The loss of Russell Shepard got me a-wonderin' about how good a team full of guys that rejected us (or vice versa) would be. So, I've done my best to make a list. Just imagine how good the team of OU or A&M misses would be. Epic.
In order to qualify for the team, Texas will have to have shown serious interest in you at some point in the process. If they we interest then back off, you are disqualified. This is Mack Brown era only.
The exceptions to this rule are kids that should have been recruited, even if they weren't. Therefore Darryl Stonum is eligible despite receiving little to no interest, because he should've had an offer. Terrance Toliver is not, because we had very good reasons for not recruiting him. Same with Mike Goodson, et al. I will just have to use my best judgment on this, which means at some point during this post I will sleep with a fat chick.
Finally, I will not include guys like Sam Hurd, who nobody wanted but turned out to be great. I won't hold it against Mack that some kid blossomed 3 years after he was recruited.
QB - Chase Daniel, Missouri
Probably a contentious choice, since there is disagreement on whether or not we actually offered him. But we did show interest late so I'm counting him. The other reason I count him is because my only other real choices were the exceedingly average John David Booty and the extremely talented but issue laden Ryan Perrilloux. RP is easily the most talented QB we've gone after other than Vince, and maybe Chris Simms, but there are a litany of issues that have kept me from really regretting his decision. He's just a hard guy to root for. But the prison league team with him and Ramonce Taylor is going to be great.
The funny thing is, to me, that the list of players that we missed are a cavalcade of mediocrity. Xavier Lee, Brent Rawls, Kyle Wright, Paul Thompson, Bomar, etc. Chris Leak has a ring, but I don't think anyone considers him to be in the top 5 reasons for that championship. In a decade there are exactly three QBs who've turned out to be any good; one barely qualifies as good, one is on a fast track to federal prison, and the other is a big fish in a small pond. Makes Chance Mock seem not so bad after all.
RB - Reggie Duncan, Kansas
FB - Jacob Hester, LSU
FB is the football equivalent of the appendix, so you'll have to excuse me for not caring even one bit about the position. But, while Hester isn't much of a football player, he is a good ole' footbaw playah who probably would've set us back years by forcing us to use a FB.
TE - Martellus Bennett, A&M
His blocking ability would've made the 2005 OL just insanely good. Almost unfathomable. Once Scott and Blalock left or moved, we really hurt for blocking on the perimeter. The tackles who can run block are so important to the zone game because they need to be able to prevent the DE from forcing the running back to cut back into pursuit, or bouncing outside into force defenders. A good DE can really box you in. We've missed that for two years now. Bennett would've helped, and we would've made more use of his pass catching skills, assuming he has more than he showed in College Station. I don't know how he performed in the receiving drills at the combine, but I do know he showed excellent numchuck skills.
There are a couple other choices you could go with. Kevin Everett went to Miami after decommitting from us and had a nice career. Joe Jon Finely is OK. Scott Chandler, the Iowa TE that torched us in San Antonio was a very good player from Southlake. No idea if we recruited him.
WR - Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma
WR - Vince Young, Quarterback
WR - Derrick Williams, Penn St.
Kelly is an easy pick. Williams is a great player that we made a huge push for but couldn't overcome Joe Pa, which would make one of the few times that were true. Vince Young ended up sticking with QB, and I really feel like we missed having a great player at WR. Oh well.
Darryl Stonum almost makes the list because he was neck and neck with Greg Buckner as the top WR in the state, and one of the best in the country. He didn't have grade problems, he just didn't meet the Notre Dame like cutoff we've imposed on ourselves. His dad wanted him to wait for a Texas offer before committing, so there was interest. Instead we took Brock Fitzhenry. OK.
I nearly put Robert Meachum on there but I honestly couldn't remember if it was OU or us that was chasing him. Lance Leggett was highly ranked for some reason and has done nothing, to the surprise of no one but Scout.com. A&M hasn't had a good WR since Robert Ferguson. LSU got Toliver, but they can have him. Sam Hurd is a Texan, and was awesome at Northern Illinois, but since he ended up in the MAC I have to think nobody saw him coming. Brandon Jones was OK, but I honestly have no idea why he still draws and NFL pay check at this point. He must be a good locker room guy, and by good locker room guy, I mean Vince likes him. Those Houston boys stick together. OU has had a few decent WR but nobody from Texas. There are choices, but nobody stands out, unless I'm forgetting someone. We've had really good luck at WR in the sense that guys who go other places don't work out.
C- Ben Wilkerson, LSU
Easy choice here. The only center I could find who made any All-Anything teams. Bob Morton and Greg Barnum never did much. Geoff Hangartner was good but honestly I don't remember anything about his recruitment. Doesn't matter though, because Wilkerson was a great player, made better because we were playing Matt Anderson and Jason Glynn during that time.
LG - Stephen Good, Oklahoma
RG - Jeff Byers, USC
Jeff Byers was a backup option at guard, because I don't trust players from Colorado. And he's been injured for two straight years now, so who knows how good he actually is. The thing is, I couldn't find anyone else. So on the list he goes. I could say the same thing about Good, including the injury stuff, but we fought for him so hard that Mack himself oversaw the recruitment so I consider him to be a pretty big loss. I guess we've just done well at guard.
Chris Boggas is another good option. That one was a huge loss. Where is that eye roll emoticon?
There are a few other guards that got consideration. Ciron Black and Herman Johnson were dismissed because they were fat, yet they were the left side of the line for LSU last year. Must be something there. Yemi Babalola, while average at tackle, would've been an awesome guard. He'd make the list easily had he not gone gangsta on us recently.
LT- Reggie Youngblood, Miami
RT - Andre Brooks, A&M
Youngblood is another easy choice. McWhorter drooled over the guy and we threw the kitchen sink at him. He's been injured lately, but he's good when he's in. Brooks in a homer pick, because I could have gone with Eric Winston or Wes Sims or somebody, but I always thought Brooks was underrated. He played for a bad OL coach but was still effective. He had size, strength, and could move, everything you could want out of a tackle. Plus, South '06 is a good dude so I'll throw him a bone. Jami Hightower was more talented, but got Maddog'd into oblivion. Last we saw of him the Oompa Loompas were rolling him away to the juicing room.
DE - RJ Washington, Oklahoma
DE - Jarvis Moss, Florida
RJ Washington is a huge blow. One, we didn't take any DE last year, two, he's a badass, and three, he's going to our direct rival to the throne. Super. Moss had an up and down career but finished strong and got himself drafted. He might have had some legal trouble, I'm not sure I remember that correctly, but he turned out to be really good.
That year there were like 7 really good prospects at DE, and we desperately needed a couple. Well, we only got Tim Crowder, but he turned out to be the best one. Funny how that worked out. The Washington kid that went to LSU and Moss were our second and third best shots at commitments but it didn't end up working out. I think that was the year John Williams came out, and he's been good around injuries for OU. I don't remember him being as big a target as the first three guys, though.
Jason Jack, Justin Warren, Tim Washington, Jarvis Moss, Tim Crowder, Bruce Davis, Lionel Dotson and Alonzo Dotson were all ranked in the top 30 in the state that year. Throw in Williams, and that's just a metric fuckton of potential.
Richetti Jones is another one I considered, but anyone who ends up at OSU makes you wonder what the real deal with them is. Also, he's got some pretty serious health concerns with his hip, so he's just honorable mention for now.
DT - Andre Jones, California Penal League
DT - Tommie Harris, Oklahoma
Harris never accomplished much in college. He's a penetrator whose game is based on speed and quickness, and Stoops used him as a nose tackle. Whatever. He's proven his mettle in the league, though, so I have no doubt he would've thrived here under a more attacking scheme with Carl Reese, if you can call what we did back then a "scheme."
Jones is a surrender pick because for the life of me I can't find anybody else, and his loss does leave us depth strapped for the next year or so. Dusty Dvorcek was nobody when he committed and he isn't talented enough to make up for his baggage. Joe Barksdale had Texas, Michigan and Notre Dame back off almost simultaneously, then ended up at LSU. Draw your own conclusion. They moved him to OT as soon as he showed up, so I think he just wasn't as good as everyone said he was. It's more fun to call LSU cheaters though.
We seem to get the top DT in the state every year, so it's hard to call anyone we don't get a miss. Harris is the only one we didn't. I considered making this fictional team run the 3-4, but then I'd have to think of an extra LB. I can barely think of one.
LB - DJ Williams, Miami
LB - Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma
LB - Cory Redding, Defensive End U
DJ Williams is a hearkening back to the days when we made serious efforts to out of state prospects. Good times. Prety great player. Rufus is from Louisiana, and I know we offered him, but I don't remember how he ended up at OU. Too bad he did. Redding should've stayed at LB. We all know this.
Honestly, in state talent has been so bad over the last 5 years that pretty much 3 out of 4 ranked LBs turn out to stink, so it's really hard to think of any in state LBs that we didn't get that turned out any good. We've cornered the markets on the good ones, although we still have to work on actually playing them. Every year there is one good guy and we can't afford to pass him up, so we don't. I could put Derrick Stephens up there, but I don't like him at all. Mack did, allegedly.
CB - Chris Houston, Arkansas
CB - Lawrence Richardson, Arkansas
Cornerback is a funny position. Derrick Strait was my first thought, but I understand why we laid off with his grades. Richardson we wanted, I know, and I put Houston there because he's from Austin, but I admit I'd never heard of him until last year. There is nobody but Richardson that really stands out as a clear "miss," so I cheated a little.
Oh, also, let's hire Arkansas' DB coach. Damn.
SS - Ben Emanuel, UCLA
FS - Brodney Pool, Oklahoma
We've had excellent safeties during Mack's tenure, though, until recently anyway. It's not that easy to pick names here. Gerome Sapp was an option, and he's managed to stick in the NFL somehow, even though he hasn't played good ball in 8 years. I don't know when Terrance Kiel came out, or if we offered him, but he was good. Most of OU's defensive backfield came from other states, since we dominated head to head matchups here.
Pool committed to OU, we took . . . well I don't even remember his name. That's how well that worked out for us. I never really thought Pool was all that though until he was a junior and everybody was lumping praise on him. He even got drafted. Good for him. Guess I just wasn't paying attention. Emanuel was a really good player at UCLA and I have no idea how he got there. I'll just assume Mack told him he couldn't get a shot at SS so he went to UCLA. Shame on you, Mack!
Anyway, I'm sure I missed a bunch of people, and I would love to hear who you would add or subtract. The team I put together would be really good, and easily in the hunt for an MNC. It's a much better team than I thought it would be, but in hindsight a decade worth of players chosen by any standard would probably create a pretty good team. I know I could probably do better at OG and LB, but Google is only so powerful, even for an award winning journalist like me.