the physical tools needed to be great on the back-end in college, but Peters must show he has the instincts and route-recognition skills to make plays in coverage going forward. 

    Alabama and Mississippi State are among his top schools, according to 247Sports.

Deionte Thompson, S

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Another 4-star safety on this list is Deionte Thompson, who hails from Texas. At 6'2" and 181 pounds, Thompson has terrific transition quickness to explode toward balls out of his backpedal.

    The Alabama pledge is great in coverage, as he can work well as a single-high safety on top of the defense. To earn another star, Thompson just needs to show more consistent physicality at the point of attack when tackling ball-carriers.

    A few big hits this fall should do the trick.

Jacques Patrick, RB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Jacques Patrick is a 4-star running back from Orlando who is 6'1.5" and 230 pounds. In a straight line, the Florida native displays great speed, plus his size allows him to generate a ton of power.

    What's surprising about Patrick is his hands. Not many bigger backs catch the ball well, but this guy can help in the passing game. The only thing likely holding him back from being a 5-star runner is his lack of elusiveness with the ball.

    Patrick must be more consistent at wiggling around defenders, plus doing so more would help preserve his body long term.

    Look for Patrick to stay inside his state, but keep an eye on Notre Dame.

Jerome Baker, ATH

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    Credit: 247Sports

    From Cleveland, Jerome Baker recently made the decision to commit to Florida. The Gators will likely use the 4-star athlete at linebacker, where his speed and quickness should be a problem for offenses in the SEC.

    However, Baker is just 6'2" and 210 pounds right now. That's actually bigger than the 6'1" and 205 pounds he was listed at earlier in this cycle. He must keep adding bulk to his frame, which will prove to observers that he has the body to hold up at the point of attack versus offensive linemen and lead-blockers in the SEC.

Jeffery Holland, OLB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    A 4-star recruit from Jacksonville, linebacker Jeffery Holland is more of a pass-rushing defensive end right now. The 6'2", 230-pounder appears to be best suited for a 3-4 scheme, but he does have the athletic ability and speed to do a few different things as a linebacker in a 4-3.

    Holland is an explosive pass-rusher, but right now he often gets by too much on natural ability. If he can show an expanded pass-rushing plan, and more of a variety of moves to set up blockers, becoming a 5-star prospect is not out of the question.

    It would be shocking if he signed with any school not named Auburn or Florida.

Kerryon Johnson, ATH

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Kerryon Johnson is a 4-star athlete who is committed to Auburn. While he can work well as a safety and receiver, the Alabama native's position on The Plains likely will be running back.

    Johnson has outstanding instincts and vision at 6'0" and 200 pounds. He's a quicker-than-fast athlete who uses impressive short-area quickness to dart through alleys, but Johnson doesn't always display ideal top-end speed.

    Having a big season that features several long runs highlighting adequate long-speed at Madison Academy this fall will help Johnson get a fifth star.

Christian Kirk, WR

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    Credit: 247Sports

    At 5'10" and 191 pounds, Christian Kirk isn't the biggest receiver one will find on the recruiting trail. That's probably the reason why people are hesitant to award him a fifth star.

    However, based on his tape, he's a surefire 5-star talent. Kirk is among the most explosive offensive players in the nation, and he has fantastic running ability with the ball in his hands.

    There's not too much he can do to get an extra star from a physical perspective, so the only thing the Arizona native can do is dominate so much this fall that it'll be a crime for him to not be considered a 5-star recruit.

    It would be an upset if Kirk didn't sign with Texas A&M.

    Kirk told the following to Ryan Abraham of (subscription required) on July 12:

    I just want to prove that I'm a wide receiver, I'm not a slot guy. Everybody wants to dock me off because of my height and stuff like that, but I can do everything every one of these guys can do from 6-foot-5 to 6-foot. I can do all of that. I can stretch the field. That's one thing I want to prove.

Damarkus Lodge, WR

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    Credit: 247Sports

    There once was a time where Damarkus Lodge was considered a 5-star receiver. However, he has been since knocked down to elite 4-star status.

    From Texas, Lodge is 6'2.5" and 190 pounds. He is headed to Texas A&M, where he should work impressively in the Aggies' intermediate passing game. 

    Lodge's size, hands, strength and length are his top assets. However, as of right now, he doesn't appear to be a receiver who will take the top off of a defense on the college level. That means he needs to show more speed and prove he is a real deep threat to reacquire an extra star.

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.