2002 Rivals.com Top 100 Some They Got Right

Time for some flashbacks.

 

 

1. Vince Young – Texas Houston Madison, Texas QB 6-5, 195: The number one player in this recruiting class won the national title in 2005 and should have won the Heisman Trophy. Young redshirted as a freshman and then shared playing time with Chance Mock as a redshirt freshman. Young took over the starting role as a sophomore, but struggled until about midway through the 2004 season. Texas was behind Oklahoma State 35-7 at home when Young led his team to a remarkable come back with the Longhorns winning the game 55-35. From that point on, Texas with Vince Young was almost unbeatable. They got the Rose Bowl bid and played Michigan and won in one of the

greater games of the season. The following season, Texas won every game including another thrilling Rose Bowl win over one of the greatest teams of all time the USC Trojans. Young was the first player to pass for 3,000 yards and to run for 1,000 yards in the same season. Vince Young was drafted with the 3rd pick of the 1st round in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. In the NFL, Young was the rookie of the year in the 2006 season. Young was 30-17 as a starter for the Titans, but he was shown the door. I have no intention of writing an NFL blog, but there’s a reason why the Tennessee Titans are usually a terrible team.

2. Haloti Ngata – Oregon, Salt Lake City, Utah DT 6-5, 310: Incredible player of Tongan heritage was a beast at Oregon and became a monster in the NFL as well. He was injured in 2003, but came back strong in 2004 and 2005 and was a Consensus All American in 2005 for the Oregon Ducks. He also blocked 7 kicks at Oregon. Ngata was redshirted in 2003, and then left a year early after the 2005 season. I’d rather see a guy like this stay in college, obviously, but Ngata’s mother was ill. But, she passed away before he was ever drafted by an NFL team in 2006. Ngata was the 12th pick of the first round by the Baltimore Ravens where he won a Super Bowl and made All Pro several times. Ngata will suit up for the Detroit Lions in 2015.

3. Lorenzo Booker – Florida State, Ventura, California RB 5- 11, 178: Booker ran for nearly 3,000 yards and 50 Touchdowns as a senior which really didn’t match his junior season in yardage. During his 3 years on the varsity at St Bonaventure High School in Ventura he helped lead his team to a 42-0 record. Booker was also a Track and Field standout competing in the sprints and the Long Jump. He committed to Notre Dame at one point, but in a national eye roll producing press conference shown on ESPN, Booker picked Florida State. That might should have opened some eyes, and Booker was moderately successful for the Seminoles. In 4 seasons, he ran for 2,389 yards and 15 Touchdowns. He also caught 114 passes. Booker was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Miami

Dolphins but didn’t stick and bounced around the league for a few years.

4. Ben Olson – BYU, Thousand Oaks, California QB 6-5, 205: was redshirted as a freshman at BYU and then went on a 2 year mission with his church. That’s a good definition of cheating in my book, but it’s not illegal. Coming back to football after playing baseball or fighting in a war is one thing, but to send off guys on missions and basically get a 3 year redshirt is just wrong, in my opinion. Why don’t they go on a 2 year mission after their eligibility is complete? I promise I am not trying to anger any Mormons with my comments but it’s just not right.

After his mission days, he transferred back home to UCLA. He backed up another QB named Drew Olson who was not related to him. In 2005, Olson was a back up. He started some over the next 2 seasons but was plagued by injuries and only threw for 1,873 yards during his entire college career. Obviously, he was not drafted, but he got a degree in History and is a successful businessman now. Even though he never lived up to the hype, he did get his degree and he is a family man with a success story now. Bash him for being a bust on the field, but not for his personal life.

5. Reggie McNeal – Texas A%M, Lufkin, Texas Ath 6-2, 210: McNeal led his high school team to the state championship at the highest level in Texas and then took his Quarterbacking skills to Texas A%M. Aggie fans said he was much better than Vince Young and his team did win state during his senior season. McNeal starred in football, basketball, baseball and track and field in high school. McNeal did throw for 6,992 yards and 44 Touchdowns, plus he ran for 1,889 yards and 15 more Touchdowns. But, he did lose his starting job during his senior season. The Cincinnati Bengals drafted McNeal in the 6th, but played some in the Canadian Football League. McNeal did run a very impressive 4.35 40 at the NFL Combine.

6. Chris Davis – Florida State; St Petersburg, Florida, Ath 6-0, 170: Davis caught 34 passes his first two seasons at Florida State, but stepped up his last two seasons with 51 catches his junior season and 49 during his senior year. The Tennessee Titans picked Davis with their 4th round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.

7. Ryan Moore – Miami; Orlando, Florida, WR 6-4, 188: Moore caught one pass as a true freshman before being injured and getting a medical redshirt. As a redshirt freshman, Moore caught 44 passes for over 600 yards and 3 Touchdowns.  Unfortunately for Moore, it never got any better

than that for him at Miami. During the 2004 season, Moore only was able to play in 6 games and only caught 9 passes. The following season, Moore bounced back somewhat with 28 receptions. But, the following season saw the Miami program crumble with a 7-6 record and Moore only played 5 games and caught 12 passes. Moore’s career at Miami was not as expected and he played a little Arena football after that.

8. Marcus Vick – Virginia Tech; Newport News, Virginia QB 6-0, 185: The Vick brothers were something of the beginning of the current movement of bad character players. There’s no doubt that Michael and Marcus Vick were enormous talents, but there’s also no doubt about their lack of character. I don’t like anyone that mistreats an animal and I don’t mind saying so. Marcus Vick redshirted as a true freshman and then split time as a sophomore. He looked a lot like Michael, but the resemblance didn’t hold up on the football field. Vick did throw for over 2,300 as a junior in 2005. Marcus Vick was trouble looking for a place to happen. He was suspended in the 2004 season and then was booted off the team after the 2005 season. He played one game for the Miami Dolphins after going undrafted, in 2006 before being cut and out of football. Since he was no longer in football, his arrests became more frequent.

9. Leon Washington – Florida State; Jacksonville, Florida DB 5-10, 180: Washington came to Florida State as a Cornerback, but was switched over to Running Back and he played right away. During his freshman season, Washington ran for 273 yards. But, he was also a return man and returned one Kick Off for a Touchdown. During is sophomore season of 2003, Washington battled through some injuries and still managed nearly 400 yards rushing. But, he also had a Punt Return for a Touchdown. He had his best year as a junior in 2004 when he ran for 951 yards.

His production dropped off as a senior with more injuries, but Washington finished with over 2,000 yards rushing at Florida State. Washington scored Touchdowns in 5 different ways at Florida State,

rushing, passing, kick off return, punt return and fumble recovery.

He was picked by the New York Jets in the 4th round of the NFL Draft and he is still in the NFL. He never had much of an impact as a Running Back in the NFL, but he has been an incredible Kickoff Return man and setting records.

10. Ciatrick Fason – Florida; Jacksonville, Florida RB 6-1, 210: Fason was an incredible high school Running Back that many considered the best at his position in the country over Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker. He ran for over 2,000 yards in 2 seasons and finished with over 7,000 career yards. At Florida, Fason carried the ball 9 times as a true freshman. His sophomore year in 2003 was better and he ran for nearly 600 yards and 3 Touchdowns. The 2004 season was his best when he ran for 1,267 yards and  10 Touchdowns. As expected, Fason declared for the NFL. This is another stay in school classic and I will continue to preach this. Fason was a 4th round pick and played 2 seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. He ran for a paltry 161 yards in 2 seasons in the NFL. He later tried out for the Jacksonville Jaguars and was cut, then he went to Canada and was cut. Stay in school and get that degree.

11. Kai Parham – Virginia; Virginia Beach, Virginia DE 6-4, 230: Now, this guy is what I am talking about and one of the main reasons I will always love college football. The top rated Defensive Lineman in the country was confident and almost cocky on and off the field. He was an incredible athlete coming out of high school with impressive numbers. Many times those stats are stretched along with the player’s size and speed. But, supposedly Parham could bench well over 400 pounds and he had a 35 inch vertical. Parham also left college with a year of eligibility remaining and while I don’t necessarily care for that, he had already earned his degree from Virginia. Although Parham was not drafted by any NFL teams and he did sign with the Cowboys and he didn’t make the team, he is still a success. He used football to better his life and earned a Master’s degree and is currently a financial planner in Atlanta.

12. Gerald Riggs – Tennessee; Chattanooga, Tennessee RB 6-0, 220: His father was a big time

NFL Running Back earning All Pro honors back in the day with the Atlanta Falcons. The younger Riggs ran for over 4000 yards his last 2 years at Red Bank High School in Tennessee winning a state title during is junior season in 2000. Overall, he rushed for over 6,000 yards in high school and he won the 2001 back of the year award. He also ran a 10.6 100 meters in track which increased his popularity greatly because of his size. At Tennessee, Riggs got off to a really slow start, running for only 49 yards as a true freshman and then 207 yards as a sophomore. During his junior year, Riggs took off and ran for 1,107 yards while helping the then Phil Fulmer coached Vols to an impressive 10-3 season. Even though Riggs was great as a junior in the 2004 season, he had to split time with another excellent Running Back in Cedric Houston. Both of them topped 1,000 yards and Houston moved on to the NFL. Riggs decided to come back and he ran for 530 yards before breaking his right fibula and suffering ankle ligament damage against Alabama and being lost for the season. The damage was so severe, that he was not drafted due to fears of the injury remaining. Riggs got tryouts with the Miami Dolphins but was cut. After attempting to make several other squads, Riggs wound up in Canada where he played briefly.

13. Rodrigue Wright – Texas; Alief, Texas DT, 6-5, 330: Wright was considered one of the top Defensive Tackle recruits in the country and a 5 star. At Texas, he started 9 games as a true freshman and earned 1st team Freshman All American honors. Wright was sensational as a sophomore in 2003 and earned 2nd team All Big 12. As a junior in 2004, Wright only started 10 games and battled an ankle injury all season long.

As a senior in 2005, Wright was a first team All American and the Longhorns went on to win the national championship in the Rose Bowl over USC. The NFL was not as good for Rodrigue Wright. He fell to the 7th round in the draft and fought through some injury problems with the Miami

Dolphins. Wright got in one really good season for the Dolphins but he was waived by them in 2009 and then he played some in the Canadian league and then Arena ball. He is currently the Defensive Ends coach for Sam Houston State University.

14. Michael Johnson – Virginia; Newport News, Virginia RB 5-10, 180: One of the best speed backs in the country coming out of high school, Johnson elected to attend Virginia. Johnson played a little at Running Back as a true freshman, but had ankle problems for much of the year. As a sophomore in 2003, he redshirted. Johnson ran for 381 yards in 2004 and returned kicks and punts. He rushed for 267 yards in 2005 and was dangerous as a return man. He only rushed for 6 yards as a senior and after so much recruiting attention, he would have to be considered a bust.

15. Justin Blalock – Texas; Plano, Texas OL 6-4, 325: Is it any wonder that Texas won the national championship in 2005 with 3 recruits ranked in the top 15 in the country with Vince Young, Rodrigue Wright and Blalock. Justin Blalock redshirted as a freshman and then started as a redshirt freshman in the 2003 season and started every year after that. He made 1st team All American in the 2006 season and was drafted in the 2nd round by the Atlanta Falcons where he played his entire NFL career before retiring in 2015.

Others:

20. Trent Edwards – Stanford; Los Gatos, California QB 6-4, 230:

22. Jerious Norwood – Mississippi State; Brandon, Mississippi RB 6-1, 200:

27. Ahmad Brooks – Virginia; Woodbridge, Virginia LB 6-3, 230:

28. Devin Hester – Miami; Riviera Beach, Florida DB 5-11, 180:

36. Mercedes Lewis – UCLA; Long Beach, California TE 6-6, 235:

37. Maurice Clarett – Ohio State; Warren, Ohio RB 6-0, 230:

41. AJ Nicholson – Florida State; Winston-Salem, North Carolina LB 6-2, 232:

51. Eric Winston – Miami; Midland, Texas TE 6-7, 255:

52. Darnell Bing – USC; Long Beach, California DB 6-2, 205:

62. Hershel Dennis – USC; Long Beach, California RB 5-11, 190:

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