What Hackett left Carroll vs what Helton left Riley. Attached is an article from Sondheimer of the Times, discussing SC's 2000 top ten recruiting class. Carroll had two great recruiting, I mean all-time classes, after that which was 2003 and 2004. I was covering SC during this decade and its very interesting to go back and look at the kids who lived up to the hype and who didn't. It reminded me how slim the margin is for success. Helton proved you can't win with average kids, unless you can coach them up - he couldn't. Pete did, but surrounded the 3 stars with key 4 and 5 star players to take his team to the top. His greatest failure was the RB vs Texas - he'd lost sight of things, his players had fought thru that year, nearly losing to ND and others. We were down to 3 stars and inexperienced youth. Anyway, its a shame because Carroll thought we'd bounce back but never did - Sanchez bailed, sanctions loomed and the whole thing imploded. Carroll thought Chow was just another OC, and could plug and play with Sark/Kiff - laughable. Regardless, Riley is not starting at the same talent level in which Pete - the one key player to Pete's early success was his QB, Carson Palmer.
Anyway, for those who were around from '99-2010, its interesting to look at the recruiting classes and who turned out and who flamed out.