2005 recruiting class hits and misses
July, 17, 2012
By Brandon P. Oliver | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonJonathan Stewart lived up to his five-star hype in Eugene, as he was a dominant presence in his three seasons as a Duck.
Oregon Ducks fans have been witness to one of the greatest rises in college football history over the past two decades. The Ducks have risen from cellar dwellers to one of the hottest names in all of college football. And the facilities, the uniforms and the Nike connection have all played a big role in that rise to the top of the Pac-12.
Along with the success and the increased national exposure has come a major boost in recruiting elite athletes to Eugene. It isn't always the high school All-Americans who turn into college stars. Oregon has made a living finding "diamonds in the rough" that have helped build a powerhouse.
There have been some big names in the recruiting world who chose to play their college ball in Eugene, but how many of them have lived up to the hype?
The following is the fourth installment in the series that details...
• The players who came in as two-star recruits or were unrated coming into Oregon and far exceeded the expectations placed upon them by recruiting services.
• The recruits who were rated four or five stars by recruiting services coming out of high school, yet failed to match the hype due to injuries or lack of production.
Let's take a look at the 2005 class.
They were right
Jonathan Stewart: Stewart was among the top three running back prospects in the country by all recruiting services. He arrived at Oregon with hype exceeding almost any player in program history. Even though he battled nagging injuries through most of his Ducks career, he lived up to the hype from day one.
In his collegiate debut against Houston on national television, Stewart took most of the Cougar defense for a ride as he used his much ballyhooed leg strength to fight for a 25-yard gain. From that point on it was a matter of staying healthy.
As a junior, Stewart rushed for 1,722 yards and amassed nearly 2,500 yards in total offense while battling turf toe. In his final game in an Oregon uniform, Stewart rushed for 253 yards against South Florida in the Sun Bowl.
The Carolina Panthers made Stewart their first-round pick when they selected him No. 13 overall in the 2008 NFL Draft.
They were right
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