A look back at the Class of 2004: The QB's

The sky was seemingly the limit for a talented group of quarterbacks from the Lone Star State in 2004. But in the first of several articles looking back at the state of Texas' Class of 2004, the quarterback class in most cases fell short of their lofty expectations.

How They Looked at the Beginning:
Outside of the 2006 group highlighted by Matthew Stafford and the current 2009 group with Russell Shepard and Garrett Gilbert at the forefront, 2004 looked to be one of the most top heavy years ever in Texas for producing quarterbacks.

Grand Prarie's Rhett Bomar was Scout.com's top ranked quarterback and the top rated prospect in Texas, edging out fellow Oklahoma signee Adrian Peterson. With his combination of size, speed, athleticism, and arm, Bomar drew comparisons to John Elway before and after inking his LOI at Oklahoma.

Two other quarterbacks, both of the dual threat variety, were ranked in the top ten in the nation, Brownwood's Kirby Freeman and Galena Park North Shore's Bobby Reid, who signed with Miami and Oklahoma State respectively.

Rounding out the top five in the state were Scout's No. 12 and No. 15 quarterbacks, respectively, Burnet's Stephen McGee and Ennis' Graham Harrell.

Texas had the most number of quarterbacks ranked in the top 15 in the nation by Scout.com with five, giving people reason to believe that this group could potentially be the best the state had ever produced.

How They Look at the End:
With all of the high hopes in February of 2004 for this group, more than four years and three months later this group is littered with ‘what could have been' cases.

Bomar led the Sooners to a Holiday Bowl victory as a redshirt freshman in 2005 before but that was the highlight of his brief time in Norman. An ugly and highly publicized scandal prior to the 2006 season involving an Oklahoma car dealership led to Bomar being booted off of an Oklahoma team that many had tabbed as a preseason No. 1. He has since landed on his feet at Sam Houston State and will look to lead the Bearkats to the playoffs as a senior.

Freeman and Reid will both be getting fresh starts at new schools in 2008.

Freeman played musical chairs with Kyle Wright during his time with the Hurricanes as neither of the highly touted signal callers was ever able to grab the reins and secure the job under center. Freeman is now back in Texas where he will likely be the starter at Baylor when the Bears kickoff the 2008 season at Floyd Casey Stadium on August 28 against Wake Forest on national TV.

Reid showed flashes of brilliance at Oklahoma State but injuries derailed his journey to stardom. He will most likely be remembered for being the subject of a newspaper article during the 2007 season that inspired Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy to let the world know that he is a man, and he is 40. After initially applying for entry to the 2008 NFL Draft, Reid has found a home back in Houston at Texas Southern where he will quarterback Johnnie Cole's ball club this fall.

McGee has had his ups and down as Texas A&M's gritty leader, and his last season in College Station could be look more like his career at Burnet as new coach Mike Sherman's offense is much more passer friendly that A&M's old run based system.

Harrell has put up some gaudy numbers at Texas Tech with over 10,600 career passing yards and 89 touchdown passes during his time in Lubbock.

There were no huge steals in the class outside of Baytown Lee's Brian Johnson, who had a solid career at Utah, and Alamo Heights' Chase Clement, who continues to climb the career passing charts at Rice.

Two quarterbacks in the class, Corpus Christi Calallen's Jordan Chambless and The Woodlands' Jordan Dotson opted to play baseball at Texas A&M and Rice, respectively although Chambless did see time on the gridiron for the Aggies.

Houston Washington's Joseph Fields, a three star prospect and ranked as the nation's No. 44 quarterback, never panned out under center in college. Instead, he went on to become an All-Big East defensive back at Syracuse and recently signed a free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.

Forney's Caleb Hanie was ranked No. 69 nationally at the quarterback spot when he signed with Colorado State. He received high praise on draft day and could have been a late round selection, but he instead signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears.

Head of the Class:
It would without a doubt have to be Harrell. Going to Texas Tech after plastering his name all over the Texas schoolboy record books in Ennis' pass-happy offense seemed to be a perfect fit. Harrell might go down as the best quarterback to ever play in Mike Leach's offense.

Biggest Disappointment:
The dubious honor goes to Bomar simply because his career at Oklahoma was over before it ever really got started. Oklahoma might very well have its second national title under Bob Stoops had Bomar been under center, which would have allowed Paul Thompson, who came on strong at the end of 2005, to stay at receiver as one of the Sooners' top threats.

Overall Assessment:
Regardless of how the five aforementioned quarterbacks finish up their careers, the disappointing end to Bomar's career at Oklahoma, the circus that became of the Bobby Reid/Zac Robinson quarterback controversy, and the inconsistencies of the Miami offense during Freeman's tenure leave a giant underachieving stamp on this class.


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