All-Decade: The biggest busts
One of the most interesting storylines that comes about when reviewing our rankings over the last decade is a look at players who did not come close to reaching expectations. Here is a breakdown of the 10 prospects we feel were the biggest “busts” of the decade.
Kyle Prater - 2010
Rated as the third-best prospect in the 2010 class behind Ronald Powell and Seantrel Henderson, Kyle Prater had an outstanding high school career and then picked USC over Illinois, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee and others. He planned to enroll early but when news broke that coach Pete Carroll was leaving USC for the NFL, he delayed his enrollment.
He still went to play for the Trojans but had only one catch with that team before transferring to Northwestern. He played three seasons at Northwestern where he had 70 catches but only two touchdowns. He went undrafted, was picked up by the New Orleans Saints but is now out of the league.
Curtis Grant - 2011
There was always chatter that Curtis Grant wanted to play for Urban Meyer at Florida, but when Meyer left, Grant’s recruitment became a four-team race with the Gators, Ohio State, North Carolina and Virginia involved. On Signing Day, the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2011 class picked the Buckeyes.
His college career got off to a slow start as he had only 10 tackles in the first two seasons but then dramatically picked it up with 122 stops as a junior and senior. However, Grant went undrafted and bounced around six NFL teams and he’s now out of the league.
George Farmer - 2011
Rated as the top receiver and third-best prospect in the 2011 class behind only Jadeveon Clowney and Grant, Farmer’s father was an NFL player in the 1980s and the five-star prospect picked USC which was always considered the frontrunner in his recruitment.
As a freshman, Farmer was lightly used as a running back, receiver and on special teams. He was then bit by a brown recluse spider and was hardly used the following season. Then Farmer tore knee ligaments leading up to his junior year where he had marginal stats. Despite all that, Farmer decided to leave early for the NFL where he was signed as an undrafted free agent and was with Dallas and Seattle but is now out of the league. He had only 30 catches and four touchdowns at USC.
Johnathan Gray - 2012
Johnathan Gray was the top-rated running back in the 2012 class, second in the Texas state rankings behind only defensive tackle Mario Edwards and fifth nationally as he broke the all-time high school record with 205 rushing touchdowns at Aledo and he had nearly 11,000 rushing yards.
But at Texas, Gray was riddled with shoulder and Achilles injuries, an average offensive line and his college career never took off. Gray finished his time in Austin with 2,610 yards and 17 touchdowns on 577 carries over four years.
Max Browne - 2013
Max Browne had all the makings of the next superstar quarterback at USC. He threw for nearly 13,000 yards and 146 touchdowns in high school, he won two state championships, and so he was ranked as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the 2013 class and seventh overall, well ahead of Jared Goff. He picked USC over Oklahoma, Alabama, Washington and others and that’s where the problems started.
There was coaching turmoil from Lane Kiffin to Steve Sarkisian and then a crowded depth chart with Max Wittek and Cody Kessler ahead of him. Once it was Browne’s turn, Sam Darnold came along and took away the starting job after Browne’s slow start.
He transferred to Pitt but Browne was not much better there and a shoulder injury sidelined him for the remainder of that season. The former five-star threw 247 college passes, more than half of them in one season at Pitt.
Derrick Green - 2013
Right before National Signing Day, Green committed to Michigan over Tennessee, Auburn and many others. He was the top-ranked running back in the 2013 class and eighth overall, a tough, physical running back who looked perfect for the Wolverines’ offense.
But possibly weight and injury issues kept Green to underwhelming performances and he transferred to TCU. In four college seasons, Green carried the ball 250 times for 1,039 yards and nine touchdowns, only having more than two scores in one season.
Byron Cowart - 2015
There was drama on National Signing Day when Cowart announced for Auburn over Florida - mainly because of his relationship with then-assistant coach Will Muschamp - but Cowart’s high school coach did not fax the paperwork in for hours after the decision. It finally happened but then Cowart struggled finding his place in Auburn’s defense and being beat out by others.
The former No. 1 overall prospect transferred to Maryland and had 38 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions in the 2018 season. He was a fifth-round NFL Draft pick by the New England Patriots.
Martez Ivey - 2015
Florida beat out Auburn for Ivey on National Signing Day as the two SEC powers battled it out for the five-star offensive tackle who was rated first at his position and fourth nationally in the 2015 class. Florida State and LSU were involved but only on the fringes.
Ivey played for various coaches in Gainesville and was supposed to be a centerpiece of Florida’s offensive line. He was an important piece and he was a two-time second-team All-SEC selection. Ivey went undrafted, was picked up by New England but dropped and was drafted by the XFL Tampa Bay Vipers.
Ben Davis - 2016
An Alabama legacy whose father, Wayne, holds the career tackling record for the Crimson Tide, Ben Davis was a supremely talented and physically-imposing prospect in the 2016 class where he was the top-ranked inside linebacker and the No. 5 overall recruit.
But playing in eight games this season, Davis has only recorded two tackles. Linebacker has been a loaded position at Alabama during Davis’ time there and he just has not broken into that starting rotation. Auburn was a serious contender in his recruitment along with Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame and others.
Mique Juarez - 2016
Playing quarterback and safety mainly in high school because of his athleticism, Mique Juarez ended up being ranked as a five-star and the second-best inside linebacker in the 2016 class because he seemed to have gained a lot of weight between his high school season and the Army All-American Bowl that year.
He signed with UCLA but had stints of being on the team and off the team and then his career with the Bruins ended because of multiple concussions. It has been reported that he’s made an attempt to now join Utah’s football team and numerous social media posts from his account seem to confirm that. He’s listed as having one tackle in his college career so far.