- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
Counting down to national signing day on Feb. 1, HornsNation will look back at each of Mack Brown’s Texas recruiting classes.
Chris Simms was the USA Today Offensive Player of the Year in 1998.
Cory Redding was the USA Today Defensive Player of the Year in 1998.
Both were a part of the Texas 1999 recruiting class. And so began Mack Brown’s run of top five class. The 1999 class, which had four Parade All-Americans, was recognized by many as the top class in the country. But it failed to live up to the hype. Eight players either transferred or quit football. Another seven players did become part or full-time starters -- including Bo Scaife, Derrick Dockery, Robbie Doane, Rod Babers as well as the three others mentioned below.
In all, this class was part of two 11-2 seasons. But it was believed back in February of 1999 that Texas had the makings of a national championship with the incoming class. Their best season produced a Cotton Bowl in 2002.
Most underrated: Marcus Tubbs
In a class stacked with known quantities, Tubbs might have been considered a reach. He didn’t play football until his junior year in high school, and even after his senior year, he was only an all-district player and that was as a tight end.
That was not the position where he would make his mark at Texas. By his sophomore season at Texas, Tubbs started 12 of 13 games and was named the team’s most outstanding defensive lineman. At the end of his senior year Tubbs had worked his way into the first round of the NFL Draft where he was selected by the Seattle Seahawks.
Biggest Get: Chris Simms
Maybe the quarterback didn’t play up to the potential everyone thought he had. He started 32 games in his career and went 27-5 in those starts. Still he came in with a tremendous amount of hype and could never really escape the shadow of Major Applewhite.
Additionally, the best the team would finish during Simms’ era was 11-2. Again, the expectations were much higher.
But what Simms did do was signal that Texas would be a player on the national level for top recruits. The Franklin Lakes, N.J., prospect was the top player in the country in 1999. That Brown was able to bring him to Texas meant that the Longhorns were turning a corner as far as recruiting. Sure, they were going to go after and secure the best players in the state. But Brown, with his connections and knowledge of other parts of the country from his time in North Carolina, knew Texas had the cache to go national.
Biggest bust: Alfio Randall-Veasey
The offensive lineman was one of four Parade All-Americans signed in the 1999 class. But he didn’t enroll. Not that year anyway. Instead Randall-Veasey went to Blinn Junior College where he once again earned All-American honors.
Texas signed Randall-Veasey once again out of junior college, making him one of only four JUCO players ever signed by Brown during his 14 years at Texas.
But Randall-Veasey never lived up to expectations. He spent two years as a backup tackle. As a senior he only played in seven games.