As Maryland convened more than four years ago for the 2006 season, it was coming off consecutive losing seasons and had added a 17-man freshman class in Dave Sollazzo's first year as recruiting coordinator.
Only one of those players --- fullback Cory Jackson --- was a contributor on Maryland's Champs Sports Bowl team. Many of those players didn't see the field at all. And a few guys --- transfer Antwine Perez and walk-on Paul Pinegar --- joined the team within months.
As much as fans salivate over recruiting rankings, few bother to look back at a recruiting class and see how it really worked out in the long run. Of course, that's only possible once everyone has passed through a program.
The time to assess the '06 class in its totality is now, when their accomplishments are still fresh in mind. This isn't an analysis of pure talent, per se, so much as it is as close to an objective assessment of production over the course of a career as is possible.
Prep school products like Bruce Campbell, Quintin McCree and Ronnie Tyler --- all of whom signed in 2006 but didn't enroll until 2007 --- are pushed into the next class. Same goes for Jamarr Robinson, who grayshirted and didn't come to College Park until '07.
In any case, here's the tiering system:
5 stars: All-America performer or high NFL Draft selection
4 stars: Multi-year starter at a high level
3 stars: Multi-year starter or strong one-year starter
2 stars: One-year starter or organizational player who contributed for much of his career
1 star: Organizational player with modest on-field contributions
0 stars: Never played
Of the 19 players evaluated (and 17 members of the original class), nine contributed nothing or very little on the field. As a whole, it was one of Ralph Friedgen's least efficient recruiting classes, and there's no doubt it led to the holes that fostered the Terps' 2-10 nosedive in 2010 2009. But there were still good pieces in that class, as you can see after the jump.
None: Maryland's 2006 class didn't produce an All-America pick or a first-round NFL Draft pick.
LB Alex Wujciak
Twice a first-team All-ACC pick (2009-10), Wujciak started all 38 games over his final three seasons and was a threat to get the nod over Trey Covington at LEO in 2007 before suffering an ACL injury in preseason camp. Wujciak rolled up 381 tackles (10th in school history) to go along with 22 tackles for loss, four interceptions and a pair of touchdowns. Despite playing with aching knees for much of his career, he also substantially improved his pass coverage in the final half of his senior season. Even with only three seasons of work, he was the most productive player in his class and certainly one of the most candid as well.
FB Cory Jackson
The durable fullback made 26 starts and played in 50 games over four seasons. Perhaps the Maryland offense's most valuable player in 2008, Jackson was used as a traditional fullback and scored only two touchdowns in his career (against Purdue in the '06 Champs Sports Bowl and in '07 at Wake Forest). His final numbers weren't flashy (17 carries, 46 yards; 29 receptions, 254 yards), but he missed only one game in four seasons. He didn't stick with an NFL team this past season, but will play for an Arena outfit in Atlanta this spring.
LB Adrian Moten
Moten started the final 26 games of his career, rolling up 219 tackles (24 for loss), 15.5 sacks and six interceptions. He missed only three games in his career, sitting out a few weeks with a broken wrist in 2008. While his early contributions were made in large part because of his versatility and ability to learn positions quickly, he settled in as Maryland's strong-side linebacker over his final two seasons.
OL Paul Pinegar
As if it was necessary to illustrate just how valuable the one-time walk-on became during his Maryland career, Pinegar played some right guard in the Military Bowl --- the one offensive line spot he never drew a start at. Overall, Pinegar made 25 starts, filling a void created in large part because of recruiting misfires in 2006 and 2007. Nonetheless, his versatility made him arguably Maryland's most valuable offensive player outside of Torrey Smith in 2010 (he was an honorable mention all-conference pick), and his production was mainly a reflection of his own ability to improve and get the most out of his skillset. Pinegar was an afterthought when he arrived at Maryland, but few in his class managed to make a greater impact. That's impressive.
RB Da'Rel Scott
Scott's final numbers as a senior are decent: 708 yards, five touchdowns. Of course, he produced a 200-yard explosion in the Military Bowl, leaving a great memory after being part of a timeshare in his final season and dealing with a forearm injury as a junior. For his career, Scott had 2,401 yards (seventh in school history), 5.58 yards per carry (second in school history) and 20 rushing touchdowns (ninth in school history). He was also a first-team all-conference pick in 2008. Scott's the closest of these four guys to cracking Wujciak's tier, yet his greatness came in bursts rather than with consistency. Still, his stats stack up better in school lore than most people would guess.
WR Adrian Cannon
What an interesting --- and not always easy --- ride it was for the affable Pontiac, Mich., native. After playing mostly special teams for his first two seasons (and learning as much as he could from Darrius Heyward-Bey), Cannon played Robin to Smith's Batman the last two season. The final output: 86 receptions (17th in school history), 935 yards and six touchdowns over 23 starts, solid enough numbers from a No. 2 receiver. He gave Maryland two solid seasons, which easily puts him in the top half of his class.
S Antwine Perez
The Southern California transfer was a nice complementary piece in 2008 and 2009, then produced a monster senior season that got overlooked because Maryland's other safety (Kenny Tate) was just a bit better. He had 74 tackles (seven for loss) and accounted for six turnovers in 2010, and made 13 of his 16 career starts in his final season. While Maryland got its share of players on the all-conference teams in 2010, Perez's absence was a notable snub.
DE Drew Gloster
From tight end to linebacker to defensive end, Gloster was always on the move despite being heralded as the next Vernon Davis upon arriving at Maryland. Academic issues were costly --- he sat out the entire 2008 season, and was ineligible for the 2010 Military Bowl --- but he did earn a starting job as a senior. Gloster's numbers as a senior weren't overwhelming --- 33 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack --- but he did at least salvage something after tight end didn't work out, academics cost him a season and he logged as much time as a backup to Wujciak could realistically expect to receive.
WR Emani Lee-Odai
One of the true good guys in Maryland's program, Lee-Odai's career was beset with injuries. He started only twice --- in 2008 at Boston College and in his home finale against N.C. State in 2010 --- but didn't record a reception in his final two seasons. That didn't stop Lee-Odai from becoming one of Maryland's most valuable special teams players, and he was a fixture on several units in the second half of his career. Those contributions shouldn't be understated.
WR LaQuan Williams
Like Lee-Odai, Williams was a significant special teams contributor in the final half of his career. A notable number: Williams was credited with 13 tackles as a senior. He also wound up with just 33 receptions for 436 yards over the last four years, though it's still possible to create a highlight tape of some of his circus catches. He basically lost a year to injuries in 2008, then nearly became an academic casualty (and likely would have been if not for the help of former quarterback Jordan Steffy), but survived and made it through College Park.
LB Chris Clinton
Played in two games in 2007 and was dismissed from the program the following spring.
RB Morgan Green
The one-time local prep standout ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries between 2007 and 2009, but left the program last spring when it became clear he would be buried on the depth chart again. His best opening was at the start of the 2008 preseason, but he was soon overtaken by Davin Meggett and never became a steady contributor.
DB Brandon Jackson-Mills
The Maryland participation charts credit Jackson-Mills with four games played between 2007 and 2009, though those appearances were fleeting; he did not return for a fifth season in 2010.
OL Evan Eastburn
Stayed two years, never got in a game and transferred back to Colorado to be near an ailing family member.
QB Jeremy Ricker
Didn't make it out of spring practice in 2007 and was last heard from playing indoor football in Harrisburg, Pa.
WR Stephen Smalls
A high school teammate of Steffy's, Smalls transferred down to Rhode Island after two seasons.
DB Taji Thornton
The Florida native was an academic casualty after his redshirt year in College Park.
CB/RB Pha'Terrell Washington
Another academic casualty who never saw the field; he lasted two seasons in the program and was poised to challenge for time at running back in 2008 before grades got in the way.
LB Brian Whitmore
Left the program between the 2007 and 2008 seasons and eventually landed at Delaware State; he didn't play a down for Maryland.