QB Keenum, DE Romeus headline All Two-Star (And Fewer) Team
Don't despair if your team failed to land a slew of blue-chip prospects
These previous two-star recruits would steamroll most five-star studs
Diamonds-in-the-ruff like Case Keenum, Greg Romeus emerge yearly
Darn you, recruiting services. Every year, I try to give hope to the downtrodden by choosing an all-star team stocked completely with players who were either underrated or ignored by the starmakers among the recruiting cognoscenti. The problem? It keeps getting harder.
The tendrils of recruiting coverage have dug so deep into the gridiron's grassroots that it's nearly impossible for a previously under-the-radar player to sign a letter of intent without at least three stars next to his name. Based on a lot of the stories I read last season, I figured the 2010 All Two-Star (And Fewer) Team would get much of its offensive production from Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore and Pittsburgh tailback Dion Lewis, who were widely hailed as diamonds in the rough. Except Moore and Lewis weren't that rough. Each was a three-star recruit. So was Iowa safety Tyler Sash, the guy I had penciled in as my chief head-knocker.
But after considerable scouring, I've assembled a team* of two-stars that would steamroll a squad of five-stars with sheer force of will. So keep your 4.3-second 40-yard dash times and your 6-foot-4 quarterbacks. I'll take my too-short, too-light, too-slow collection of walk-ons and two-stars.
*Before we go any further, please, please, please understand that these are players who will play college football in 2010. After I published last year's team, Alabama fans bombarded me with Rashad Johnson e-mails for the better part of four months. Johnson had already graduated. So save your e-mails, folks. I know Alabama's Terrence Cody and Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon were two-stars, but they're off to the NFL. It's time to let them go.
QB Case Keenum, Sr., Houston (two stars): I was tempted to go with Oregon's Jeremiah Masoli (two stars) here, but the Ducks have an excellent group of receivers, and Keenum delivers the ball with more precision than any quarterback in America. Keenum has put together consecutive 5,000-yard seasons. In 2010, he might crack 6,000.
RB Montel Harris, Jr., Boston College (two stars): Harris racked up eight 100-yard games as a sophomore en route to 1,457 yards for the season. Plenty of teams with anemic running games could have used the 200-pounder from Jacksonville, Fla., but BC, Duke and Ball State were the only schools to offer Harris a scholarship.
RB Lance Dunbar, Jr., North Texas (two stars): Dunbar, from Haltom, Texas, received late interest from Colorado and Virginia, but he chose to go to North Texas, which had hired his high school coach, Clayton George, as an assistant. As a sophomore, Dunbar averaged 6.9 yards per carry and piled up 1,378 yards and 17 touchdowns.
WR James Rodgers, Sr., Oregon State (two stars): None of the BCS-conference schools in his native Texas thought Rodgers was worth a scholarship offer, so he took his speed to Corvallis. Those Texas schools missed out on 1,034 receiving yards and 303 rushing yards in 2009. They also missed out on Rodgers' younger brother, Jacquizz, a three-star recruit who developed into one of the nation's most electrifying backs.
WR Alex Torres, So., Texas Tech (zero stars): Torres originally enrolled at the Air Force Academy, but a broken hand suffered after a fall on a training run in 2007 left him unable to complete basic training. Instead of returning to Colorado Springs in 2008, the former El Paso, Texas, high school star went to Lubbock and walked on to the football team. In 2009, Torres led the Red Raiders in catches with 67 for 806 yards and six touchdowns.
WR Scotty McKnight, Sr., Colorado (two stars): The player who might be Dan Hawkins' best recruit at Colorado didn't even cost the Buffaloes a scholarship initially. McKnight, from Las Flores, Calif., originally planned to play for Hawkins at Boise State, but when Hawkins took the Colorado job, McKnight decided to walk on in Boulder. In 2009, McKnight was a bright spot in an otherwise dreary year for Colorado's offense. He led the Buffs with 76 catches for 893 yards and six touchdowns.
OT Jeff Allen, Jr., Illinois (two stars): It wasn't a great year for the Illini, but their young left tackle followed an outstanding freshman season with a solid sophomore year. Allen's steady play should help Illinois get better in 2010.
OG Zach Hurd, Sr., Connecticut (two stars): On the night in December 2005 when this Waterford, Conn., native decided to accept coach Randy Edsall's scholarship offer over an offer from Temple, Hurd worried it might be too late (10:30 p.m.) to call Edsall. He made the call anyway, and the Huskies are glad he did. Hurd was named first-team All-Big East as a junior.
C Sean Bedford, Sr., Georgia Tech (zero stars): This former walk-on from Gainesville, Fla., mans the main point of attack in coach Paul Johnson's option offense. As a junior, he was named first-team All-ACC after helping the Yellow Jackets to a conference title.
OG Doug Bartels, Jr., Northwestern (zero stars): Someday, this former walk-on from Caledonia, Ill., will be able to treat defensive linemen after he mauls them. The biological anthropology major is working his way toward medical school. Last summer, in his one and only Twitter tweet, Bartels wrote about how excited he was to shadow an anesthesiologist for a day.
OT Mike Remmers, Jr., Oregon State (zero stars): This former walk-on earned a scholarship following the 2008 season, and he started every game in 2009. Remmers, a right tackle, protected the blind side of lefty quarterback Sean Canfield. Canfield probably felt quite safe knowing his protective detail was led by a guy who had the guts to rock the Mr. T 'do in his official team photo. Don't be shocked if two Beavers make the team next year. Oregon State guard Grant Johnson, another walk-on, started all 13 games at left guard in 2009.
TE Ben Guidugli, Sr., Cincinnati (two stars): It was Cincinnati or Colorado for Guidugli, who opted to stay close to his home in Fort Thomas, Ky. His choice has helped the Bearcats to consecutive Big East titles. Last season, Guidugli averaged 13.5 yards per catch.
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