A Look Back at the Class of 2001

A Look Back at the Class of 2001

DMoney
The Class of 2001 was the last and--arguably the best--of Miami's run of elite classes. All told, the group produced four Pro Bowlers, twelve NFL players and several championship contributors. But believe it or not, the class didn't go from good to great until Butch Davis was replaced by Larry Coker. Yes, that Larry Coker.

The Canes had a solid crop heading into the home stretch, with commitments from five-star prospects like Antrel Rolle, Leon Williams and Orien Harris. But two of the top three players in Dade County-- Frank Gore and Roscoe Parrish-- were leaning to Ole Miss and out-of-state longshot Kellen Winslow II was ready to commit to the Washington Huskies. However, after Butch Davis took off for the Cleveland Browns in January, the Canes finished with a flurry up to (and after) signing day that sealed the most talented class in the nation.

Buck Ortega- Gulliver Prep (Miami, FL)- Three Star

One of three NFL legacies in the 2001 class, Buck Ortega earned his offer after an MVP performance at Miami's camp. His commitment was highly controversial, as some Dade County observers felt he was too raw at QB and no more than a package deal with his talented teammate, Sean Taylor. However, Buck's size (6'5), athleticism (4.6 forty) and bloodlines (son of former NFL ROY Ralph Ortega) impressed the coaches enough to get him in the class. A standout special teams player, Ortega would go on to play several years as a backup tight end in the NFL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpK6TMwPHyA&feature=plcp



Frank Gore- Coral Gables (Miami, FL)-- Four Star

Rivals.com tabbed Kevin Jones of Pennsylvania as the nation's best player, but those in South Florida knew that there was no better back in the country than Frank Gore. Every week, it seemed Gore would have another 200+ yard performance against the likes of Northwestern and Carol City. His 2,954 rushing yards as a senior remain a Dade County record. Despite all of his success, Gore's courtship was fairly quiet. Most of the focus was on his learning disability and whether or not he would qualify. In fact, there were mixed reports as to how interested Miami really was. But once Larry Coker stepped in, Gore swung from Ole Miss to MIami and went on to become one of the most beloved players in school history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q953isUviU4



Quadtrine Hill- Piper (Sunrise, FL)- Three Star

The son of former Dolphin Eddie Hill, Quadtrine appeared on UM's radar after a spectacular performance against Broward powerhouse Dillard and quickly ended his recruitment. While his commitment was questioned at the time, Hill's supporters pointed to his size (210), straight line speed and tremendous work in the classroom (4.3 GPA). After a solid Cane career and a brief stint on the fringes of the NFL, Hill followed the path of fellow fullback Alonzo Highsmith and became a pro boxer. His record is 4-2 (1 KO) and he has not fought since April 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R14z9_fpZSw&feature=plcp


Roscoe Parrish- Miami Senior (Miami, FL)- Two Star

The classic Dade County sleeper, Roscoe Parrish was not even listed on the Rivals database for most of the year. Listed at 165 but closer to 150, Parrish led the Stingarees to a district title and was named first-team all state at quarterback. Parrish and his friend Frank Gore were rumored to be headed to Ole Miss, but a late run by the Hurricanes landed them the most exciting athlete in the city.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBHAFUCHB7w&feature=plcp



Kellen Winslow II- Scripps Ranch (San Diego, CA)- Four Star

Nobody had a more dramatic recruitment than Kellen Winslow II. After visiting the University of Washington, KWII was ready to commit to the Huskies. However, Winslow's dad still resented Washington's coach, Rick Neuheisel, for crossing the picket line during the NFL strike. Winslow wanted his son to play under Michigan State's Bobby Williams, one of the few black coaches in Division I. KWII was ready to announce for Washington on his dad's Fox Sports show, but Winslow Sr. halted the decision and created a highly awkward situation on camera. Miami, with now-Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson leading KWII's recruitment, emerged as the compromise choice after NSD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D4pshWt61Q&feature=context-cha



Kevin Everett- Thomas Jefferson (Port Arthur, TX)- Three Star

A defensive end/tight end with tremendous size and speed, Everett looked the part of a classic Butch Davis recruit. Unfortunately, Everett failed to qualify with the rest of his class and ended up at Kilgore Junior College. He did not arrive at Miami until 2003, where he played tight end and developed into a third-round pick for the Buffallo Bills. After fracturing his cervical spine on a kickoff, most thought Everett would never walk again. Everett made a miraculous recovery, wrote a book, was honored by the ESPYs and Oprah Winfrey, and continues to adjust to life after football in Spring,Texas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oD6KXwjQZI&feature=plcp



Brandon Sebald- Round Valley (Accord, NY)- Three Star

Sebald represented one of Butch Davis's core philosophies-- you can never recruit enough tight ends. A 6'6, 240 pound tight-end/defensive end with 4.7 speed, Sebald was one of the most versatile players in the class. In fact, he was starting to make noise as an offensive tackle at Miami before Crohn's Disease caused him to transfer to Hofstra. Sebald and fellow 2001 signee Buck Ortega are now successful franchisees of Planet Fitness gyms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AATnPEGws4&feature=plcp



Rashad Butler- Dwyer (Palm Beach Garders, FL)- Three Star

After impressing Art Kehoe at the Down and Dirty camp, Butler received an early offer and took it. A lean, athletic tackle, Butler became a full-time starter in 2004 replacing an injured Eric Winston against Georgia Tech. Eight years later, he is once again replacing Eric Winston, this time as the starting right tackle for the Houston Texans. Butler recently made headlines for posting gay slurs on his Twitter (@RB2Cool) and dating porn star May G.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuaTZH0yu3A&feature=plcp



Tony Tella- Madison (Houston, TX)- Two Star

One of three Texas players in this class, Tella was a raw sleeper who emerged as a prospect during his senior year. While most of the focus was on Madison's quarterback, junior Vince Young, Tella impressed observers with his size and intelligence. Tella eventually cracked Miami's starting lineup, made it to the NFL combine and earned a free agent contract with the Giants. He has since bounced around the minor leagues.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukOlg2dbt8k&feature=plcp



Robert Bergman- Bakersfield (Bakersfield, CA)- Four Star

Bergman was the most highly rated offensive lineman in the class, based largely on his athleticism. Not only was he a star OL, but he also punted (44.9 per attempt) and pitched for the baseball team (91 mph fastball). Some may remember that one of his relatives posted on the Grassy football board throughout Bergman's career.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a83M4r1Akbc&feature=plcp



Randy Boxill- Santaluces (Lantana, FL)- Three Star

A high school teammate of Vince Wilfork, Boxill was Miami's first commitment on National Signing Day 2000. However, like many early commits, Boxill never made it on campus. After failing to qualify, he went to Rutgers to join with former Miami defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dac11l6EoIo&feature=plcp



Orien Harris- Newark (Newark, DE) - Five Star

The rare blue-chip recruit from Delaware, Orien Harris was the #2 rated defensive tackle in the nation behind Tommie Harris of Killeen, Texas. Orien's brother, Kwame, was a first round pick out of Stanford and Orien had the reputation as the meaner one of the two. He was leaning to Miami throughout the process, and when he finally committed he gave Miami one of the most hyped players in its class. Harris was drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers and last played for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5CoMUav6Pk&feature=plcp


Jeff Littlejohn- Gaffney (Gaffney, SC)- Four Star

Littlejohn and his teammate Rocky McIntosh were the rare package deal that actually followed through, picking Miami over Clemson and Michigan State. Unfortunately, Littlejohn didn't make grades and ended up at Middle Tenessee State, where he won Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2005. Like most of the players in this class, Littlejohn eventually made it to NFL camp (in his case, the Tennessee Titans). He is now with the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena League.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uVpe91x8iA&feature=plcp



Miguel Robede- Vieux Academy (Montreal, Quebec)- Two Star

After hitting home runs with Brett Romberg and Sherko Haji-Rasouili, Miami went back to Canada for French-Canadian defensive tackle Miguel Robede. While his size and speed were impressive, Robede never fit in at Miami and was kicked off the team before his freshman year ended. After becoming a star at Laval University in Quebec, the Calgary Stampeders made Robede the first overall pick of the 2005 CFL Draft.





Andrew Williams- Hinds Community College (Hinds, MS)- Four Star

Williams originally signed with Miami in 1999 as a linebacker from Hillsborough High (same HS as 2012 signee Earl Moore), but by the time he got on campus he was a 265-pound defensive end. No one in this class made a bigger impact on the championship team than Williams, who combined with Jerome McDougle, Jamaal Green and Cornelius Green to form one of the most formidable pass-rush rotations in Miami history. Williams was drafted in the third round by the 49ers but is no longer in the NFL.






Thomas Carroll
- Lakewood (Lakewood, NJ)- Four Star


When Carroll committed, most of the focus was on his size 17 shoes and perceived growth potential. That growth spurt never came, and Carroll never got past 240 pounds. Nonetheless, Carroll became a smart, dependable player who started thirty games at Miami and finished fourth all-time in fumble recoveries with seven (Ted Hendricks is #1 with twelve).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RIisYo63nc&feature=plcp


Leon Williams- Canarsie (Brooklyn, NY)- Five Star

One of the most ballyhooed recruits in the 2001 case was Brooklyn's Leon Williams. With a college-ready body and 4.6 speed, Leon created a buzz reminiscent of 2000's star linebacker, DJ Williams. After Butch Davis stole Leon away from Syracuse and Penn State, the debate began whether he was better off at middle linebacker or defensive end. He stayed at linebacker, and despite an uneven Miami career, was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round. As a rookie, he had 17 tackles in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After stints with the Cowboys and the York Sentinels of the UFL, Williams is back in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQt8qy318Wg&feature=plcp



Roger "Rocky" McIntosh- Gaffney (Gaffney, SC)- Four Star

A package deal with teammate Jeff Littlejohn, McIntosh was a coup for Miami's already-loaded LB corps. Originally committed to Clemson, McIntosh opened up his recruitment after the NCAA investigated whether a Clemson booster gave him and Littlejohn improper benefits. A second-round pick of the Redskins and a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee in 2007, McIntosh is now with the St. Louis Rams and returns to his natural role of 4-3 outside linebacker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUk0UuCikG8&feature=plcp



Antrel Rolle- South Dade (Homestead, FL)- Five Star

All six linebackers and defensive backs that enrolled at Miami in 2001 ended up getting drafted into the NFL. Rolle is the first of those six to win a Super Bowl. Nobody in the class was a safer bet than Rolle, who combined superior athleticism with tremendous grades and character. The son of the Homestead police chief, Rolle did it all for the South Dade Buccaneers and earned offers from everybody in the country. Rolle committed early to hometown favorite Miami and went on to become the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxfrcfIbhb0



Kelly Jennings- Suwanee (Live Oak, FL)- Three Star

Jennings was part of one of the most talented secondaries ever in Central Florida, as his teammates Jarvis Herring and Kyler Hall signed with Florida and Florida State, respectively. The state runner-up in the 100M behind future Kansas State star Yamon Figurs, the speedy and smooth Jennings committed early in the process and never wavered. He went on to become a first round pick of the Seattle Seahawks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nPW1ZZQ1yQ&feature=plcp



Marcus Maxey- Navasota (Navasota, TX)- Two Star

Hurricane fans didn't know who Maxey was when he committed, but Butch Davis coveted his size, speed and long arms at the cornerback position. Maxey learned behind future first rounders for much of his career, but emerged as a senior and was selected in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84YwI7B3zUk&feature=plcp



Jovonny Ward- Northwestern (Miami, FL)- Four Star

Even as Sean Taylor, Frank Gore and Roscoe Parrish tore up Dade County, many in the community swore that the best player in the city was Jovonny "Trauma Center" Ward. A feared hitter and playmaker, Ward had been on the radar since being named Florida's Sophomore of the Year in 1999. However, like too many Dade County kids, Ward struggled in the classroom. Despite signing with Miami post-NSD, he ended up at Pitt and later resurfaced under Howard Schnellenberger at FAU.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrAsS6ksJtE&feature=plcp



Sean Taylor- Gulliver (Miami, FL)- Three Star

For someone who became the most legendary player in the Class of 2001, Sean Taylor's recruitment started out pretty ordinary. A three-star RB/DB recruited by the likes of Georgia Tech, Taylor transferred from Killian to Gulliver as a junior but failed to generate any national buzz. However, as a senior, he carried Gulliver Prep to a state championship with a Florida-record 44 touchdowns. While some had him pegged as a linebacker because of his size, he remained at safety and the rest is history.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=480upwOT8wg&feature=context-cha



Mark Gent- St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, FL)- Three Star

With Todd Sievers entering his junior year, Miami went to kicker factory St. Thomas Aquinas to sign the state top's leg, Mark Gent. A national champion as a soccer player, Gent was never able to win the starting kicker job at Miami. However, he contributed as a kickoff specialist throughout his career.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWkB3SdKxkI&feature=plcp
 

Comments (41)

Sean Taylor, another 3 star player.....
 
Awesome breakdown ... Recruiting has changed so much
 
This is just tremendous work and exactly the reason why I'm so stoked to have found this site. Great job, D. It's unreal Frank and Sean were not recruited by everyone in the country. I remember watching each play for the first time. And in both cases, it took me all but a quarter to realize they were ELITE talents.
 
I had the honor of playing against both Gore and Parrish in high school and those guys were just ridiculous. We beat Miami High the playoffs but he single handedly almost brought them back to upset us.
 
AWESOME read
 
Great read and info. Thank you
 
LOLed at Sean Taylor being a 3 star recruit.
 
Wow. The names that took me back were Jovonny Ward, Jeff Littlejohn and Miguel Robede. Holy ****! Lotta time has passed, man. Weird.
 
Rolle's highlights were so sick
 
LOL man that's back when I was posting on ESPN's Miami board.

The K2 recruitment was a circus.
 
Man...this is bringing back memories. This was the first recruiting class I followed from start to finish. I remember reading about Sean Taylor on Shadow's board and people were arguing about what position he was going to play. Lots of rocks were thrown at Kellen's dad for coming out and saying one reason he wouldn't let his son go to Washington was because Neuheisel didn't have any black assistant coaches.

Also, should be noted that one reason we had room for Coker to offer Roscoe was Chris Murray decommitting to NC State when Butch left.
 
I had the honor of playing against both Gore and Parrish in high school and those guys were just ridiculous. We beat Miami High the playoffs but he single handedly almost brought them back to upset us.
The return at 2:00 of Roscoe's highlight reel is against Columbus. Unreal quickness.
 
I had the honor of playing against both Gore and Parrish in high school and those guys were just ridiculous. We beat Miami High the playoffs but he single handedly almost brought them back to upset us.
The return at 2:00 of Roscoe's highlight reel is against Columbus. Unreal quickness.
I remember that game vividly, he was making these cuts that I had never seen before. And watching my teammates missing tackles or getting cracked backed was something else. He was a human-highlight wheel.
 
I had the honor of playing against both Gore and Parrish in high school and those guys were just ridiculous. We beat Miami High the playoffs but he single handedly almost brought them back to upset us.
The return at 2:00 of Roscoe's highlight reel is against Columbus. Unreal quickness.
I remember that game vividly, he was making these cuts that I had never seen before. And watching my teammates missing tackles or getting cracked backed was something else. He was a human-highlight wheel.
Whatever happened to Darrell Shepherd? I remember him matching Gore run for run.
 
I had the honor of playing against both Gore and Parrish in high school and those guys were just ridiculous. We beat Miami High the playoffs but he single handedly almost brought them back to upset us.
The return at 2:00 of Roscoe's highlight reel is against Columbus. Unreal quickness.
I remember that game vividly, he was making these cuts that I had never seen before. And watching my teammates missing tackles or getting cracked backed was something else. He was a human-highlight wheel.
Whatever happened to Darrell Shepherd? I remember him matching Gore run for run.
Became a rapper called D-Shep. That dude was talented. I remember Butch walking the halls of Columbus the week or day of the Gables game to talk to to Shepherd.
 
Too bad Jeff Littlejohn didn't make grades here...he would have been very good.

Had a good career at MTSU. If he would have stayed here, might have been an All-ACC caliber DT. He was definitely better than Teraz, Kareem, Abdullah, JJ, and Dix. He had a game in 05 where he went HAM against North Texas.
 
I had the honor of playing against both Gore and Parrish in high school and those guys were just ridiculous. We beat Miami High the playoffs but he single handedly almost brought them back to upset us.
The return at 2:00 of Roscoe's highlight reel is against Columbus. Unreal quickness.
I remember that game vividly, he was making these cuts that I had never seen before. And watching my teammates missing tackles or getting cracked backed was something else. He was a human-highlight wheel.
Whatever happened to Darrell Shepherd? I remember him matching Gore run for run.
Wasted talent who did not have his head on straight. Had all the talent in the world. 6'2'' 215 and could run like the wind. KId never lifted a weight in his life and he just shredded through 6A in Dade County off of pure ability.

Could have went to UM but they wanted him as a FB. Went to Marshall and then had a back or neck injury and never played again. Now he's a rapper and I've heard he's doing pretty good.
 

2021 Commits

OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
OT
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255
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CB
5'10"
145
Miami, FL
TE
6'2"
205
Miami, FL
CB
5'11"
160
Fort Myers, FL
C
6'3"
280
Miami, FL
OLB
6'3"
205
Miami, FL

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