Butch Davis Talks About Recruiting Portis, Moss, and Sean Taylor (Part II)

via cdn2.sbnation.com

In Part I in of our conversation with Coach Butch Davis, I really got a feel for how coaches can relate to players and be effective. Coach Davis happened to recruit 3 players during his tenure in Miami, which have become DEAR to Redskins Nation: Clinton Portis, Santana Moss and Sean Taylor.

HH: Can you talk about recruiting Clinton Portis? What was his personality like back then?

Clinton was an unbelievable story. The tape we were watching on Clinton we were actually watching the Quarterback on his football team. Late one Monday night early in the season it was like the first of September, it was Clinton's Senior year. The game by accident we picked up to watch the quarterback, Clinton was absolutely spectacular. Kickoff returns for touchdowns. Everytime he touched the ball. I remember one particular sequence he scored a touchdown... it was a long run, a 67-yard run and there was a penalty and they brought it back. They handed him the ball the very next play, and he did exactly the same thing. It was like immediately, "Get on the phone. Find out who this guy is. Do we have any kind of opportunity to recruit him?" We were fortunate with him being right there in Gainesville. For whatever reason, the Univ of Florida wasn't interested. We went full out trying to recruit him. He was a great player in college and a phenomenal player on the next level.

HH: And Santana Moss?

Santana was a totally different story. He was the biggest secret maybe in the country. We all knew in South Florida what a phenomenal kid that he was. Charismatic. Great personality. He had outstanding track times. He played with a great high school football team at Carol City, but they hardly ever threw the ball. This stat won't be 100% accurate, but he had something like 8-10-12-15 catches. Like maybe one a game. He was in a 3-point stance and blocking down field. Talking about somebody flying totally under the radar. Immediately when he got on our football team, we knew that he was special. He was a difference maker. He might be the most electrifying punt returner that I've certainly ever had the opportunity to be around. There were so many ways he could hurt a defense. Stretch em deep. Great hands. Run after catches. Electrifying. You could do all the reverses with him. We were blessed to have both of those kids on our football team.

HH: You left there right as Sean Taylor was getting there. Were you involved at all in recruiting him?

When I recruited Sean, my son went to the same school as Sean. So, I was over at Gulliver a lot picking up my son and wathing him practice. I'll never forget the year we recruited Sean, he scored 5 TDs in the championship game as the RB. That was one of the things [people don't realize in games]. They see an interception by Sean Taylor in college and the NFL and they didn't realize they just threw the ball up to one of the country's best RBs. At the time we had Willis Maghee, Clinton Portis, Najeh Davenport. We had a host of RBs..it was just more prudent to put him at safety.

HH: When I interviewed Coach Larry Coker on the phone, he had mentioned he recruited Sean.

Well, I was the head coach when Sean was there. I left the week before they all signed. Kellon Winslow Jr, Antrel Rolle. All those guys. That was quite a class.

HH: Man...I bet that 2001 Miami team could have beat the bottom third of the NFL that year.

I don't know about that but they were pretty gifted. When you go to training camp if you would, please say hello to Clinton and Santana, I'd appreciate it.

OK, so the 2001 Miami roster, which won the National Championship, included: Willis McGahee, Najeh Davenport, Andre Johnson,  Antrel Rolle, Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Clinton Portis,  Philip Buchanon, Frank Gore, Rocky McIntosh, Vince Wilfork, Bryant McKinnie, Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey, and Jerome McDougle. Ken Dorsey was the QB for this championship team, but wow, what a squad.

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