Ranking CFB's 10 Biggest Busts from the 2016 Recruiting Class

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 22, 2019

Ranking CFB's 10 Biggest Busts from the 2016 Recruiting Class

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    The 2016 college football recruiting class was filled with some names that we'll be seeing on Sundays in the near future, but it also had a handful of players who have been unable to live up to their potential.

    There are a number of reasons why a player might be considered a bust in college. Some have had unlucky streaks of injuries, while others have had a hard time getting on the field after being buried on the depth chart behind NFL-level talent.

    In one instance, a career has possibly been derailed because of a recent arrest.

    Everyone on this list could turn things around, but for the time being, these players are considered the biggest busts from the 2016 class. 

10. Demetris Robertson, WR

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    Demetris Robertson showed flashes as a freshman at Cal. Can he turn it around in 2019?
    Demetris Robertson showed flashes as a freshman at Cal. Can he turn it around in 2019?Associated Press

    Expectations could not have been higher for Demetris Robertson when he finished high school. As the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2016 class, Robertson burst onto the scene as a freshman at California with 50 receptions for 767 yards and seven touchdowns.

    Robertson started the 2017 campaign strong, but he went down with a season-ending injury in Week 2. He decided to transfer back to his home state and played for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2018. 

    Unfortunately, it's taken Robertson a bit longer to find his role in the Georgia offense than he would have hoped. He had zero receptions his redshirt sophomore season but did run for 109 yards and a touchdown on four carries.

    It's not the end of the world for Robertson, who has a ton of talent and two years of eligibility left. He'll have a full offseason to keep working with his teammates and learn the playbook, which could mean a breakout year for the player who was once considered the most dominant high school receiver in the country.

9. Nate Craig-Myers, WR

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Nate Craig-Myers was expected to be a big part of the Auburn passing game when he committed to the Tigers as a top-50 recruit and the No. 6 wide receiver in his class. Unfortunately, consistency has been an issue.

    This past season, Craig-Myers played in only two games before leaving the football team, catching two passes for 39 yards. He didn't have much production in his first two campaigns either, with a combined 20 receptions for 355 yards and four touchdowns.

    The good news is that he will be getting a much-needed change of scenery. The former Tigers receiver decided to take advantage of the NCAA's new redshirt rule to keep an extra year of eligibility while transferring to Colorado State. 

    The Rams may not be a college football powerhouse, but at least Craig-Myers should be able to get more time on the field and hopefully make some plays.

8. Ben Davis, ILB

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    Alabama linebacker Ben Davis is still waiting for his shot.
    Alabama linebacker Ben Davis is still waiting for his shot.Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Alabama has produced a long line of elite inside linebackers with names like C.J. Mosley, Reuben Foster and Mack Wilson. Ben Davis is still waiting for his turn to join that list.

    Davis was the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 10 overall recruit in the 2016 class. He's been patiently waiting his turn while others have taken control of the Crimson Tide defense. He spent the past couple of seasons playing behind Wilson after redshirting his first year on campus.

    Now that Wilson is heading to the NFL, it might be Davis' turn to take over. He's massive for a linebacker at 6'4" and 236 pounds, but the real question will be how comfortable he feels playing in the middle of one of the best defenses in college football.

7. Demario McCall, APB

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    McCall is just waiting for his chance in what's been a crowded Buckeyes backfield.
    McCall is just waiting for his chance in what's been a crowded Buckeyes backfield.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    As the No. 2 all-purpose back in the 2016 class, Demario McCall was expected rack up a ton of touches over his first three seasons.

    In 2018, McCall had a total of 17 touches. He made the most of his opportunities, racking up 160 yards from scrimmage, but didn't produce nearly enough to live up to the expectations of a top-50 recruit.

    McCall has been limited because too many talented players have been ahead of him on the depth chart. At running back, J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber have been getting the bulk of the carries, and while Parris Campbell and K.J. Hill have been making the plays at H-back.

    The good news for McCall is that Weber and Campbell should be heading to the NFL in April's draft, opening up some opportunities. At 5'9", McCall is not going to be a workhorse, but his athleticism and explosiveness should help him see the field a bit more in 2019.

6. BJ Emmons, RB

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    Emmons hasn't played since 2016, but he'll have a new home for the 2019 season.
    Emmons hasn't played since 2016, but he'll have a new home for the 2019 season.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Whenever a running back commits to Alabama, Crimson Tide fans expect him to contend for a Heisman Trophy over the coming years. However, B.J. Emmons has not lived up to those lofty expectations.

    As a freshman in 2016, Emmons had 35 carries for 173 yards and a touchdown. He hasn't had an FBS carry ever since.

    In 2017, Emmons transferred to a JUCO in Hutchinson C.C. and played there before taking a year off from football this past season.

    In February, Emmons committed to Lane Kiffin's FAU Owls, which will give him a chance to remind everyone why he was the No. 2 running back in his draft class. He's expected to play in 2019 and will have a chance to take his name off of this list.

5. Antonneous Clayton Sr., WDE

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    Antonneous Clayton Sr. is still working to become the star playmaker he was projected to be out of high school.
    Antonneous Clayton Sr. is still working to become the star playmaker he was projected to be out of high school.Associated Press

    Antonneous Clayton Sr. was the top recruit in the Florida Gators' 2016 class. He was expected to be a dominant force on the edge as a defensive end or outside linebacker. 

    Instead, Clayton has been an afterthought on a Gators defense with a lot of talent. He played only three games this past season, recording all of one tackle.

    Clayton has been buried on the depth chart behind Jachai Polite and Cece Jefferson, both of whom are heading to the NFL draft. While that could open up playing time for Clayton, players like Jeremiah Moon will still provide him with some stiff competition.

    Clayton is facing an uphill battle since he has yet to prove himself to Florida's coaching staff, but he deserves credit for sticking with the team and not transferring elsewhere. He'll have to hope that dedication pays off and turns into a productive 2019 campaign. 

4. Oluwole Betiku Jr., OLB

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    Oluwole Betiku Jr. missed the 2018 season after hip surgery.
    Oluwole Betiku Jr. missed the 2018 season after hip surgery.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Oluwole Betiku Jr., a former 5-star recruit and the top weak-side defensive end of the 2016 recruiting class, would likely admit his college career could have gone better so far.

    During his first two seasons at USC, Betiku had only two tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss over 14 games. In 2018, he took a medical redshirt due to offseason hip surgery.

    Betiku is now preparing to play elsewhere, as he announced a few weeks ago that he plans on transferring from USC.

    It's unclear where Betiku will wind up, but he should be able to make more of an impact wherever he ends up next. He still has an inspirational story coming from Nigeria, and Trojans fans who've followed him should still root for him to succeed where he goes.

3. Mique Juarez, OLB

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    Mique Juarez is hoping for a big comeback after a season-ending injury in 2018.
    Mique Juarez is hoping for a big comeback after a season-ending injury in 2018.247Sports

    A few years ago, Mique Juarez was on the cusp of being a top-10 recruit, and he was the top-ranked outside linebacker in 2016.

    For Bruins fans, that must feel like a distant memory.

    Juarez didn't play at all as a freshman, in part because he was dealing with the birth of his son, but he didn't look like the same player in 2017. He spent most of his time that season on special teams, where he looked a bit out of shape and less aggressive.

    Expectations were high for Juarez heading into 2018, but he ended up missing nearly all of the season with an undisclosed injury, per Tracy Pierson of Bruin Report Online. Sources told Pierson that "Juarez would likely take a medical retirement," but she "later learned that Juarez wanted to try to recover from his injury and return next season."

    Time is running out for Juarez, but no one can blame him if his injury keeps him from suiting up again.

2. Jacob Eason, QB

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    Once the starting QB for Georgia, Eason is trying to find his way back to stardom.
    Once the starting QB for Georgia, Eason is trying to find his way back to stardom.Associated Press

    Casual college football fans may not be familiar with most of the names featured here, but former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jacob Eason should ring a bell.

    Eason was the No. 2 pro-style quarterback and a top-five recruit before he headed to Athens, and he immediately had the opportunity to take over as the starting quarterback. He put up decent numbers as a freshman, throwing for 2,430 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions, but he completed only 55.1 percent of his passes while the Bulldogs went 8-5.

    Eason suffered a knee injury in the first week of the 2017 campaign, which opened the door for Jake Fromm to take over. With Fromm under center, the Bulldogs ended up making it to the College Football Playoff and lost to Alabama in dramatic fashion in the national championship.

    Eason spent this past season as the Washington Huskies' scout-team QB. He's been waiting patiently for Jake Browning to graduate, which means 2019 should be his chance to prove he isn't a bust.

1. Jack Jones, CB

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    Jack Jones hasn't played since 2017, but hopes to play football again in the near future.
    Jack Jones hasn't played since 2017, but hopes to play football again in the near future.Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

    When it comes to the biggest busts in the 2016 recruiting class, no one has an argument for the top spot other than Jack Jones.

    Jones was a top-20 recruit and the No. 2 cornerback in the nation when he decided to go to USC. He even had a solid sophomore season in 2017, racking up four interceptions and 12 pass breakups.

    However, Jones' football career was put on hold when he was arrested in June due to his reported involvement in a burglary of a Panda Express. A month prior to the incident, Jones was ruled academically ineligible to play with the Trojans, per ESPN.com's Kyle Bonagura.

    Although Jones avoided felony charges, his football future is still uncertain. The Trojans have dismissed him from the team, but Jones still intends to play football again, according to Bonagura.

    Talent has never been an issue for Jones, but his legal issues may make it hard for him to play for an FBS team again.