Home Blog The “Star-system” According to Porentas

The “Star-system” According to Porentas


I read this article on the O-Zone website. The O-Zone covers Ohio State sports. Editor John Porentas has been a close friend of mine for many years. His website is my favorite, because he is honest, and they cover all sports at Ohio State University.

So impressed with the article that I received his permission to post on MSROHIO.com. Thanks to John Porentas for his permission to use it on MSROHIO.com

The article is so McCallister when it comes to the “Star- system. Have fun with the “Star-system,” but do not take it seriously. Use it as a form of entertainment.


Forget the Stars, Just be a Star
By John Porentas
COLUMBUS, Ohio – At a recent Ohio State spring football media day Darron Lee stood facing reporters, fielding question with his ever-present smile. He answered directly and with authority, but took a short break when he saw fellow linebacker Raekwon McMillan standing a few yards away, also answering questions.
Raekwon McMillan
Photo by Jim Davidson
“Hey Chose One, Chosen One,” Lee shouted. “Chosen One” he repeated, then laughed a satisfied laugh.
Reporters with him, including this one, were pretty much stunned.
“He hates that when we make that 5-star joke with him. It gets under his skin, but he knows we love him,” said a still-laughing Lee.
“We don’t really pay too much attention to the stars around here because it’s really all about how you work.”
The 5-star ranking that Lee referred to is the ranking bestowed on McMillan by the recruiting services when he was a high school senior. McMillan had a very good first year at Ohio State, but it didn’t come close to the year that Lee had in his first year on the field as a redshirt freshman. Lee, a former high school quarterback and safety, absolutely starred for the Buckeyes at his walk-out linebacker position. He not only played well, but played well when it counted most in the last three games of the OSU season. Coming out of high school, however, he was rated a 3-star by those same recruiting services.

Lee has no problem with people saying that McMillan is a good player, but it’s clear that he has a problem with players being labeled as average by those same recruiting services when those same players have the potential to be very, very good. Lee is living proof of that.
It would be easy to think that Lee felt snubbed by the recruiting services and is still just miffed, natural in fact. When you look him in the eye and talk to him, however, you don’t get the sense of bitterness. You get the sense of frustration over how some student-athletes might react to those ratings.
“I feel like a lot of guys pay attention, like ‘He’s got this many offers and whatnot,’ and they think they aren’t good enough and they get discouraged,” said Lee.
“I hate that. I see kids get real discouraged like that because, guess what, I tell them just do what you do.”
Lee is the poster child for that advice, but he is one of the exceptions. There have been others. A. J. Hawk and James Laurinaitis come to mind as players that were not highly ranked but had great collegiate careers, but who knows how many athletes “settled” because of a low rating. These are, after all, young people, and they are being told by adults who represent themselves as experts that they are not as good as they need to be to play at a certain level.
“I tell kids, high school kids, don’t worry about whoever is getting all that pub and all of that fame,” said Lee.
“Don’t worry about that, because guess what? They might not work as hard as you.  Like coach Fickell always tells us, the higher being, he’s fair. What you may have, somebody else might not have. I just always tell them hard work is the best remedy to eliminate all that stuff.”
Lee has nothing left to prove, that’s for sure, but is still motivated by the snub. He also sees another down side to the rating system. Some players with high rankings may think they can just walk into a college program and be handed a position because of the rating, something Lee says does not happen at Ohio State but can happen elsewhere.
“Not here,” he said.
“That’s not allowed around here. If you are high-rated, Coach Meyer and our coaches will do their best to get the most out of you, to make sure you hold up your end of the bargain.”
There’s also a little peer pressure to make that happen, thus the nickname for McMillan.
“Everyone calls him that. Chosen One, Five Star, Five. It’s funny how his number is five and he was a 5-star. We just like to joke around with him,” said Lee
“He handles it well. He’s ask us why we’re always knocking on him but it’s all fun and games.”
As for McMillan, he says the strategy has worked. He actually dislikes being reminded that he was a 5-star and doesn’t like his “Chosen One” nickname for that reason.
“Uh, no,” he said when asked if he likes it.
“It’s just a nickname those guys gave me to keep me grounded. It’s kind of getting old now though. I like Five, when people call me ‘Five’.”
“All the guys around me, the guys ahead of me like Josh (Perry) and Darron, they weren’t really heavily recruited and I was heavily recruited so they call me the ‘The Chosen One’.
“They’re not being mean. They’re just trying to be funny. That’s all that is. They’re just trying to keep me grounded.”
There seems to be no friction at all between Lee and McMillan, only respect, something noted by their position coach Luke Fickell who is well-aware of the nickname and has kept tabs on how all involved have reacted to its use.
“It’s good for him (being called The Chosen One),” said Fickell.
“There’s a lot of things these guys do that make this unit really special. They humble each other. They can do that, they can say those kinds of things, they can say those kind of things and all that does is create a tighter bond.
“It’s a positive thing, it really is. You can be put on a pedestal as long as you handle it the right way. You’ve got to be able to handle praise like you have to be able to handle criticism. The thing about it is that when you have strong unit cohesion anything is possible. You can handle all the problems that come forth, there are no behavior problems because the culture’s right.”
Lee was in his glory last night after Wisconsin’s victory over Kentucky: Kentucky of the 5-stars and Wisconsin of the Frank Kaminskys of the world. After the game he tweeted this.
If my underrated senses are correct , wasn’t @FSKPart3 a 3 star? I’m sleep though…

— Darron Lee (@DLeeMG8) April 5, 2015

He went on with several more tweets to repeat his message to young players
I swear kids are just really confused nowadays. They get discouraged or so upset they wanna quit b/c someone has more stars then they do.

— Darron Lee (@DLeeMG8) April 5, 2015

Me personally, I do not care if you’re the second coming of Jesus. All that star BS goes out the window when it’s showtime.

— Darron Lee (@DLeeMG8) April 5, 2015

I never gave thought to the stars because I was comfortable betting on myself. Never needed a recruiting ranking service’s approval.

— Darron Lee (@DLeeMG8) April 5, 2015

Bet on yourself kids. If you aren’t comfortable doing that yet…then keep grinding until you are.

— Darron Lee (@DLeeMG8) April 5, 2015

That’s what Lee is saying today. That day in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center he had one more thing to add.
“I really think we should get rid of the (star) system because it affects a lot of people. Now we’re seeing more zero, one, two and three-star guys that are playing, playing much more than those four and five-star guys are.”
The recruiting information industry isn’t likely to go away, but those who follow recruiting really need to understand what Lee is saying and take rankings with a grain of salt, a large one. Those rankings are just best guesses and nothing more. People who make big money and have a bigger stake in player evaluations, i.e college coaches, make plenty of mistakes.
“We think we’re geniuses and we recruited Teddy Ginn as a corner and recruited Anthony Gonzalez as a corner,” said Fickell.
“We recruited Chris Gamble as a wide receiver, Troy Smith, I think we looked at him as an ‘Athlete’. He was not a quarterback. He was either a safety or a running back.  He ended up winning some award. I can’t remember what it was. When we think we’re geniuses and we know everything we’re in trouble.”
As long as people will pay for it there will be recruiting information. What rankles Lee is that it is not benign when it is wrong. In his opinion it can affect young people in a very negative way, and that it is too high a price for the entertainment of some adults and the profit of others.
(c) 1996-2015 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material is reproduced on MSR with the permission of John Porentas and Ozone Communications, LLC. It may not be republished elsewhere.
John Porentas
Editor/Publisher O-Zone Communications, Inc.
1351 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212http://theozone.netCell: 614-679-9331


  1. Tony

    April 8, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Great article. This is the same thing I have been preaching to my son. I’ll have to get my son to read this, so he can see something I have already told him. Just play ball and the dominos will fall correctly, stars or no stars.


  2. Greg

    April 9, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Thanks for sharing and my son will definitely be reading this very soon. Totally agree with the message and as you have said before it takes just one coach to be the one.


Leave a Reply to Greg Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *