Grading the 2004 Recruiting Class

When Randy Shannon took over the University of Miami football program last year, the talent level was way down in comparison to the previous years. What happened after the championship season of 2001? breaks it down, this time focusing on the Class of 2004.

Quarterbacks:After landing a California quarterback in the last two classes, the Hurricanes turned to another state to find their man for the Class of 2004. They went with Kirby Freeman, an Elite 11 standout from the state of Texas. The son of a coach, Freeman wasn't heavily recruited nationally. He didn't have offers from schools like Texas and Oklahoma, like other top prospects from that area do, but rather he had them from schools like Baylor and Oklahoma State. Freeman was one of two quarterbacks the Canes were targeting in the summer of 03, with the other being Chad Henne from Pennsylvania. Freeman started a few games at Miami but was mainly a career backup to Kyle Wright and then after this past season he decided to transfer to Baylor. Meanwhole, Henne ended up having an excellent career at Michigan. Grade: D

Running Backs: Without much depth on the current roster at the time and with only one running back (Tyrone Moss) from the last two classes, the Hurricanes made the running back position a major priority for the Class of 04. They went after a bunch and ended up landing four of them -- South Dade's Charlie Jones and Killian's Bobby Washington locally and also Andrew Johnson from Pittsburgh and Derron Thomas from Louisiana. All were rated four-stars or higher and it was clearly considered the nation's best class of running backs at the time. Unfortunately for the Canes, it certainly didn't turn out that way. Jones, a five-star back and the highest rated of all four, was mainly a career backup and left the school after the 2007 season with one year of eligibility left. Washington, who was considered the most talented of the four, signed with Miami but never qualified academically. He later signed with N.C. State before transferring to Eastern Kentucky to finish out his college career. Johnson, a track star playing football, quit football early in his college career. He was recruited nationally because of his size/speed combo and the Canes won a heated recruiting battle over Ohio State and Pittsburgh for him. Thomas is the only one of the four still at Miami and will likely play a key backup role again in 2008. The Hurricanes brought in one other running back for an official visit that year but were unable to convince him to come. His name was Adrian Peterson and we all know how good he looks in the NFL right now. Grade: D

Wide Receivers: After not signing any receivers in the previous class, the Canes needed to sign a few good ones in this class. It seemed like the year of the miss at this position, however, as a large number of receivers from across the country had offers from and took visits to Miami before inking with other schools -- Louisiana's Earl Doucet (LSU) and USC's Fred Davis (USC), both of whom are projected to be high NFL draft picks, were two of them. The Canes inked two that year -- Lance Leggett from Texas (via Bartow) and Miami Northwestern's Khalil Jones. Leggett made some noise that summer thanks to his performance at a few camps. He first committed to Florida before the Canes, with much help from his father, were able to change his mind. Jones was a local player who wasn't heavily recruited and seemed like a backup plan for most of the year. Leggett showed flashes of excellence at times but his career never really took off. Jones has been a career backup. It definitely was not a good class, especially since this was all they got in two years. Grade: D+

Tight Ends: The Hurricanes had signed four in the previous two classes but one was still injured (Curtis Justus), one was moved to left tackle (Eric Winston), and one was already a senior (Kevin Everett). Therefore, the Canes needed to land one -- and they did. His name was Cedric Hill, a very lightly recruited player from the state of Georgia, who never ended up enrolling at Miami. Instead, he went to South Florida, where he's had an average career at best. Killian's Dane Guthrie had been committed since the summer but switched his commitment to Florida at the last minute. He later transferred from Gainesville. Chaminade's Octavious Darby picked N.C. State over Miami at the last minute. The toughest loss was Arizona's Zach Miller, who was the nation's No. 1-rated tight end according to Miller took all five visits before choosing Arizona State over Miami. Miller is now an NFL starting tight end. The Canes needed one and failed to get one on the 2005 roster. Grade: F

Offensive Linemen:After getting six offensive linemen in the previous two classes, the Canes wanted to load up on linemen this year and they did, signing five of them. The best of the bunch was Juco transfer Tyler McMeans, whose Lackawanna JC coaches were saying was as good as Bryant McKinnie (who attended the same Juco) at the time. McMeans, who was overrated as a five-star prospect, started several games as a Hurricane and had a decent, yet short, career. The next best has been Rutledge, who only played two years of football before signing with the Hurricanes. He's started a few games but has mostly been a career backup at tackle. Byrd has been a career backup, who has only played a few snaps in his entire career. St. Pierre quit football early in his college career, while Kerr never made it into campus after grey-shirting in 2004. Kerr later landed an offer from Ohio State, where he's a backup for the Buckeyes now. St. Pierre and Kerr were very lightly recruited and considered sleepers when they inked with Miami. There weren't many losses at this position either, as the Canes weren't really involved with many other players. One was Sarasota Riverview's Drew Miller, who chose Florida over Miami. Grade: D

Defensive Linemen:Of the 11 defensive linemen signed by the Hurricanes in the two previous classes, only eight were still on the roster on signing day of 2004. One more (Alton Wright) was already a senior and another (Dave Howell) would soon transfer. So the Canes needed to load up with defensive linemen again in 2004. They did just that, signing seven new players. Three of them were defensive ends -- Denver's Calais Campbell, Wisconsin's Rhyan Anderson, and Sarasota Booker's Chris Zellner. Four of them were tackle prospects -- Booker T's Antonio Dixon, Orlando Oak Ridge's Joe Joseph, New Jersey's Dwayne Hendricks, and Texas standout Kellen Heard. Campbell, who committed to the Hurricanes in the summer of 2003, turned out to be the best of the group and by a good margin. Joseph, Hendricks, Dixon (who didn't start until a year later because of time he later spent at a Prep School), and Zellner (at tight end) have had decent careers and all have starting experience somewhere along the line. Anderson ended up leaving, while Heard never qualified. He now plays at Texas A&M and even made some plays against the Hurricanes in their game last September. The Canes pretty much got the players they wanted on the D-Line. One miss was Orlando Edgewater's Aaron Jones, who picked FSU over Miami in late January on TV. Jones later left FSU and is now at Eastern Kentucy. Another interesting note here is that five-star Glenn Dorsey, who is widely considered the nation's No. 1 prospect for April's NFL Draft, had the Hurricanes as one of his top three schools before making a very early commitment to LSU (without taking any other visits). Grade: C-

Linebackers:With only three linebackers on the roster at the time from the previous two classes, the Canes needed to load up with 'backers. They offered nearly a dozen of them and signed three -- All-Americans Willie Williams and James Bryant as well as lightly recruited local player Romeo Davis from Miami Northwestern. Everyone knows about the Williams situation after he signed with Miami. At last check, he was kicked off Louisville's football team. Bryant is now playing at Louisville. Davis is having the best college career of the three and will return to Miami for the 2008 season. Grade: D-

Defensive Backs:Of the eight players the Canes inked at this position over the last two classes, Terrell Walden quit the team. Glenn Sharpe was facing major knee problems. Devin Hester was bouncing around to different positions, as he made a living on special teams, Jon Beason was switched to linebacker, and Travarous Bain would soon transfer. That meant the Canes needed help in the secondary and lots of it. They landed safeties Anthony Reddick, Lovon Ponder, and Rashaun Jones. Reddick looked like one of the best young safeties around before he had a knee injury that ended his 2007 season. The coaches are very high on him. Ponder has one season left in what's been a decent career so far. Jones is no longer on the team. At cornerback, the Canes inked Memphis standout Carlos Armour and lightly recruited George Timmons. Armour has been in and out of the starting lineup, while Timmons no longer plays football for the Canes, even though he was still listed on the 2007 roster. Orlando Edgewater's Kenny Ingram was heavily recruited and chose Florida State over the Canes in late January. Ingram has been a career backup for the Noles. Two local players, Northwestern's Trevor Ford, and Killian's J.R. Bryant, also picked FSU over Miami in January. Bryant's had a solid career for the Noles, while Ford transferred to Troy. Grade: C-

Special Teams: After the Hurricanes inked kicker Jon Peattie in the Class of 2002 and punter Brian Monroe in the Class of 2003, there was no need to recruit any kickers or punters in this year's class and Miami didn't.

Overall: Ugly. Bottom line and no other way around it -- this was a terrible recruiting class from top to bottom. After two recruiting classes that certainly weren't near UM standards, this is what they produced. The results prove it. Four players never stepped foot onto the playing field for Miami (Bobby Washington, Carlton Hill, Josh Kerr, and Kellen Heard). Eight more transferred or quit before their careers here were finished (Kirby Freeman, Andrew Johnson, Charlie Jones, Jonathan St. Pierre, Willie Williams, James Bryant, Rhyan Anderson, and Rashaun Jones). That's 12 of 28 or 43-percent of the class. Ouch. Three more never became starters at Miami (Derron Thomas, Tyrone Byrd, and George Timmons) and only one will be playing in the NFL next season (Calais Campbell). In a class of 28, only campbell and maybe Anthony Reddick will likely ever play on Sundays. Grade: D

Biggest Losses: Many of the players who UM went head-to-head with and lost late in the process (Aaron Jones, Kenny Ingram, Trevor Ford, etc.) never made an impact at the school they chose so they can't be considered losses. If you look over the list of players who took visits to Miami and for those the Canes finished second for, it was impressive -- Early Doucet, Fred Davis, Drew Miller, J.R. Bryant, Zach Miller, etc. It would have been nice to land a couple of those players.

Class of 2004 Signing List

Grading the Class of 2003

Grading the Class of 2002

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