When talking about busts, most people think of the NFL and NBA Drafts. However, with the increase in coverage in college football recruiting in the last ten years or so, athletes coming out of high school have become much more hyped up, making the idea of a college player who doesn't live up to expectations being thought of as a bust a reality.
Whether it be injuries, off the field issues or just plain not being as talented a player as they were thought to be coming out of high school, some highly regarded recruits are just bound to not live up to expectations. Fortunately, I actually think that the lack of hype for West Coast recruits in national media has reduced the amount of busts that we see out West. That isn't to say that the West Coast doesn't have their fair share and it wasn't that tough to come up with the Top 10 biggest busts in Pac-12 history.
*I want to note that this simply relates to how much the player produced for the school they signed with out of high school in comparison to how highly regarded they were coming out of high school. So if a player transfers from a school it goes a long way to qualifying them as a bust regardless of what they do at their second school. Also, obviously there are going to be less recent players on the list since most guys in the last few classes haven't had the chance to fully realize their career in a good or bad way.
1. Lache Seastrunk - Class of 2010 - RB - Temple, TX - Oregon
-Seastrunk never played a down at Oregon but he may end up making more of an impact at Oregon than any other Duck player in the last 10 years. Seastrunk's signing with Oregon raised some serious eyebrows among recruiting fans, (particularly those in Texas) who wondered how the school from the Northwest was able to pluck one of the top running backs in the country out from under their noses. The Ducks had done well recruiting in Texas, but unfortunately for the Ducks, it appears Chip Kelly got greedy and went too far in the way he was recruiting athletes in the Lone Star State, particularly Seastrunk and it should cost them.
2. Whitney Lewis - Class of 2003 - WR - Ventura, CA - St. Bonaventure - USC
-Lewis was actually #7 on my list of Top 10 Pac-10 Recruits, which really shows just how disappointing Lewis' brief career was. A physical specimen (6'1 210 4.3 40), he seemed almost too good to be true, and maybe he was. Despite being one of the highest rated players in the Class of 2003 at any position, Lewis failed to make an impact at USC in two seasons and ended up transferring to Northern Iowa.
3. Randy Estes - Class of 2004 - S - Los Alamitos, CA - Washington State
-Estes is a very sad, strange and possibly unfinished story. Estes was arguably the top player on the West Coast heading into his senior season as a athletic, play-making safety but had severe off the field problems and was dismissed from school during his senior season. The popular rumor was that Estes was a drug dealer and nearly every school immediately backed off as it was also obvious that he had pretty much no chance of qualifying anywhere. Washington State ended up earning his signature, but to no surprise, he didn't qualify. I have seen a couple of forum posts discussing what became of Estes, but nothing concrete has ever really emerged about the talented safety.
4. Jeff Schweiger Jr. - Class of 2004 - DE - San Jose, CA - Valley Christian - USC
-Schweiger was seen as the perfect defensive end coming out of San Jose, big and strong enough to defend the run but also fast enough to be a terror to Pac-10 quarterbacks as he racked up 18 sacks his senior season. Schweiger looked like he was going to live up to expectations early in his career, flashing potential in spot time but surprisingly didn't progress into a starter and finished his career at San Jose State.
5. Dillon Baxter - Class of 2010 - RB - San Diego, CA - Mission Bay - USC
-A playmaking back with excellent moves and balance, Baxter was touted as the next Reggie Bush and superstar running back when he signed with USC. He looked every bit the part when a jawdropping run he pulled in spring practice in 2010 became an internet hit, but that would pretty much be the last time Baxter's name would be associated with anything positive. Baxter struggled with grades and transferred from USC to San Diego State just months ago and has already been dismissed from SDSU.
6. Kyle Prater - Class of 2010 - WR - Hillside, IL - Proviso West - USC
-The Trojans have pulled in a lot of tall, very highly rated receivers from outside of the West Coast in recent history and ever since Dwayne Jarrett, none have really seemed to live up to expectations. None have failed to fulfill their supposed potential more than Prater who has already left USC. A big guy with a lot of tools, Prater has a great opportunity to live up to his high school ratings as he continues his career at Northwestern.
7. Matt Tuiasosopo - Class of 2004 - QB - Woodinville, WA - Washington
-The younger brother of Husky legend Marques Tuiasosopo was heralded as being better than Marques and as the savior who would turn around the struggling Huskies when he signed in 2004. In just one of many bad breaks Washington would receive in the decade, the Mariners reached in the MLB Draft to draft Tuisasosopo and offered him a large amount of money that he simply couldn't turn down. The Huskies would go on to have quarterback issues for the next four or so years and struggle mightily while Tuisasosopo failed to make an impact in professional baseball.
8. Antwine Perez - Class of 2006 - S - Camden, NJ - Wilson - USC
-The Trojans were able to get the hard hitting safety from New Jersey to head all the way out to LA and despite enrolling early for spring practice, Perez only spent a year at USC before transferring to Maryland. Despite failing to make an impact at USC, Perez was much more comfortable on the East Coast and ended up having a good career at Maryland.
9. Josh Tatum - Class of 2006 - LB - Oakland, CA - McClymonds - USC
-Touted as a fantastic all around linebacker, Tatum battled injuries in high school and struggled with injuries almost as soon as he showed up on campus. After a redshirt season where he attempted to get healthy, Tatum moved onto Missouri where he finished his career.
10. Vidal Hazelton - Class of 2006 - WR - Chatham, VA - Hargrave Military Academy - USC
-The Class of 2006 clearly didn't pan out the way USC thought it would. Hazelton was solid early in his career and was even the Trojans' leading wide receiver in 2007, which is actually more of a testament to how poorly the receivers performed for USC that season. Hazelton then battled injury problems in 2008 and ended up transferring to Cincinnati due to personal reasons.
Honorable Mention: Kavario Middleton (2008 TE Lakewood, WA Washington) Aaron Corp (2007 QB Orange, CA USC) Curtis White (2010 DE Eugene, OR Oregon) Hershel Dennis (2002 RB Long Beach, CA USC) Cameron Colvin (2004 WR Concord, CA Oregon)