Kelley King Hunts For Hidden Gems
You can't blame NFL scouts for having a BCS bias. On the first day of the 2004 draft, just 11 of the 96 selections were plucked from mid-major or otherwise obscure schools. But the leader of that group-- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, out of Miami ( Ohio)--is the league's likely offensive rookie of the year. The following senior standouts from smaller programs are trying to follow in Big Ben's footsteps in the 2005 draft.
1. Charlie Frye, QB, Akron By sticking around for his senior year, this 6'4", 225pound all-around talent boosted his career passing total to a school-record 11,049 yards--and also helped his draft stock.
2. Jamaal Brimmer, SS, UNLV His production has dipped slightly, but scouts love the instincts and aggressiveness of the Rebels' 6'1" 210-pounder (above).
3. Demarcus Ware, DE, Troy State A relentless pass rusher, the 6'4", 233-pound Ware has pushed opponents back 100 yards on 171/2 tackles for losses this season.
4. Michael Boley, LB, Southern Miss He's always around the ball--one of the reasons scouts admire the 6'3", 220-pound Boley, the 2003 Conference USA defensive player of the year.
5. Kirk Morrison, LB, San Diego State The Aztecs' defensive anchor finished the season with 72 solo tackles, eighth-best in the NCAA.
6. Claude Terrell, OT, New Mexico Terrell has shown impressive versatility: After shifting from guard to tackle this season, he has 96 knockdown blocks.
7. Jim (Boomer) Grigsby, LB, Illinois State Boomer, who has a Division IAA--record 580 career tackles, needs to heal fully from his Nov. 17 knee surgery to be drafted as early as originally projected.
8. Roddy White, WR, UAB White is big (6'2", 205) and physical, and his 121.7 receiving yards average is the nation's second best this year.