A note up front: this is subjective. You're free to agree or disagree with any of our judgments. What you expect out of a 5.5 3* player may be different than what we expect (although at that rating it's typically not much).
These are all rankings from Rivals.com.
Class of 2010
Calvin Barnett: 4* (5.9) - Arkansas' big Signing Day steal never made it Fayetteville. The big defensive tackle was committed to Oklahoma State before flipping to the Razorbacks on Signing Day, but he ended up in junior college before ending up in Stillwater with the Cowboys the last two seasons. He ended his college career in 2013 by being named first team All-Big 12 after making nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. ESPN named him the 25th best player in the Big 12 of the 2013 season.
Verdict: Properly Rated - but in a disppointing way for Arkansas fans
Jatashun Beachum 3* (5.7) - Big Tex was an intriguing prospect who captured the imaginations of the Arkansas message boards due to his combination of size and athleticism, but he never could find a role in his one year on the team. He redshirted as a freshman and left the team the following spring.
Eric Bennett: 3* (5.7) - The defensive back out of Tulsa had an up and down career in Fayetteville. He was a four-year player, appearing in 48 games and made 202 tackles and four interceptions. Unfortunately, his best year was 2011 and ended his career as one of the key members of a pretty bad secondary. When he signed with Arkansas it was widely hoped he was underrated, but, alas...
Verdict: Properly Rated - there were some good times, which is fitting for a 3* player.
LaCraig Brown: 3* (5.7) - Left campus before the first game. Didn't find evidence of his contribution to any college football team.
Verdict: Can you be overrated as a 5.4 2*? I guess.
Daunte Carr: 3* (5.6) - Carr redshirted as a freshman so he'll be a 5th-year senior in 2014. He hasn't shown much on the field thus far in his career, making just five total tackles in his three seasons, but we'll hold off on a verdict until his entire career is in.
Cam Feldt: 4* (5.8) - Redshirted in 2010 then transferred to North Texas. Played in one game in 2012. Can't find anything else on him.
Courtney Gaston: 3* (5.7) - Never made it to campus. Had to go the juco route and never made it back.
Brad Hefley: 3* (5.6) - Redshirted. Ended up at juco. Apparently never played at Arkansas.
Javontee Herndon: 2* (5.2) - Herndon was another Signing Day surprise. He wasn't expected to sign with anybody until Arkansas extended an offer in the middle of the day, and Herndon signed with the Hogs immediately. He went on to play for four years, and was arguably Arkansas' best receiver in 2013, when he caught 31 passes and scored five touchdowns.
Zach Hocker: 2* (5.2) - Why are almost all kickers rated 2*? Like they're unimportant or have little effect on the game. Seems silly that every few years you have to sign a kicker and it hurts your class rating because they're usually 2* players. And if you don't sign one you're really screwed on the field. Whatever.
As we all know, Hocker immediately won the kicking job at Arkansas and held on to it for all four years. He was great as a freshman, and although his production dipped slightly in his sophomore and junior years, rebounded for a really solid senior season and leaves Fayetteville with several Razorback records. It's just too bad Arkansas didn't put him in more positions to kick field goals.
Julian Horton: 3* (5.6) - Like Herndon, another four-year player. Horton was never a major contributor, scoring four touchdowns in his career and catching 39 passes. He is a scoop and score away from being part of a Razorback legend. But he did play quite a bit.
Verdict: Properly Rated
Mardrecus Humphrey: 3* (5.6) - Caught one pass in two years, was also a kick returner and played on special teams. Was one of a trio of Razorbacks arrested shortly after John L. Smith was named interim coach in April 2012 and left school. He transferred to UAB and was expected to start in 2013 but the NCAA ruled him ineligible. Still could play at UAB in 2014.
Jeremiah Jackson: 3* (5.5) - Appeared in four games in 2010 during garbage time, making one tackle. Was on the team roster in 2011 but can't find a record of him playing or leaving.
Byran Jones: 4* (5.8) - Started by the end of his freshman year and remained in that spot throughout his career, playing in 46 games total. Although he was never an All-SEC type of player, he was a solid contributor for four years, which is about right for a low-end 4*.
Verdict: Properly Rated
Jarrett Lake: 3* (5.5) - Another Signing Day surprise, but Lake never found a consistent role during the Petrino/Smith years, recording 27 tackles in 27 games. However he appeared to really click with Bielema and his staff, racking up 77 tackles and becoming a starter.
Verdict: Properly Rated
Braylon Mitchell: 3* (5.6) - He redshirted in 2010 and will be a 5th-year senior in 2014, so we'll hold off on giving him a verdict. He was a major contributor at linebacker in 2013 and we'll see if he can make a jump in 2014.
Denton Simek: 3* (5.6) - Redshirted his freshman year then left the team at the same time as Big Tex. Transferred to Central Oklahoma.
Chris Smith: 3* (5.7) - Many local recruiting reporters said he was underrated when he was being recruited and they were spot on. Although he played sparingly as a freshman he worked his way up to All-SEC level by his junior year and could be an NFL draft pick in April.
Darrell Smith: 3* (5.6) - Played sparingly in 2010 and 2011 before transferring to Murray State. As a Racer, Smith made 98 tackles at safety and made three interceptions. Would Arkansas really have been much worse off at safety if he'd stayed?
Verdict: Properly Rated
Alan Turner: 2* (5.4) - Byran Jones' high school teammate redshirted in 2010 and will be a 5th-year senior at safety in 2014. Became a regular contributor in 2013.
Marquel Wade: 3* (5.7) - An interesting case. Clearly underrated in terms of talent considering he was bumped up to a 4* the next year after spending time in prep school. Unfortunately, despite showcasing that talent as a high-profile backup in 2011, Wade became most widely known for destroying that Vanderbilt punt returner and getting kicked out of school as part of the group Humphrey was with. He hasn't played football since.
Verdict: Talent - Underrated, Eventual college prospects - Overrated
Jacoby Walker: 3* (5.5) - Was at Arkansas for two seasons before transferring to UCA and becoming a receiver. Left more because of depth at quarterback than athleticism, we think.
5th-year seniors from Class of 2009
Jerry Mitchell: 3* (5.5) - Played sparingly for four seasons but was never a major factor. Actually played more for Petrino/Smith than he did for Bielema as a 5th-year senior.
Verdict: Properly Rated - only because it's hard to say a low-level 3* who did play for four years is overrated. You could make the argument though, depending on what you expect from a 2* vs a lower level 3*.
Travis Swanson: 3* (5.6) - This one's easy. Swanson is one of the most decorated centers in Arkansas history. Expected to be a solid draft pick in April.
Austin Tate: 3* (5.6) - Senior season was cut short due to injury, but in his prior three seasons. Was a backup tight end throughout his career but did earn a few starts. Caught 22 passes in his career.
Verdict: Overrated slightly.
Robert Thomas: 3* (5.6) - Had to go the juco route but was a rare player who eventually resigned with Arkansas after spending two years at juco. Was a significant contributor for three seasons but his senior year was cut short with an injury.
Verdict: Slightly underrated.
Properly Rated - 7 total (with a few still waiting to finish their careers)
Overrated - 11
Underrated - 6
There you have it. As with most classes, the evaluators will be wrong with some and spot on with others. It will likely come out in the wash. However, the 2010 class was one of the lower-rated in Arkansas' recent history, and overall it proved to be accurate - even if I'm sure some fans will always swear Petrino or Gus Malzahn would have won 10 games with this as their senior class.
What does this mean?
Well, people have a tendency to interpret recruiting stats however they want it to be. It's not breaking news, but the evaluations aren't perfect. Some will be pegged perfectly. Some will be significantly underrated and some will be total busts. The overall class rating isn't a scientific fact but will prove to be some sort of estimate. But if that class was an indication, it's fair to expect on-field results somewhat in line with the overall class ranking.
*We left off Garrett Ueckman for obvious reasons. Still hurts to think about that.