You couldn't dream up a better college prospect than Arthur McDuffy of Mount Pleasant (Miss.) Christian Academy. Here's what The 1994 G&W Summer Report, a recruiting sheet, wrote about McDuffy, a 6'6", 300-pound senior whom it listed as a preseason first-team All-America: "The No. 1 rated [offensive line] prospect in...the entire SEC area.... Bench presses over 350 pounds and was Mississippi's power lifting champion in 1993.... Has 4.0 GPA at state's top private school."
Why, McDuffy sounds almost too good to be....
"Nope, he never went to school here," says Rodney Jones, the coach at Mount Pleasant during what would have been the McDuffy years. "Only nine players came out for the team last year, and none was named McDuffy." In fact, Mount Pleasant didn't field a team last season, and this year the school didn't even exist.
When informed of the hoax, G&W analyst Phil Grosz said, "You're kidding me." Grosz, like the analysts at Street & Smith's College Football, Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report and Max Emfinger's National Bluechips Recruiting Service, was duped into listing McDuffy after seeing his name on tout sheets traced to an unpublished draft of the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger's roster of the top seniors in the state. An anonymous caller had alerted the newspaper to McDuffy's "accomplishments" last winter.
Had Grosz called information for McDuffys listed in Mississippi, he would have found one real Arthur who played high school football. But no analyst is likely to have touted the 5'7", "200-something," 41-year-old Indianola resident. "I was fairly good," says Arthur, a former tight end at Gentry High. "But definitely nothing to brag on."
Upon spotting Tim Couch, the quarterback of Leslie County (Ky.) High, warming up in the north end zone of Louisville's Cardinal Stadium last Saturday, Chris Redman sprinted toward him. "Good luck tonight," Redman said, extending his hand to Couch, a 6'5" junior.
"Thanks," said Couch. "And congratulations on your record."
Earlier that afternoon, on the same field, Redman, a 6'3" senior, had quarter-backed his Louisville Male team to a 76-6 defeat of Holy Cross, tossing for 251 yards and five touchdowns. The record Couch referred to was the national single-season touchdown-pass total of 56, which surpassed the previous mark of 54, set by Kirk Saul of Turkey Valley ( Texas) High in 1986. Redman's nine-yard throw on Saturday to his best friend, Brian Evans, gave him 55. A 62-yarder to wideout Ibn Green pushed the record to 56. Unbeknownst to Couch, Redman had also broken Couch's state career-passing-yardage mark of 7,192. Redman upped it to 7,369.
When the day was over, Couch was accepting some congratulations of his own. In a 45-28 win over Knox Central, he completed 21 of 29 passes for 350 yards, leapfrogging Redman in the record book by 173 yards.