Some programs receive JUCO jewels. Others learn the joke is on them.The period for JUCO transfers to sign with their program of choice began Wednesday, and there’s bound to be optimism for the future from players and coaches alike. At this point in a budding partnership, anything seems possible.But there are cautionary tales for programs hoping that a top JUCO talent can become an impact player in short order.
We break down some of the SEC’s biggest JUCO busts during the last decade:
5. RB Enrique Davis, Ole Miss
Hargrave Military Academy (Class of 2008)
Davis burned two SEC programs. First, the four-star talent signed a letter of intent with Auburn in February 2007. But after failing to qualify academically, he attended Hargrave Military Academy before spurning the Tigers in favor of Ole Miss. He only ran for 864 yards on 236 carries with eight touchdowns for the Rebels from 2008-11. He never had more than 337 yards rushing in a single season.
4. DE Raven Gray, Auburn
Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Class of 2008)
Auburn recruited Gray to be part of the class of 2006, but he spent two seasons in junior college prior to his arrival on the Plains. Injuries and off-the-field concerns derailed the four-star talent. He transferred to Division II Delta State in winter 2009.
3. DT Maurice Couch, Tennessee
Garden City Community College (Class of 2011)
The four-star talent began his career in Knoxville with big expectations. But he only totaled 79 tackles with 3.5 sacks for the Volunteers from 2011-13. In fall 2013, the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible after he received improper benefits from an agent.
2. DT Greg Smith, Auburn
Northeast Mississippi Community College (Class of 2006)
Smith arrived at Auburn highly touted, but he flamed out in a hurry. Then-coach Tommy Tuberville called Smith the “Internet King,” which likely didn’t help things. The four-star talent turned out to be overweight and out of shape. He never played a game for the Tigers, and he eventually landed at Cumberland, an NAIA school.
1. DB Brent Vinson, Tennessee
Hargrave Military Academy (Class of 2007)
Vinson signed a letter of intent to Tennessee in February 2006, but he had to wait to arrive in Knoxville a year later because he didn’t qualify for admission the first time around. The four-star talent had 61 tackles and three interceptions for the Vols from 2007-09. But his production tailed off after he had 37 tackles and one interception in 2007. Then-coach Lane Kiffin dismissed Vinson in December 2009 after the player faced numerous off-the-field issues.