SEC's unsung gridders

Collegefootballnews.com recently completed a feature in which it ran an unsung player per day from each of the NCAA's 117 Div. 1-A schools.

The feature, entitled ''117 Players You Should Know About,'' pays homage to the guys who are overshadowed or overlooked for one reason or another heading into the 2004 season. Tennessee's representative is punter Dustin Colquitt.

While Colquitt qualifies as an outstanding player, I'm not sure he qualifies as overlooked or overshadowed. Many UT observers, including yours truly, suggested he might have been the Vol MVP last season. Moreover, he is a preseason All-American for 2004, which hardly qualifies him as unsung.

I think a better candidate as Tennessee's unsung player of 2004 is senior receiver Tony Brown. Because he lacks blazing speed or eye-popping moves, he gets very little publicity. Yet, his resume' is pretty solid:

Brown shared the team lead with 39 pass receptions in 2002 and finished fourth in 2003 with 24. Though regarded as a ''possession receiver,'' he posted a 15.7 yards-per-catch average last fall that was best on the team among guys who caught at least 10 balls. He produced three touchdowns and had big games vs. Auburn (5 catches for 78 yards) and Duke (4 catches for 68 yards). He recently was recognized for ''Best Hands'' among SEC receivers by Lindy's Southeastern preview issue.

Collegefootballnews.com lists the other unsung SEC players as cornerback Corey Webster (LSU), defensive end Jovan Haye (Vanderbilt), linebacker Channing Crowder (Florida), offensive tackle Wesley Britt (Alabama), linebacker Odell Thurman (Georgia), offensive tackle David Stewart (Mississippi State), defensive end ''Sweet Pea'' Burns of Kentucky, safety Eric Oliver (Ole Miss), cornerback Carlos Rogers (Auburn) and defensive end Moe Thompson (South Carolina). Due to an apparent oversight, no player from Arkansas was recognized.


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