Butch Davis: At Miami, we had a roster loaded with kids who had no offers

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday May 08, 2017


Photo credit: Miami Herald

Butch Davis will have to find the overlooked recruits in Florida to win at FIU, but as he says, it’s part of what he did at Miami.

Davis went 51-20 at Miami from 1995-2000, inheriting a program that was hit with scholarship reductions and other penalties when he was hired. When he left, he’d assembled one of the most stacked teams in college football history, which would win the 2001 national title. But not all of those future NFL players were top recruits. The recruiting media world is different now than back then, and it’s more difficult to be overlooked, but it can happen.

We had 45-50 kids make it to the NFL, and it was loaded with kids that had no offers,” Davis said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “If you can believe this, Santana Moss had no scholarships offers other than Miami. Guys like Ed Reed, Reggie Wayne, we had a roster full of guys that people today would call 1-star or 2-star guys.

“You put them in the right culture, surround them with the right coaches, I think there’s a plethora of those kids in south Florida. Relationships are critical. You have to have them with high school coaches, because they help you try to recruit the kids.”

Moss was given a track scholarship at Miami, with a chance to walk-on to the football team. It could be converted to a football scholarship if Moss impressed, and he obviously did. Ed Reed was unrated out of Louisiana, Jeremy Shockey came from the JUCO ranks, and numerous other key players came in without many accolades, even if they didn't make the NFL. They were complemented by other players who would probably be 5-stars today.

This offseason, Davis joined Lane Kiffin and Charlie Strong as new FBS head coaches in the state of Florida, joining Jimbo Fisher, Jim McElwain, Mark Richt and Scott Frost. What’s already a hotly-competitive recruiting state is now even more so — but Davis has been through it, even if he's not contending for a national title this time around.

When I was at Miami, Steve Spurrier was at Florida, Bobby Bowden (at Florida State),” he said. “There’s always been high-profile, very talented coaches in this state. Who coaches at those other schools, those programs have felt the need to upgrade, and it makes it that much more competitive.

“These are great guys. Charlie Strong is a terrific guy, one of the few guys I do know. I know Jimbo and people like that, Scott Frost played a small amount of time for me at the Cleveland Browns. Terrific coaches, and it’s always going to be competitive.”

As for the fact Davis hasn’t been a true coach since he was dismissed at North Carolina in 2011, he brought up his two years as a special assistant under Greg Schiano with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2012-13 as at least some game-planning experience.

“People say I haven’t coached in such a long time, but with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we had 40 games in two seasons, 2012-13,” he said. “I coached probably more games in those two years than anybody in college football. So you’re around it.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.