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Tuesday Question: Bigger Waste of Talent?

Generally, we are the "authors" of "content" around here - "here" being a blog and not a message board. Recognize, we do, that you've come here not to contribute, but to consume. Nevertheless, there is the sporadic occasion where, either for our benefit or for to exercise the thinkifiers of the masses, we ask you a question. Today's question is ...

Which alleged rebel "playmaker" was a bigger waste of talent: Brentis "Brent" Schaeffer or Gremico "Mico" McSwain?

When Ed Orgeron convinced then five-star JUCO quarterback Brent Schaeffer to sign with Ole Miss, I literally woke people up due to my excitement. When Mico McSwain became a young phenom of a halfback who could break plays wide open, setting the Rebel record for rushing yards in a freshman season in 2005, I changed the lyrics of "Go Rebs Go" to "Go Mi Co."

I tend to do goofy things. Deal.

So there was the hype and the excitement. And, then.... nothing happened.

For those of you who don't remember, Mico McSwain electrified our fan base with runs like this...

In 2005, during his freshman season, Mico accumulated 612 rushing yards on just 124 carries. That's 4.9 yards per carry; and excellent statistic for an otherwise anemic offense. A season later, he had only 27 carries for 140 yards at 5.2 yards per carry. The next year, he was gone due to academic problems. For a couple of years, Mico was seen around Oxford racing his motorcycle and generally doing nothing. Mico then somehow wound up at the University of North Alabama where he did this...

Mico is a strange case because of his exceptional production as a freshman followed by a dearth of carries the following season. In 2006, Mico's sophomore year, the Rebels were one big offensive play away from beating Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, and LSU. Yet we sat our second biggest playmaker (remember, we had Dexter McCluster then) on the bench. Why? What did he do to get in Orgeron's doghouse?

Regardless, Mico is just one in a long line of many promising footballers to never live up to their potential in Oxford. It is quite fitting that his "career" ended just as another epic letdwn's began.

Brent Schaeffer was a highly heralded junior college recruit with offers from programs all over the country. He signed with Ole Miss mainly because Ed Orgeron promised to use him as a pro-style quarterback of the USC mold, something upon with Schaeffer was very much set. After all, he wanted to be prepared for his long, prosperous career in the NFL and stuff, right?

In his first Rebel season, Schaeffer completed just 47% of his passes, threw more interceptions than touchdowns, and didn't hit the 1,500 yard mark as a passer despite starting every single game and throwing 244 of the team's 280 passes. The next season saw Schaeffer lose his starting job to former walk-on quarterback and MPSA All-Star Seth Adams. Schaeffer barely played during the entire season, but when the writing was on the wall (writing which most likely said "HEY ED ORGERON YOU ARE SO FIRED ONCE WE GET OFF OF THIS BENDER"), the coaches decided to plug in wide receiver coach Hugh Freeze's spread offense to take on the LSU tigers. Fitting this offense more appropriately was Schaeffer, since he would be much more useful in zone-read situations than the pro-style Adams. The decision to play this style of offense resulted in an offensive onslaught on the stingy to-be-national-champions LSU Tiger defense. LSU allowed 466 yards to the Rebels that day, and a lot of it came from Schaeffer. Brent's stat line for the day? 208 passing yards. 94 rushing yards. Turnovers and redzone woes doomed the Rebels that day, but at the very least we faithful followers of the Crimson and Navy saw just what type of player we had on our roster all along.

Schaeffer didn't have a prolific imapct on the next game--an embarrassing Egg Bowl loss that ended Ed Orgeron's career as a head coach--but many have wondered what might have been had the right offense for Brent been used during the entire season.

Brent Schaeffer's mother A fan of Schaeffer put together this highlight reel from his entire time in college. Watch it if you want. I didn't.

So, now that you're informed... Who was the bigger waste of talent? Who failed to live up to their potential the most? And, pray, do tell whether or not you think these flops were the result of the players themselves or the coaches.