COVINGTON, Louisiana - Everyone always talks about "Diamonds in the Rough" and it is aways fun to talk about these players, but do we really know where to look for them? In some cases, I think there are a lot of obvious finds, out there, but sometimes when I look at players on film and project them as tremendous finds or super "Diamonds in the Rough" and then no school recruits them, it's very hard for me to understand why.
For me, the easiest position for me to evaluate is at quarterback. These guys are always great leaders and if they win, then they can easily be seen. Also, in many cases, the team wins, because of their great arm or legs or both.
Drew Brees is the first quarterback Diamond who comes to mind. He led his Austin Westlake, Texas team to a 16-0 record and a 5A State Championship, but only one offer and that was from Coach Joe Tiller of Purdue. He was the runnerup in the Heisman Tropy last year.
On Saturday, Kingsbury became the first player in Big-12 history to get 10,000 yards of total offense and also in passing yards. Also on Saturday, Long broke the Aggies single-game school passing record with his 399 passing yards.
In the spring of 2001, or roughly two years ago, I watched two quarterbacks in the early part of the spring evaluation and I thought both of these yound guys were good enough to be recruited by almost every team in America, but in fact, both got only one offer. That one offer, however, still tied them with Brees and Kingsbury who only had one offer. Long had two offers.
In March of 2001, I watched two game films on both Zac Dahman and Brandon Kirsch and I thought that both quarterbacks were tremendous players and I rated them such, as I would rate any potential super-star. Although my "6" ratings on these two quarterbacks never varied, they never were given the "stardom status" by other recruiting people, because they never were recruited that hard by very many schools.
This past Saturday, Dahman completed 17 of 33 passes for 353-yards and 4 touchdowns for Army in a 56-42 loss to Houston. Dahman is the first Army quarterback to pass for 300-yards since Joe Grena when he passed for 305-yards against Houston in 2000.
Dahman is the first freshman quarterback to start for Army, his only offer, in 15 years. He threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to freshman Jacob Murphy on the second play from scrimmage. His 17 completions were spread around with sophomore Aaron Alexander catching 6 for 85-yards and senior Artis Comeaux cating 3 for another 67-yards. Murphy caught only one pass, but it was for the touchdown.
As a senior, Dahman led his Keller Fossil Ridge team to an amazing 11-3 Division I semifinalist. He threw for over 3,000-yards, but still no valid offers except an appointment to West Point.
On the same Saturday, Kirsch passed for 172-yards and ran for another 81-yards as his Purdue team nearly beat a highly ranked Michigan. They lost 23-21 to a Wolverine team that was heavily favored to beat the Boilers.
Also on Saturday, Kingsbury passed for 510-yards and Long passed for 399-yards as the Red Raiders and Aggies both won.
Some players may either be injured as juniors and don't get on early lists or there is not any coaches helping to get them promoted. For some reason, these stars can never make any recruiting list.
Some players, this year, that fall into the injured as juniors category include TE Clint Keller (6-3, 225, 4.7) of Lexington Dunbar, KY; WR Matt Buchanan (6-2, 180, 4.4) of Sarasota Mooney, FL; FS Terrence Graves (6-2, 205, 4.5) of Youngstown Ursuline, OH; OT Chad Smith of Allen, TX and QB Chad Huffman of Fort Bend Elkins, TX. Smith has committed to Baylor, but the Bears offer was his only offer.
Players who look pretty sensational on film, but are not being recruited include WR Eric Walz (5-10, 170, 4.45) of Keller Fossil Ridge, TX; WR Kyle Ingraham (6-8, 215, 4.68) of San Antonio Clark, TX; LB David Turnage (6-1, 205, 4.6) of Slidell, LA; CB Scott Zellers (5-11, 195, 4.5) of Spokane Lewis and Clark, WA; OG Chris Capote (6-4, 290, 4.9) of Miami Killian, FL; FS Nick Peddie (6-1, 193, 4.5) of La Jolla, CA; OG Trey Poole (6-3, 265, 5.1) of Batesville South Panola, MS; TE and Center Kent DeVinney (6-2, 245, 4.9) of Collierville, TN; OT Evan Barbosa (6-5, 290, 5.3) of Oakpark Fenwick, IL; FS Cody Wells (6-0, 185, 4.48) of Belleview, FL; FS Larry Luckett (5-11, 180, 4.5) of St Louis Ritter, MO; LB Chad Adams (6-1, 227, 4.6) of Anchorage Dimond, AK; FS Caleb Campbell (6-3, 205, 4.55) of Perryton, TX; and WR Andrew Bone (5-11, 175, 4.5) of Rainbow City Westbrook Christian, AL.
Walz grabbed 75 passes from Dahman for 1,487-yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. Ingraham is one of the biggest and best, large receivers that I have ever seen on film. As a junior, he grabbed 50 balls for 816-yards and 10 touchdowns. Bone had 55 catches for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns. Holicki has already kicked a 54-yard field goal this year and on film, in practice, he has kicked a 65-yarder, a 63-yarder, and four 60-yarders. None of them have any offers. 10-25-02 UPDATE: Ingraham has just received an offer from Purdue.
My favorite quarterbacks this year that really look great on film are Brett Weyman (6-3, 225, 4.53) of Fork Union Prep, VA; Cody Scoggins (6-2, 190, 4.4) of Rome, GA; Grant Walker (6-2, 180, 4.4) of Pflugerville, TX; and Brett Hicks (6-4, 190, 4.6) of Bandera, TX. None of them have any offers, but they could be getting some very soon. Scoggins and Walker could play other positions. 10-25-02 UPDATE: Scoggins has just received an offer from Navy
Two fabulous kickers that I have seen kick on film are Ryan Wolcott (5-10, 180, 4.7) of Dallas Highland Park, Texas and Brett Holicki (5-10, 180, 4.8) of Flushing Montrose, Michigan. These two kickers are really pretty awesome, but they have no real offers.
For parents and players who are not being heavily recruited, always remember one thing. Never forget that you only need one offer to have a successful college career.
Always never give up hope. The New Orleans Saints have a few players who never gave up. Joe Horn went to Itawamba Junior college, but never got a chance to play college football. Horn caught two touchdowns on Sunday to help the Saints go 6-1 for the season. He is the second leading receiver in the NFL right now.
Michael Lewis is another New Orleans Saint who never even played Junior College football, but he never gave up his goals to play football in the NFL. Last weekend, he recorded 347 all-purpose yards, including a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and an 83-yard punt return for another touchdown. He was selected as the NFL Special Teams Player of the Week. His experience is only in high school football, but he never gave up his goals of playing in the NFL.
One other New Orleans Saint player of note is All-Pro safety Sammy Knight who may be the best safety in the NFL right now. He ran a 4.7 in the NFL Combine and was not drafted by any NFL teams, because they had a preconceived idea that he was slow. Films of other players at Southern Cal always revealed Knight as a real aggressive playmaker, but NFL scouts could never get past the idea that they thought he was slow. He was signed by the New Orleans Saints as a free agent and he has been making huge plays ever since.
Four other players that I have seen play who I think are sensational are LB Larry Edwards (6-3, 215, 4.55) of Tampa Wharton, FL; WR Eddie Brown (6-2, 200, 4.4) of New Orleans Fortier, LA; DE Julius Oriewkwu (6-7, 255, 4.8) of Houston Bellaire, TX; and OT Robert Felton (6-4, 320, 5.4) of Houston Cy-Creek, TX. They are getting some looks, but the doors are not beat-down for them. These four are potential "Diamonds in the Rough" who could be found.