You just signed a 5-star quarterback. Congratulations! Quarterback is the most important position in sports, and your team just beat out all your rivals to secure one of the very best in his class -- the elite of the elite of the elite. All your hopes and dreams have just come true. For the next three-to-four years, your program is now set. That golden arm will be the ticket to securing conference titles, New Year's bowl berths and contract extensions that will now replicate themselves in a never-ending cycle.
Well, not really.
News broke Monday night that Justin Fields intends to transfer from Georgia, just one year after signing with the Bulldogs as the No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2018. Despite playing in 12 of Georgia's 13 games, Fields had to learn for himself what anyone could see from the outside -- it would be really, really hard to take Jake Fromm's job from him. While a transfer is not yet official, the train is apparently far enough down the track that Ohio State is reportedly the favorite to land Fields, with a good chance he plays in 2019.
It may seem surprising that a 5-star quarterback would pack up and head elsewhere, but the numbers say it's more surprising when that doesn't happen.
Of the 19 quarterbacks to earn a 5-star designation in the 247Sports Composite rankings this decade, 11 have transferred. That's nearly 60 percent.
Let's roll through the list, shall we?
Phillip Sims (Chesapeake, Va.): Signed with Alabama, transferred to Virginia
Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, Fla.): Signed with Florida, transferred to Louisiana Tech
Braxton Miller (Dayton, Ohio): Signed and finished with Ohio State
Jameis Winston (Hueytown, Ala.): Signed and finished with Florida State
Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.): Signed with Notre Dame, transferred to Cincinnati
Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash.): Signed with USC, transferred to Pittsburgh
Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va.): Signed and finished with Penn State
Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz.): Signed with Texas A&M, transferred to Houston
Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif.): Signed and finished with UCLA
Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.): Signed with Alabama, transferred to Arizona State and South Florida
Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas): Signed with Texas A&M, transferred to Oklahoma
Shea Patterson (IMG Academy): Signed with Ole Miss, transferred to Michigan
Jacob Eason (Lake Stevens, Wash.): Signed with Georgia, transferred to Washington
Davis Mills (Norcross, Ga.): Signed and still enrolled at Stanford
Hunter Johnson (Brownsburg, Ind.): Signed with Clemson, transferred to Northwestern
Tua Tagovailoa (Honolulu, Hawaii): Signed and still enrolled at Alabama
Trevor Lawrence (Cartersville, Ga.): Signed and still enrolled at Clemson
Justin Fields (Kennesaw, Ga.): Signed with Georgia, reportedly transferring
JT Daniels (Santa Ana, Calif.): Signed and still enrolled at USC
It'd be easy to draw a through line and say those that stayed are simply better players (Jameis Winston, Trevor Lawrence) than those that left (Jeff Driskel, Max Browne), but that wouldn't tell the whole truth. Kyler Murray won the most recent Heisman Trophy, while Braxton Miller finished his career as an all-purpose back after he was overtaken in Ohio State's quarterback room by JT Barrett and Cardale Jones.
It'd also be easy to say those that stayed started as true freshmen and those that left didn't, but Allen started the majority of his freshman and sophomore seasons at Texas A&M before leaving for Houston, Murray started three games as a true freshman (replacing an injured Allen) before bailing for Oklahoma, and Eason started his entire true freshman year at Georgia before he was Wally Pipp-ed by Fromm.
One thing is certain, though: 5-star quarterbacks are like betta fish -- the tank is only big enough for one of them. There's only one ball, and very few 5-stars are willing to tolerate it being in someone else's hands.
Blame it on the culture, on the way those stinking Millennials were raised, on social media or whatever boogeyman you like, but these guys have been training to become professional quarterbacks since they could grip a football, and they're not going to spend their four or five college years sitting and developing -- for better or worse.
And while we're on the subject, very few modern 5-stars become professional quarterbacks.
Winston certainly played to his paper. He won the Heisman and led Florida State to the 2013 national championship, then became the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Rosen certainly lived up to his billing as well. The first true freshman starting quarterback in UCLA history, he was a first round pick in the 2018 draft -- but the three years in between weren't exactly glory years for UCLA football. UCLA went 18-20 with Rosen on campus.
Murray won the Heisman and could be a first round pick in the upcoming draft, but he was 1-1 in his two starts against SEC teams as an Aggie.
Tagovailoa and Lawrence are well on their way to successful careers and the future is still unwritten for the half-dozen other players still in college football, but we've learned by now that 5-star high school prospects becoming 5-star college quarterbacks for the schools that sign them is the exception, not the rule.
There is but one 5-star recruit in the Class of 2019 -- Phoenix's Spencer Rattler, who will sign with Oklahoma on Wednesday. Perhaps Rattler becomes the next Jameis Winston or the next Trevor Lawrence, but the odds are just as good he's the next Philip Sims or Jeff Driskel.
Either way, Oklahoma's future will be written not by Rattler himself, but by the players around him.