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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Another signing day is approaching, and it looks like UF will pull in a highly touted recruiting class yet again.

But no matter how much hype - or lack thereof - surrounds a player, you just never know how his career will pan out until he actually straps on a helmet and proves it on Saturdays. That being said, let's take a look back at UF's 2004 class and see how accurately the prognosticators at Scout.com projected the UF signees.

LB Javier Estopinan - Estopinan converted to defensive tackle and has showed flashes of brilliance. Unfortunately for "Stopy," those flashes are constantly interrupted by serious injuries. He should get another chance to prove himself next season.

Scout 2004 rating: 3 stars

In hindsight: 2 stars

DE Derrick Harvey - Harvey was supposed to be a ferocious pass rusher, and he lived up to the hype. He may be a first-round pick in a couple of months.

Scout 2004 rating: 5 stars

In hindsight: 5 stars

FB Eric Rutledge - Rutledge was as advertised: a hard-nosed fullback but nothing spectacular. Breaking East Carolina's heart and selecting UF four years ago, Rutledge became a mainstay in Meyer's Champions Club.

Scout 2004 rating: 2 stars

In hindsight: 2 stars

OL Phil Trautwein - Trautwein was UF's top offensive lineman heading into last season, but a stress fracture forced him to miss the entire season. He'll be back next year and is a lock to start at tackle.

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Scout 2004 rating: 3 stars

In hindsight: 4 stars

S Tony Joiner - Lauded as an excellent run-stopper, Joiner was an All-SEC caliber player at UF as well as a vocal leader.

Scout 2004 rating: 4 stars

In hindsight: 4 stars

TE Tate Casey - He seemed like he was on a path to stardom after a solid freshman season under Ron Zook, but he just wasn't a good fit for Meyer's system. For some reason, he is trying to come back for a fifth year and is awaiting an NCAA ruling.

Scout 2004 rating: 3 stars

In hindsight: 3 stars

LB Brandon Siler - Siler stepped in at middle linebacker after Channing Crowder bolted for the NFL, and he never looked back. The emotional leader of UF's defense for two seasons, his leadership may have been even more valuable than his play on the field.

Scout 2004 rating: 4 stars

In hindsight: 5 stars

OL Drew Miller - Miller switched from guard to center in 2007 and didn't miss a beat. He was the MVP of the offensive line last year.

Scout 2004 rating: 4 stars

In hindsight: 5 stars

DE Jeremy Mincey - The JUCO transfer had an excellent year in his final season at UF in 2005.

Scout 2004 rating: 3 stars

In hindsight: 4 stars

S Kyle Jackson - It's no secret Jackson's career didn't turn out as well as most people expected. Ranked as the No. 2 safety in the country by Scout.com, Jackson spent most of his senior season backing up a true freshman. To Jackson's credit, he stuck around and finished his career with dignity.

Scout 2004 rating: 4 stars

In hindsight: 2 stars

RB Markus Manson - Many people thought the speedy Manson would thrive in Meyer's system, but Meyer wasn't one of those people. Manson hardly saw the field, and Meyer attributed it to fumble problems. Manson tried to convert to cornerback, but injuries derailed any chances of reviving his career.

Scout 2004 rating: 4 stars

In hindsight: 2 stars

OL Jim Tartt - Tartt has had a few hiccups with penalties in his UF career, but he was a solid contributor on the offensive line for the last couple of seasons.

Scout 2004 rating: 3 stars

In hindsight: 3 stars

OL Jason Watkins - Watkins was a steady force on the line last season, and he should be next year as well.

Scout 2004 rating: 3 stars

In hindsight: 4 stars

QB Cornelius Ingram - Ingram struggled as a quarterback and almost left UF before Coach Urban Meyer convinced him to become a tight end. It turned out to be a great decision, and Ingram turned down the NFL to come back for a final season in 2008.

Scout 2004 rating: 4 stars

In hindsight: 4 stars

Here's some more guys who signed letters of intent in 2004 but didn't stick around long enough to really make any kind of impression at UF: WR Mike McIntosh (4 stars), TE Dane Guthrie (3 stars), DE Mike Mangold (4 stars), CB Dawayne Grace (3 stars), CB McIntosh Nicolas (3 stars), TE Markell Thompson (3 stars JUCO), DT Brandon Daniel (2 stars), and DT Michael Brown (No, not the FEMA guy). This 3-star prospect became an All-SEC offensive lineman at Mississippi State.

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