Powerhouse teams are made up of talented players, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone who follows recruiting that Alabama and Clemson — who will play for the national title for the second season in a row Monday night — are filled with athletes who were prime recruiting targets.
To wit: 35 of the 44 expected starters in Monday night’s Alabama-Clemson national title game were four- or five-star recruits coming out of high school. For the math challenged among us, that’s 80 percent.
Seven starters were three-star recruits, one was a two-star prospect and one was an unranked recruit who began his career as a walk-on.
Not surprisingly for a team that has finished atop the consensus recruiting rankings for six years in a row, Alabama has the vast majority of the former five-star recruits: 12 of the 15 in the game. Clemson has the most four-stars by a slim margin, 11 to 9. Clemson has six three-star recruits, the lone two-star guy and the former walk-on. Of Alabama’s 22 starters, only one was a three-star prospect.
We also looked at 12 “key reserves” for each team. Nine of the 12 were at least four-star recruits for the Tide, while eight of the 12 were at least four-star recruits for the Tigers. The other seven were three-star prospects.
Nine states are represented on Alabama’s starting offense and six on defense. Five states are represented on Clemson’s starting offense and six on its defense. Eight Alabama starters are home-grown products; no other state has more than two. For Clemson, there are seven home-grown players from South Carolina, with five from North Carolina and four from Georgia.
The only states with starters for both Alabama and Clemson are Florida (two each), Georgia (two for the Tide, four for the Tigers) and Virginia (one each).
Here’s a breakdown for both teams, with the starting lineups from the semifinal games used as the basis for the comparison. We used the 247Sports composite rankings as our guide.
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