Maybe all the glitter really isn’t gold.
Just take a gander at Florida’s 2010 recruiting class.
Praised by many as the greatest recruiting class ever, Florida watched as two more from that group walked away Tuesday.
“Both of these players have expressed a desire for more playing time and felt that it would be in their best interests to transfer,” Muschamp said. “We wish them both the best of luck and appreciate their contributions to the program.”
Neither one had done much in their Florida careers, as Christian redshirted last year and spent time as both a linebacker and tight end. He caught four passes for 72 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown. Clark has touched the ball twice this season on punt returns, and muffed one. Last year, he caught seven passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.
That makes eight players who have left the team in the past year from that vaunted class – a class that featured 18 ESPNU 150 members (wide receiver Adrian Coxson signed with Florida, but transferred to Maryland before the 2010 season and is listed as a Maryland signee).
Attrition aside, this class has yet to make the kind of impact many expected it to. Yes, they are sophomores or redshirt freshmen, but even former Florida coach Urban Meyer said he expected this class to come right in and make significant contributions.
We’ve seen some here and there. Trey Burton, who was one of Florida’s least heralded members from the 2010 class, led Florida with 12 total touchdowns last season. Matt Elam has become one of Florida’s most trusted defenders at the strong safety spot. Chaz Green is starting to get more reps on Florida’s offensive line in his second year.
After that, this class has had mixed results. When you look at Florida’s defensive line haul from that year, we’re still waiting to see what it can really do. Defensive end Ronald Powell, who was the No. 1 recruit in the country, had a tough freshman year, but hasn’t made much improvement in 2011. Sharrif Floyd had a solid freshman year at tackle, but after moving to end this year he hasn’t made much of an impact at all. Dominique Easley has shown flashes here and there inside, but just isn’t consistent.
Cornerback Cody Riggs had a handful of good moments last year, but has had coverage issues this season. Joshua Shaw was the No. 3 corner coming out, but has moved to safety, and running back Mack Brown can’t seem to crack the depth chart.
Outside of inconsistency on the field, this class was ravaged by attitude problems that caused a major rift with the upperclassmen last year. With a new coaching staff and a fresh start, the thought was that wouldn’t be an issue, and maybe it hasn’t been, but the hype surrounding this class has been damaging from the start.
The interesting thing about Christian and Clark wanting more playing time is that the positions they were at didn’t exactly have playmakers wowing everyone with their numbers. Florida’s leading wide receiver is senior Deonte Thompson, who has 12 catches for 152 yards and no touchdowns. Tight end Jordan Reed has 12 catches for 91 yards.
Regardless, this class has yet to live up to its billing. Twelve of the 26 who made it on campus for the first game played in six or more games, with six playing in all 13 games, so it’s not like this class hasn’t had the chance to get some on-field development.
There is certainly time for this class to get things together, but the moniker of “best ever” is long gone.