National Signing Day is Wednesday, but by no means does a recruit have to have four or five stars by his name to become a success. Heck, some guys can find success even if they don't sign at all.
In the 2014 NFL Draft, Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis and Nebraska guard Spencer Long are the biggest names who began their college careers as walk-ons.
Here is a look at 10 high-level NFL players who started their college careers as walk-ons, listed alphabetically.
DE Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, Detroit Lions
WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
K Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
C Nick Hardwick, San Diego Chargers
Particulars: Attended Purdue. Did not play high school football (but was a state champion wrestler) and joined the Boilermakers as a walk-on defensive tackle in 2001 as a sophomore. He earned a scholarship at the conclusion of fall camp in 2002, by which time he had been moved to the offensive line. Was a third-round pick by the Chargers in the 2004 draft.
LB Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
Particulars: Attended USC. Despite coming from a football family with all kinds of Trojans ties, Matthews wasn't considered much of a prospect out of high school. He redshirted as a true freshman in 2004 and was a backup in 2005. He earned a scholarship during fall camp in 2006 but wasn't a starter until his senior season in 2008. Was a first-round pick by the Packers in 2009.
WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Particulars: Attended Kansas State. He was a quarterback and defensive back at a small Kansas high school, and walked on at K-State in 2003 as a safety. He redshirted that season, then didn't play a down in 2004. He moved to wide receiver in 2005 spring practice, earning a scholarship in the process, and his career took off. Was a second-round pick by the Packers in 2008.
TE Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens
CB Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh Steelers
SS T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns
Particulars: Attended Oregon. Ward suffered a severe knee injury early in his senior season at powerhouse Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, and because he never had been a starter, colleges backed off. He redshirted as a true freshman in 2005, then earned a scholarship as a redshirt freshman in 2006. Was a second-round pick by the Browns in 2010.
DE J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Particulars: Attended Wisconsin. There is a caveat to Watt's selection: He originally signed in 2007 with Central Michigan, which gave him a scholarship, as a tight end, and he played extensively that fall. But Watt, a Wisconsin native, always dreamed of playing for the Badgers. He left CMU and walked-on at Wisconsin in 2008, earning a scholarship while on the scout team that fall. Was a first-round pick by the Texans in 2011.
And while we limited this list to guys who played college football this century, there are a lot of former big-name NFL players who started their college careers as walk-ons, among them Arizona State's Adam Archuleta, Auburn's Kevin Greene, Minnesota's Karl Mecklenburg, Florida's Louis Oliver, Southern University's Aeneas Williams and Arizona State's Darren Woodson. And college coaches such as Kevin Sumlin (Purdue linebacker) and Dabo Swinney (Alabama wide receiver) were walk-ons, too.