Eight former five-star recruits went undrafted in 2020, two of which played in the B1G
Receiving a five-star rating is a pretty impressive feat as a high school recruit, but it in no way guarantees that a player will be selected in the NFL Draft. A few former blue-chip recruits found out the hard way this year.
According to 247Sports, eight former five-star recruits went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. Two of those individuals finished their careers in the B1G — Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson and Illinois LB/DL Oluwole Betiku Jr. Both started their college careers outside the conference before transferring.
While both went on to have solid careers with their B1G programs, it wasn’t enough to get selected over the weekend.
*You can view the complete list at 247Sports.
Shea Patterson, QB, Michigan (transferred from Ole Miss)
As a recruit: 2016 recruiting class — 5-star — No. 4 overall — No. 1 pro-style QB
Patterson was the best quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class and started his career at Ole Miss. The scandal involving Hugh Freeze that put the program under NCAA sanctions forced Patterson to transfer before the 2018 season, and he decided to end his career at Michigan under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
In two seasons with the Wolverines, Patterson threw for 5,661 yards and 45 touchdowns while adding over 300 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground. He was a solid quarterback in Ann Arbor but faced the same struggles as previous Michigan gunslingers — unable to beat Ohio State and win a division title.
Patterson did receive invitations to the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine following the 2019 season but was unable to convince coaches and general managers that he was worthy of a draft pick with those opportunities.
During his college career, Patterson played for four different offensive coordinators and was constantly learning new schemes, which limited his ability to get into a rhythm. While that might have hurt his draft stock, Patterson’s ability to learn quickly might prove to be beneficial when he gets a shot with a team as an undrafted free agent.
Oluwole Betiku Jr., LB/DL, Illinois (transferred from USC)
As a recruit: 2016 recruiting class — 5-star — No. 15 overall — No. 1 weak-side DE
Betiku was a heavily-recruited defensive end in the 2016 class and decided to begin his college career at USC. After playing sparingly during his time in Los Angeles, the former top-ranked weak-side defensive end decided to head to Champaign and play under defensive guru Lovie Smith.
In his lone season with the Illini, Betiku had a monster year, racking up 13 tackles for loss and nine sacks as the team reached a bowl game for the first time under Smith. He had collected just two tackles during his time at USC. Betiku’s totals at Illinois could’ve been even higher, but he missed a few games due to injury.
Though Betiku had a productive year in the B1G, he would’ve benefited from another season at Illinois. A chance to get healthy and dominate the field for a second-straight year might’ve resulted in a selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, even if it was in a later round.
Betiku will now have to prove he deserves a spot on an NFL roster by starting his career as an undrafted free agent.