Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Looking Back at the Class of 2003...Wide Receivers

Full Schedule by Position

Five Star WR's

1. Andre Caldwell, Florida - Other than missing a season with a broken leg, Caldwell was a standout WR for the Florida Gators and was instrumental in helping the Gators win the 2007 BCS National Championship. His success in The Swamp lead to the Cincy Bengals drafting him in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

2. Chad Jackson, Florida - If Caldwell was a star for the Gators, then Jackson was a superstar during his time in Gainesville. After playing a secondary role in 2003 and 2004, Jackson had a breakout year in 2005 with 88 catches (6th nationally) for 900 yards and 9 TD's. The New England Patriots were so enamored with Jackson that they traded up in the 2nd round of the 2006 NFL Draft to draft him. His first year in the NFL saw him as a reserve WR. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in the AFC Championship loss to the Indianapolis Colts and missed most of the 2007 season as well. He returned in November 2007 as a return man on special teams.

3. Robert Meachem, Tennessee - Despite not starting in his first two seasons of play, Meachem lead a Volunteer team in receptions in both 2004 and 2005. As the go to wideout in 06, Meachem blew up with 71 receptions for a school record 1298 yds and 11 TD's. A first round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2007 NFL Draft, Meachem missed the entire season with a knee injury. However, he is "100% and ready to dominate the NFL" according to an entry on his wiki page.

Four Star WR's

4. Sean Bailey, Georgia
- Serving as a backup for 3 seasons, Bailey moved into a starting role in 2007. He posted a serviceable season of 37 catches for 597 yds and 4 TD's. He went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but signed on with the Kansas City Chiefs.

5. Adarius Bowman, North Carolina
- Now known as a star receiver for Oklahoma State, Bowman spent his first two years in Chapel Hill. He was kicked off the team for for undisclosed reasons (he failed a drug test in 2003) and chose to transfer to Stillwater after the 2004 season. In the past 2 years, he's had 127 catches for 2000+ yds and 20 TD's. He's been named 1st team All Big 12 and Newcomer of the Year in 2006. However, Bowman plead guilty to possession of marijuana shortly before the 2008 NFL Draft and as a result he went undrafted. At one time it looked like he was going to catch on with the Philadelphia Eagles but that rumor was quickly shot down and it doesn't appear that he's signed on with anybody just yet.

6. Mark Bradford, Stanford
- Bradford was a nice player for the Cardinal. He had 132 catches for 1844 yds and 11 TD's over 4 seasons (he missed most of 2006 with an injury). He went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but was signed by the Dallas Cowboys. He was released after their minicamp last weekend.

7. Jayson Swain, Tennessee
- Served as a backup WR for the Vols for 2 years but started opposite Robert Meachem and had 49 catches for 688 yds and 6 TD's. Swain went to camp with the Bears after the 2007 NFL Draft but was released shortly after the rookie minicamp.

8. Anthony Hill, LSU
- Hill suffered a severe knee injury and never recorded a catch at LSU. He transferred to South Florida after the 2004 season. I can't find any info or stats from his time at South Florida or where (if anywhere) he went after that.

9. Dorien Bryant, Boston College
- Bryant signed with the Eagles before heading to prep school (presumably because of poor grades). He then chose to play for the Purdue Boilermakers in 2004. He had 3 seasons of 80+ receptions and 900+ yds and 21 receiving TD's. He was also used sparing in the running game and had another 6TD's. A very productive receiver, his size scared away NFL teams from drafting him in 2008. However, he signed on with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

10. Mike Mason, North Carolina
- Mason spent his first 2 seasons in Chapel Hill before being dismissed from the team following the 2005 season for reportedly violating the school's no tolerance substance abuse policy. He played his last 2 years for Tennessee State before heading to the NFL. He didn't last long with the Cleveland Browns though as he was dismissed shortly after being charged with 3 misdemeanors.

11. Craig Chambers, Washington
- A productive but often troubled receiver with the Huskies, Chambers chose to transfer to 1-AA Montana after his sophmore season where he finished his career. One interesting note, he was listed at 6'5" by Rivals, 6'4" by Montana, but only measured to 6'2" by NFL Scouts. Interesting...

12. Craig Davis, LSU
- Davis had 3 very productive years with the Tigers before heading to the NFL after his Jr year (2006). The San Diego Chargers took him in the 1st Round (3oth overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft and he had a nice rookie season as a backup WR for the Bolts.

13. Limas Sweed, Texas
- An instrumental part of the Longhorns 2006 BCS National Championship. A starter for 3 years, Sweed was regarded as one of the top targets in the Big 12. Unfortunately, he reinjured the ligaments in his wrist vs OU in the 2007 season and missed the 2nd half of the year. He was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

14. Bret Smith, Tennessee
- The 3rd receiver of the Vols recruiting class, Smith had minimal production his first 2 years at Neyland. Once Vols OC David Cutcliffe returned the production of all 3 guys increased dramatically. However, Smith was declared academically ineligble for the 2007 Outback Bowl. Things went from bad to worse as Smith, who turned pro early but went undrafted, was arrested by Knoxville police for evading arrest and leaving the scene of a crime.

15. DeCody Fagg, Florida State
- Fagg had a very solid career that saw him as a starter for his final 3 seasons. Despite a poor QB situation, he was able to post increasing stats each season with bests of 54 catches for 758 yds and 5 TD's in 2007. Considered a 2nd day pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Fagg suffered a "career ending" injury at the NFL combine. Some speculated that he would still catch on with a team as a free agent but I don't think anything has materialized at this time.

16. Ruben Jackson, unsigned
- Jackson committed to Idaho State but didn't qualify academically and ended up at City College San Francisco for 2 years. However, he busted his butt academically in his last 2 semesters and passed 36 hours of courses so that he could attend Oregon State. Though he didn't make it to the NFL, he has a really neat story about persevering against heavy odds.

17. Tyrell Gatewood, Texas
- Originally signed as a WR, Gatewood was moved to safety while in Austin. A backup during his tenure on the 40 Acres, he decided that he enjoyed drugs a bit more than football and was eventually kicked off the team after multiple arrests.

18. B.J. Vickers, Louisville
- He signed with Louisville, didn't qualify academically, went to Santa Monica CC for 2 years, spent a year with the Arizona Wildcats, and finished his career at West Texas A&M.

19. Matt Caddell, Alabama
- He served primarily as a backup with the Tide but exceled when given the opportunity in 2007. He went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft but caught on with the St Louis Rams.

20. Lonnie Hurst, Illinois
- Hurst had a great start to his career as a true freshman for the Illini in 2003. A knee injury early in 2004 ended that season for him before it really started. He played in 1 game in 2005 but didn't record a catch. ESPN shows that he played for DIII St. Joseph's (IN) in 2006 but had a limited impact.

21. Dwayne Bowe, LSU
- Bowe saw the field from the time he arrived in Baton Rouge in 2003. By his senior year, he and JaMarcus Russell had set a school record for most TD's between a QB and WR. Bowe was also named 1st team All-SEC and All-American for the 2006/07 season. His success continued in the NFL in 2007. As a 1st Round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, Bowe had a stellar season and was in contention for NFL Rookie of the Year if not for some guy named Adrian Peterson.

22. Tristen Ross, Oklahoma
- Ross spent a few years in Norman and found his niche in skipping class...and thus skipping out on football as he was academically ineligible on a consistent basis. He landed at Louisiana College in 2007 and logged 1 catch for 12 yards.

Other WR's of Note

43. Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame
- A stellar wideout for the Fighting Irish under Charlie Weis, Samardzija was a finalist for the 2006 Biletnikoff and considered by most to be a high NFL draft pick. However, he chose to pursue a baseball career after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 5th round of the 2006 MLB Amatuer Draft. He was signed to a 5-year, $10 million contract and is currently pitching for their Double A affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies.

The Tech Factor
For a school known for stockpiling receivers like a Key West resident stockpiles hurricane supplies, the Red Raiders didn't sign any WR's in the 2003 recruiting class.

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