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The 5 Best No. 1 Overall College Football Recruits Of The 21st Century

The No. 1 overall recruit in this year's recruiting class is a defensive tackle out of New Jersey. 

Rashan Gary, a 6-foot-5, 293-pound prospect from Paramus (N.J.), has the top spot on 247 Sports' Composite Rankings. He's reportedly down to Clemson and Michigan and will be making his decision tomorrow on National Signing Day. 

"This is a really good defensive line class and (Gary) is head and shoulders above every other D-lineman in this class," one longtime college coach told FOX Sports

Is being the top overall recruit an indicator of automatic stardom at the college level, though? No. 

Joe McKnight recruiting profile on 247Sports.

Joe McKnight, the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2007 class.

Go look through 247 Sports' past rankings and you'll find multiple No. 1 recruits who didn't come close to living up to the hype. 

Many have, however. 

There have been All-Americans, Heisman Trophy contenders, NFL Draft first-round selections and national champions. Will Gary be joining that list? Time will tell. 

Here are the five best No. 1 overall recruits of the 21st century, based on 247 Sports' Composite Rankings. 

Start With No. 5 ??? >>>

5. Andre Smith

As A Recruit:Smith was a 6-foot-4, 325-pound offensive guard out of Birmingham, Ala. in the 2006 class. Mike Farrell, the "Godfather of Recruiting," called Smith the "best offensive line prospect since Orlando Pace." He chose Alabama over Florida, LSU, Miami and USC, among other programs. 

In College: He spent three seasons in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and was a three-year starter. During his freshman campaign, he became the fourth true freshman to start on the offensive line. Smith was one of the top players at his position during his college career. He was a two-time first-team All-SEC performer and a unanimous All-American in 2008, his final season with the Crimson Tide. Smith declared for the NFL Draft after that season and the Cincinnati Bengals drafted him No. 6 overall in the 2009 Draft. 

Where Is He Now: Smith is an offensive lineman for the Bengals, the team he's been with his entire career. He hasn't been a star at the next level, but he's a consistent starter. Smith's contract is up and he could leave Cincinnati this offseason. 

Next: No. 4 ??? >>>

4. Jadeveon Clowney

As A Recruit: Clowney was a 6-foot-5, 255-pound product out of Rock Hill, South Carolina in the 2011 class. His recruitment went all the way up to National Signing Day. During a live broadcast on ESPN, Clowney committed to South Carolina over Alabama and Clemson, among other programs. 

In College: He lived up to the hype right away, recording seven tackles, a pass break-up and a QB hurry in his first game. By his sophomore season, he was considered by many to be the best defensive player in the country. Clowney was a unanimous All-American that season and was a first-team All-American again as a junior, declaring for the NFL Draft after that season. His career highlight with the Gamecocks, of course, game in the 2013 Outback Bowl. 

Where Is He Now: The Houston Texans made Clowney the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, injuries have riddled his professional career so far. He recorded the first sack of his career this past season and ended 2015 with 40 tackles and 4.5 sacks. 

Next: No. 3 ??? >>>

3. Leonard Fournette

As A Recruit: He was a 6-foot-1, 226-pound product out of New Orleans, La. in the 2014 class. Fournette announced his decision live at the 2014 Under Armour All America Game, committing to LSU over Alabama, among other programs. 

In College: Fournette's impressed since Day 1, rushing for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns as a true freshman. This past season, he took off, becoming the best player in college football. Fournette spent most of the season as the Heisman Trophy frontrunner before LSU's rough end to the season dropped him out of the race. He ended the year with 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns. An ESPN The Magazine featured written during the season compared him to LeBron James and Bryce Harper. 

Where He Is Now: In college for one more season (technically it could be two, but barring something insane happening, he'll be declaring for the NFL Draft after the 2016 season). Fournette has actually been so good, and so highly thought of, that some have suggested he should sit out his junior season to prevent an injury. He'll start the season as a preseason All-American and a Heisman Trophy candidate on a top 10 LSU team. 

Next: No. 2 ??? >>>

2. Adrian Peterson

As A Recruit: He was a 6-foot-2, 210-pound prospect out of Plano, Texas in the 2004 class. Peterson was named the U.S. Army National Player of the Year and announced his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He committed to Oklahoma over USC. 

In College: Peterson had potentially the greatest true freshman season in the history of college football. He rushed for 1,925 yards and led the nation in carries. Peterson was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy that season and finished second to USC's Matt Lienart. Both his sophomore and junior seasons were limited by injuries, but he still finished his career with 4,245 rushing yards. If not for the injuries, Peterson might be considered the best running back in the history of college football. 

Where Is He Now: One of the best running backs in the NFL, still playing for the Minnesota Vikings, the team that drafted him No. 7 overall in the 2007 Draft after his junior season. He was the NFL MVP in 2007 and is a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro. Peterson rushed for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015, leading the Vikings to the playoffs. 

Next: No. 1 ??? >>>

1. Vince Young

As A Recruit: He was a 6-foot-5, 200-pound dual-threat quarterback in the 2002 class. Young was a three-year starter in high school, eventually committing to in-state powerhouse Texas. 

In College: Young redshirted his freshman season and became the starter midway through his redshirt freshman season. As a redshirt sophomore, he led the Longhorns to an 11-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory over Michigan. His redshirt junior season was one of the best in college football history. Texas went 11-0 in the regular season, won the Big 12 Championship Game and faced USC in the BCS National Championship Game. Young's outing in that game was historic, as he totaled 467 yards and three touchdowns, including the forever-will-be-remembered game-winning TD on a fourth down scramble. The Tennessee Titans made Young the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft a couple months later.

Where Is He Now: Young has been out of the NFL since 2014. He had a largely disappointing professional career despite being a two-time Pro Bowler. Young now serves as a "community engagement officer" for Texas and will keep that position despite recently being arrested for DWI. 

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