Five Florida recruiting classes will stand test of time
Published: Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 11:53 a.m.
What used to be a cottage industry has turned into a gaudy mansion. College football recruiting always had a life of its own, but these days it has gone from the gorilla in the room to King Kong.
If you don't make your announcement on national TV with four stars attached to your name and a Web site devoted to your exploits, my gosh, did you even play high school football? You haven't received a text message from a coach today? Dang, forget to pay your cell phone bill?
The whole recruiting scene is both a tribute and an indictment to our Internet generation and the hero worship of athletes. Nobody wants to wait to see them actually pull on the school colors. Just getting these kids as commitments is considered a victory worthy of a celebration usually reserved for actual football games.
But enough bashing the silliness of Recruit-a-palooza. It is crucial, if overblown. It is the lifeblood for bleeding programs and the manna for the masses.
The point of all this is to illustrate the obvious - it's nice to have a highly ranked recruiting class, but it isn't until five years later that you truly know the value of a class.
The 2000 recruiting class is often held up as the example. It was hardly the perceived bust that many associated with Steve Spurrier's penultimate class. Nine of the 29 signees have seen time in the NFL. But nine of the 29 didn't finish their careers at UF, including the crown jewel of the class, Brock Berlin. At best, it was a mixed bag.
Then, you take a class like 1986. Saddled with NCAA restrictions, Galen Hall only signed 14 players, but nine of them went on to be starters and that class earned eight All-Southeastern Conference honors. The year before, with similar restrictions, Hall signed what may have been the worst class in Gator history, one that included one All-SEC player over the next five seasons.
So I went back over every recruiting class since freshmen became eligible to play football in 1972, looked at their five-year records and the All-Americans and All-SEC players they produced. I came up with what I would rate as the five best recruiting classes at Florida based not on how they were viewed by Web sites or recruiting services but by how they turned out. And let me say this before I get started - I'd have put the Cris Collinsworth-David Little class of 1977 in here but 0-10-1 kind of tarnishes their legacy.
You can reach sports columnist Pat Dooley by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 374-5053. Dooley's columns appear Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
The best ... so far
Daniels, DL Cameron Davis, RB Tony Davis, PK Bart Edmiston, FB Jerome
Evans, DL McDonald Ferguson, OL Reggie Green, DB Demetric Jackson, QB Eric
Kresser, CB Anthone Lott, RB Dwayne Mobley, TE Shawn Nunn, OL Jason Odom,
OL Nick Quintana, WR/CB Shea Showers, LB Kenny Times, LB Andre Washington,
DB Shawn Wilson, S Lawrence Wright, QB Danny Wuerffel, OL Donnie Young
Dixon, Hesham Ismail, Stephon Mack, Tony McCoy, Willie McGrady, Jason
McLellan, Godfrey Myles, Glenn Neely, Andy Newman, Jerry Odom, Tim Paulk,
Tony Rowell, Steve Scoggins, Tim Thompson, Mark White, Terence Barber,
Billy Deeds, Kyle Morris, Johnny Nichols, Herbert Perry, Emmitt Smith,
Jimmy Spencer, Alonzon Sullivan, Arden Czyzewski
Gaffney, Rex Grossman, Byron Hardmon, Elgin Hicks, Dwright Jackson, Taylor
Jacobs, Tron LaFavor, Bobby McCray, Clint Mitchell, Mike Nattiel, Todd
Poitier, Keiwan Ratliff, Arpedge Rolle, Roderick Royal, Marshall Schaap,
Lito Sheppard, Chris Stephens, Roy Williams
Richards, LB Joe Reynolds, TE Charles Dorsey, DT Jim Griffeth, SE Scott
Shuler, DB Phil Eason, C John Tegg, OT Bruce Mulliniks, TE David Campbell,
OT Gerald Loper, QB/SE Steve Pappas, FB Mark Bullard, QB/DB Robbie Ball, QB
Glenn Sever, LB Jeff Cain, HB Willie Collins, QB Mark Newman, LB Fred
Wildman, LB John Williams, DT Robbie Moore, RB Wayne Fields, DE Jimmy Ray
Stephens, RB Andrew Wade, E Tom Chorniewy, RB George Luczko, DE Mike Smith,
TE Al Darby, OT Mike Williams, SE/DB Dennis Fleming, SE Eddie Sirmons, DT
Dave Starkey, DE James Schaffer, LB Sammy Green, FB/LB Joe Allen
Campbell, DE Kevin Carter, QB Antwan Chiles, DE Marlon Dixon, P Shayne
Edge, LB McDonald Ferguson, DE Mark Grimes, LB Ben Hanks, CB Lawrence
Hatch, WR Jack Jackson, DL Ellis Johnson, C Kevin Johnson, OG Scott Joslyn,
TE Jeremy Kennedy, CB Larry Kennedy, DL Henry McMillan, CB Jimmy Owens, WR
Sorola Palmer, LB Matt Pearson, CB Carlton Pouncy, LB Anthony Riggins, LB
Alfred Smith, OT Craig Weaver, WR Charles West
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