Sunday, January 20, 2008

Two Men Named Xavier: A Cautionary Tale

With all the hype right now surrounding Terrelle Pryor, it might be useful to take a moment to remember that not all 5-star high school athletes pan out. In 2004, two outstanding football players named Xavier, one a QB signed by Florida State, the other a WR signed by LSU, looked to have guaranteed all-star status in NCAA football. It didn't work out that way. In fact, neither made much of a positive impact.

Xavier Lee, Florida State

Whether he just can't learn the offense, or just can't keep his class attendance up, noone seems willing to say for sure. But Xavier Lee, one of the most highly regarded high school quarterbacks in Florida history, only started 6 games in his four years at Florida State, and (as a RS Sr) has decided to opt out of his final season and enter the NFL combine. According to some sources, Lee was told he'd no longer play quarterback and was asked to move to TE. Lee's dad says he doesn't blame his son for moving on. Bottom line, though, is that the #1 QB in the 2004 recruiting class was a total bust at Florida State.

Xavier Carter, LSU

Carter was the #5 receiver in his 2004 recruiting class. His blazing speed and 6'3" height tagged him as an almost guaranteed superstar. SI's Kelley King listed Carter as one of the sure-fire stars of the 2004 class, along with household names like Teddy Ginn, Jr., Early Doucet, Brian Brohm, and Adrian Peterson. Carter fractured his clavicle against Vandy in his first season, missing the last four games. But Carter, as many expected, burned up the track. He set records, won acclaim, was compared to Jesse Owens. After two seasons with the Tiger football team, Carter turned pro in track and field. His football career can best be described as full of beautiful potential. And that's about it. Worse, Carter has arguably had more impact on LSU football since quitting than he did while playing. Carter has had multiple run-ins with the law in Louisiana and Florida, and has been mentioned in police reports regarding recently dismissed LSU linebacker Derrick Odom and next year's starting QB Ryan Perrilloux.

So What?

So, we should by all means get excited about the remote possibility of landing the #1 football player in the country in the 2008 recruiting class. However, there are no guarantees either way. So if he signs, I'll be guardedly giddy. And if he goes to Michigan or Ohio State or Oregon, I'll look forward to Jarrett Lee followed by Jordan Jefferson.

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