National Signing Day is Wednesday, and it's a big deal for colleges and players alike. After all, after Wednesday, a vast majority of the 2,500 or so players who sign with FBS schools won't really be heard from again.
The goal for almost all of the 2,500 is to play in the NFL (there actually are some recruits who know it's an incredible long shot to play at the next level) and, once you're in the NFL, win a Super Bowl.
Some players are luckier than others in that regard. And some of those lucky players overcome much longer odds than others. We looked at the 22 guys who started for Seattle in Sunday's Super Bowl to see how they ranked as high school prospects. Percy Harvin (the No. 1 recruit in the 2006 class), Marshawn Lynch (No. 28 overall in '04) and Golden Tate (No. 7 wide receiver nationally in '07 class) were big signings for Florida, California and Notre Dame, respectively. But there were far more players who weren't all that highly thought of out of high school.
Here are five Seattle starters whose college signings were not trumpeted at all:
WR Doug Baldwin
Ranking: 2-star WR in 2007 recruiting class
Buzz: Baldwin is from Gulf Breeze, Fla., a suburb of Pensacola, but the only state schools that recruited him were Florida Atlantic and Florida International. He signed with Stanford, which was the only major-conference school that wanted him. He caught just 96 passes in four seasons at Stanford and signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He had one season of 50-plus catches in college, but already has two with the Seahawks.
OT Breno Giacomini
Ranking: 2-star DE in 2004 recruiting class
Buzz: He was considered a better basketball player than football player in high school in Malden, Mass., and didn't even play football as a high school junior. Louisville was the only major school to offer a scholarship. He started just 13 times in his Louisville career and spent most of his first three seasons with the Cardinals bouncing between tight end and offensive tackle. He was a fifth-round pick by Green Bay in the 2008 draft but played in only one game in two seasons with Green Bay. Seattle signed him off Green Bay's practice squad during the 2010 season. He started eight games for Seattle in 2011 and has been a full-time starter the past two seasons for the Seahawks when not injured.
OG J.R. Sweezy
Ranking: 2-star DE in 2007 recruiting class
Buzz: Sweezy, from the Charlotte area, was a 230-pound linebacker/defensive end in high school and chose North Carolina State over offers from East Carolina and FCS program James Madison. He redshirted in 2007, played in just two games as an end in 2008, then blossomed when moved to defensive tackle in 2009. He was a two-year starter for the Wolfpack at defensive tackle. He was a seventh-round pick by the Seahawks as a guard -- a position he never had played -- in the 2011 draft. This season was his first as a full-time starter.
LB Bobby Wagner
Ranking: 2-star LB in 2008 recruiting class
Buzz: Wagner was a productive tight end and linebacker in high school in the Los Angeles suburbs, but Utah State was his only FBS offer. He was an immediate contributor for the Aggies, earning a starting job early in his freshman season and never giving it up. He was a three-time All-WAC player. He was listed at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds when he signed out of high school; Seattle lists him at 6-foot and 241 pounds. He was a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2012 draft and is a two-year starter.
QB Russell Wilson
Ranking: 2-star QB in the 2007 recruiting class
Buzz: See if this sounds familiar: Wilson was a highly productive quarterback in high school (he passed for 3,009 yards and ran for another 1,132 as a senior) in Richmond, Va., but was considered too small (he was listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds as a high school senior) to make much of an impact in college. He also was a top-notch baseball player. But after redshirting in 2007, he was a three-year starter for the Wolfpack. Famously, then-Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien thought Wilson's baseball ambitions hampered his football training, and Wilson transferred to Wisconsin for his senior season. He led the Badgers to the Rose Bowl, then was a third-round pick by Seattle in the 2012 draft. He has started every game in his two seasons with the Seahawks.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.