Super Bowl 2022 rosters: How the Rams and Bengals starters rated as high school recruits

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Super Bowl LVI kicks off on Sunday as the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals vie for each of their first world championships of the 2000s. The battle features young upstart quarterback Joe Burrow going against grizzled veteran Matthew Stafford in a battle of opposites. However, the two players share one thing in common — both were blue-chip recruits. 

However, the meeting of the two best football teams in the NFL features players from all over the recruiting map. The Rams’ Stafford was the No. 1 quarterback in the country and a five-star recruit. Top receiver Cooper Kupp was an unranked recruit from Eastern Washington. Star defenders Aaron Donald and Von Miller both ranked as three-star recruits, but Cincinnati Pro Bowler Trey Hendrickson ranked outside of the top 2,000. 

Strangely enough, the veteran Rams boast nine total four- or five-star starters, fewer than the amount on Cincinnati’s offense alone. In fact, the only listed starter who arrived as anything other than a four- or five-star recruit was right guard Hakeem Adeniji, a Kansas product. Left tackle Jonah Williams, receiver Tee Higgins and running back Joe Mixon were five-star recruits. 

In general, the offenses for both teams tended to be much more blue-chip heavy than the defenses. Sixteen of the 22 combined starters on offense rated as blue-chip recruits, though the unranked Kupp and two-star tight end Tyler Higbee stand out. Defensively, seven of the 22 starters were blue-chippers. Two of the three defensive Pro Bowlers from these…

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