College football national letter of intent signing day is just around the corner. With a new coaching staff in place who are very focused on recruiting, BYU fans are on the edge of their seats waiting to see who the next crop of high school stars will be to lead the Cougars in the upcoming years. Most of the excitement comes because of the star ranking that is attached to each of the signees.

While those star rankings are huge when grading how a team did in recruiting, it doesn’t tell the whole story on how good a player can be. Some guys develop late while others just have the heart and the work ethic to be stars no matter what their high school film says. Some guys who come in with a lot of fan fare don’t pan out while some who were afterthoughts on the big recruiting boards become stars.

This list takes a look at the most prominent players from the Cougars over the last 15 years, to see how they performed compared to their original ranking.

The criteria used to grade their production is as follows:

Zero-star: Didn’t play

One-star: Part-time contributor

Two-star: Part-time starter and contributor.

Three-star: Starter and contributor during multiple years.

Four-star: First-team all-conference selection (when the Cougars were in a conference).

Five-star: Multiple time all-conference selection, Award winner or All-American.

Note: All original star rankings are from Rivals.com.

Ben Olson, five-star, quarterback, 2002

Olson landed with the Cougars as a five-star prospect out of Thousand Oaks, California. Olson spent one year with the team before he left on a mission and then transferred to UCLA where he was limited by injuries. His best year with the Bruins came in 2006 when he completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns.

For his college career, he completed 55.3 percent of his throws for 1,873 yards and 12 touchdowns.

BYU production: Zero-star

Overall production: Two-star

Curtis Brown, two-star, running back, 2002

Brown came to Provo as a two-star recruit out of Lancaster, California, and left as the school’s leading rusher and a two-time First-Team All-MWC honoree. His best season came in 2005 when he carried the ball 210 times for 1,123 yards and 14 touchdowns while catching 53 passes for 454 yards and two more scores.

For his BYU career, he finished with 3,241 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns. He also had 157 receptions for 1,309 yards and five scores.

Production: Five-star

Jonny Harline, two-star, tight end, 2002

Harline landed in Provo as a two-star prospect out of Ricks Junior College, and left as one of the biggest heroes in the BYU-Utah rivalry. He was a two-time First-Team All-MWC honoree and an All-American. His best season came in 2006 when he was a named First-Team All-American by The Sporting News, ESPN and two other publications after he caught 58 passes for 935 yards and a MWC-leading 12 touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he had 121 receptions for 1,788 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons.

Production: Five-star

Bryan Kehl, two-star, linebacker, 2002

Kehl came to the Cougars as a two-star recruit out of Brighton High School, and left as a fourth round pick by the New York Giants in the 2008 NFL draft. His best season came in 2007 when he was a First-Team All-MWC selection after he recorded 91 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions.

For his BYU career, he totaled 205 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 11 pass breakups, seven sacks and three interceptions.

Production: Four-star

Jan Jorgensen, two-star, defensive line, 2003

Jorgensen originally signed with Kentucky as a two-star prospect out of Carbon High School, and left as a three-time First-Team All-Mountain West Conference selection. Hs best season came in 2007 when he totaled 77 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries.

For his BYU career, he registered 221 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, 28.5 sacks, 22 quarterback hurries and four pass breakups.

Production: Five-star

Austin Collie, three-star, wide receiver, 2004

Collie landed in Provo as a three-star recruit out of El Dorado Hills, California, and left as a fourth round pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2009 NFL draft. His best season came in 2008 when he finished with 106 catches for 1,538 yards and 15 touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough to lead the nation in receiving yards while finishing third in receptions and fourth in touchdowns to CBSSports.com First-Team All-American.

For his BYU career, he caught 215 passes for 3,255 yards and 30 touchdowns in just three seasons.

Production: Five-star

Todd Watkins, three-star, wide receiver, 2004

Watkins came to the Cougars as a three-star prospect out of Grossmont Community College, and left as a seventh round pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2006 NFL draft. His most productive season with the Cougars came in 2004 when he was a First-Team All-Mountain West Conference selection and an honorable-mention All-American after he caught 52 passes for 1,042 yards and six touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he had 101 receptions for 1,720 yards and 15 touchdowns in two seasons.

Production: Four-star

Dennis Pitta, no stars, tight end, 2004

Pitta came to BYU without a star ranking out of Moorpark, California, and left as a fourth round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2010 NFL draft. He was three-time First-Team All-MWC selection and a two-time All-American. His most productive season came in 2008 when he caught 83 passes for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he registered 221 receptions for 2,901 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Production: Five-star

Harvey Unga, two-star, running back, 2005

Unga landed with the Cougars as a two-star recruit out of Timpview High School, and left as the all-time leading rusher in just three seasons on the field. He was a Rivals.com Second-Team freshman All-American and a two-time All-MWC selection. His best season came in 2007 when he had 244 carries for 1,227 yards and 13 touchdowns to go along with 44 catches for 655 yards and four more scores.

For his BYU career, he carried the ball 696 times for 3,455 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also caught 102 passes for 1,085 yards and nine scores.

Production: Five-star

Max Hall, two-star, quarterback, 2006

Hall originally Signed with Arizona State as a three-star prospect, but was listed as a two-star recruit when he signed his letter of intent to play in Provo. He started three seasons under center and left as the school’s all-time leader in wins. He was a three-time MWC honoree, including a First-Team selection in 2007 and a two-time Sports Illustrated Honorable-Mention All-American. His most productive season came in 2008 when he completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 3,957 yards and 35 touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he completed 65.3 percent of his throws for 11,365 yards and 94 touchdowns. He also had 204 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

Production: Five-star

Brandon Ogletree, two-star, linebacker, 2006

Ogletree came to the Cougars as a two-star recruit out of McKinney, Texas, and left as a two-time leader in tackles. His best season came in 2012 when he was a Phil Steele All-Independent First-Team selection after he totaled 102 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and four pass breakups.

For his BYU career, he totaled 246 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.

Production: Three-star

Eathyn Manumaleuna, two-star, defensive line, 2007

Manumaleuna landed in Provo as a two-star prospect out of Timpview High School, and became the anchor of the Cougar defensive line. His most productive season came in 2013 when he was a FBS All-Independent First-Team selection after he totaled 48 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and a sack in 13 games.

For his BYU career, he had 144 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and four pass breakups.

Production: Three-star

Cody Hoffman, two-star, wide receiver, 2009

Hoffman came to the Cougars a s a two-star recruit out of Crescent City, California, and left as the all-time leader in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He was a two-time First-Team All-Independent selection and a Sports Illustrated Honorable-Mention All-American. His best season came in 2012 when he had 100 catches for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn All-American recognition.

For his BYU career, he recorded 260 receptions for 3,612 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Production: Five-star

Craig Bills, four-star, defensive back, 2009

Bills came to BYU as a four-star prospect out of Timpview High School. His best season came in 2013 when he was named Phil Steele All-Independent First-Team selection and a FBS All-Independent Honorable-Mention after he had 78 tackles, seven pass breakups, 2.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

For his Cougar career, he had 199 tackles, 14 pass breakups, five interceptions, three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in 47 games.

Production: Three-star

Mitch Mathews, three-star, wide receiver, 2009

Mathews landed with the Cougars a s three-star recruit out of Beaverton, Oregon, and provided BYU with one of the biggest catches in school history. His best season came as a junior in 2014 when he was a FBS All-Independent Team selection after he caught 73 passes for a team-leading and career-high 922 yards and nine touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he recorded 152 receptions for 2,083 yards and 24 touchdowns in 41 games.

Production: Three-star

Kyle Van Noy, four-star, linebacker, 2009

Van Noy came to the Cougars as a four-star prospect out of Reno, Nevada, and left as a second round pick by the Detroit Lions in the 2014 NFL draft. He was a three-time All-Independent team selection, a two-time All-American and the Independent Defensive Player of the Year. One of his best seasons came in 2012 when he totaled 53 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, eight quarterback hurries, six forced fumbles, five pass breakups, and two interceptions to earn CBSSports.com Second-Team All-American.

For his BYU career, he had 226 tackles, 62 tackles for loss, 32 quarterback hurries, 26 sacks, 17 pass breakups, 11 forced fumbles and seven interceptions.

Production: Five-star

Taysom Hill, three-star, quarterback, 2009

Hill originally signed with Stanford as a three-star recruit out of Pocatello, Idaho, before he came to BYU after his mission. Although three of his four seasons at BYU have ended because of injury, he has still done some special things. His best season came as a sophomore when he was named College Sports Madness Independent Offensive Player of the Year after he completed 53.9 percent of his passes for 2,938 yards and 19 touchdowns to go along with 1,344 yards and 10 touchdowns in the running game.

For his Cougar career, he has completed 57.3 percent of his throws for 4,606 yards and 31 touchdowns. He added 2,212 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground in 25 games.

Production: Four-star

Ross Apo, four-star, wide receiver, 2010

Apo landed in Provo as a four-star prospect out of Arlington, Texas. He started off his time as a Cougar with plenty of promise as the FBS Independent Freshman of the Year in 2011 and a Phil Steele All-Independent Second-Team selection in 2012 before struggling his last two years. His best season came as a freshman when he caught 34 passes for 453 yards and nine touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he had 80 receptions for 981 yards and 13 touchdowns in 48 games.

Production: Two-star

Algernon Brown, three-star, running back, 2010

Brown came to the Cougars as a three-star recruit out of Skyline High School. After seeing limited touches during his first two seasons on the field, he stepped up big in 2015 when he was a Phil Steele All-Independent First-Team selection after he carried the ball 127 times for 709 yards and 11 touchdowns to go along with 13 catches for 71 yards and two more scores.

To this point in his BYU career, he has 243 carries for 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also has 29 receptions for 218 yards and three scores.

Production so far: Two-star

Alani Fua, three-star, linebacker, 2010

Fua came to BYU as a three-star prospect out of San Fernando Valley, California, and left as a two-time College Sports Madness All-Independent Third-Team selection. His best season came in 2013 when he had 63 tackles, 10 pass breakups, five tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and an interception return for a touchdown.

For his BYU career, he totaled 124 tackles, 15 pass breakups, 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks and five interceptions in 44 games.

Production: Three-star

Jake Heaps, four-star, quarterback, 2010

Heaps came to Provo as the No. 1 quarterback in the country by Scout.com and the No. 1 pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com out of Issaquah, Washington, according to BYUCougars.com. He lasted two years with the Cougars before he transferred to Kansas and then Miami (FL). His best season came in 2010 when he completed 57.2 percent of his passes for 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he completed 57.2 percent of his throws for 3,768 yards and 24 touchdowns in 22 games.

BYU production: Two-star

Overall production: Two-star

Bronson Kaufusi, four-star, defensive line, 2010

Kaufusi came to the Cougars as a four-star recruit out of Timpview High School, and left as one of the best pass rushers in school history. He was a two-time FBS All-Independent Team selection who’s best season came in 2015 when he totaled 64 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, six quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and two pass breakups.

For his BYU career, he had 167 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, 26.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hurries, 15 pass breakups and five forced fumbles.

Production: Four-star

Tanner Mangum, four-star, quarterback, 2012

Mangum came to BYU as a four-star prospect out of Eagle, Idaho and has already shown that he was worth every bit of his ranking. In his first year under center, he was the Touchdown Club of Columbus Freshman of the Year and a Phil Steele All-Independent First-Team honoree after he completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Production so far: Four-star

Jamaal Williams, three-star, running back, 2012

Williams landed with the Cougars as a three-star recruit out of Fontana, California, and has put up huge numbers when he is on the field. He was the College Sports Madness Freshman of the Year, and a FBS All-Independent Team selection. His most impressive season came in 2013 when he carried the ball 217 times for 1,233 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with 18 catches for 125 yards.

So far in his BYU career, he has 492 carries for 2,526 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also has 53 receptions for 487 yards and another score.

Production so far: Four-star

Tejan Koroma, three-star, offensive line, 2014

Koroma came to Provo as a three-star prospect out of Allen, Texas, and has already made a big impact. He has been a two-time Phil Steele All-Independent Team selection in two seasons after starting 25 games at center. His best season so far came in 2014 when he was the College Sports Madness Independent Freshman of the Year and a FWAA and Phil Steele Freshman All-America.

Production so far: Five-star

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