The 50 Most Memorable College Football Recruits of the Past 10 Years

Stephanie GravesContributor IIIMarch 28, 2012

The 50 Most Memorable College Football Recruits of the Past 10 Years

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    Recruiting is a tricky and scary beast.

    And so is this slideshow.

    Before you start picking it apart and arguing, there are a few things you need to know:

    1. All rankings are national (as opposed to position rankings) from Rivals.com. This was done merely for consistency's sake. I have no favorites.

    2. The player's entire career was taken into consideration and was compared to the amount "hype" they received.

    3.The ones who were the biggest disappointment landed at the bottom. Players currently in college or about to enter the draft were next because it takes a certain amount of hindsight before any judgements are made. In 10 years, they all could be much higher than they are now.

    This criteria created a unique list a characters. Some, of course, went bust. Others did alright, but failed to live up to irrationally high expectations. And others blew every record and critic away. The one thing they all did?

    Make us stop and watch what happened next.

Whitney Lewis

1 of 50

    No. 3 in 2003

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: not playing professionally

    It looked like Lewis was going to be one of USC’s crown jewels of the 2003 recruiting class. He tried several offensive positions as a freshman, then was academically ineligible as a sophomore. He served as a backup the next year. He then transferred to the University of Northern Iowa and no one has heard anything from him since.  

Bryce Brown

2 of 50

    No. 1 in 2009

    Committed to: Tennessee

    Currently: entering the 2012 NFL draft

    Rumors of impermissible benefits followed his short career.

    Brown’s recruitment was over-hyped and also extremely suspicious. When all was said and done, Brown left Tennessee after his freshman year, but he had to sit out and pay his own way after transferring from Kansas State because Volunteers head coach Derek Dooley decided not to release him from his scholarship.

    In September of 2011, Brown left the Kansas State program and the next thing you know, Brown has declared himself for the 2012 NFL draft.

Kyle Prater

3 of 50

    No. 3 in 2010

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: playing WR for Northwestern

    The word “disappointing” comes to mind when you think of Kyle Prater. At 6’5”, his frying pan-sized hands made him a guy that could catch anything, anytime, anywhere. But he caught an injury bug and when he finally saw the field as a redshirt freshman, he hardly looked impressive.

    After Marqise Lee and Robert Woods solidified the No. 1 and No. 2 receiver spots, Prater decided to transfer back to his native Chicago and started at Northwestern this spring.

Mitch Mustain

4 of 50

    No. 10 in 2006

    Committed to: Arkansas

    Currently: pitching for the White Sox in their minor league system

    There is no tale more twisted than Mitch Mustain's.

    He was probably Arkansas’ most highly touted recruit possibly ever coming out of high school. He went 8-0 as a true freshman at the University of Arkansas. Nonetheless, he was still replaced as the starter by sophomore Casey Dick. Mustain transferred to USC, backing up first Mark Sanchez and then Matt Barkley.

    After going undrafted, he signed with CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and was cut only days later. He then applied to Marine Officer Candidates School, but then signed with the AFL’s Georgia Force. Then out of the blue, he signed with the Chicago White Sox after he supposedly threw a 90 mph pitch at a tryout. Mustain played baseball in high school, so maybe this is second, or fifth, chance to play professional sports.

Seantrel Henderson

5 of 50

    No. 2 in 2010

    Committed to: Miami

    Currently: entering junior season at OT for Miami

    The offensive lineman originally committed to USC but then asked to be released and eventually signed with Miami. He's about to enter his third season at the U. Though he managed a freshman All-American season his first year, he is still working to change the perception that he is underachieving and sometimes irresponsible.

Jadaveon Clowney

6 of 50

    No. 1 in 2011

    Committed to: South Carolina

    Currently: entering his sophomore season at DE for South Carolina

    The defensive end dragged his recruiting drama out as long as possible by not inking his letter of intent on national signing day. So far, the South Carolina Gamecock has been a good fit since he ended up as the SEC's Freshman of the Year as well as earned freshman All-American honors from several publications. If he keeps this up, in a few years he will end up much higher on this list.

Vontaze Burfict

7 of 50

    No. 9 in 2009

    Committed to: Arizona State

    Currently: entering the 2012 NFL draft

    He was considered one of the best high school prospects to ever sign with Arizona State, but his mean streak gave him a bad reputation as a dirty player who struggled to stay academically ineligible. Nonetheless, he became ASU’s first first-team All-American since Terrell Suggs.

    He was projected to be a first-round pick, but poor performances at pre-draft workouts have since lowered his stock. 

Manti Te’o

8 of 50

    No. 12 in 2009

    Committed to: Notre Dame

    Currently: entering his senior season at LB for Notre Dame 

    It hasn’t exactly been the Golden Era of Irish football lately, but Te’o has definitely been a bright spot. He has led the team in tackles the past two seasons and is one of 10 players in Notre Dame history to have over 300 career tackles.

    Maybe the finalist for both the Butkus Award and Lott Trophy can snag one of those prizes in 2012.

George Farmer

9 of 50

    No. 3 in 2011

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: entering his sophomore season at USC

    It was a bit of a shock that the 5-star receiver wanted to come to a place that already had a clear No. 1 receiver for the long run. But Farmer wanted to join former teammate Robert Woods and compete. His progress was slowed due to injury. He also did a small stint at running back, but he's moved back to receiver during spring ball and has been catching a few "ooohs" and "aaahhs" from the media. Maybe the best receiving duo in the nation could end up being a trio by fall camp.

Dre Kirkpatrick

10 of 50

    No. 11 in 2009

    Committed to: Alabama

    Currently: entering the 2012 NFL draft

    He has a pair of national championships and an SEC championship underneath his belt. The All-American defensive back could be a first-round pick in this year’s draft.

    He was arrested for marijuana possession, but the misdemeanor charges have since been dropped, so he should enter the draft with a fairly clean record.

Robert Woods

11 of 50

    No. 6 in 2010

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: entering his junior season at USC

    He turned heads the second he arrived on campus. Then freshman All-American turned around and grabbed the No.1 receiving spot his sophomore year and was a finalist for the Biletnikoff award. With Matt Barkley feeding him balls in 2012, the sky is essentially the limit for Woods.

De’Anthony Thomas

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    No. 5 in 2011

    Committed to: Oregon

    Currently: entering sophomore season at Oregon

    Everyone thought he was Los Angeles bound until signing day hit and he faxed his letter of intent to Oregon. It hasn’t been much a problem for the “Black Mamba,” though. Despite living in the shadows of LaMichael James, he’s already made a name for himself, and one day he might be campaigning for a Heisman Trophy.

Matt Barkley

13 of 50

    No. 5 in 2009

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: entering his senior season at QB for USC

    Barkley is returning for his senior year to help the Trojans take care of their “unfinished business.” For most people, that means going back to the Rose Bowl, or better yet, the BCS National Championship game and replacing some of the hardware taken out of Heritage Hall after the fallout of the Reggie Bush investigation.

    As long as Barkley lives up to expectations, he’s a lock for an invitation to New York come December.

Trent Richardson

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    No. 6 in 2009

    Committed to: Alabama

    Currently: entering the 2012 NFL draft

    There is very little that Trent Richardson failed to accomplish at Alabama. The consensus All-American earned two national titles, an SEC championship, the Doak Walker Award and was the 2011 SEC Offensive Player of the Year and a Heisman Finalist. He also broke former teammate and Heisman Winner Mark Ingram’s record for rushing yards in a season (1,679). There is no reason to think he won’t have a consistently fruitful professional career.

Robert Griffin III

15 of 50

    No national ranking in 2008

    Committed to: Baylor

    Currently: entering the 2012 NFL draft

    RGIII put the Baylor Bears back on the map this season with his come-from-out-of-nowhwere Heisman-winning performance. He now has all the talking heads debating on whether he or Stanford's Andrew Luck should be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

    Though he's not a traditional pro-style quarterback, he is athletic enough that somehow he'll find his niche and take on in the pros one day and maybe even redefine how the position is played.

Andrew Luck

16 of 50

    No. 68 in 2008

    Committed to: Stanford

    Currently: entering the 2012 NFL draft

    People barely remember that Stanford football even existed before Andrew Luck. The two-time All-American, Heisman runner-up and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the year is also a three-time All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Academic.  He returned for his senior season and earned the 2011 Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Academic All-America of the Year award.

    Now catch your breath.

    When Jim Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers, most critics pronounced Stanford football DOA for the 2011 season, but thanks to Luck’s leadership and brains, the Cardinal earned an Orange Bowl berth (their second BCS berth in a row).

    He’s now waiting for the next step in his career and looks to be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft.

Lorenzo Booker

17 of 50

    No. 3 in 2002

    Committed to: Florida State

    Currently: RB for the Minnesota Vikings

    In a highly televised press conference, Booker chose Florida State and redshirted his freshman year. He did well, but never really met the high expectations placed on him. There are no Heisman trophies or national championships on his resume. He was eventually picked in the third round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins.

    He was then traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, and then cut in 2009. He signed with the UFL’s Hartford Colonials and was suspended for boycotting their “transfer fee” that is imposed if one of their players signs with an NFL team. He then signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2010. Currently, he is a free agent.

Patrick Turner

18 of 50

    No. 2 in 2002

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: WR for the New York Jets

    Turner had the unfortunate task of having to follow in the footsteps of receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, but he managed to still hold his own and became the Trojans' No. 1 receiver in 2008. He was picked in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins.

    He was cut after the 2010 preseason, then claimed off waivers by the Jets. He was cut from them, too, but then he re-signed with the practice squad and worked his way back to the active roster. He’s bounced back and forth between the practice squad and active roster ever since.

Gerald McCoy

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    No. 4 in 2006

    Committed to: Oklahoma

    Currently: DT for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    His 40 consecutive starts were the most ever by any defensive lineman at Oklahoma. The All-Big 12 and All-American went third overall to Buccaneers in 2010 NFL draft. He was placed on injured reserve last season with torn biceps, but he hopes to be back in action in 2012.

Andre Smith

20 of 50

    No. 2 in 2006

    Committed to: Alabama

    Currently: OT for the Cincinnati Bengals

    The 2008 Outland Trophy winner and consensus All-American was suspended from the 2009 Sugar Bowl from supposed dealing with an agent and later declared for the 2009 NFL draft. Despite a poor performance at the combine and Alabama’s pro day, he was still picked sixth overall by the Bengals. He started off 2009 rocky by holding out on his contract through all of training camp and three preseason games. He then fractured his left foot days after signing.

    He then spent all of the 2010 season on injured reserve but figured out a way to get himself back into shape and became the starting right tackle in 2011.

Julio Jones

21 of 50

    No. 4 in 2008

    Committed to: Alabama

    Currently: WR for the Atlanta Falcons

    Jones is another member of the stacked teams that Alabama has acquired in recent years that has led to two national titles. The AP All-SEC and All-American went sixth overall to the Falcons in the 2011 NFL draft. He led all rookies in touchdown receptions last season.

Joe McKnight

22 of 50

    No. 2 in 2007

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: RB for the New York Jets

    McKnight was called the next Reggie Bush and though he was a good running back, he never lived up to that reputation. He eventually decided not to return for his senior season after accusations of receiving improper benefits (specifically, the car he was driving) led to a small investigation that kept him out of the 2009 Emerald Bowl (USC’s compliance office decided not to clear him).

    He was picked up by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. He struggled through the 2010 season, but last year he set a franchise record for the longest play in a single game by going 107 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff return vs. the Baltimore Ravens.

Knowshon Moreno

23 of 50

    No. 73 in 2006

    Committed to: Georgia

    Currently: RB for the Denver Broncos

    After redshirting his freshman year, Moreno hit the ground running (literally) until he was an all-conference and All-American superstar. He was taken 12th overall in the 2009 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. It’s unclear this season how much Manning will be handing off to him in 2012, though. He is recovering from a torn ACL and though he is projected to be back in shape for the season, the real test will come when he hits the field.

Greg McElroy

24 of 50

    No national ranking in 2006

    Committed to: Alabama

    Currently: QB for New York Jets

    Most people will remember Heisman winner Mark Ingram before McElroy, but that doesn’t mean the quarterback didn’t do his part to help win the 2009 SEC championship and 2010 BCS National Championship.

    Known for his intelligence, the Jets picked him in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL draft. He spent most of the 2011 season on injured reserve after dislocating his thumb in the Jet’s final preseason game against Philadelphia. He still managed to get the media’s attention when he criticized the Jets' organization in the offseason.

Steve Smith

25 of 50

    No. 30 in 2003

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: WR for St. Louis Rams

    Smith caught three touchdown passes in the Trojans’ now infamous rout of Oklahoma in the 2005 BCS National Championship (which in the NCAA’s mind, no longer exists) and won one more Rose Bowl before graduation.

    He was drafted in the second round of 2007 NFL draft by the Giants, where added a Super Bowl ring to his trophy case. After one season with the Eagles, most of which was spent on injured reserve due to a bone bruise in his knee, he signed with the St. Louis Rams this March.  

Colt McCoy

26 of 50

    No Rivals national ranking in 2005

    Committed to: Texas

    Currently: QB for the Cleveland Browns

    If football is king in Texas, then Colt McCoy was their crowned prince.

    He pretty much won every award a quarterback could win except the Heisman Trophy. You couldn’t help feel sorry for him when a nerve injury in his shoulder knocked him out of the 2010 BCS National Championship, which Texas eventually lost. His jersey number was eventually retired and the Browns picked up the small-town Texas native in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft. He was the full-time starter by 2011.

Michael Oher

27 of 50

    No. 48 in 2005

    Committed to: Ole Miss

    Currently: OT for the Baltimore Ravens

    If you don’t know Michael Oher’s story, you probably live under a rock. His life inspired the movie The Blind Side. After an All-American career at Ole Miss, he was picked 23rd overall in the 2009 NFL draft. He came in second in the voting for the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.

C.J. Spiller

28 of 50

    No. 8 in 2008

    Committed to: Clemson

    Currently: RB for the Buffalo Bills

    The two-sport athlete made such an impression at Clemson that they retired his number upon graduation. The consensus All-American and 2009 ACC Player of the Year eventually went ninth overall to the Bills in the 2010 NFL draft. He earned the starting job in 2011 after Fred Jackson was placed on injured reserve and hasn’t looked back since.

Jake Locker

29 of 50

    No. 68 in 2006

    Committed to: Washington

    Currently: QB for the Tennessee Titans

    Locker sometimes isn’t the first to be mentioned because he played for Washington in some of their most dismal years. Steve Sarkisian and Co. are slowly pulling the program out of the gutter, but unfortunately they didn’t show up until the quarterback’s senior year. Granted, with the new head coach, Locker saw his one and only bowl game, a 19-7 win over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

    He went eighth overall in the 2011 NFL draft to the Titans and is currently backing up Matt Hasselbeck.

Chris "Beanie" Wells

30 of 50

    No. 3 in 2006

    Committed to: Ohio State

    Currently: RB for the Arizona Cardinals

    Wells doesn’t have the uber-extra-large resume that a few others of his colleagues on this list share, but his production was always good and consistent. He was a first-round draft pick in 2009 and has been with the Arizona Cardinals ever since. He finished his rookie season with 793 rushing yards, the second best amongst rookies that year (the first being Knowshon Moreno).

Keith Rivers

31 of 50

    No. 5 in 2004

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: LB Cincinnati Bengals

    A national championship, two Rose Bowl championships and an All-American senior season set the linebacker up well for a professional career. The former USC captain when ninth overall to the Bengals in the 2008 NFL draft.

Brandon Spikes

32 of 50

    No. 13 in 2006

    Committed to: Florida

    Currently: LB for New England Patriots

    His career at Florida included two SEC championships, two BCS national championships, two consensus All-American nominations and three first-team All-SEC nominations. He then went in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft to the New England Patriots, where he has since been to one disappointing, albeit exciting, Super Bowl appearance.

Ryan Mallet

33 of 50

    No. 4 in 2007

    Committed to: Michigan

    Currently: QB for the New England Patriots

    Mallet transferred to Arkansas for his sophomore season after head coach Lloyd Carr retired and Rich Rodriquez brought in a spread offense. After sitting out a year, Mallet earned the starting job. By the end of his collegiate career, he owned 16 school records. His completion percentage his senior year (87.5) is second most in SEC football history. He finished seventh in Heisman voting and entered the NFL draft in 2011.

    He spent the season as the Patriots' third-string quarterback.

Rey Maualuga

34 of 50

    No. 5 in 2005

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: LB for the Cincinnati Bengals

    Rey was a part of a fearsome trio at USC dubbed by some as “Cush, Clay and Rey.” The three made the cover of Sports Illustrated before ever starting their professional careers.

    While at USC, he notched three Rose Bowl victories and a Pac-10 first-team nomination. He was a consensus All-American, the conference Defensive Player of the Year, Bednarik Award Winner and Rose Bowl MVP in 2008.

    He entered the 2009 NFL draft and went in the second round to his current team, the Bengals.

Ernie Sims

35 of 50

    No. 1 in 2003

    Committed to: Florida State

    Currently: LB for the Indianapolis Colts

    His college career was nothing earth-shattering, but it was good enough to go ninth overall in the 2006 NFL draft to the Detroit Lions. After three seasons with Detroit, he spent 2010 with the Philadelphia Eagles and signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2011 as an unrestricted free agent.

Sedrick Ellis

36 of 50

    Sedrick Ellis

    No. 68 in 2003

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: DT for the New Orleans Saints

    The 2006 Morris Trophy winner went on to be a two-time All-Pac-10 first-teamer and consensus All-American in 2007. The Trojans won two national titles and two Rose Bowls during his tenure. He added Super Bowl champion to his list of accolades in 2009.

Terrelle Pryor

37 of 50

    No.1 in 2008

    Committed to: Ohio State

    Currently: QB for the Oakland Raiders

    Now most people won’t remember Pryor’s MVP-winning performance in the Buckeye’s 2010 Rose Bowl victory. Before the 2011 season began, Pryor’s career with the Buckeyes came to a screeching halt after an investigation of improper benefits led head coach Jim Tressel to resign and Pryor to enter the supplemental draft. The Raiders picked him up in the supplemental draft where he currently serves as a backup.

Mark Sanchez

38 of 50

    No. 7 in 2005

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: QB for the New York Jets

    Right now, he’s currently welcoming fellow “top 50 recruit” Tim Tebow to the roster. But before that, he was the starting signal-caller at USC in 2008. After winning the 2009 Rose Bowl (and winning the MVP award himself), he declared for the draft and went fifth overall to the Jets. He was subsequently named the starter and so far, he’s kept that job through many a good moment and some not-so-good interceptions.

    Now we will see if it’s “Tebow Time” in New York or not.

Da’Quan Bowers

39 of 50

    No. 2 in 2008

    Committed to: Clemson

    Currently: DE for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    By 2010, Bowers was first-team All-ACC, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, a unanimous first-team All-American pick and the new of owner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Ted Hendricks Award. He was picked in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft by Tampa Bay.

Haloti Ngata

40 of 50

    No. 2 in 2002

    Committed to: Oregon

    Currently: DT for the Baltimore Ravens

    After a delayed start to his Oregon career due to a torn ACL, he eventually became one of football’s best defensive linemen and a consensus All-American in 2005. He went 12th overall to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2006 NFL draft. Since then, he’s been named All-Pro four times and has seen three Pro Bowls.

Eric Berry

41 of 50

    No. 3 in 2007

    Committed to: Tennessee

    Currently: DB for Kansas City Chiefs

    The 2007 SEC Defensive Freshman of the Year and freshman All-American followed up the next year by being voted captain and setting an all-time career SEC record for interception return yards (487 yards). In 2009, he won the Thorpe award and his second consensus All-American title and then declared for the draft after the season ended.

    Kansas City picked him fifth overall in 2010. He spent most of 2011 on injured reserve after suffering a torn ACL that September, but he plans to return in 2012.

Ndamukong Suh

42 of 50

    No. 51 in 2005

    Committed to: Nebraska

    Currently: DT for the Detroit Lions

    Suh pretty much swept away the competition his senior year, winning the AP College Football Player of the Year Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Lombardi Trophy, the Outland Trophy and was named a Heisman finalist.

    He went second overall to the Detroit Lions in the 2010 NFL draft and has continued to add to his legend and stomp out the competition. Sometimes literally.

Matthew Stafford

43 of 50

    No. 6 in 2006

    Committed to: Georgia

    Currently: QB for the Detroit Lions

    Here is a guy that we all should hear more about. He led Georgia to three straight bowl wins, including the 2008 Sugar Bowl. He walked away with the school’s record for passing touchdowns in a season (25) and with the second-most passing yards in a season (3,459). He then ended up being the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

    Since then, he turned the struggling Detroit Lions into a team with aspirations bigger than not losing by too much. He spent most of 2010 recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder, but he picked up where he left off in 2011.

    This January, he became the fourth player in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a single season and second youngest to do so. He then became the only NFL quarterback to ever pass for over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns in a four-game span. That earned him the 2011 Pro Football Weekly and AP Comeback Player of the Year and the NFL Alumni Quarterback of the Year.

Mark Ingram

44 of 50

    No. 189 in 2008

    Committed to: Alabama

    Currently: RB for the New Orleans

    How in the world the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner (Alabama’s first) was ranked so low coming out of high school, no one will ever know. He still finished out his college career on top with an SEC championship, a BCS national championship and titles of All-SEC first team, SEC Offensive Player of the Year and consensus All-American.

    He was the 28th pick in the 2011 NFL draft and is comfortably residing with the New Orleans Saints.

Vince Young

45 of 50

    No. 1 in 2002

    Committed to: Texas

    Currently: unrestricted free agent

    Young will always be remembered as the Heisman runner-up who led Texas to the 2006 National Championship over USC, preventing an unprecedented three straight national titles for the Trojans.

    The dual-threat quarterback was picked third overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 NFL draft and was subsequently named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. After some ups and downs, some injuries and some comebacks, he was released in 2011 and subsequently signed by the Eagles. He is now an unrestricted free agent looking for a new home.

Percy Harvin

46 of 50

    No. 1 in 2006

    Committed to: Florida

    Currently: WR for the Minnesota Vikings

    After helping Florida to two national championships, the Minnesota Vikings grabbed him in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. He thanked them by winning the AP’s and Sporting News’ Offensive Rookie of the Year. Despite a few early illnesses that kept him off the field, he is still alive and well in Minnesota.

Jimmy Clausen

47 of 50

    No. 1 in 2007

    Committed to: Notre Dame

    Currently: QB for the Carolina Panthers

    The highly touted, and highly arrogant, recruit from Oaks Christian High (Westlake Village, Calf.) didn’t make the splash at Notre Dame he thought he would.  Arriving in a stretch Hummer limo, he promised the Irish four national titles. At least he managed to end the Irish’s NCAA record nine-game bowl losing streak with a 49-21 victory against Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

    Clausen declared for the 2010 NFL draft and was picked in the second round by the Carolina Panthers. And in 2011, the Panthers picked Cam Newton.

Tim Tebow

48 of 50

    No. 22 in 2006

    Committed to: Florida

    Currently: QB for the New York Jets

    What is there to say about Tebow? He’s practically a legend already, though barely into his 20s, and he's the most popular backup quarterback possible ever. He’ll either be the Jets' greatest decision or worst nightmare, but until then everyone is going to have a grand old time talking about it.

    Frankly, if it wasn’t for him, half the sports media in the country might not have a paycheck.

Reggie Bush

49 of 50

    No. 2 in 2003

    Committed to: USC

    Currently: RB with the Miami Dolphins

    Before vacating a national championship or giving back his Heisman Trophy, he had to win as a part of one of the most dominating and memorable teams in college football history. He’s since replaced some of that hardware with a Super Bowl ring in 2009 with the Saints.

    After being traded to the Dolphins in 2011, he managed his first 1,000-yard rushing season in his professional career.

Adrian Peterson

50 of 50

    No. 1 in 2004

    Committed to: Oklahoma

    Currently: RB for the Minnesota Vikings

    Here is a guy who consistently has lived up to the hype. As a freshman at Oklahoma, he set the NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards and became the first freshman to be the Heisman runner-up in 2004 (Matt Leinart won that year).

    After being picked seventh overall in the 2007 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings, he was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. There is more, but there isn’t enough room for his resume on one slide.