We spend so much time looking at our recruiting classes when they are coming in that we sometimes forget that the best time to evaluate them is when they are going OUT. Of course, that's about recruiting and coaching, but if a bunch of guys don't make it to the end of their career, then I guess that tells you something, right?
Most of the seniors from this year were from Coach Brandon's first class, the one he recruited when Urban Meyer walked out the door in December. That's a short time window, and Coach has alluded to the idea that maybe Urban didn't have his eye on the ball entirely during the recruiting period.
A couple things are not in doubt. One, we had a slim senior day this year. And, our struggles in 2006 we attributed to the weakness of this class by the coach himself.
Sadly for Brandon critics, the numbers bear him out. There were 23 players in that class. Below are my subjective rankings of their career. One things is beyond debate: 11 of the 23 were more or less total wash outs, and generally because they were not set up to be collegiate athletes. (I know one of them did leave for health reasons).
So, if Coach Brandon says he had to take some guys he didn't want because he was behind the 8-ball, there were 10 guys in this class who fit that category.
The class developed four truly strong players, as noted below, and they were good ones. One was a fourth-round NFL draft pick....pretty good.
But, you'd hope for more. Only 8 of the 23 made any real contribution at all.
I'm going to look at some numeric comparisons here in the near future, but clearly, this was not a recruiting class stocked with championship quality players. The ones who excelled deserve our thanks....we only wish there were more.
2003 Recruiting Class (Brandon 1)
STAR--ALL MAC, top flight starter and producer, etc.
Starter--player in starting lineup consistently at some point in career.
Role Player--Corn McGrady type. #4 WR or special teams player. You get the idea.
Finished, no footprints. Completed eligibility without doing much.
Washed out--Did not finish career.
Korey Lichtensteiger Offensive Line
Devon Parks Defensive End
Drew Nystrom Offensive Line
Loren Hargrove Defensive Back
Kevin Huelsman Offensive Line
Ryan Newble Defensive End
Sean O'Drobinak Tight End/D-Line
Patrick Watson Offensive Line
Role Player (3)
Deaudre Perry Defensive Back
Josef Timchenko Punter
Dan Macon Running Back/Wide Receiver
No footprints (1)
Benjy Kennedy Quarterback
Washed out (11)
Jack Battle Dline
Robert Browning Defensive Back
Jimmy Carson Wide Receiver
Melvin Cole Running Back
Cameron Durham Defensive Tackle
Gregory Hutcherson Wide Receiver
Edmond Massey Offensive Line
Kevin Norris Wide Receiver/Quarterback
Jenkins Reese Linebacker
Virgil Robinson IV Defensive Back/Wide Receiver
Nick Thurman Quarterback