This is Part II of a review and ranking of the 5-star prospects that Miami has signed over the past 20 recruiting classes according to 247sports.com.
The Hurricanes signed six 5-star prospects in the recruiting classes of 2003 and 2004.
2003 Recruiting Class
Kyle Wright, QB, Danville (Ca.)-Monte Vista
As a Prep: Wright was believed to be the top quarterback in the nation by pundits across the country including 247Sports, who ranked him as such in the Class of 2003. Wright led Monte Vista to consecutive North Coast Section 3A East Bay championships and as a senior in 2002 passed for 2,825 yards and 37 touchdowns. He was named the 2002-2003 Gatorade National Player of the Year for his efforts.
With the Hurricanes: Wright had an opportunity to shine at Miami but could never raise his completion percentage or avoid turnovers like the Hurricanes wanted him to. He passed for 5,835 yards and 38 touchdowns as a Hurricane but also tossed 31 interceptions. He was named the starting quarterback by Larry Coker in 2005 and had his best season as a Hurricane as a sophomore as he passed for 2,403 yards and 18 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions. His junior and senior seasons were much more tumultuous. Wright fought injuries his junior year and was replaced by Kirby Freeman as the starting quarterback at the beginning of his senior season. Wright eventually won the starting job back that season but many fans’ lasting memory of the California native is his 9-for-21, three interception performance in Miami’s embarrassing 48-0 loss to Virginia in the final home game at the Orange Bowl.
In the Pros: Wright went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but had brief stints with the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. In 2013, the Associated Press reported that Wright met with the NCAA in early 2012 to help substantiate allegations against the football program related to the Nevin Shapiro/NCAA case. Wright admitted to receiving impermissible benefits from Shapiro in that interview. Not the way to endear yourself to Hurricane fans five years after your mediocre (at best) college career ends.
Ranking: 21 of 24. Wright was billed as the next Ken Dorsey as he was the No.1 QB prospect in the country by most scouting services and a fellow Californian. Needless to say, nearly throwing as many interceptions as touchdowns and not winning the starting job his senior year out of training camp didn’t quite fill Dorsey’s shoes. Throw in cooperating with the NCAA during the Shapiro investigation and that buries Wright on this list.
Greg Olsen, TE, Wayne (N.J.)-Wayne Hills
As a Prep: Olsen won a New Jersey Group 3 state championship in 2002 and was named a USA Today All-American. He was one of three finalists for Gatorade National Player of the Year after catching 38 passes for 703 yards and 14 touchdowns. He originally signed with Notre Dame but enrolled at Miami in time for his freshman semester.
With the Hurricanes: Before Olsen left early for the NFL Draft after the 2006 season, he was considered by some to the best tight end in college football. He caught 87 passes for 1,215 yards and six touchdowns in his three seasons at Miami, including a junior campaign with 40 catches for 489 yards. Olsen led the team in receptions his junior year despite shaky quarterback play and being the main focus of many defensive game plans because of a lackluster wide receiver corps at the time.
In the Pros: Olsen was drafted with the 31st overall pick of the first round by the Chicago Bears in the 2007 NFL Draft. Since then, he has had a 12-year NFL career with the Bears and Carolina Panthers and been selected to three Pro Bowls. He has 57 career touchdowns and 7,847 receiving yards. Olsen even appeared in the Super Bowl with the Panthers in 2016 and caught four passes for 41 yards in the loss to the Denver Broncos.
Ranking: 4 of 24. Olsen exceeded lofty expectations. He posted two unbelievable seasons at Miami before going pro and his 12-year professional career speaks for itself. Olsen also donated $100,000 to Miami’s Indoor Practice Facility campaign in February 2018. One of Miami’s top alums in more ways than one.
Tyrone Moss, RB, Pompano Beach-Blanche Ely
As a Prep: Moss rushed for over 7,000 yards for Blanche Ely. He rushed for 2,315 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior in 2002 in leading Blanche Ely to the 2002 Class 5A state championship. He was named a Parade All-American and was a second team selection on the USA Today All-America Team.
With the Hurricanes: Moss rushed for 1,942 yards and 26 touchdowns in his four seasons at Miami from 2003-2006. His best year was his junior year when he rushed for 701 yards and ACC-best 12 touchdowns in an injury-shortened season of just eight games. Moss tore his ACL in November 2005 and never completely recovered as he only rushed for 285 yards and three touchdowns in 2006. Had Moss not blown out his knee in November 2005, he would have had a chance to chase down the all-time rushing yards mark which was then held by Ottis Anderson (3,331 yards). Giving Moss 4-5 starts his junior year and 12-13 more his senior year with a healthy knee may have gotten him there.
In the Pros: Moss’ knee injury and constant battle with his weight prevented him from playing in the NFL. Moss stopped working out after failing to realize his NFL dream and began to have problems with hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Moss passed away on July 26, 2018 after collapsing because of a cardiac problem. He was 33 years old.
Ranking: 12 of 24. When Moss was healthy, he was on pace to be one of the top three running backs in the history of the University of Miami. He would easily have finished in the top three in rushing yards and touchdowns in school history. His knee injury in November 2005 unfortunately derailed his career and set back his battle with his weight, which ultimately ended up causing him the health problems that took his life last summer.
2004 Recruiting Class
Willie Williams, LB, Miami-Carol City
As a Prep: If you are a new or younger Hurricanes fan, this name may not be recognizable to you, but to more seasoned Hurricanes fans, Willie Williams is a player that will never be forgotten. Williams was ranked the No.1 linebacker and No.3 player regardless of position by 247Sports in 2004. He attended six high schools before graduating from Carol City High in Miami. He had 18 sacks in nine games during the 2003 season and led the Chiefs to a Class 6A state championship with 11 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in the state title game. In 2002, he recorded 173 tackles and 10 sacks for Monsignor Pace High in Miami. Williams then gained national fame after the season for his “recruiting diary” with the Miami Herald, which was one of the first looks for the public at what truly goes on during official visits for highly-coveted prospects. After detailing official visits to Florida State, Auburn, Miami and Florida in the diary, Williams chose to sign with Miami on National Signing Day in February 2004. Just hours after doing so however, he was charged with two misdemeanors and a felony stemming from his final official to Florida, the felony for discharging a fire extinguisher in the hotel he was staying in. Williams’ attorney at the time said the charges were retribution for not signing with the Gators but nonetheless, it was baggage he would bring with him to Miami. According to ESPN, he enrolled at Miami with 11 entries on his arrest record.
With the Hurricanes: Williams suffered a knee injury in 2004, which caused him to redshirt during his true freshman season with Miami. In 2005, he made 36 tackles in mostly mop up and special teams duty because he would often frustrate coaches with his refusal to play within the scheme. In July 2006, he asked for and was granted his release from his scholarship at Miami. He transferred to Pearl River (Ms.) Community College and then West Los Angeles Community College before getting another Division I chance at Louisville in 2007. He appeared in three games for the Cardinals that season before being arrested for possession of marijuana and transferring to NAIA Union College.
In the Pros: Because of the nagging remnants of his knee injury suffered in 2004 and the poor choices he made in all of his stops along the way, Williams did not receive a chance to play professional football. In 2011, he was arrested in Kentucky on burglary charges and is now out on parole.
An update from an SOTU reader:
To add to the @TheStateOfTheU story on the 5 Stars Miami has had recently, Willie Williams has been on parole since 2015 and is running a gym for young athletes in Miami and will be off parole in 1 September 2019— Astronomical. (@Trent_PhD) June 11, 2019
Ranking: 24 of 24. With the hype surrounding Williams because of his prep glory and recruiting diary exploits, he had extremely high expectations entering Miami. Making just 36 tackles in one season played with the Hurricanes did not even sniff exceeding those expectations. Last summer, 247Sports voted him the most over-hyped player in college football since 2000.
Lance Leggett, WR, Arlington (Tx.)-Grace Prep
As a Prep: Leggett moved to Arlington, Texas to attend Grace Prep prior to his junior season after previously living in Bartow, Florida. He won a Texas state championship in both seasons he was enrolled at Grace Prep and was named a SuperPrep All-American. He scored 31 touchdowns in two seasons at Grace Prep and had 1,880 receiving yards.
With the Hurricanes: Leggett finished his Miami career in 2007 with 85 receptions for 1,375 yards and 11 touchdowns. His best season at Miami was his junior season when he caught 38 passes for 584 yards and four touchdowns. That left many Hurricanes fans expecting big things from Leggett entering his senior year in 2007 but then-coach Randy Shannon benched Leggett for part of the season and he wound up with only 15 catches in his final campaign. He fought through issues with dropped passes during all four years at Miami.
In the Pros: Leggett went undrafted in the 2008 draft but signed with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent. He had seven receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown in two preseasons with the Browns but never recorded an NFL regular season statistic.
Ranking: 18 of 24. Leggett’s junior season at Miami was a flash of what he could become with the Hurricanes or in the professional ranks but he never again reached that potential. His constant battle with dropped passes held him back.
Charlie Jones, RB, Homestead-South Dade
As a Prep: Jones set a Dade County single-game record as a junior by rushing for 348 yards in 2002 and was named First Team All-Dade for his efforts. Despite missing three games as a senior, he rushed for 748 yards and six touchdowns. The Orlando Sentinel ranked Jones the seventh best prospect in the state of Florida for the Class of 2004.
With the Hurricanes: Jones rushed for 738 yards and 10 touchdowns on 190 carries in his three seasons with Miami. He turned in his best season as a sophomore in 2005 when he rushed for 507 yards and five touchdowns. He spent the 2005 season backing up Tyrone Moss until Moss got hurt late in the season. In 2006, true freshman Javarris James beat out Jones in training camp for the starting running back job. After missing the 2007 season because of injury, Jones elected to transfer to Memphis to finish his career where he rushed for 255 yards and six touchdowns in 2008.
In the Pros: Jones never recorded an NFL statistic. In 2013, he helped coach his alma mater South Dade to the Class 8A state championship.
Ranking: 19 of 24. Jones did not enter Miami with as high of expectations as many on this list but he failed to ever win the starting running back job in training camp and really only played in relief or injury-replacement roles.
Check back soon for Parts III and IV of this list and the overall final ranking of all 24 5-stars.