One of the biggest days of the year for college football is here: National Signing Day. Today, many high school recruits will make the official jump to college and declare where they'll be spending the next 3-4 years of their lives.
SB Nation is covering all of today's madness, which you can check out here:
If you follow recruiting, the five-star recruits are the ones who get the most national attention on Signing Day and in recruiting in general. Though the NFL is full of superstars who were once two and three-star prospects, it's the five-star guys who often have the greatest chance of succeeding both in college and in the NFL.
We went through the Bengals' roster to check out where various players ranked as high school recruits, using 247 Sports, Rivals and ESPN to see how some of the top Bengals were rated as high schoolers.
From what we found, the Bengals have several five-star recruits on their roster, and unsurprisingly, some of their best players had that rating in high school. Wide receiver A.J. Green, left tackle Andrew Whitworth, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and linebacker Vontaze Burfict are among Cincinnati's former five-star recruits.
Of all the Bengals, right tackle Andre Smith was the highest-rated prospect coming out of high school as 247 Sports had him ranked as their No. 1 overall recruit. However, there were plenty of two and three-star guys who have been big for the Bengals, including cornerback Adam Jones, defensive tackle Geno Atkins, safety George Iloka and tight end Tyler Eifert.
If you just look at the Pro Bowl this past week, three of the Bengals' representatives there were five-star recruits in college, but the other three were either two or three-star recruits. Needless to say, the odds of future stardom are higher when you're a five-star recruit, but it's by no means a requirement to become an NFL standout.
Here's a look at some of the most notable Bengals and where they ranked as high school prospects.
Check out a young Kirkpatrick making his National Signing Day announcement:
And here are some high school highlights from various Bengals: