For the next two months, SchoolSports.com will rank the Top 10 recruiting classes for the Class of 2004, spotlighting a different college each week. To recap, we ranked USC at No. 1. Now it's on to No. 2.
No. 2 Miami
The University of Miami has built itself into a consistent contender for the national title by having a defense that takes athleticism to a whole new level. The focal point of this defense is the linebacker position, a spot that has housed the likes of NFL stars Ray Lewis and Dan Morgan as well as Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams, who are both likely first-round selections in the 2004 NFL Draft.
Which brings us to the Hurricanes 2004 recruiting class, a group that consists of two of the top linebacking recruits in the country and the reason why Miami's class is rated No. 2 in SchoolSports.com's Top 10 football recruiting classes of 2004.
Those aforementioned linebackers are Willie Williams of Miami Carol City High (Fla.) and James Bryant of Reading High (Pa.).
Williams is so talented that he could possibly start as a true freshman. This past season, the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, who's rated the No. 12 overall recruit in the Class of 2004 by SchoolSports.com, led Miami Carol City to the Class 6A state title while recording 83 tackles, 18 sacks and five forced fumbles.
However, Williams is currently facing possible legal trouble stemming from a recruiting visit to the University of Florida. According to The Miami Herald, the Hurricanes have decided to "wait until after his legal issues are resolved to decide whether to retain Williams."
Nevertheless, Miami's class would still be very strong without Williams thanks to the addition of eight other Top 100 recruits, including Bryant. The nation's No. 49 recruit, Bryant finished his senior season with 87 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.
Adding to a stellar defensive class are Oak Creek High (Wis.) DL Rhyan Anderson, Millville High (N.J.) DL Dwayne Hendricks and Denver South High (Colo.) DE/TE Calais Campbell.
Anderson, who's rated the No. 63 overall recruit in the nation, had a remarkable season last fall, racking up 118 tackles, 27 sacks, four forced fumbles and three interceptions. He's such a pass-rushing terror that he had 48 sacks in his last two years of high school.
Meanwhile, Hendricks, the nation's No. 80 recruit, had 65 tackles, four sacks and 15 tackles for loss his senior season.
Campbell has the all-around talent to play either defensive end or tight end for the Hurricanes. As a senior, the 6-foot-8, 233-pounder had 17 sacks, giving him a state-record 57 for his career. He added 112 tackles, including 86 solo stops, while catching 22 passes for 322 yards and five touchdowns as a tight end this past fall. He's rated the No. 98 overall recruit in the Class of 2004 by SchoolSports.com.
Miami has also been known over the years for its offensive firepower and a number of this year's recruits certainly fit the description of offensive weapons.
Leading the way is Miami Killian High (Fla.) RB Bobby Washington, the nation's No. 14 overall recruit. This past season, the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder earned All-Dade County honors for the fourth time, rushing for 2,132 yards and 21 touchdowns on 305 carries while leading Miami Killian to the Class 6A semifinals.
Other Top 100 offensive recruits include: No. 61 Kirby Freeman, a quarterback from Brownwood High (Texas); No. 92 Andrew Johnson, a running back from North Hills High (Pa.); and No. 94 Charlie Jones, a running back from South Dade High (Fla.).
Check back in next week as SchoolSports.com unveils the No. 3 football recruiting class in the Class of 2004.