The news came early Sunday morning…Ricky Williams was calling it quits after just five seasons. Williams didn’t leave the NFL because of injury problems, for those have not plagued him since the 2000 season. Williams did not leave because of lack of success, for he led the NFL in rushing in 2002 with over 1,800 yards. Williams did not leave for an important or rationable reason, yet he decided to leave the game because he wants to "travel the world." When asked of his decision to leave Miami and a $3.5 million/year contract, Williams replied "I have not felt this good about something for a very long time." Even after a 5-year career in which Ricky Williams had over 40 TD`s, he can officially be labeled a "bust" of the 1999 draft. When thinking of the `99 class, and the players who were complete busts, names such as Akili Smith and Cade McNown come to mind because of their lack of production on the field. Williams can arguably be labeled even a BIGGER bust than both of these players. Although Williams had a very successful five seasons in the league, he had the nerve to leave his team flat on their face just one week before training camp was scheduled to begin. Although both Cincinnati and Chicago’s "quarterback’s of the future," let their teams down, it was not because they chose to leave the team after building excitement in the franchise and in the city as Williams did.
Often times, football fans refer to their sport as the sport with no off-season. Sure, there is that treacherous seven month period in which fans will not seen a pass thrown or a hit made, but will see much activity in between seasons, both in college and pro. In college, this period is used for the recruiting battle in which schools all over the nation run over scouting reports, meet with new players etc. just hoping that their program will be the right fit for the star they are trying to attract. But for those of us who do not hold a high position in the sport, we are left to use this period to analyze, speculate, and argue about who is who in the nation, and who has the best opportunity to make it big the next season. Fans and media alike all have their opinions as to who belongs in the top 25 heading into the 2004 season. Below you will find my rendition as to who belongs where in the college scene heading into 2004.