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Matt Barkley To San Diego State: What If College Football Had A Draft?

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It's the middle of the offseason, so let's again ponder college football by observing what it isn't. What it isn't is a sport with a draft.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans gets ready to run on to the field for their game against the California Golden Bears at AT&T Park on October 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 13: Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans gets ready to run on to the field for their game against the California Golden Bears at AT&T Park on October 13, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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In 2011, 14 teams took 70 percent of the top 120 recruits, according to Rivals' rankings. So unfair! Texas and Stanford hogged all the offensive linemen, Ohio State and Florida State were greedy with defensive linemen, Miami and Texas A&M took more than their share of little fast guys, and so on.

How's New Mexico State football supposed to ever get better when the only thing it gets to market is New Mexico State football? That is certainly unfair. Alabama will always be more talented than UTEP, no matter which Mike Price coaches. The rich will stash four-star linebackers on the bench, while the poor will flail around in the WAC.

But I'd like to take a moment here to tout one thing that's very right about college football. We hear a lot about where the sport's gone completely wrong, even though those in the know realize it's been crooked for a century now. And while most players aren't yet properly compensated for the value they provide their schools, they still get to choose which team is best for them*. And that's excellent.

* Provided, of course, they don't try to transfer out when Randy Edsall or Justin Fuente takes over. I didn't say it's perfect.

While this is a dumb offseason exercise, it still goes to show the agency that the recruiting process gives to athletes, the individuals in the entire sport who are the most vital and who have the most to win and lose. If college football had a draft, Joe Q. Fivestar could wind up against his preferences at a service academy, an engineering school, a NFL Draft factory or a church-run school, not to mention get shipped across the country. As it is, Mr. Fivestar holds the cards.

Recruiting is often dirty and often creepy, but not a whole lot creepier than a professional monopoly condemning its best incoming players to its worst franchises. The Draft is great system for the NFL, of course, but that it would work so inconceivably terribly at the college level helps demonstrate what's right about players making their own choices.

With that takeaway noted, here are seven years worth of college football draft top fives, based on Football Outsiders F/+ rankings and Rivals recruit rankings -- we could extend this back to 1930 and not find a better example than limo-ridin' golden boy Jimmy Clausen to FBS newbie Western Kentucky, even though in his case it might've been worthwhile to step down a peg or 120.

2006 Team Draftee Pos. IRL Team

1 *Western Kentucky Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame

2 Temple Joe McKnight RB USC

3 Buffalo Eric Berry DB Tennessee

4 Utah State Ryan Mallett QB Michigan

5 North Texas Carlos Dunlap DE Florida

2007 Team Draftee Pos. IRL Team

1 FIU Terrelle Pryor QB Ohio State

2 UAB DaQuan Bowers DE Clemson

3 Utah State Mike Adams OL Ohio State

4 Northern Illinois Julio Jones WR Alabama

5 Temple Patrick Johnson DB LSU

2008 Team Draftee Pos. IRL Team

1 Washington State Bryce Brown RB Tennessee

2 North Texas Rueben Randle WR LSU

3 Idaho D.J. Fluker OL Alabama

4 Washington Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri

5 San Diego State Matt Barkley QB USC

2009 Team Draftee Pos. IRL Team

1 Washington State Ronald Powell DE Florida

2 New Mexico State Seantrel Henderson OL Miami

3 Rice Kyle Prater WR USC

4 Eastern Michigan Sharrif Floyd DT Florida

5 San Jose State Keenan Allen DB Cal

2010 Team Draftee Pos. IRL Team

1 New Mexico State Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina

2 New Mexico Curtis Grant LB Ohio State

3 Memphis George Farmer WR USC

4 UNLV Cyrus Kouandjio OL Alabama

5 Akron De'Anthony Thomas WR Oregon

2011 Team Draftee Pos. IRL Team

1 *Texas State Dorial Green-Beckham WR Missouri

2 *UT-San Antonio D.J. Humphries OL Florida

3 *South Alabama Mario Edwards DE Florida State

4 *UMass Shaq Thompson DB Washington

5 New Mexico Johnathan Gray RB Texas

**2012 Team Draftee Pos. IRL Commit

1 *Georgia State Robert Nkemdiche DE

2 Texas State Reuben Foster LB Alabama

3 South Alabama Kendall Fuller DB

4 UT-San Antonio Jaylon Smith LB

5 New Mexico State Max Browne QB USC

* Expansion draft!

** Projected.

Also, just for fun (SO MUCH FUN), what the entire 2012 first round would've looked like if everyone drafted according to chalk:

Team Draftee Pos. IRL Team

1 *Texas State Dorial Green-Beckham WR Missouri

2 *UT-San Antonio D.J. Humphries OL Florida

3 *South Alabama Mario Edwards DE Florida State

4 *UMass Shaq Thompson DB Washington

5 New Mexico Johnathan Gray RB Texas

6 Akron Jonathan Bullard DE Florida

7 Florida Atlantic Eddie Goldman DT Florida State

8 Memphis Stefon Diggs WR Maryland

9 UNLV Noah Spence DE Ohio State

10 Middle Tennessee Jameis Winston QB Florida State

11 Tulane Darius Hamilton DE Rutgers

12 Kansas T.J. Yeldon RB Alabama

13 Indiana Tracy Howard CB Miami

14 UAB Ondre Pipkins DT Michigan

15 Idaho Trey Williams RB Texas A&M

16 New Mexico State Zach Banner OL USC

17 Colorado Landon Collins DB Alabama

18 Troy Nelson Agholor WR USC

19 Army Kyle Murphy OL Stanford

20 Colorado State Gunner Kiel QB Notre Dame

21 Buffalo Ellis McCarthy DT UCLA

22 Wyoming Kyle Kalis OL Michigan

23 North Texas John Theus OL Georgia

24 Central Michigan Eddie Williams ATH Alabama

25 Washington State Adolphus Washington DE Ohio State

26 Minnesota Malcolm Brown DT Texas

27 Rice Aziz Shittu DE Stanford

28 Eastern Michigan Dante Fowler Jr. DE Florida

29 Maryland Jordan Simmons OL USC

30 Ole Miss Randy Johnson RB Miami

31 UL-Monroe Josh Harvey-Clemons LB Georgia

32 Ball State Andrus Peat OL Stanford

33 Kent State Joshua Garnett OL Stanford

34 UTEP Thomas Johnson WR Texas A&M

35 East Carolina Cyler Miles QB Washington

36 Kentucky Chris Casher DE Florida State

37 Fresno State Devin Fuller ATH UCLA

38 Marshall Mario Pender RB Florida State

39 Oregon State Kendall Sanders ATH Texas

40 San Jose State Jabari Ruffin LB USC

41 Western Kentucky Cayleb Jones WR Texas

42 UCLA Todd Gurley RB Georgia

43 Miami (Ohio) Reggie Ragland LB Alabama

44 Navy Zach Kline QB California

45 Air Force Amari Cooper WR Alabama

46 Arizona Max Tuerk OL USC

47 UL-Lafayette Ukeme Eligwe LB Florida State

48 Duke Keith Marshall RB Georgia

49 Texas Tech Deontay Greenberry WR Houston

50 Bowling Green Eli Harold DE Virginia

51 Hawaii Channing Ward DE Ole Miss

52 Purdue Isaac Seumalo OL Oregon State

53 Iowa State Leonard Williams DE USC

54 Syracuse Kent Taylor TE Florida

55 Utah State Rushel Shell RB Pitt

56 Boston College Jordan Jenkins DE Georgia

57 San Diego State Alex Carter DB Stanford

58 N.C. State Chris Black WR Alabama

59 Wake Forest Tanner Mangum QB BYU

60 Virginia Travis Blanks DB Clemson

61 Washington Arik Armstead DE Oregon

62 Nevada Durron Neal WR Oklahoma

63 Illinois Mike Davis RB South Carolina

64 Connecticut Tommy Schutt DT Ohio State

65 FIU Javonte Magee DE Baylor

66 Northwestern Shaq Roland WR South Carolina

67 Arkansas State Kennedy Estelle OL Texas

68 Tennessee Ronald Darby DB Florida State

69 Ohio DeVante Harris DB Texas A&M

70 SMU Marcus Maye DB Florida

71 Utah D.J. Foster ATH Arizona State

72 Central Florida Jonathan Taylor DT Georgia

73 Auburn Vince Biegel LB Wisconsin

74 Western Michigan Avery Young OL Auburn

75 Northern Illinois Germone Hopper WR Clemson

76 North Carolina Tee Shepard DB Notre Dame

77 Georgia Tech Noor Davis LB Stanford

78 Pittsburgh Erik Magnuson OL Michigan

79 Vanderbilt Cyrus Jones ATH Alabama

80 California Brian Poole DB Florida

81 Louisville Bryce Treggs WR California

82 Mississippi State Kevon Seymour DB USC

83 Iowa Deon Bush DB Miami

84 Arizona State Joel Caleb ATH Virginia Tech

85 South Florida Yuri Wright DB Colorado

86 Louisiana Tech LaDarrell McNeil DB Tennessee

87 Ohio State Gabriel Marks WR Washington

88 BYU Geno Smith DB Alabama

89 Clemson Nick Dawson LB Louisville

90 Tulsa JaQuay Williams WR Auburn

91 Rutgers Kwontie Moore LB Virginia

92 Kansas State Tyriq McCord DE Miami

93 Miami Jordan Payton WR UCLA

94 Penn State Raphael Kirby LB Miami

95 Florida Se'von Pittman DE Ohio State

96 Baylor Curtis Riser OL Texas

97 Toledo Alex Balducci DE Oregon

98 Cincinnati Ryan Anderson LB Alabama

99 Nebraska Ifeadi Odenigbo DE Northwestern

100 Missouri Chris Muller OL Rutgers

101 Temple J.C. Coleman RB Virginia Tech

102 West Virginia Joey O'Connor OL Ohio State

103 Virginia Tech Aaron Burbridge WR Michigan State

104 South Carolina Carlos Watkins DT Clemson

105 Southern Miss Dillon Lee LB Alabama

106 Texas Jelani Hamilton DE Miami

107 Houston Davonte Neal WR Notre Dame

108 TCU Jessamen Dunker OL Florida

109 Texas A&M Chad Voytik QB Pitt

110 Georgia Amos Leggett DB Marshall

111 Arkansas Joe Bolden LB Michigan

112 Notre Dame Bralon Addison WR Oregon

113 Michigan Elijah Shumate DB Notre Dame

114 USC Byron Marshall RB Oregon

115 Michigan State Camrhon Hughes OL Texas

116 Stanford Angelo Jean-Louis ATH Miami

117 Florida State Ishmael Adams DB UCLA

118 Oklahoma P.J. Williams DB Florida State

119 Wisconsin Matt Davis QB Texas A&M

120 Oregon Dante Phillips DT Florida

121 Boise State Hassan Ridgeway DE Texas

122 Oklahoma State Denzel Devall LB Alabama

123 LSU Ricky Parks TE Auburn

124 Alabama KeiVarae Russell RB Notre Dame

While we’re here, let’s watch some college football videos from SB Nation’s new YouTube channel together:

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