Underrated Players  

Posted by Frazier

These are the guys that our football savvy readers are probably already in on, but everyone else should be too. Guys who are really getting it done this year, but didn't have the hype machine going full blast when the season started. Don't worry, most of them will be household names by the time bowl season rolls around. College football allows for it's best players to shine. These guys already do.

1) Garrett Wolfe. The rest of the country is beginning to find out about this mighty mite, but the 323 has been driving the bandwagon since day one. Let's just say that he has more rushing yards through five games than anyone in college football history. Really, that tells you everything you need to know. If he isn't the most talked about player in the country, he's probably being underrated.

2) Mario Manningham. Well, he single-handedly destroyed Notre Dame's season, so the 323 will always love him for that. But it's the rest of his numbers that cause your eyes to go all cartoon-y. He has 21 catches for 452 yards and 7 touchdowns. He's averaging over 21 yards/catch and he's been doing it against quality opponents. His 4 catches against Notre Dame went for 139 yards and 3 touchdowns. Against Wisconsin he had 7 catches and another 113 yards with 2 touchdowns. For Minnesota he burned them to the tune of 5 catches for 131 yards and another score. The only two games where he hasn't put up over a hundred yards were laughers against Central Michigan and Vanderbilt. He has played his best games on the biggest stages against the best opposition. If Ted Ginn had his numbers people would be talking about him being a lock for the Heisman. As it is, Mario is simply kicking ass waiting for his chance to scorch the Buckeyes.

Holy Shit! Mario Manningham
is having a hell of a year!

3) Dennis Dixon. Everyone got so pissed off about the officiating in the Oregon-Oklahoma game that they completely forgot that the Ducks played very well, whether they should have won or not. The biggest reason the Ducks are 4-0 (aside from the officials, you whining bitches) is the play of their quarterback. Dixon has completed 89 of 137 passes this season, for a 65% completion percentage. He has 1032 yards in just four games. While he has only 6 passing touchdowns and a pair of interceptions, he has scored twice more with his feet. He had 341 yards through the air against the Sooners, and another 37 on the ground. His mobility has been a huge boost for this team, and while he doesn't run a ton, he has over a hundred yards on the ground, and has used his feet to buy time for his receivers. He also made the plays against Oklahoma to get the win. Remember, after the onside kick, there was still some pretty serious work to be done, and Dixon delivered. Dixon deserves a lot of credit for the Ducks success so far this year, and he and his team have been wrongfully vilified in the press. It's time this quarterback got a little love, and here at the 323, he'll finally get some.

Right back at you, 323!

4) Ian Johnson. Like I'm not going to use this space to pimp my boys from Boise. Get real. He has been an absolute stud this season. He scorched Oregon St. with 22 carries for a staggering 240 yards. Oh, and he scored 5 touchdowns. He simply ran over, through, and around the Beavers. He currently has logged 101 carries for 714 yards and 7 touchdowns. That's over 7 yards/carry. Basically he is running better than anyone not named "Wolfe" right now, and yet people still don't take him or his team seriously. Well, just ask Utah or Oregon St. about that. I bet they take him pretty seriously these days. Although I briefly thought that Ian was the best white running back of my lifetime, my hopes were dashed when I realized he's a black man from San Diego stuck in Idaho. I think the blue-ness of their turf made me color blind. Still, he could be albino and it wouldn't really make a difference to the defenses that have been watching him whizz past.

5) Antoine Cason. Time I gave a little recognition to the defensive side of the ball, and once again I am drawn towards another favorite of ours. Cason has wallowed in anonymity with his underperforming Arizona teammates, but he has been a stud. Against LSU and USC, the only teams they have played really worth mentioning, he was a rock. Against USC he tallied 11 tackles, 2 passes defended, an interception and he forced a fumble. It's hard to have a better game from the cornerback position. Oh, don't worry, that pick against the Trojans was the first one Booty threw all season. As for LSU, he recorded 4 more tackles and had another interception. That's the only one that Jamarcus Russel has thrown all season. Thought you should know that. Basically the Tigers didn't want any part of Cason, and unfortunately for his teammates he can't literally be everywhere at once. Still, he is probably the best cornerback in the nation, and one that no one is talking about. Well, no one except the folks here at the 323, but you knew that already.


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