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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
UF's touted class of 2008 has gone bust

By Michael DiRocco
GatorNation

Florida's 2008 signing class was considered one of the best in the nation. That assessment, however, came on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2008: National Signing Day. Upon further review, it's clear the class wasn't so special.

LB Brendan Beal (6-3, 223): Beal was a Parade All-American, but he never played at Florida. He tore his ACL in his first season, then missed the next with a neck injury before transferring to Minnesota.

CB Jeremy Brown (5-10, 163): Back issues cost him two seasons, but he started 10 games in 2010. Still just a redshirt sophomore, he hasn't played a down this season because of a preseason knee injury.

CB Adrian Bushell (5-10, 183): After playing sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 2009, he left for Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.

RB Jeff Demps (5-8, 176): Demps is clearly the best player in the class. He has rushed for 2,448 yards and 23 touchdowns, caught 56 passes for 474 yards and one touchdown, and returned 20 kickoffs for 588 yards and one touchdown.

DT Troy Epps (6-0, 285): The juco signee from Coffeyville Community College played in 12 games over two seasons and had seven tackles.

S Dee Finley (6-2, 200): Finley did not qualify and spent a year at a prep school. He was moved to linebacker and made 12 tackles in 19 career games. He left the team in the middle of this season and plans to transfer.

DE William Green (6-4, 215): Green is another Parade All-American who hasn't made much of an impact. He has 49 tackles and 2? sacks in 51 career games.

WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. (6-0, 170): He redshirted and played sparingly in 2009 and 2010. He lost his scholarship after an offseason DUI arrest in June 2010 but eventually worked his way back. He has 40 catches for 506 yards and three touchdowns in 33 career games.

Will Hill
Perhaps no player exemplifies Florida's Class of 2008 better than Will Hill, who was ESPNU's No. 3 overall player in the nation. He did little in his three years at Florida, left early for the NFL but was not drafted.
S Will Hill (6-2, 203): Hill was ESPNU's No. 3 overall player in 2008, but his career was filled with questions about work ethic, inconsistent performances and suspensions. He decided to bypass his senior season and declared for the NFL Draft but was not selected.

WR Omarius Hines (6-1, 200): After fluctuating between receiver and tight end, Hines has yet to make a significant impact. He has just two catches this season and 36 for 504 yards and two touchdowns in his career.

DT Omar Hunter (6-0, 322): Former coach Urban Meyer put a lot of pressure on Hunter by saying the Gators needed him to play well for the defense to be successful in 2008. But a back injury from high school limited him to three games, and he eventually redshirted. He has 65 tackles and one sack in 41 career games.

CB Janoris Jenkins (5-10, 177): Jenkins starred as a freshman and was a potential first-round NFL draft pick, but he was dismissed from the team in April after his third arrest in 23 months. He transferred to Division II North Alabama, where he has 48 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

OL/DL Byran Jones (6-3, 305): Jones never played a down at Florida. He redshirted in 2008 and left school before the 2009 season began.

WR T.J. Lawrence (6-0, 185): Lawrence redshirted in 2008 and didn't catch a pass in 2009 before transferring to Florida A&M just before the 2010 season began.

LB Lerentee McCray (6-2, 205): McCray has bounced between end and linebacker. He played sparingly in 2008, got a medical redshirt in 2009 and made just 11 tackles in 2010. He has started four games this season but missed the last three with a shoulder injury.

WR Carl Moore (6-3, 220): Moore was one of the top juco recruits in America, but he never lived up to his lofty ranking. In two seasons (he redshirted in 2009) Moore caught 41 passes for 533 yards and two TDs.

DE Earl Okine (6-5, 250): Despite looking the part of a fearsome pass rusher, Okine has just 13 tackles and one sack in 26 career games. He has just six tackles in 11 games this season.

OT Matt Patchan (6-6, 260): Patchan is known more for his injuries than anything he's done on the field. He was shot in the arm before arriving on campus, tore a pectoral muscle, missed nine games in 2009 after tearing his ACL, missed the 2010 season with a fractured wrist, and has played this season with a cast on his right hand. Patchan was granted a redshirt and a medical hardship, making him a redshirt sophomore.

FB/LB T.J. Pridemore (6-0, 236): After redshirting in 2008, he played as a reserve on offense, defense and special teams in '09 and three games in '10 before an injury cost him the rest of the season. He left the team after the 2010 season.

C Sam Robey (6-4, 275): He injured his left knee in 2008 and was redshirted, then spent the next two seasons behind Maurkice and Mike Pouncey. He has played in 31 games in his career, including eight games this season.

K Caleb Sturgis (5-10, 182): He handled kickoff duties as a freshman and was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2009 after making 22-of-30 field goal attempts. He played in four games last season before a back injury cost him the rest of the season and earned him a medical redshirt. He has kicked 21 field goals this season and was recently named a Groza finalist.

OL David Young (6-6, 290): Chronic knee problems have kept Young from doing much. He suffered two broken kneecaps in high school and suffered a left knee injury in 2010 that required two surgeries. He has played sparingly in every game this season.

Michael DiRocco covers University of Florida sports for GatorNation. He can be reached at espndirocco@gmail.com or on Twitter @ESPNdirocco.