- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- In little more than a week, recruits across the country will sign national letters of intent, beginning what they hope will be college careers that culminate with their selection in the first round of the NFL draft.
It’s an amazing time for recruits. They are courted and wooed by some of the nation’s top coaches. Championships and All-American honors are promised. Stardom is just seven months away.
For some of those recruits, however, their athletic careers peak the day they sign. For whatever reason -- off-the-field issues, injuries, lack of drive, attitude problems, lack of talent -- they don’t make it. Sometimes they don’t even make it to the field. They’re labeled as busts.
GatorNation went back to 2006, which is when ESPN began tracking signing classes, and found the five biggest:
1. Gary Brown: Brown was ESPN’s No. 2 defensive tackle and the No. 23 overall player in 2009 after compiling more than 40 sacks during his junior and senior seasons at Quincy (Fla.) West Gadsden. Brown, who also was an Under Armour All-American, never played a down for the Gators.
He redshirted in 2009 and consistently broke team rules throughout the season and got in coach Urban Meyer’s doghouse. What sealed his fate, though, was an incident on Feb. 14, 2010. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Brown was arrested and charged with striking two women at an off-campus party. Meyer dismissed Brown from the program several days later, saying that Brown had a history of not meeting the school’s expectations for student-athletes. He did not elaborate on what other issues Brown had.
Brown eventually agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement on the battery case. He transferred to East Mississippi Community College and made 69 tackles in his only season there (2010).
6dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough
10dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf