He helped groom Peyton Manning into the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft and a $100 million quarterback.
He helped groom Eli Manning into the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL and a $50 million contract.
He helped groom Heath Shuler into the No. 3 overall pick and a $19 million signing bonus in 1993.
And he has helped develop Erik Ainge into a draftable quarterback.
After the 2005 season, that seemed laughable. But after two years under Cutcliffe, some project Ainge as a first-round draft pick, certainly a first-day selection.
``I hear varying things from different pro guys that are friends of mine,'' Cutcliffe said. ``He had a third-round rating last year for all juniors. I'd say he'd certainly rise from that.''
Cutcliffe said a scout told him he had Ainge rated higher than some other high-profile quarterbacks at big-time programs.
``You would be surprised who they are,'' Cutcliffe said. ``There are a lot of people that have a lot of strong feelings about Erik. He's 6-foot-6, 225 pounds and can throw the heck out of it.
``I tell you what he is – he's really, really smart. He'll go off the scale on all intelligence tests and interviews. He's fun to coach that way. He's really taken the time to learn defensive football and I think his best football … is in front of him. I'd love to have had him four years.''
Cutcliffe said Ainge has ``challenges to overcome … to be as successful as you want to be. He's smart enough to understand that. I hope he takes those challenges and takes the ball and runs with it.''
Why does Cutcliffe think Ainge's best football is ahead of him?
``Because there are some things that are correctable,'' Cutcliffe said. ``I'm not going into detail. I don't need to dissect him publicly. I'm not going to do a pro scout's job for him. But he knows what they are because I've told him.
``What's not correctable is if you just can't throw it or you just can't see or you're just not smart enough or you don't have touch and you can't make decisions. I hate to get a young guy and realize, `Man, he just doesn't have it.' Erik has all of those things.''
CUTCLIFFE LIKES FUTURE OF QUARTERBACKS
``All of them have really outstanding arms,'' Cutcliffe said.
``Jonathan has the gift of physical toughness. He can run the football, has an unbelievably quick motion, spins the ball really pretty, throws a tight spiral, a ball that's real easy to catch, real easy to catch.
``Nick Stephens is a strong-armed guy. He throws the deep ball better than anybody I've been around since (former Vol) Tony Robinson, I'm telling you. He's got a little magic in the deep ball. In some scrimmages, he just dropped the ball right in people's arms 70 yards downfield. He's got some toughness to him.
``B.J. is just a complete package of preparation, being conscientious in every thing he does. A beautiful ball he throws. He's got to speed up. It's been unfair to him -- he's been scout team quarterback so he's been playing at scout team speed. … He throws as pretty a ball as we've seen around here.
``They're all big guys who can move their feet. And they are tough. They bring a lot to the table.''
Still, Crompton developed based on practice.
``The thing you've got to remember – our practices are intense,'' Cutcliffe said. ``I'd love to have played him more, but I put a lot of pressure on him in practice, a lot of pressure.
``For the last month and a half, he was absolutely flawless in practice with his decision making, with his energy, with his tempo and timing and throwing.
``He's had fun because of it. Some of the pressure has dropped off his shoulders because it's really starting to click for him.''
CUTCLIFFE PRAISES OFFENSIVE STAFF
``That's the best coaching job that I've been around in preparing their guys, having them ready every week, motivating them, toughening them from where they were to where we got – and that's a great tribute,'' Cutcliffe said of receivers coach Trooper Taylor, offensive line coach Greg Adkins, running backs coach Kurt Roper and tight ends coach Matt Luke.
``I enjoyed working with those guys because they're good people, but I really respect them as football coaches and I've been around a lot of good football coaches through the years. I'm not just blowing smoke. Those guys are young guys, smart guys, they're energetic and they really did a great job of coaching this year.''