From No. 1 to unranked: A look at where top Rams were on their National Signing Days

Rams receiver Cooper Kupp (10) and quarterback Matthew Stafford celebrate after scoring a touchdown
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp (10) and quarterback Matthew Stafford celebrate after scoring a touchdown against the Colts on Sept. 19.
(Zach Bolinger / Associated Press)
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As the final wave of high school football players lock in their college selections on National Signing Day, it’s worth noting one NFL MVP candidate had no college scholarship offers his senior year.

Recruiting rankings sometimes forecast elite pro football careers, but lots of players with fewer stars become NFL starters. Here’s a look at where top Super Bowl-bound Rams were ranked on their respective signing days.


Cooper Kupp, unranked

Cooper Kupp dodges a tackle
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp eludes the tackle of Bucs defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting Jan. 23 at Raymond James Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)


Kupp had no scholarship offers and didn’t connect with Eastern Washington until after signing day passed.

“It was tough,” Kupp told The Times. “There’s no feeling like that thought. I believed I could play at the next level, but there’s that voice in the back of your head saying, ‘Well, right now no one else thinks that you can.’ But that didn’t change my idea. My thoughts were, ‘I can do this. I know I can play at the next level. ’”


Eric Weddle, two-star prospect

Eric Weddle, with his helmet off before a game, stretches his arms
Eric Weddle stretches before a wild card game against the Cardinals at SoFi Stadium.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Weddle generated little fanfare when he signed with Utah in 2003, but the Southern California safety made an immediate impact. “It was apparent from Day 1,” Kyle Whittingham, then Utah’s defensive coordinator, said in a book about Weddle, “No Excuses, No Regrets.” “He was head and shoulders above everyone else in that class in our agility tests and practices. He was the best safety, best wide receiver, the best everything.”


Aaron Donald, three-star prospect

Aaron Donald raises his arms, encouraging fans to cheer.
Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) encourages fans to get loud during a defensive stand against the Cardinals during a NFC divisional playoff game at SoFi Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)


Donald was lightly recruited, but then-Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt pursued Donald because he was a strong high school wrestler. “In our scheme, any guy who was a wrestler I always thought that was a nice intangible for a football player,” Wannstedt told the “You saw his quickness and stuff, but it wasn’t off the charts. He was perfect physically for what we were looking for as far as an inside tackle. We recruited him, and it all worked out.”


Odell Beckham Jr., four-star prospect

Odell Beckham Jr. runs as the 49ers'  Ambry Thomas grabs his leg
Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) tries to evade 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas (20) during the NFC championship game on Sunday.
(Doug Benc / Associated Press)

Beckham chose LSU over Miami, committing to the Tigers a month before his signing ceremony. “It’s definitely a whole new level,” Beckham told on signing day in 2011. “But I’m going to work hard and make sure I’m ready.”


Jalen Ramsey, five-star prospect

Jalen Ramsey raises his arms to signal no catch as Tampa's Mike Evans walks away
Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey signals no catch as Tampa receiver Mike Evans walks away during their NFC divisional playoff game at Raymond James Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Ramsey was a highly coveted recruit who spurned USC and Florida when he signed with Florida State in 2013. “Everything played into it — place, people, trust, stability, academics, family,” he told USA Today Sports after his signing ceremony. “I feel like Florida State has everything I’m looking for. I’m so excited to be there. I’m not going to look back. I want to go forward.”


Matthew Stafford, five-star prospect

Matthew Stafford gets ready to throw a pass
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford drops back to pass against the 49ers during the NFC championship at SoFi Stadium on Sunday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Stafford was the No. 1 pro-style quarterback prospect in the country in 2006 ahead of Tim Tebow, but he didn’t look like an elite athlete. All he had to do to change coaches’ minds was throw a football. Georgia lead recruiter Mike Bobo told, “It didn’t take long to see his natural arm strength and arm talent that he had. It was something I’ve never seen before.”