Not everybody who makes high school All-American teams are destined to football greatness. There have been a lot of misses on the recruiting trail.
In Arizona, there has been no shortage of under-recruited players who ended up making big impacts in college and beyond.
Here is a look at some of them over the years (in alphabetical order):
Adam Archuleta, Chandler, LB, 1996
Despite an outstanding senior season at Chandler, Archuleta was basically ignored and ended up walking on at Arizona State, where he became a workout machine, making huge improvements every year at linebacker. He ended up being the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year 2000 and parlayed that into a nice NFL career, getting 452 career tackles, 18 sacks and four interceptions.
Alex Barrett, Mesa Desert Ridge, DE, 2012
Even though he made first-team all-state, he was lightly recruited, getting offers only from Montana, Northern Colorado and San Diego State. He chose San Diego State and emerged this past season as a first-team All-Mountain West selection. Lindy’s Sports lists him 10th among defensive ends on the 2017 NFL draft board.
Tyeler Davison, Scottsdale Desert Mountain, DT, 2010
He made all-region on both the offensive and defensive lines his last two years at Desert Mountain, but then coach Tony Tabor said that Arizona State thought he was too short at 6-2, and Arizona, Tabor said, dropped off in the recruiting process. His biggest offer was Fresno State, where he ended up being first-team All-Mountain West as a nose guard. He started in 15 games for the NFL New Orleans Saints this season.
Kyler Fackrell, Mesa, LB, 2010
Fackrell was part of that magical Mesa team in 2009 that got all the way to the state championship game, before losing to Chandler Hamilton. He was all over the field, playing wide receiver and safety. But the 6-foot-5 athlete wasn’t recruited much. He turned down the only Division I offer he received, from Utah State, because he was thinking of going on a church mission. After a year working as a house painter, Fackrell returned to football but had to walk on at Utah State, where his career blossomed, despite an ACL setback. He played in 13 games for the Green Bay Packer in his rookie season this year.
Joe Germaine, Mesa Mountain View, QB, 1993
Arizona State liked him as a safety out of high school, but Germaine was determined to play quarterback in college. With nothing on the table, Germaine went to Scottsdale Community College. He only had three offers out of juco but one of those was Ohio State. He ended up ruining Arizona State’s unbeaten, national championship bid in the 1997 Rose Bowl, throwing a touchdown pass in the final minute. He ended up with a Super Bowl ring as Kurt Warner’s backup with the St. Louis Rams.
Joe Kellogg, Scottsdale Saguaro, OL, 2008
Boise State was the only school to offer him out of high school, and he ended up being a four-year starter and was named to the watch list in 2012 for the Outland Trophy, given to the best interior offensive lineman in the nation.
Will Poehls, Chandler, OL, 2009
He got little attention in high school, but he grew to 6-foot-8, and now at 334 pounds, he has been on two NFL practice squads in Tennessee and Chicago. He attended Montana, where he started at guard on the 2013 team, making second-team All-Big Sky.
ARIZONA NFL CONNECTIONS: NFL players from an Arizona college or high school
Jeff Popovich, Tucson Sabino, DB, 1995
He badly broke his leg pole vaulting his junior year and played his senior season with three rods in his leg. Nobody recruited him, but then Sabino coach Jeff Scurran had a coaching contact at the University of Miami and the Hurricanes took him in as a walk-on. He ended up with 154 career tackles and a three-time Academic All-American. He was part of NFL preseason camps at Tampa Bay and Atlanta. He is now an Indianapolis Colts assistant coach.
Tim Rattay, Phoenix Christian, QB, 1995
He went from a backup his junior year to setting a season state record at the time in 1994, throwing 40 touchdowns passes. At only 6 feet, he got passed over and played at Scottsdale Community College, before breaking Terry Bradshaw’s passing records at Louisiana Tech and setting the NCAA Division I-A record, averaging 386 yards a game. He played in the NFL, including a short stint with the Cardinals.
HOW DID THEY FARE?: Top college football performers (non-Pac-12) from Arizona
HOW DID THEY FARE?: Top Pac-12 performers from Arizona in regular season
Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert.