NC State

These 5-star players landed at UNC and NC State. How did they fare after high school?

UNC’s Marvin Austin (9), reacting after stopping Virginia’s Mikell Simpson.
UNC’s Marvin Austin (9), reacting after stopping Virginia’s Mikell Simpson. Staff Photo by Robert Willett

College football prospects are ranked from top to bottom on their star rankings. A top-tier high school football player is considered a five-star prospect, the highest a prep football player can be ranked.

Since 247Sports started ranking recruiting in 1999, only six five-star prospects have landed at either N.C. State or North Carolina.

Each of the Tar Heels’ three five-star players arrived in Chapel Hill during the Butch Davis era. Two of the three Wolfpack five-stars started at N.C. State under former coach Chuck Amato. The other came in under Tom O’Brien.

Did those players make it to the NFL? How did they do in college? Here’s a look at how they did in their post-high school football careers.

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UNC

Marvin Austin

Ballou High, Washington, DC, Class of 2007

At UNC: Marvin Austin, a defensive tackle, is the highest ranked player to commit to UNC. He immediately saw action on the field, appearing in all 12 games as a freshman. Started 11 games as a sophomore and was second team All-ACC as a junior. Austin was considered a top pro prospect after his junior season, but elected to return for a senior season. Austin didn’t play as a senior after he was suspended for the season after receiving improper benefits from agents.

After UNC: Despite not playing his final year, Austin was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft by the New York Giants. He played for four teams in three years and had 22 tackles in 26 career games.

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UNC defensive tackle Marvin Austin (9) celebrates a victory over East Carolina in 2009. Robert Willett 2009 News & Observer file photo

Donte Paige-Moss

Northside High, Jacksonville, Class of 2009

At UNC: An in-state defensive end, Donte Paige-Moss played in eight games as a freshman and had five tackles. His best year, however, was his sophomore season, when he started in 12 games and finished with 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. In three years he collected 83 tackles.

After UNC: Moss decided to forgo his senior year to enter the 2012 NFL draft. He went undrafted, but joined the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and then bounced around with various Arena League football teams.

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UNC’s Donte Paige-Moss goes after Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray (8) despite losing his helmet on the play. Robert Willett - rwillett@newsobserver.com Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

Dwight Jones

Cummings High, Burlington, Class of 2007

At UNC: Dwight Jones didn’t catch a pass as a freshman and had five receptions as a sophomore. As a junior, however, he caught 62 passes (team-high) for 946 yards and four touchdowns. He was also an honorable mention All-ACC pick. As a senior, he led the ACC in touchdowns (12) and receptions (85) and was a second-team All-ACC pick.

After UNC: Jones went undrafted in 2012 and signed with the Houston Texans as a free agent. He was released by the Texans in June 2013 and signed with the Jets’ practice squad in December 2013 before being released in May 2014. He played briefly for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League.

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North Carolina’s Dwight Jones, breaking away from Duke’s Walt Canty for a 35-yard gain on Nov. 27, figures to be key receiver for Tar Heels quarterback T. J. Yates today against Tennessee.____Robert Willett - ROBERT WILLETT-rwillett@newsobserver.com Robert Willett ROBERT WILLETT-rwillett@newsobse

NC State

DeMario Pressley

Dudley High, Greensboro, Class of 2004

At N.C. State: DeMario Pressley, a defensive tackle, arrived at N.C. State at a time when the Wolfpack was loaded at defensive line. He worked his way into the rotation and was All-ACC in 2007. Pressley left N.C. State with 99 career tackles and 16.5 tackles for loss.

After N.C. State: Pressley was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He went on to help the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. He played for six teams during his NFL career and finished with 20 tackles.

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STATE7.SP.102007.EDH -- Greenville, NC -- October 20, 2007 -- N.C. State’s DeMario Pressley tries to avoid being tackled by ECU’s Chris Johnson, left, and Fred Hicks, right, after intercepting the ball in the fourth quarter during N.C. State’s 34-20 victory over ECU Saturday October 20, 2007, at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, NC. Staff photo by Ethan Hyman/The News & Observer Ethan Hyman Staff photo by Ethan Hyman

Toney Baker

Ragsdale High, Jamestown, Class of 2005

At N.C. State: Toney Baker scored six touchdowns as a true freshman. He played in 12 games as a sophomore and ran for 688 yards with six touchdowns. He only played in one game as a junior, then sat out the following year due to a knee injury. He returned for a strong 2009 campaign, rushing for 773 yards and six touchdowns.

After N.C. State: Baker was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, but decided to enter the 2010 NFL draft. He went undrafted, but was signed with the Denver Broncos as a free agent. Baker was released by the Broncos and never got an NFL carry.

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N.C. State’s Toney Baker scrambles for yards during the first half of N.C. State’s game against Florida State Saturday October 31, 2009, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL. Baker had 112 yards in the loss. ETHAN HYMAN - ethan.hyman@newsobserver.com Ethan Hyman Staff photo by Ethan Hyman

Rob Crisp

Athens Drive, Raleigh, Class of 2010

At N.C. State: Rob Crisp arrived at N.C. State as the No. 2 offensive tackle in the country. He started the season opener as a freshman. During his sophomore year, Crisp did not allow a sack in 413 snaps. Injuries sidelined him for most of the 2012 and ‘13 seasons. He received a medical redshirt and started every game as a fifth-year senior at left tackle in 2014.

After N.C. State: Crisp signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He signed with the New Orleans Saints practice squad in December 2016.

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N.C. State offensive tackle Rob Crisp (78) blocks defensive end Art Norman (95) during the Wolfpack’s practice Wednesday, August 6, 2014, at the N.C. State practice fields in Raleigh, N.C. It is the first day for the team in pads. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com
Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.
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