The dead period is still going on and won’t end until July 24th. Recruiting has slowed down quite a bit since the onslaught of commits that happened last month, so with that, let’s take a look at some recruiting journeys that went well pre-college, but afterwards, not so much.
In honor of the dreadful summertime doldrums season, we will dive head first into the wacky world of recruiting by saluting the 10 biggest flops ever. This goes out to the ones who never quite lived up to the hype or were just downright awful and were run out of their respective college town by an angry mob. Your wings of wax just flew too close to the sun, but it was probably still a hell of a ride.
10. Seantrel Henderson - Miami (No. 2 overall player in 2010 class)
At 6’8 and 330-pounds, he was supposed to be “a cross between Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Pace” per Tom Lemming. After signing with Southern Cal on national signing day nine years ago, he asked to be released from his letter-of-intent after NCAA sanctions were handed down and the Trojans were ineligible for postseason play. He then chose to transfer to a school closer to his Minnesota home.
He transferred to Miami. Miami, Florida.
After reporting to Coral Gables in awful shape, he never really saw the field on a consistent basis until the 2011 season. Then, he was suspended the following year before having season-ending back surgery. In 2012, he was suspended for spring practice, then reported late in the summer after suffering a concussion while being involved in a two-car crash in Coral Gables. This former five-star recruit is now in the NFL with the Houston Texans but he never evolved into that sure-fire 1st-rounder like Lemming and literally everyone else thought he would.
9. Mitch Mustain - Arkansas/Southern Cal (No. 9 overall player in 2006 class)
Hootie Dale’s top signee was only behind former Georgia and current Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford coming out of high school so most thought Mitch Mustain seemed like a sure-fire All-American for the Razorbacks. Most recruiting experts thought it was going to be a tough sell for Houston Nutt, so he hired his high school coach and current Auburn head coach, Gus Malzahn, to make sure he got his signature on signing day.
All was peachy as the Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year and USA Today Player of the Year started out 8-0 as a freshman, including a road win over No. 2 Auburn. But then he transferred to go play for Pete Carroll’s Trojans after losing the starting gig to Casey Dick. During his two years in Los Angeles, Mustain threw only three touchdowns.
8. Ryan Perrilloux - LSU/Jacksonville State (No. 6 overall player in 2006 class)
The East St. John product was an absolute terror on the field in high school in Louisiana where he totaled more than 13,000 yards. Perriloux was famous for his swagger and was labeled by some to be the next Donovan McNabb. Ryan even went as far as predicting that he would win the Heisman as a freshman and lead LSU to the promised land.
As the legend goes, when he was asked about the current starting quarterback at LSU at the time, Jamarcus Russell, Perrilloux responded with “Jamarcus Who?”
Welp, that didn’t happen.
Perriloux redshirted his freshman year, completed just one pass during his second year in Baton Rouge, and despite playing in 12 games in his third year, transferred to nearby Jacksonville State to wrap up his college career.
7. Melvin Alaeze - Maryland/Illinois (No. 20 overall player in 2005 class)
4.5 40-yard dash speed is hard to come by, but when it comes with a 280-pound frame, it is very, very rare. Melvin Alaeze was the unicorn of college football recruiting in 2005. He was an incredible talent who, despite being a star on the field, could not qualify off it and was forced to attend Hargrave Military Academy. After a stint at the Virginia “military academy”, he signed with Maryland. His scholarship was then revoked by Maryland, stating he violated the terms of his financial aid agreement.
After leaving College Park, former Illinois head coach Ron Zook signed him, but he only played one game before quitting. The University of Illinois then revoked Alaeze’s scholarship for missing classes, and he returned home to Randallstown, Md. Upon his return, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in a shooting and robbery in his hometown. Yeah, this list is pretty depressing, but let’s move on to...
6. Enrique Davis - Ole Miss (No. 2 overall player in 2008 prep class)
The Lynn Haven, Fla. native was one of the most highly-touted backs out of the Sunshine State in the late-2000s. He possessed that rare blend of power and speed. Auburn was able to get a signature from the big-time back, but Enrique did not qualify and made his way to Hargrave. And despite assuring Auburn fans that he would be coming to the Plains the following year, Davis would sign with Ole Miss and Houston Dale Nutt.
In four seasons, he just could not establish himself as the go-to guy for the Rebels and struggled to keep his footing in a crowded backfield due to injury. He ran for 864 yards and just eight touchdowns at Ole Miss.
Enrique is now entering his second year as running backs coach at West Georgia. Last year they averaged just under 200 yards rushing a game and his leading rusher, Devontae Jackson, ran for 1,320 yards and 12 touchdowns for the 10-2 Wolves.
5. Kyle Wright, QB - Miami (No. 3 overall player in 2003 class)
He had the look.
And the Oakley visor.
Kyle Wright was supposed to be better than Ken Dorsey, but the no. 1 quarterback out of Danville, Calif. and Gatorade Player of the Year never really did anything but disappoint at Miami. As a freshman, he only attempted nine passes for the Hurricanes, and despite throwing for 2,403 yards as a sophomore, he managed only 38 touchdowns compared to 31 interceptions in a Miami uniform.
Yes, being compared to Dorsey, who won two BCS titles, was unfair, but this kid read his paper clippings a little too much and is now a mainstay on NFL practice squads.
4. Ben Olson - BYU/UCLA (No. 4 overall player in 2002 class)
Hailing from the quarterback factory of Thousand Oaks, California (shouts to fellow buster, Jimmy Clausen), Olson already had the NFL quarterback look at 6’5, 235-pounds. The southpaw had offers from everyone and yet chose to stay true to his religious beliefs and sign with the BYU Cougars.
After redshirting his first year, he traveled to Canada in order to fulfill his Mormon duty on his two-year mission. But, once he returned to Provo, Utah, he had some bad news.
He was transferring to UCLA.
But, Westwood was not the promised land for Ben as he battled injuries almost his entire career for the Bruins. He broke his fifth metatarsal in August, then broke it again in spring practice, and eventually never played a game in 2008 because of it, ending his career at UCLA.
3. Demetris Summers - South Carolina (No. 9 overall player in 2003 class)
Before there was Marcus Lattimore, there was Demetris Summers.
He was the No. 1-rated running back in the 2003 class (Reggie Bush was No. 3) and he looked poised to take the Southeastern Conference by storm with his 4.5 speed, 40″ vertical jump, and overall athleticism. His prep totals of 9,076 yards and 127 touchdowns have yet to be matched in the state to this day.
After committing to former Gamecocks head coach Lou Holtz, he was named to the SEC All-Freshman team in his first season and led USC in rushing in back-to-back seasons. After Steve Spurrier was hired, Summers was dismissed from the team due to a failed drug test.
Not only did he miss out on stardom in his native Palmetto state, but he did not enter the NFL draft until a year later, only to go un-drafted. The former Parade All-American was picked up by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent and later played in the CFL (he even won a Grey Cup) for a few years before ultimately pleading guilty and being sentenced to prison for eight years for manufacturing and distributing crack cocaine in Lexington County, S.C.
2. Fred Rouse - Florida State/UTEP/Texas Southern/Concordia College (No. 5 overall player in 2005 class)
He had the swagger of Deion Sanders without the production, and the talent of Randy Moss that never showed. Rouse was 6’4 and ran a legit 4.5 and was THE man coming out of Lincoln High School in Tallahassee. But, once he arrived on campus, Bobby Bowden couldn’t stand him and Fred eventually told Urban Meyer that he should’ve gone to Gainesville.
The Lincoln High standout was teammates with Antonio Cromartie and was named a PARADE and U.S. Army All-American after averaging a ridiculous 20.1 yards per catch as a senior. The No. 3 receiver in his class was also famous for telling reporters that he felt he could jump straight from high school to the NFL.
Needless to say he didn’t. In his one season with the Seminoles, he barely managed six receptions for 114 yards and just one touchdown.
After that year, he transferred to UTEP, then left there for Concordia. Naturally, he went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft after barely playing in 20 career games at the Power 5 level and eventually fizzled out in the CFL.
1. Willie Williams - Miami/West LA CC/Louisville/Union College (No. 3 overall player in 2003 class)
With all the talent in the world and then some, this linebacker was poised to be the next big thing in a Hurricanes uniform, following in the footsteps of Dan Morgan, Ray Lewis, and Jonathan Vilma. But he did not get things started in the right direction. He attended six high schools in five years after missing most of his freshman year due to being struck by a vehicle while crossing the street.
After finishing his “last year” at Pace High School, he transferred to Carol City and was the best player for the best 6A Florida team in 2002. There, he racked up 18 sacks in nine games for a team that won the state title game and also included Kenny Phillips and Ricky Jean-Francois on their roster.
But, despite having good grades and a decent head on his shoulders per his peers, things unfortunately spiraled out of control for Mr. Williams. After he didn’t choose the Florida Gators on signing day, accusations from Gainesville and the police department began flowing, and he was charged with two misdemeanors and a felony charge of discharging several fire extinguishers in a Hilton hotel.
In his one year at Miami, he played in nine games and made 28 total tackles before announcing he wanted to transfer. West Virginia and Tennessee both said no thanks and before trying to attend Pearl River Community College, he ultimately landed at West Los Angeles Community College before eventually getting back East and playing for Bobby Petrino at Louisville.
But, it was only for three games after he was booted from the team. And despite finding somewhat of a home at Union College in nearby Barbourville, Ky., he was eventually arrested for burglary and is still serving the same sentence for another four years in the same Kentucky prison.
If anything, Willie gave us the idea that all high school highlight tapes should have the background music of Trick Daddy.