Who the (Bleep) Did I Recruit?

Tim Langevin@ELangetFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2012

Who the (Bleep) Did I Recruit?

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    Just ask Larry Coker, Jim Tressel, Charlie Weis, Bobby Bowden and Barry Switzer.

    A spin-off from Investigation Discovery's hit series, Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry, how about some recruiting busts?

    Those sought-after prospects with high expectations, providing hope and promise of a national championship with it, all for naught. Those young meteoric athletes who crashed and burned.

    Destiny's children cinched by fate: a sordid path of lavish perks, drugs, guns, the lure of money, girls, broken promises, academic issues, and oh yes, even arrests. 

    Here's a look at five flashpoint careers that had every Oliver Twist and turn of a Charles Dickens' novel. There are tons more, but these stick in the craw.

    After reading, feel free to share your recruits of disaster in the comment section.

LB Willie Williams, Miami Hurricanes, Class of 2004

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    This is a tale of nomadic football talent Willie Williams. He played for five schools in five years. 

    Despite all the red flags—more arrests than sacks—it was a green light as far as Florida State University, the University of Florida, the University of Miami and Auburn University were concerned. 

    After a well-publicized recruitment, the five-star stud LB chose the Hurricanes.

    His senior season at Miami's Carol City High School, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound specimen recorded 96 tackles (15 for a loss), eight sacks, four interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

    It all started before Williams even arrived in Coral Gables. The Miami Herald had him keep a diary, chronicling his experiences during the recruiting process. It exposed some of the lavish perks that schools used to reel him in.

    A diary excerpt from his Auburn visit: 

    "The girls at the party were much better than the farmer girls we'd see all day around campus. I was kind of worried all Auburn had to offer was those farmer girls that talked funny. But the girls at the party weren't farmer girls at all. I thought they must have bused them in from Miami."

    The so-called "Williams Recruiting Diaries" didn't sit well with head coach Larry Coker. It caught the attention of the NCAA and altered the entire recruiting landscape.

    Williams lasted two years with Miami before an arrest cost him his scholarship.

    He transferred to West Los Angeles Community College and played one season before transferring to Louisville. He lasted three games and was dismissed from the team after a possession of marijuana arrest.

    The odyssey continued. The next stop was a Division II college, Glenville State in West Virginia, followed by a stint at NAIA Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky.

    On Aug. 27, 2009, Williams was arrested for the burglary of a home in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

    So much for Williams' pursuit of a professional football career.

    Talk about a six-year whirlwind with plenty of tailspin. Williams was arrested 11 times in high school, caught the nation's attention with his football exploits and salacious diary, and traveled more than 6,000 miles in transferring from school to school.

RB Maurice Clarett, Ohio State Buckeyes, Class of 2002

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    Who will ever forget the 2003 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl for the BCS National Championship? It was an instant classic.

    Freshman RB Maurice Clarett crashed into the endzone from five yards out for the winning score. Ohio State University upset the University of Miami 31-24 in double overtime to cap a perfect 14-0 season.

    Clarett finished the season with 1,237 yards and 18 TDs. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The folks in Columbus were thinking multiple championships and a prospective Heisman Trophy winner.

    Growing up in the tough streets of Youngstown, Ohio, Clarett was destined for failure. While his rakish attitude served well on the gridiron, his off-field transgressions wore on head coach Jim Tressel.

    Clarett was charged with filing a false police report. He claimed that more than $10,000 in clothing, CDs and stereo equipment were stolen from a car he borrowed from a local dealership.

    A month after the Fiesta Bowl victory, the former 2001 Ohio Mr. Football was dismissed from the team. This brightest five-star recruit from Warren G. Harding High School burned out.

    Clarett moved to Los Angeles, found a lawyer and sued the NFL for not being included in the 2004 draft. At first, he won the case, but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision.

    Things improved when Clarett was drafted by the Denver Broncos the following year in the third round. However, slow and overweight, he was released on waivers.

    As his college and NFL careers tanked, so did his life. Clarett was charged with aggravated robbery in January of 2006 and eight months later, he was arrested for possession of loaded handguns. He served 3 1/2 years in prison.

    The 28-year-old Clarett plays for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. Ironically, former Buckeye Troy Smith is the quarterback.

    Note: Clarett will appear on the ESPN documentary film series "30 for 30" this upcoming fall.

QB Demetrius Jones, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Class of 2006

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    A part of Notre Dame's much-hyped 2006 Class, Demetrius Jones played three different positions for three different schools.

    He was a rising star who was ranked nationally in a recruiting class alongside the NFL's Tim Tebow (New York Jets), Percy Harvin (Minnesota Vikings) and Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions).

    Nicknamed "D-Train" by the Chicago media, he was the 2005 Gatorade Player of the Year for the State of Illinois.

    His junior year at Chicago's Morgan Park High School, the dual-threat quarterback rushed for 1,100 yards and 17 TDs and threw for 2,300 yards and 21 TDs with just three picks.

    Jones started the 2007 opener against Georgia Tech University and was benched at halftime. That ended his stay at South Bend.

    It never made sense. Why did head coach Charlie Weis recruit this dynamic, dual-threat quarterback to run a pro-style offense?

    Needless to say, Jones bolted to the University of Cincinnati. Another head-scratcher, the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder played linebacker. However, after two seasons, head coach Butch Jones dismissed him from the team for academic reasons.

    Determined to play at the next level, Jones transferred to the historically Black college, Central State University, a Division II college in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he played receiver and tight end. He put up decent numbers for the Marauders his senior year, catching 41 passes for 410 yards and two scores.

    A six-year journey that started in the limelight as quarterback of Notre Dame, to a waste of time at Cincinnati, followed by desperation to keep the dream alive at Central State, it all ended foolishly April 4, 2011.

    WTDN/NBC4 television reported that the 24-year-old Jones was arrested for a string of dormitory burglaries over Spring Break.

WR Fred Rouse, Florida State Seminoles, Class of 2005

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    Another victim in the world of big-time college football, Fred Rouse arrived at Florida State in 2005 with the moniker "the next Randy Moss."

    He came out of a class with the likes of Mark Sanchez (Jets), Mario Manningham (San Francisco 49ers), Darren McFadden (Oakland Raiders) and DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles).

    This five-star great from Tallahassee's Lincoln High School was a prototype receiver. He was a big target at 6-4 with great leaping ability (40-inch vertical) and explosive speed (4.40 seconds in 40 yards).

    Rouse caught 29 passes for 608 yards and eight TDs his senior year. More impressive, he averaged 20.1 yards per catch.

    Shortly after starting in the 2006 Orange Bowl, Rouse was kicked off the team by Bobby Bowden for failing multiple drug tests.

    He transferred to the University of Texas at El Paso and then left after one semester and returned home. He wound up serving a 60-day jail sentence for violating his probation. He was previously convicted of breaking and entering.

    Rouse's off-field shenanigans resolved, he transferred to tiny Concordia College in Selma, Alabama, and played two years.

    Rouse turned his life around. The 27-year-old is currently playing in the Canadian Football League for the Calgary Stampeders on the practice squad.

RB Marcus Dupree, Oklahoma Sooners, Class of 1982

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    "The Best That Never Was" examined the rise and fall of Marcus Dupree, a big-time recruit from a small town in Philadelphia, Mississippi. 

    It is a sad commentary about the lure of money, recruiting in the early 1980s, and above all, a young man's naivete towards the institution of college football. It was written and produced by Jonathan Hock for ESPN's "30 for 30" series two years ago.

    This star burned out young and several factors led to Dupree's downfall, but despite it all, the ending is a happy one.

    Hock sums it best, "This is a sad story about a person who isn't sad." 

    Dupree burst on the scene in high school and landed at University of Oklahoma with titanic expectations. He was christened "the next Herschel Walker."

    And for good reason, the powerful back gashed defenses for 2,955 yards and 36 TDs his senior season at Philadelphia High School. He finished a stellar career with 7,355 yards and 87 TDs, averaging 8.3 yards per clip.

    His freshman season for the Sooners, Dupree rushed for a pedestrian 1,144 yards and 13 TDs. Head coach Barry Switzer wasn't impressed. His sophomore season, Dupree played only four games due to knee problems and dropped out.

    Part of the problem, Dupree preferred the I-back formation and Switzer was a huge wishbone freak.

    Just 19-years-old, Dupree hooked up with the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL in 1984. There, he showed flashes of brilliance, rushing for 684 yards and nine TDs.

    That was it. More knee surgeries derailed his career.

    After four years of rehab, he played sparingly two seasons for the Los Angeles Rams.

    The 48-year-old Dupree keeps busy these days. He's involved in a number of projects, including wrestling promotion.

    According to some of his recent tweets, he has had some speaking engagements and just finished shooting a commercial with Barry Sanders.