Grading the 2002 Recruiting Class

When Randy Shannon took over the University of Miami football program last year, the talent level was way down in comparison to when Larry Coker took over. What happened since the 2001 championship season? breaks it down, starting with grading the 2002 recruiting class.

Quarterbacks: The Hurricanes went with just one -- California's Marc Guillon, who wasn't heavily recruited at the time of his commitment to the Hurricanes. Guillon struggled to compete once he got to Miami and later transferred to Alabama, where he was unable to make an impact. Grade: F

Running Backs: After the state's top running back prospect (Jacksonville's Ciatrick Fason committed very early to Florida), the Hurricanes looked outside the state to find Virginia's Michael Johnson. They recruited him hard until he went with Virginia. The Hurricanes took a reach when they offered and committed J.R. Mounts from Key West. Mounts hadn't played football in a few years because of a pro baseball career. Many questioned the offer because of his time away from football and Mounts confirmed those doubts after coming to Miami for a short time before quitting the team. Grade: F

Wide Receivers: The Hurricanes needed to load up and that's exactly what they did. While they chose not to offer local players like Glades Central's Santonio Holmes, who is now a starter in the NFL, they did land a very good group. It was widely considered the best in college football at the time -- Ryan Moore, Sinorice Moss, Akieem Jolla, and Darnell Jenkins. Moore was everyone's All-American and the Canes won a heated recruiting battle over the other in-state schools. Jenkins was the Dade County Player of the Year. Moss was an explosive receiver who had people excited because he was brothers with Santana. Jolla was a big target with lots of speed from Louisiana who picked the Canes over LSU. Moore had an up and down career. Moss had an outstanding senior season and is now in the NFL. Jenkins was Miami's Team MVP in 2007 while Jolla ended up transferring out. Grade: B-

Tight Ends: The Hurricanes got two players they really wanted in Oklahoma's Curtis Justus and Texas standout Eric Winston. Both were huge pickups from areas where the competition was tough. Justus came in with a leg injury that never went away, while Winston turned into an All-American left tackle. Grade: C+

Offensive Linemen: Here's a position where the Hurricanes really struggled with the Class of 2002. Local players like Davin Joseph (Oklahoma) and Max Jean Gilles (Georgia) had offers but inked with other schools before becoming NFL players. The two of them would have been huge addition to UM's line in recent years. Instead, the Canes ended up signing just two -- St. Thomas Aquinas's Anthony Wollschlager, who ended up becoming a starting center at Miami, and Coral Gables High's Alex Pou, who never became a starter at Miami. Grade: D

Defensive Linemen: The Hurricanes needed defensive ends and they loaded up on them, signing five -- local standouts Kareem Brown and John Wood, in-state standout Baraka Atkins, Juco standout Alton Wright, and Ohio linebacker turned defensive end Antonio Reynolds. Reynolds was one of Miami's first commitments that year but after coming down for fall camp never started school and later signed with Tennessee, where he had a solid college career. Wood showed promise on the field early in his career but ended up transferring to Texas State. Wright never lived up to the hype, although he gave UM some quality minutes as a senior. Atkins and Brown ended up playing defensive tackle and while they were slightly undersized in there, both were good players who are now playing on Sundays. The Canes tried landing several 300+ pound tackles that year but came up short on all of them. Grade: C-

Linebackers: The Hurricanes signed only one -- Edison's Nate Harris, who later ran into legal troubles and ended up transferring to Louisville, where he played against the Hurricanes in the game there in 2006. A few out of state prospects like North Carolina's A.J. Nicholson, Delaware's Brandon Snow, and New Jersey's Berkeley Hutchinson visited but none seemed to strongly consider the Canes. Grade: F

Defensive Backs: The Hurricanes signed six and pretty much got the ones they wanted. The headliner was All-Purpose standout Devin Hester, who was the No. 1 rated cornerback in the nation by that year. Local players Glenn Sharpe, Travarous Bain, and Terrell Walden also signed with Miami, as did Tallahassee Lincoln's Greg Threatt (who was not offered by Florida State). The only safety signed that year was Apopka's Brandon Meriweather, who the Hurricanes won in a heated recruiting battle with Florida State. While Hester never made an impact at corner, he left UM as one of the best players to ever play here because of his contributions on special teams. To this day, he remains arguably the most explosive player in football. Bain transferred, Walden quit, Threat started fast and ended up being a non-factor late in his career, and Sharpe had an up-and-down career because of multiple knee injuries. Meriweather was a difference maker and is now playing for the best team in the NFL at this time. Grade: B-

Special Teams: Jon Peattie had a solid, yet unspecttacular, career at Miami while Hester was the best special teams player in college football when he was here and made a difference in several close games during his career here. Grade: A

Overall Grade: C -- It's hard to say a recruiting class that produces seven NFL players is average. However, more players ended up leaving (eight) than going on to the pros. One had a career ending injury and seven others had decent/up-and-down careers while at UM.

Biggest Losses: As mentioned, the addition of Max Jean Gilles and/or Davin Joseph would have been huge, considering how good they were in college and how UM struggled up front for the next few years.

2002 Recruiting Class List

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