Rare Gems are where you find them!

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 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 "rare gem" quarterback 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 in 2001.

Then there was Kliff Kingsbury who had only one offer, signed with Texas Tech and then there was Dustin Long who only got two offers and signed with Texas A&M.

On one Saturday last fall, Kingsbury became the first player in Big-12 history to get 10,000 yards of total offense and also in passing yards. Also on that 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 young 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 got one offer. Long had two offers.

Those two players that I watched in March of 2001 were sensational and both led their teams to Championships. 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 "4" ratings on a "5" scale 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.

Last fall against Houston, Dahman completed 17 of 33 passes for 353-yards and 4 touchdowns for Army in a 56-42 loss. Dahman is the first Army quarterback to pass for 300-yards since Joe Grena did it 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 catching 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, Texas team to an amazing 11-3 Division I semifinalist. This rare gem threw for over 3,000-yards, but he still had no valid offers except an appointment to West Point.

On that same Saturday, Kirsch passed for 172-yards and ran for another 81-yards as his Purdue team nearly beat a highly ranked Michigan team. They lost 23-21 to a Wolverine team that was very heavily favored to beat the Boilers.

Also on that same Saturday last fall, Kingsbury passed for 510-yards and Long passed for 399-yards as the Red Raiders and Aggies both won.

I will place stories of "rare gems" from the NATIONAL REGISTRY PLAYERS on this page of senior or JUCO players. There will be two categories. First of all, those players who were injured as a junior, but look sensational on film will be placed on this page. And secondly, those players who are not being recruited, but also look sensational on film will also be placed on this page.

Those SENIOR NATIONAL REGISTRY PLAYERS who were injured as juniors will never make a recruiting list until they make our LIST OF RARE GEMS.


ALL-PURPOSE BACK ROSS IRVING^ 5-9, 176, 4.39, of Georgetown, TX - Irving is a dynamic little all-purpose back who can probably return punts and kickoffs for some college team as a true freshman. He also is a great receiver coming out of the backfield. As a junior, he rushed for 1,050-yards on only 150 carries and he averaged 7.0 yards per carry. He also averaged an incredible 27.9 yards per kickoff and 9.7 yards per punt. He has a good 32-inch vertical jump and he has done 12 reps of 185 pounds in the bench press. He attended the U.S. Army All-American Combine and was very impressive. He carries a 2.8 GPA and he has scored a 1040 on his SAT test. This kid is a great football player and he can play a lot of different positions at the next level. He just needs a chance. Favorites: TCU, Colorado, SMU, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and Baylor. Offers: None.

RB/FB RYAN HASTIE^ 5-11, 215, 4.55, of Salinas Palma, CA - Hastie is one of those "hard-luck" players who was having a tremendous junior season when he got sick with mononucleosis and had to give up playing football. Then to make things worse, he had a relapse when he came back. I have watched his highlight film for the first three games and I am convinced that this kid can play fullback or tailback at the next level. He runs hard and he runs over people. Whether on a quick pitch or up the middle, this kid makes big plays. "I have trained really hard in the off-season to get my body back in shape," said Hastie, "and I have my team-high combined total of bench press, power clean, and squat of 955 pounds. I also have a 440 squat and my last pro shuttle was a 4.16." With a 33 inch vertical, this kid can improve his speed. Someone needs to take this kid. I predict that he will become a "Super-Star" as a senior. Favorites: Oregon, Washington, and Notre Dame. Offers: None.

OC/NG MICHAEL EMANUEL^ 6-0, 250, 5.3, of Cathedral City Palm Springs, CA - Emanuel is a very active two-way lineman who has a chance to play at the next level. As a center, he is very quick and aggressive. On defense, he reacts real well to the snap and he runs real well to the football. On one play in his game film, he chased a running back to the sideline and made the tackle. He certainly looks a lot faster than his reported 5.3 at the recent USC NIKE Camp. He also had a 24 in the vertical jump at that NIKE Camp. Two outstanding feats that Emanuel accomplished in the 2002 season were no sack given up and only one penalty called on him for the entire season. This kid has had a very poor family life, ever since he was 11-years old, but he has been helped by a lot of friends, his current guardians, his weight training coach, Bob Vale, and his offensive line coach Dan Murphy. Through all of this, he has always kept his grades in order with an excellent 3.27 GPA, and a 1050 on his SAT test. Favorites: Arizona, Colorado, Arizona State, UCLA, and Colorado State. Offers: None.

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