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Jimbo Fisher has a message for the Stars Don't Matter crowd

Tom Brady won six Super Bowls as a sixth-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, and JaMarcus Russell busted as the top overall selection in 2007, therefore first- and sixth-round picks are interchangeable. Right? Wrong. Dead wrong.

Some players taken in the first round of next month's draft will inevitably bust and some sixth-round sleepers will become Pro Bowlers, that doesn't mean the two respective slots in the draft are interchangeable. Far from it. Five hundred thousand miles from it. Not only would 32 of 32 NFL general managers take a first-round pick over a sixth-round pick, they would all take a single first-round selection over the entire sixth round.

We all understand this in the NFL, and yet there's a certain segment of the college football community hellbent on ignoring it in the college football recruiting process.

Though it's been brandished to the dusty corners of the Internet, there are still people who will look you in the face and tell you stars don't matter. Anecdotally -- and I'm not naming any names here -- it seems to be the cry of the coaches and programs who don't ever sign those stars: "I'll take guys who WANT to be here over prima donnas any day!!!!"

“We’ve spoken about the competitive nature, and I think that’s really, really big in today’s world,” Butch Jones famously said in 2017. “Everyone gets into the whole two-star, three-star, four-star, five-star thing. The only five-star that we even concern ourselves with is a five-star heart.

“We want five-star hearts and five-star competitors.”

This argument, such that it is one, frequently falls into a false choice fallacy: where your choice of a coach can either recruit or develop, but not both.

Incidentally, if forced to pick one or the other, my theory is most fans would rather their school hire a developer while the majority of coaches would rather have a recruiter.

A guy who has proven he can do both made a perfect analogy on Monday. No matter how many tools you give Jimbo Fisher, he can't turn a Pinto into a Ferrari.

"You can develop (players) to a certain point, but you've got to recruit those types of guys that are capable of doing that. It's like a car," Fisher said. "You want a car that's going to drive fast? Is a Ferrari going to drive fast or is a Pinto going to drive fast? You can develop Pintos all you want, but you've got to develop good guys. Player development is a big part of it, too. It's recruiting, player development, everything that goes on."

There's also a confirmation bias at play here. The recruiting services hand out between 30 and 35 5-star rankings in a given class, and there are thousands of 2-stars and no-stars. It's news when a 5-star busts or when a 2-star makes an all-conference team, and the opposite of news when a 5-star produces while a low-rated recruit develops into a low-impact player.

Development matters, yes. No one would ever tell you otherwise. But recruiting matters, too. Winning a title at any level of college football requires coaches to get out on the road to recruit equal or better than their peers. And you'd better believe they'd rather hit the road in a Ferrari than a Pinto.