The mediocrity that has permeated the Miami football program over the past 20 years has led to a lot of busts in recruiting. Two of those former recruits have been ranked among the top four busts in the last 20 seasons.
The Miami football program has not produced the results that would be expected with the talent they have had over the past 20 seasons. One former commit and one signee were recently ranked by Bleacher Report among the Top Recruiting College Football Flops of the Past 20 Years.”
Both players entered college with huge expectations. Linebacker Willie Williams was the third-highest ranked signee is the history of the Miami football program. According to the 247Sports composite rankings, Williams was the third highest-ranked player in the country in 2004, the number three LB and top player in Florida.
Linebacker D.J. Williams who was the number one player across the board in 2000 and 2010 offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson from Minnesota are the only players who graded out higher than Willie Williams entering Miami. Williams’ problems off the field are what ultimately led to him being considered a flop.
A knee injury in August 2004 cost Williams his entire true freshman season. Williams came back in 2005 as a redshirt freshman and led Miami in special team tackles. Williams recorded 28 tackles that season playing special teams and defense and added four tackles for loss. Then the problems began as Bleacher Report discussed.
4. Willie Williams, Miami Linebacker
2004 recruiting class: No. 6 overall, No. 1 outside linebacker (Rivals)
The 2004 recruiting class was absolutely loaded, with guys like Adrian Peterson and Ted Ginn Jr. at the top of a list that also included guys like Marshawn Lynch and Calvin Johnson.
The best linebacker in that year’s cycle was Carol City High School’s Willie Williams, who could have gone anywhere but elected to stay home and play for Larry Coker and The U. This program was just three years removed from its 2001 national title.
While at Miami, Williams redshirted his freshman year as he recovered from a knee injury but showed the flashes that made him a top prospect in 2005, registering 28 tackles. He transferred to Louisville, where he was dismissed for drug possession after being arrested multiple times prior to his college career.
“I’m very disappointed in Willie,” former Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich told 247Sports’ Mike Hughes. “I was confident that he had turned the corner in his life and was ready to be a valuable contributor to society and our football program.”
After transferring to NAIA, Williams continued to have trouble off the field. In 2013, Williams was found guilty of second-degree burglary and being a persistent felony offender and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Ranking the Top Recruiting CFB Flops of the Past 20 Years via: B/R
Bryce Brown, Tenn RB
Fred Rouse, FSU WR
Ryan Perrilloux, LSU QB
Willie Williams, Miami LB
Ben Olson, BYU QB
Tyler Love, Alabama OL
Jason Gwaltney, WVU RB
Max Browne, USC QB
Byron Cowart, AU DE
— CFB Home (@CFBHome) March 6, 2020
Running back Bryce Brown was originally a commit to Miami in the 2009 recruiting class. Brown was the number two player in the country in 2009, the top-ranked running back and the top player in Kansas according to 247. The 247 Sports composite all-time rankings have Brown 27th overall and the fifth-best RB.
Brown initially committed to Miami where his brother Arthur was a LB. The Brown brothers were implicated but denied any wrongdoing in the recruiting scandal involving Nevin Shapiro who was convicted in 2011 of running a $930 million Ponzi Scheme. Shapiro allegedly provided impermissible benefits involving Miami.
In two seasons at Miami, Arthur Brown recorded 17 tackles and a half TFL in 23 games. He transferred to Kansas State following the 2009 season where he played with his brother. Bryce played with Tennessee as a freshman in 2009 where he ran for 476 yards and three TDs and added 11 receptions for 140 yards and one TD.
“2009 recruiting class: No. 1 overall, No. 1 running back (Rivals)
The biggest one-hit wonder (other than Kiffin, of course) was Bryce Brown, the nation’s top-ranked prospect who played one season in Knoxville.
As Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell wrote: “Brown’s recruiting process was a circus, full of NCAA investigations, recruiting websites, threats of playing in the CFL and questionable family advisors. He initially committed to Miami, but then re-opened his process and finally committed to Tennessee over a month after signing day.”
The Wichita, Kansas, native transferred to the Kansas State Wildcats, where his brother, Arthur, was after transferring himself from Miami. Bryce ran just three times for 16 yards in that 2011 campaign before declaring for the NFL draft.
Brown looked like a budding star as a Philadelphia Eagles rookie, but he was traded to the Bills prior to the 2014 season and couldn’t latch on with either them or the Seattle Seahawks afterward.”
Although Williams and Brown were the only two players on the Bleacher Report Top 10 to be considered flops with ties to the Miami football program, the lack of development by Hurricanes recruits and inability to work that within a college football team have hindered Miami for at least 15 years.
A lack of development, too much of a me attitude and players more concerned with their NFL stock than being part of a team have led to Miami reaching 10 wins only once in the last 16 seasons. The lack of development by the 2017 Miami recruiting class is a perfect example. Only 12 players remain for their senior season.