Miami Recruiting's Big Threes: Which class's top recruits turned out the best?

View as article

Canes Legacy

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2019
Messages
626
The hype that has built around Miami's recruiting efforts during the national quarantine has been unlike anything Cane fans have seen in recent memory (for many reasons). The 2021 class is currently headlined by James Williams, a true five star athlete, and a handful of guys who are in the argument for the next best in the class, and the potential additions of more five star players seems more and more possible each day. While Miami has been able to secure a handful of top talents over the past 15 or so years after the glory days of the early 00s, the truly elite prospects have been few and far between. Even less consistent was the ability of the coaches over that period to pull the most out of these premier prep talents.

We went through the top recruits from each of the last 20 classes and assigned the players a grade (see below) based on how their Miami careers turned out. You'll see a fairly wide array of performances, from truly great Canes all the way to some who barely played a snap at UM. The average of those scores became the trio's grade, and we ranked them up accordingly.

*Disclaimer: We used 247's composite ratings when possible, so there were some odd situations we needed to iron out. For the earliest classes, namely 1998-2000, we just had to make our best guess as to who were considered the best based on what info we could find (we straight up asked Ethenic Sands who the best guys in his class were).
*Disclaimer 2: We only included players who signed their LOI with Miami as HS recruits, so no Greg Olsen, but yes on Seantrel because he was technically let out of his initial one by USC. We also decided to NOT include players who never made it to campus, so the legendary Latwan Anderson won't be on the list either. We figured that some of them were taken as known long shots (aka Shady).

Grading:
6- Elite player
5- Very good player, long time starter
4- Above average starter, consistent contributor
3- Below average starter, short time contributor
2- Backup level player or short career with some contributions
1- Backup level player with little to no contributions


*We are ONLY ranking the top three recruits in each class. It’s all about how the “top recruits” panned out, because this 21 class is looking like it will have the best top 3 recruits in quite some time.

1. 1999
Top 3 Average: 5.0 (National Class Rank: NA)

OL Vernon Carey-The Miami native started games at right tackle and left guard during his career, earning 2nd Team All-Big East twice. He was also a 3rd team All-American in 2003.
RB/WR Jason Geathers- Made an impact as both a wide receiver and a running back. Caught the game winning TD against FSU in 2002.
WR Andre Johnson- One of the most prolific wide receivers in Miami history. Tied for 3rd in Canes history with 20 receiving TDs.

2. 2001
Top 3 Average: 4.7 (National Class Rank: #8)

LB Leon Williams- A two year start at middle linebacker. Was a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award in 2005.
DB Antrel Rolle- The 2004 All-American turned in his best performances shutting down both Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald in the same year.
DL Orien Harris- The Delaware native was the first from his state to play on scholarship at Miami. He totaled 145 tackles and 11 sacks in his career.

3. 2000
Top 3 Average: 4.3 (National Class Rank: #7)

LB DJ Williams- The former #1 overall recruit lived up to the hype. He earned All-Big East honors in both 2002 and 2003.
RB Willis McGahee- Had the greatest single season performance in 2002 rushing for 1,753 yards and 28 touchdowns. He finished 4th in the Heisman voting.
WR Willie Dixon- The former 5 star didn’t record a single catch in his career.

4. 1998
Top 3 Average: 4.3 (National Class Rank: NA)

LB Chris Campbell- The 30 game starter was rock solid playing next to Vilma and DJ Williams.
QB/WR Ethenic Sands- A selfless player, Sands did whatever the team needed whether that was being the backup QB, wide receiver, or returner.
DL William Joseph- A starter on the ‘01 championship team, and one of the best DL of his era.

5. 2002
Top 3 Average: 4.3 (National Class Rank: #5)

WR Ryan Moore- The former 5-star never lived up to the hype after being a Freshman All-American in 2003. Moore dealt with injuries early in his career and subpar QB room later in his career.
DB/WR Devin Hester- One of the most electrifying players ever to play at the U. His return ability will likely never be matched.
OL Eric Winston- After switching from TE to OL, Winston excelled at his new position before and after dealing with with an ACL tear his junior year.

6. 2014
Top 3 Average: 4.0 (National Class Rank: #12)

DL Chad Thomas- After finally being put in a scheme that played to his strengths, Thomas lived up to his potential in 2016 and 2017.
RB Joe Yearby- He was a 1,000 yard rusher in 2015 and a solid contributor during his career, but he never became the star the Canes envisioned.
OL KC McDermott- Started 34 games during his career and was one of the most reliable OL in recent memory.

7. 2003
Top 3 Average: 3.7 (National Class Rank: #4)

QB Kyle Wright- A consensus top prospect in his class, Wright’s career at Miami ended as a disappointment. Up and down play, changes in OC, and minor injuries derailed his career.
RB Tyrone Moss- Moss ended his career with 1942 yards and 26 TDs, numbers that would have been much higher if not for injuries.
DL Bryan Pata- Started 23 games and was just starting to come into his own before his senseless murder in November of 2006.

8. 2009
Top 3 Average: 3.7 (National Class Rank: #16)

DB Brandon McGee- While he was 2 year starter, McGee never developed into what was expected coming out of HS.
DB Ray Ray Armstrong- Dismissed from the program after 2 years. The exceptional athlete earned 2nd team All-ACC honors in 2010.
RB Lamar Miller- The speedster broke out in 2011 rushing for 1,272 yards and 9 touchdowns.

9. 2015
Top 3 Average: 3.7 (National Class Rank: #27)

RB Mark Walton- As a sophomore, Walton scored 14 TDs. His injury as a junior would basically end his career in a Hurricane uniform.
DB Jaquan Johnson- The leader of the defense for 2 years, Johnson was a 2nd team All-American in 2017.
OL Bar Milo- Saw very little game action during his career. Mainly served on the scout team.

10. 2005
Top 3 Average: 3.7 (National Class Rank: #9)

OL Reggie Youngblood- Injuries and inconsistency plagued his career. Started a good amount of games, though he wasn’t able to play up to the 5 star ranking.
DB Kenny Phillips- Another name in the great safety tradition of this program. The Carol City product was a Freshman All-American and 2x 1st Team All-ACC.
TE Dajleon Farr- Did not live up to expectation as next in line at “TEU”. Transferred to Memphis after only 10 receptions.

11. 2012
Top 3 Average: 3.3 (National Class Rank: #10)

RB Duke Johnson- The Miami Hurricanes all-time leading rusher passed Ottis Anderson during his third (and final) year.
DB Tracy Howard- Playing in Al Golden’s scheme did no favors to Howard who didn’t become the shutdown corner many expected.
DL Jelani Hamilton- After being a backup for 2 seasons and seeing marginal playing time, Hamilton transferred to Akron.

12. 2010
Top 3 Average: 3.3 (National Class Rank: #14)

OL Seantrel Henderson- The mountain of an offensive lineman started games all 4 years while at Miami after signing late with the Canes.
RB Storm Johnson- Spent 1 year at Miami before transferring to the UCF.
OL Brandon Linder- The 2013 2nd Team All-ACC selection was also named team Offensive MVP, a rare honor for an offensive lineman.

13. 2008
Top 3 Average: 3.3 (National Class Rank: #1)

LB Arthur Brown- Played 2 years for Randy Shannon before transferring to Kansas State. Brown was named in the Nevin Shapiro report as allegedly taking impermissible benefits.
DL Marcus Forston- Injuries and a lack of development held Forston back from being the monster in the middle many imagined when the 5 star committed to the Canes.
DB Brandon Harris- The underrated Harris tacked up multiple awards during his career: 1st Team All-ACC and 2nd Team All-American (Sports Illustrated) in 2009, 2nd Team All-ACC in 2010.

14. 2016
Top 3 Average: 3.0 (National Class Rank: #22)

WR Sam Bruce- Never appeared in a game before being dismissed from the program.
LB Shaq Quarterman- The 4 year starter was Mr. Reliable in the middle during his time at Miami.
WR Ahmmon Richards- The explosive playmaker beat The Playmaker’s freshman record for receiving yards in a season. A neck injury prematurely ended Richards’ career.

15. 2013
Top 3 Average: 2.7 (National Class Rank: #14)

DL Al-Quadin Muhammad- The NJ native was suspended for the entire season in both 2014 and 2016. He was later dismissed from the program. His 2015 showed promise with 5 sacks.
WR Stacy Coley- Ended his career as #2 in career receptions with 166 and #5 in yards with 2,218.
QB Kevin Olsen- Dismissed from the program after a DUI arrest during his redshirt freshman year.

16. 2011
Top 3 Average: 2.7 (National Class Rank: #33)

DL Anthony Chickillo- Playing out of his natural position and asked to gain weight in Al Golden’s system denied him his full potential. Chick started 47 games at Miami and ended with 15.5 sacks.
DL Jalen Grimble- Seeing minimal playing time after 2 years, Grimble transferred to Oregon State.
RB/DB Dallas Crawford- Played 2 years at running back before switching to safety. Turned in a memorable performance vs UNC in 2013 with 33 carries, 137 yards, and 2 TDs.

17. 2007
Top 3 Average: 2.7 (National Class Rank: #13)

DL Allen Bailey- A physical freak on the DL, Bailey was 1st Team All-ACC in 2009 and 2nd Team All-ACC in 2010.
DB Doug Wiggins- Transferred to Western Michigan in 2007. A non-factor on the field.
QB Robert Marve- After being replaced by Jacory Harris at the end of his RS-Freshman year, Marvie transferred to Purdue.

18. 2017
Top 3 Average: 2.3 (National Class Rank: #12)

WR Jeff Thomas- The production never matched the physical talent. Thomas quit the Canes only to come back and have a very “meh” 2019 season.
OL Navaughn Donaldson- A Freshman All-American, Donaldson has regressed the last few years. A redshirt season is coming for 2020 after a leg injury with the hopes for a comeback in 2021.
DL DJ Johnson- Transferred to Oregon after his freshman season. Played mostly special teams.

19. 2006
Top 3 Average: 2.3 (National Class Rank: #12)

RB/LB Kylan Robinson- A special teams contributor, only started 2 games at LB.
WR/DB Ryan Hill- Transitioned from WR to DB his junior year and started 11 games as a senior. Won the Unsung Hero Award in 2010.
WR/DB Sam Shields- A productive WR during his first 3 years. He made the move to DB his senior year.

20. 2004
Top 3 Average: 2.3 (National Class Rank: #3)

LB Willie Williams- One of the all-time busts in Miami history. After transferring from UM, Williams spent time at 2 JUCOs before ending up at Louisville in 2007.
WR Lance Leggett- A decent season in 2006 provided hope but Leggett struggled with drops throughout his career along with poor QB play.
RB Charlie Jones- Started for the injured Tyrone Moss in 2005. After 3 games in 2006, he lost the starting job to Javarris James. Transferred to Memphis in 2007.
 
Last edited:

Ethnicsands

All-American
Joined
Nov 2, 2011
Messages
19,268
Thank you for quantifying what I have said around these sites for ages, which is that Coker’s ‘04 class - ranked top 3 nationally - was the worst class in Miami history and the nail in the coffin for the program.

Other comments:

- I think you have ‘02 overrated. Appreciate many of these classes stunk but ‘02 really wounded the program. waaaay too many guys who didn’t contribute. Hester didn’t even matriculate in that class, did he? Kinda though he was a roll-over to ‘03. In any case, he was exciting and amazing on ST but never found the right spot / fit beyond special trams. Meriweather was the best player in that class. Winston was a solid guy on our line but his ‘they’re on scholarship too’ attitude was pretty clearly associated with our sharp decline as a top program.
 
Last edited:

Ethnicsands

All-American
Joined
Nov 2, 2011
Messages
19,268
- ‘03 is a bit underrated, even if you exclude greg olsen, which is your call. I’d count new counters wherever they come from, personally. Jucos too. Hester rolled into it. Beason was in it. Pata. Everett. Jenkins. Monroe. Morse was good for a year.

- ‘10 is an example of a scoring flaw here. There are some really good players in it, but it was too big a class. There should be points deducted for scholarships given to kids who don’t perform. Instead of going from 1 to 6, deduct points for wasted roster spots and you’ll properly see which classes destroyed our rosters for years to come. In ‘10, we added seantrel, hurns, mcdermott, feliciano, walford, morris, bunch, linder. That’s as good a group of talented guys as most any of these classes had. But it was a 29 kid class and almost everyone else was a no show.

- ‘12 had howard, duke, flowers, bush, isidora. Good top group. But some of the worst evals around them we’ve seen. kids where the local HS crowd just went ‘wow‘ at hearing we took their commitment. Hope, Davis, Crow, Jones, Carter, Dillard, Briscoe.

- ‘06 is probably a bit underrated. Orlando Franklin, colin mccarthy, g. Cooper, bosher, shields and jason fox were all legit players. Shields wasted a couple years at wr before switching. I blame the staff for that, not recruiting. Wesley, gordon and j. James were also servicesble. The biggest problem in ‘06 was coker’s continued failing at WR become insurmountable. G. Robinson should not have been a take. Not saying this was a good class, plenty of other misses.
 
Last edited:

Shogungts

Junior
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
1,759
The hype that has built around Miami's recruiting efforts during the national quarantine has been unlike anything Cane fans have seen in recent memory (for many reasons). The 2021 class is currently headlined by James Williams, a true five star athlete, and a handful of guys who are in the argument for the next best in the class, and the potential additions of more five star players seems more and more possible each day. While Miami has been able to secure a handful of top talents over the past 15 or so years after the glory days of the early 00s, the truly elite prospects have been few and far between. Even less consistent was the ability of the coaches over that period to pull the most out of these premier prep talents.

We went through the top recruits from each of the last 20 classes and assigned the players a grade (see below) based on how their Miami careers turned out. You'll see a fairly wide array of performances, from truly great Canes all the way to some who barely played a snap at UM. The average of those scores became the trio's grade, and we ranked them up accordingly.
Things like this are always fun and I realize you were trying to make this something that was manageable given how many classes you were looking at, but I think it would be more valuable to apply this to the entire recruiting class instead of just the top 3. I bet even expanding it to the top 5 would change some of the rankings.

Or, rather than take the top 3 from each class based high school rankings, I wonder how it would impact it if you did it based on performance? So clearly in a situation like that you wouldn't have the Willie Williams types on the list, but then you would get the Sean Taylor, Frank Gore, and KW2s of the world.
 

Shogungts

Junior
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
1,759
Winston was a solid guy on our line but his ‘they’re on scholarship too’ attitude was pretty clearly associated with our sharp decline as a top program.
For those of us not familiar with what this mean, are you able to share?
 

Canes Legacy

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2019
Messages
626
Just re-emphasizing: we were ONLY ranking the top three recruits in each class. It’s all about how the “top recruits” panned out, which we wanted to do because this 21 class is looking like it will have the best top 3 recruits in quite some time.

No doubt everything would change if we looked at the full classes, but that’s also been done quite a bit.
 

Ethnicsands

All-American
Joined
Nov 2, 2011
Messages
19,268
Just re-emphasizing: we were ONLY ranking the top three recruits in each class. It’s all about how the “top recruits” panned out, which we wanted to do because this 21 class is looking like it will have the best top 3 recruits in quite some time.

No doubt everything would change if we looked at the full classes, but that’s also been done quite a bit.
Ah, got it. Misunderstood that. Also - unclear from a scoring perspective how to weigh potential vs. results.

’02, ‘03 and ‘09 look overrated to me.

- ‘02: Moore was not good, Hester didn’t have a regular spot and Winston was solid but lead singer in the expectation decline culture.

- ‘03: Wright was not good, Moss wasn’t, Papa RIP but not great.

- ’09: McGee meh, Ray Ray didn’t get used right at UM, Miller very good.

- ‘15: this looks mis-scored to me. Milo wasn’t the third best recruit in that class by any stretch, i o. Maybe some rating service said so. No one thought that. St. Louis is clearly a better OL prospect and ranked even with milo on rivals. Cager and Patchan were also equally rated to Milo. And Jaquan was not a top 3 recruit in the class if you go by ratings. So confused here.

- ‘05: Rivals rated Farr a touch over Adkins and RP, but IIRC Adkins and RP were more hotly recruited kids.

- ‘12: this one just grates on me because bush and flowers were clearly better recruits than Hamilton. Hamilton was an obviously overrated kid. Plenty said so at the time. Rivals has him even with bush. Not doubting your source info here, but no way was he a top 3 kid in that class.

- ‘16: *SMH* @ Bruce being a 6.0 on Rivals.

- ‘13: This one is a head scratcher. AQM was top 3 rated in the class, but per rivals, not olsen. Griffen was higher rated, and never showed up (tje real issue with a lot of these classes). And Elder was also higher rated (5.9 vs. 5.8).

- ‘11: Perryman and Dorsett were equally rated on rivals (5.7) with crawford. Imo perryman belongs as a top 3 kid in that class.

- ‘07: Cooper belongs on the list. He was the highest rated iid in the class on rivals.

- ‘06: J. James be,ongs on the top 3 list per rivals rankings, but makes no difference because the class was a hot mess.

- ‘04: this class is notable for how many top kids arguably belong in that third spot. Iirc bobby washington was rated over charlie jones. Rhyan Anderson iirc was higher rated than both. And james bryant was highly rated too. You were generous in putting charlie jones on the list, because the other guys just take the class down further.
 
Last edited:

No_Fly_Zone

Not a scientist or engineer
Joined
Dec 28, 2016
Messages
3,957
Not really a methodology to evaluate an entire class, but I don't think that was your objective. Regardless, this must have been soul crushing to analyze, so I thank you for the effort.

Overall, just so many highly rated guys that ultimately did not pan out here. My takeaway: busts kill classes, but bigtime busts kill classes bigtime.
 

Canes Legacy

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2019
Messages
626
Not really a methodology to evaluate an entire class, but I don't think that was your objective. Regardless, this must have been soul crushing to analyze, so I thank you for the effort.

Overall, just so many highly rated guys that ultimately did not pan out here. My takeaway: busts kill classes, but bigtime busts kill classes bigtime.
The idea of seeing what we did or did not do with the high end guys was the main motivator, especially knowing a lot was going to be misses.

And you’re 100% right about those big time busts. Obviously it’s not as bad as missing on first round picks, but when you consider limited ICs, the amount of time/effort it takes to get a high end recruit, potentially damaging reputations of the staff because of the failure to develop these guys, AND the quality SoFl recruits we let go elsewhere because of the elite guys? It does big damage.
 

Calvin

Senior
Joined
Jun 21, 2018
Messages
3,462
One of the most useless post of non-information I've seen in awhile. This whole post is predicated on some nerd recruiting site rankings, that didn't and don't mean a damyum thing anyway. You either signing balla's or you not. The art of player evaluations is becoming equivalent to how many actual phone numbers people remember nowadays, piss poor.

People getting excited about the so called "highly rated" recruits that have been committing thus far, means nothing. We'll see who rated what if real games are ever played again. These arrogant nerd recruiting sites consistently get caught overrating players and if a player is not playing at a high level, they got the nerve to label them "a bust" how bout, NO, and PHUCK YOU, cause obviously the nerd recruiting sites got their evals wrong. Will one of the no nothing nerd recruiting sites deliniate for us the difference between a "1 star" and a "2 star" player. After that, we would like to know the difference between a "2 star" and "3 star" player, and than after that, what's the difference between a "3 star" and "4 star" player, and than finally the difference between a "4 star" and "5 star" player, before any of them have even played 1 college game. Their shat is flawed. I kept laughing when they ranked that 2008 class as so called #1 rated, a class full of linebackers and receivers, I knew they were flawed before 2008, but that year showed how silly they really were and are. In fact I would tell people back than before he committed, spence was the most important recruit for us that year to get, after him, jacory harris, if jacory came up under the same coaches as ken dorsey did, he would more than likely be the leader in several UM all-time categories. That man had piss poor oc's for 3 years, and got a decent one his last year.
 

Dan E. Dangerously

This board...it's my note
Staff member
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
11,629
For those of us not familiar with what this mean, are you able to share?
After we were upset by a terrible UNC team in 2004, the fanbase went apeshit. Someone on the Miami beat asked him what the hell happened and his reply was, "hey they got guys on scholarship too." It echoed Coker's response to the fans when he said the fanbase's "expectations are out of kilter."
 

1LuvCane

All ACC
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
8,821
Thank you for quantifying what I have said around these sites for ages, which is that Coker’s ‘04 class - ranked top 3 nationally - was the worst class in Miami history and the nail in the coffin for the program.

Other comments:

- I think you have ‘02 overrated. Appreciate many of these classes stunk but ‘02 really wounded the program. waaaay too many guys who didn’t contribute. Hester didn’t even matriculate in that class, did he? Kinda though he was a roll-over to ‘03. In any case, he was exciting and amazing on ST but never found the right spot / fit beyond special trams. Meriweather was the best player in that class. Winston was a solid guy on our line but his ‘they’re on scholarship too’ attitude was pretty clearly associated with our sharp decline as a top program.
Coker and Golden didn't do much with real good recruiting classes. It shows that all the talent isn't enough. You need to be coached...
 

Ethnicsands

All-American
Joined
Nov 2, 2011
Messages
19,268
Coker and Golden didn't do much with real good recruiting classes. It shows that all the talent isn't enough. You need to be coached...
I kind of disagree. Sure, you meed to be coached. But when you see what the results were on their highly rated classes, what it really shows is that their evaluatikns sucked. Coker’s ‘04 class, e.g., was a train wreck. His results were worse for the highly rated ‘04 class than his other classes. His coaching was equally awful for all the kids. The lesson for me is evaluations matter a lot. Secondary lesson is roster decay when you stack crap classes or position groups a few years in a row.
 

Ethnicsands

All-American
Joined
Nov 2, 2011
Messages
19,268
After we were upset by a terrible UNC team in 2004, the fanbase went apeshit. Someone on the Miami beat asked him what the hell happened and his reply was, "hey they got guys on scholarship too." It echoed Coker's response to the fans when he said the fanbase's "expectations are out of kilter."
That was eric winston. Mentioned above. Proof he was part of the cultural decline.
 
Top