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Texas Five Best Recruiting Classes of All-Time

Photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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Recruiting defines college football success.

Fans wait on every breath to see which prospects their school will land. Where will the five-stars go? Who won’t pan out? Who’s the diamond in the rough?

Recruiting is an essential part of college sports, and a good recruiting class versus a great one can be the difference between an eight-win season and a playoff appearance.

The Longhorns have had some memorable classes, but below are the five best in Texas Football history.

5. Class of 2010 – What Mack Brown was able to land in 2010 is something to marvel at. Of the 25 hard commits, Brown landed five five-star athletes and an impressive 16-four stars. The average rating of each prospect was an incredible .9390.

The class was headlined by the linebacker duo of Jordan Hicks and Jackson Jeffcoat. Jeffcoat was a consensus All-American and Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, while Hicks had 248 tackles in his career at Texas.

This class also had three-star quarterback Case McCoy, four-star guard Trey Hopkins, and four-star athlete Adrian Phillips.

4. Class of 2001 – The 2001 class landed just one five-star prospect but it was a good one. Midland Lee running back Cedric Benson continued the success first laid by Texas greats Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.

Benson won the Doak Walker Award in 2004, was third-team All-Big-12 as a freshman, second-team as a sophomore, and first-team as a junior and senior. He finished his career with 5,540 yards and 67 offensive touchdowns. He ran for over 1,000 yards every season of his Texas career.

Other notable commits were four-star linebacker Derrick Johnson and safety Michael Huff, who actually had zero stars via 247Sports. Johnson won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy in 2004 along with being a two-time consensus All-American.

Huff, on the other hand, won the Jim Thorpe award in 2005 along with being a unanimous All-American and two-time first-team All-Big-12.

3. Class of 2004 – The class of 2004 landed multiple five-star defenders with defensive tackle Frank Okam and safety Drew Kelson. Okam was a key part of the 2005 national championship game and registered a sack against USC. He also was a two-time member of the second-team All-Big-12.

The two big names in the class though were four-star wide receiver Jordan Shipley and four-star linebacker Brian Orakpo.

Shipley had an outstanding career at Texas that peaked in his final two seasons. In 2008 he had 89 receptions for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 2009 season was even better with an absurd 116 receptions for 1,485 yards and 13 touchdowns. He won the Paul Warfield Trophy that year and was a consensus All-American.

Orakpo recorded 132 tackles, 38 for a loss with 22 sacks, and six forced fumbles in his career with the Longhorns. He was a unanimous All-American in 2008 and won the Lombardi Award, Ted Hendricks Award, and Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

2. Class of 2005 – College football recruiters enjoy finding the diamonds in the rough. Colt McCoy was just a three-star prospect that wasn’t highly recruited, but Mack Brown saw enough to offer him a scholarship.  The rest is history.

Looking at only star ratings, 2005 was far from Texas’s best class. Only one five-star recruit and the number 13 ranked class in the nation. But, most all of the player performed well for the Longhorns. McCoy, if not for Vince Young, is the best quarterback in Longhorns history.

The class of 2005 offense was also led by four-star Jamaal Charles and four-star Jermichael Finley. Charles was second-team All-Big-12 as a freshman in 2005 and a first-team in selection in 2007. He finished his career with 3,328 yards rushing and 36 rushing touchdowns on over six yards a carry.

While Finley only played two years at Texas he was productive early and often, starting as a freshman and sophomore. He caught 76 passes for 946 yards and five touchdowns in his career as a Longhorn.

1. Class of 2002 – To put it bluntly, this class is legendary. For starters, Mack Brown landed a ridiculous four five-star prospects, including quarterback Vince Young who had a perfect 247Sports Composite rating. Their other five-star prospects? Justin Blalock,  Bryan Pickryl, and Rodrique Wright. Blalock was the first Longhorn to start 50 consecutive games. He was also a unanimous All-American as well as the Big-12 Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Rodrique Wright was a machine as well as a consensus All-American. He was also First-Team All-Big-12 in 2005 during Texas’s national championship run.

Other notable names in this class were three-star Brian Robison, four-star Aaron Ross, three-star Lyle Sendlein, and four-star David Thomas.

Robison started every game for the 2005 Longhorns and led the team in sacks. Ross was the Jim Thorpe award winner in 2006. Sendlein started his final 26 games including making the All-Big-12 team twice and Thomas broke school records for receptions, touchdowns, and yards by a tight end.

These are just some of the legends that made up the 2005 National Championship team.  It wouldn’t be possible without Texas’s best class of all-time.

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