The nation’s high school football players are making their college choices official this week on national signing day. Some will hit campus with top-end five-star ratings. By 2021, a handful of that group will have become familiar to NFL draft fans. By 2025 or so, a few of them will be NFL stars.

Eleven ESPN 300 recruits are scheduled to announce their decisions Wednesday on the ESPNU Signing Day Special. Follow ESPN’s coverage

As in any industry, the path between high school football stardom and professional success is steep. A glance through the database of five-star players reveals, unsurprisingly, that many of them never make it to the NFL.

Who are among the best to travel down that path? Thought you would never ask.

What follows is one rendering of the top 20 five-star players currently in the NFL, using the Rivals online database, which dates to 2002. (ESPN’s recruiting database began in 2006.)

Recruiting class: 2004, Palestine (Texas) High School

College: Oklahoma

NFL career: Peterson is the best running back of this generation. The No. 7 overall pick in the 2007 draft, he holds the NFL record for most rushing yards in a game (296) and fell 9 yards shy in 2012 of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing mark of 2,105 yards. He settled for the league MVP award that season. Peterson, 31, has a reasonable chance of finishing his career among the NFL’s top five all-time rushers. He is 1,938 yards away from surpassing LaDainian Tomlinson at No. 5.

Recruiting class: 2007, Westlake (Georgia) High School

College: Auburn (via Florida and Blinn College)

NFL career: Newton proved to be a unique and unmatched weapon immediately after the Panthers made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. Big enough to hold up as a power runner, he set the NFL record for career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (48 and counting) and ranks seventh on the league’s list of quarterback rushing yards (3,566). His passing efficiency jumped in 2015, helping him earn league MVP honors and take the Panthers to Super Bowl 50.

Recruiting class: 2008, Moreno Valley (California) High School

College: USC

NFL career: A two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl player, Smith might be the best left tackle in the NFL. In terms of Approximate Value, the Pro Football Reference metric that measures player performance relative to the league average, he has played better than all but one left tackle since he was drafted in 2011 (the Bengals’ Andrew Whitworth is the other). In either case, Smith is the anchor of the NFL’s best offensive line.

Recruiting class: 2008, Foley (Alabama) High School

College: Alabama

NFL career: Jones might be the NFL’s best receiver at the moment. He has an NFL-high 4,873 receiving yards over the past three seasons, and the Falcons have never been better than they were this season in creating mismatches for him. General manager Thomas Dimitroff was criticized for giving up five draft picks to move up and draft Jones No. 6 overall in 2011. But along with quarterback Matt Ryan, Jones is one of the primary reasons the Falcons will play in Super Bowl LI.

Recruiting class: 2008, Summerville (South Carolina) High School

College: Georgia

NFL career: Green was drafted two spots ahead of Julio Jones in 2011 and has nearly matched his production over time. Playing in a less dynamic passing scheme, Green has 16 fewer receptions for 475 fewer yards than Jones. Green is ahead in touchdowns, though, 49 to 40. A hamstring injury caused the first sub-1,000-yard season of Green’s career in 2016, but like Jones, he has a long football lifespan ahead of him.

Recruiting class: 2006, Highland Park (Texas) High School

College: Georgia

NFL career: After two years largely lost due to injury, Stafford has developed into one of the NFL’s most productive passers. He threw for more yards (30,303) before his 29th birthday than any quarterback in history, boosted in part by a team that seems to be in constant catch-up mode. The Lions have 25 fourth-quarter comeback victories with Stafford on the field. They’re 26-58 in his other starts. As one of the last No. 1 overall draft picks under the NFL’s previous pay scale, Stafford has already received $110.8 million in cash earnings, per Spotrac, and has a chance to be the highest-paid player over his career in league history.

Recruiting class: 2007, Creekside (Georgia) High school

College: Tennessee

NFL career: Berry has been one of the NFL’s best safeties since the Chiefs made him the No. 5 overall pick in 2010. The only other safeties who also merit mention during that span are Earl Thomas and Eric Weddle. A lymphoma diagnosis cost Berry 10 games in 2014, but he made a full recovery, and in 2016, he returned two interceptions for touchdowns. He is due a significant payday in free agency this spring.

Recruiting class: 2003, Wayne Hills (New Jersey) High School

College: Miami (Florida)

NFL career: A first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in 2007, Olsen was traded to the Panthers in 2011. In 2016, he became the first tight end in NFL history to record three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He has been named to three Pro Bowl teams and, since the illegal bahis start of his career, has the third-best Approximate Value rating (66) among tight ends, behind Jason Witten and Antonio Gates.

Recruiting class: 2012, Dutchtown (Louisiana) High School

College: Alabama

NFL career: Collins, the Giants’ second-round draft pick in 2015, developed into one of the league’s best safeties at the ripe age of 22. During the 2016 season, Collins had five interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and had four sacks in earning first-team All-Pro honors. The Giants’ 2016 defensive turnaround was as much about him as it was about their big-money, free-agent acquisitions.

Recruiting class: 2006, Southeast (Oklahoma) High School

College: Oklahoma

NFL career: McCoy and Ndamukong Suh were the top two defensive players of the 2010 draft. McCoy, although less heralded, might have outperformed Suh in the ensuing seven seasons. He has been a first-team All-Pro selection three times and has been named to five Pro Bowls. McCoy’s 38 sacks over the past five seasons are the second most among NFL defensive tackles, trailing only the Bengals’ Geno Atkins (41.5).

Recruiting class: 2007, Agua Fria (Arizona) High School

College: USC

NFL career: Character questions dropped him to the fourth round of the 2010 draft, and it wasn’t until 2014 that Griffen earned a starting job. He has recorded 30.5 sacks in the ensuing three seasons, fifth best in the NFL over that span, and Griffen was the MVP of the 2016 Pro Bowl.

Recruiting class: 2005, Long Beach Poly (California) High School

College: California

NFL career: A second-round pick of the Eagles in 2008, Jackson signed with the Redskins in 2014 and has been the NFL’s top deep threat during his career arc. His 17.7-yard average per catch leads all qualified receivers since 2008. Only Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson had more total yards. Jackson’s 1,005-yard season in 2016 puts him in position for a free-agent payday this offseason.

Recruiting class: 2009, Fort Dorchester (South Carolina) High School

College: Florida

NFL career: Dunlap has been a sack specialist from the moment he joined the Bengals in 2010, accumulating 20 sacks as a part-time player from 2010-12 and then another 37 once he became a starter in 2013. His total of 57 sacks since 2010 is tied for the 15th-best total in the NFL. He has earned Pro Bowl honors in each of the past two seasons.

Recruiting class: 2011, Lutcher (Louisiana) High School

College: LSU

NFL career: Overshadowed publicly by college teammate Odell Beckham Jr., a four-star recruit for LSU in 2011, Landry has crafted an awfully productive start to his NFL career. In fact, Landry and Beckham have each caught 288 passes in their first three seasons, tied for the fourth most in the NFL. Only Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Demaryius Thomas have more. Tough and physical, Landry hasn’t missed a game since the Dolphins made him a second-round pick in 2014.

Recruiting class: 2005, Alief Taylor (Texas) High School

College: Texas A&M

NFL career: Bennett has bounced between four teams during his nine-year career, but his 318 catches over the past five seasons rank fourth among all NFL tight ends. He caught a career-high seven touchdowns this season in helping the Patriots overcome the loss of Rob Gronkowski. Perhaps most amazing, he has managed to fold his live-wire personality into the Patriots’ well-established team culture.

Recruiting class: 2011, South Pointe (South Carolina) High School

College: South Carolina

NFL career: Although a knee injury limited him early in his NFL career, Clowney emerged in 2016 as a defensive force. He recorded a career-high six sacks and helped the Texans bridge the recurring back injuries of defensive end J.J. Watt. Clowney earned his first Pro Bowl berth and was a second-team All-Pro selection.

Recruiting class: 2006, Booker T. Washington (Georgia) High School

College: Georgia

NFL career: Jones was one of the NFL’s better safeties in 2014-15, intercepting eight passes and defending a total of 17 in 28 games over the two seasons. He earned a Pro Bowl spot in 2015 and was off to another strong start in 2016 when a shoulder injury ended his season after six games. At 28, he should have a few high-end seasons remaining.

Recruiting class: 2002, C.D. Hylton (Virginia) High School

College: Virginia

NFL career: The oldest defensive player on this list, Brooks, 32, is still plugging away as a starting linebacker for the 49ers. He has recorded at least five sacks in each of the past eight seasons, and his 53.5 career sacks are more than everyone in 49ers history except Bryant Young and Charles Haley. Brooks is signed for 2017, but it remains to be seen if new general manager John Lynch wants him to be part of the roster rebuild.

Recruiting class: 2009, Gadsden City (Alabama) High School

College: Alabama

NFL career: Kirkpatrick has been a full-time starter the past two seasons for the Bengals and has a total of nine interceptions and 38 defended passes in five NFL seasons. Although he has never made a Pro Bowl, his position and status as a pending free agent means he is due for a contract that will surprise people who don’t often watch the Bengals.

Recruiting class: 2011, Dr. Phillips (Florida) High School

College: Alabama

NFL career: Clinton-Dix has proved a durable and, in 2016, productive player in the back end. He was on the field for every Packers defensive snap this season, a total of 1,029. Over three years, he has been on the field for 95.7 percent of their plays. Clinton-Dix also intercepted five passes, tied for fifth best in the NFL, and earned his first Pro Bowl berth this season.

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