Class Rewind: Mack Brown's 2003 class 

January, 20, 2012
1/20/12
8:00
AM ET
Counting down to national signing day on Feb. 1, HornsNation will look back at each of Mack Brown’s Texas recruiting classes.

Mack Brown didn’t look beyond the borders in 2003.

Every signee -- all 18 of them -- was from Texas, which falls in line with Brown’s philosophy of locking up the state first.

“We will always look hard at the guys in state first and if we can't find the perfect fit, then we will go out of state to fill our needs," he said on signing day back in 2003 and has repeated maybe 10,000 times since.
[+] EnlargeMartellus Bennett
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireMichael Griffin was a offensive star in high school before going on to star as a defensive back.
But Brown and Texas didn’t have to look elsewhere in 2003. They were just looking to plug a few holes in a few spots, so a full class of 25 wasn’t necessary. And it turned out the state had just what Texas needed.

By their junior season nearly 50 percent of the class was starting with three being all-Big 12 selections -- wide receiver Limas Sweed, defensive back Michael Griffin and defensive end Tim Crowder.

This class became one that successfully helped bridged the gap between 2002’s class -- the one largely responsible for the national title in 2005 -- and the 2005 class -- the one largely responsible for run in 2008-2009.

In the end, the class also produced a few draft picks. Sweed was the highest going 53rd overall in 2008 to Pittsburgh. Tight end Tony Hills, who overcame a serious knee injury, went 130th to the Steelers.

In 2007, Griffin went 19th overall to Tennessee. Crowder went to the Denver Broncos in the second round. Also picked that year was defensive back Tarell Brown in the fifth round by San Francisco.

Most underrated: Michael Griffin
It wasn’t that people didn’t know about Griffin. It’s just that most knew of him as an offensive star. The Bowie (Austin) High product was one of the most explosive running backs in central Texas. In his final two seasons, Griffin had more than 2,100 rushing yards, 25 touchdowns and averaged more than 24 yards per reception.

But that was not where he would make his mark in college. Griffin was recruited as a defensive back and while not considered one of the premier guys at that position -- fellow signee Tarell Brown was considered better – nationally, Griffin was still highly sought after.

As it turned out, the only defensive back in the 2003 class selected ahead of Griffin in the NFL draft was Donte Whitner. The Ohio State product went No. 8 to the Buffalo Bills in 2006.) Antonio Cromartie, who was also rated higher than Griffin, went 19 in 2006, the same position where Griffin was selected in 2007.

At Texas Griffin started 25 of his last 26 games including the national championship in which he had eight tackles, broke up a pass and intercepted a USC pass in the end zone.

Biggest Get: Tony Hills
Hills was rated the top prospect in the class. He was a 6-foot-6 tight end out of Elsik (Alief, Texas) who projected to make an immediate impact for Texas. Mack Brown had called him the greatest tight end he had ever seen.
Texas RB Foreman Cleared To Play
D'Onta Formean has been cleared academically to join the Longhorns football squad.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video