Where are they now: #1 Overall ranked football players from the past 10 yearsOctober 27, 2011


by: Claude Clayborne

Recruiting is the lifeblood of college football for every Vince Young there is a __________ who either leads your team to glory or is an utter dissapointment. It is important to keep in mind that these are young men. Entire states base their fortunes on the backs of 17 and 18 year old kids. Here is a review of the last ten #1 ranked players based on Rivals.com rankings and seeing how their careers progressed since they were the best player in the nation.

2001 – Kevin Jones Springfield, Pa. – Virginia Tech

Jones had a great career as a Hokie he rushed for 3475 yards with 35 touchdowns. Jones was chosen 30th in the 2004 NFL draft. During his NFL Career, he rushed for 3,174 yards playing for the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. Jones signed with the UFL’s Hartford Colonials in 2010. Jones had an awesome College career and a solid pro career. I will give him a career rating of strong overall. Other notable recruits that year include Brody Croyle (Alabama) and Tommie Harris (Oklahoma).

2002 – Vince Young, Houston, Texas – Texas

VY was the 3rd overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft after a stellar career as QB for the Texas Longhorns. His career at Texas concluded in what has to be the best individual performance by a college player ever. In that 2006 Rose Bowl, Vince ran for 200 yds and passed for 267 with three rushing scores. Young’s horns played against a loaded USC team featuring Reggie Bush looking for a 3rd straight national title and when Young kept Texas in the game at took a title from a game Trojans squad. Young had his #10 jersey retired by Texas in 2008 and he has played in two Pro Bowls. At Texas, he passed for 6,040 yds and 44tds and rushed for 3127 yds and 37 tds. VY’s pro career has been mired in injury and controversy, yet he has persevered and is now the backup quarterback behind Mike Vick for the Philadelphia Eagles. Vince is one of the greatest ever to play at the college level even if he does not start in the NFL again. Other notable recruits that year: Lorenzo Booker (FSU) and Haloti Ngata (Oregon)


2003 – Ernie Sims, Tallahassee, Florida – Florida State

Sims didn’t have the most spectacular career at Florida State, and may well be known as being the player ranked ahead of Reggie Bush in this class. Sims played in every game as a freshman and started every game his soph. and jr. years. Sims went pro after his jr. year at FSU. I remember him at Florida State having great range, but his specialty was letting the bodies hit the floor. Sims was selected 9th overall in the 2006 draft by the Detroit Lions. Sims has bounced around the league and is currently with the Indianapolis Colts. The jury is still out on Sims but his production has never really matched his talent. Other notable recruits: Reggie Bush(USC) Kyle Wright(Miami)


2004 – Adrian Peterson, Palestine, Tx – Oklahoma

I think we all know how Adrian’s (“THE DEAL” as we knew him in college) career is going after he signed a new deal worth 36 million guaranteed and up to 100 million for 7 years. Peterson was selected as the 7th overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft. A.D. short for All Day has set too many records to count, but he holds the Freshman rushing record in the NCAA with 1,925 and the NFL record for most rushing yards in a game with 296. Adrian surely will go down as one of the best running backs ever to play the game. He is the rarest breed of strength, power, and elite speed. Other notable recruits: Tedd Gin Jr.(Ohio State) and Early Doucet(LSU)


2005 – Derrick Williams – Greenbelt, Maryland – Penn State

Williams was selected as the 18th pick in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft after a solid career at Penn State. Williams was a great receiver for some very good Nittany Lions teams under Joe Paterno. The main problem with Williams was that he lacked the top end speed that a smaller receiver has to have to succeeded in the NFL. Williams was damn good, but not phenomenal which is why he was cut by the Detroit Lions. Other notable recruits: Darren McFadden(Arkansas), Rey Maluanga(USC), DeSean Jackson(Cal)


2006 – Percy Harvin – Virginia Beach, Virginia – Florida

Harvin finished his college career as one of the most prolific offensive threats in Florida Gators history. In three seasons, he totaled 133 catches for 1,929 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing the ball 194 times for 1,852 yards with 19 touchdowns. His 32 career touchdowns is the most ever by a University of Florida wide receiver. He averaged an astounding 9.5 yards per carry as a running back. Harvin has had a good pro career for the Minnesota Vikings, but issues with constant migraines have slowed his progress. Harvin still has accounted for 143 receptions, 11 touchdowns and 1,788 yds. Harvin has 2 titles at Florida that he and Tim Tebow are directly responsible for so his career has been great. If healthy full-time there is no doubt in my mind he can be a game breaker for the Vikings. Other notable recruits: Matthew Stafford(Georgia) and Gerald McCoy(Oklahoma)


2007 – Jimmy Clausen – Westlake Village, California – Notre Dame

Clausen was 16th pick in the 2nd round of the 2010 NFL draft. At Notre Dame, Clausen didn’t have the career that his #1 overall ranking led you to believe. Clausen’s super quick release really didn’t lead to much as he was sub-par at Notre Dame outside of his jr. season after which he declared for the NFL draft. Clausen is currently the backup for Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers. Other notable recruits: Ryan Mallett(Michigan/Arkansas) Eric Berry(Tennessee)


2008 -Terrelle Pryor, Jeanette, Pennsylvania – Ohio State

Superior as a dual threat quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Pryor is probably going to be known as one of the more controversial figures in Ohio State history. While Pryor was a great quarterback that was tough as hell and always had Ohio State in the thick of things, his issues with tattoos, memorabilia and extra benefits will overshadow an otherwise great college career. Pryor was selected in the 3rd round of the 2011 supplemental draft by the Oakland Raiders. Pryor has the opportunity to prove his naysayers wrong by having a solid pro career, but that will not be clear for a few years. Other notable recruits: DaQuan Bowers(Clemson) and Patrick Johnson(Peterson)(LSU)


2009 – Bryce Brown – Wichita, Kansas – Tennessee/Kansas State

Brown initially signed with Tennessee and rushed for 460 yds and 3 touchdowns as a freshman, yet didn’t get along with new Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley and transferred to Kansas State even though he didn’t get a full release to do so. Brown is currently on the Kansas State roster, but only has 3 carries for 16 yards this season. I know it is early in his career, but this one reaks of bust all the way around. Other notable recruits: Matt Barkley(USC), Vontaze Burfict(Arizona State), and Cliff Harris(Oregon)


2010 – Ronald Powell – Marino Valley, California – Florida

Powell really has not had enough time for me to make an evaluation, but Powell is currently the starting defensive end for the University of Florida so things are going well early in his career. Other notable recruits: Seantrell Henderson(USC/Miami) and Marcus Lattimore(South Carolina)


2011 – Jadeveon Clowney Rock Hill, South Carolina – South Carolina

The top ranked player in the country last year is already having a big impact for the Gamecocks. Clowney is a force off the edge for Steve Spurrier and company. The sky isn’t even the limit for Clowney. It will be interesting to see how things turn out for Jadeveon. Other notable recruits: Sammy Watkins(Clemson) and Aaron Lynch(Notre Dame)

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