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DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH
October 13, 2005

SCS.comWatching college football this season has been a satisfying experience as usual, but the more I have watched, the more I have noticed certain players playing exceptional football, yet going unnoticed by the national spotlight. From Oregon State wide receiver Mike Haas to San Diego State running back Lynell Hamilton, these players continue to excel while gaining very little respect or recognition.

I have combed through rosters and statistics to bring you a comprehensive list of players whose names might not ring a bell now but should as these players continue their careers on Saturdays and possibly on Sundays in the future.

Rufus Skillern - Wide Receiver - San Jose State
Speedy and reliable, Skillern has anchored SJSU's passing attack all season long, and as he goes, so go the Spartans. So far this season, Skillern has 16 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns.

Todd Watkins - Wide Receiver - Brigham Young University
One of the premier, yet unnoticed, deep threats in the country, Watkins, who averages 17.5 yards per catch, has been phenomenal at times this year. Against Texas Christain, Watkins single handedly torched the Horned Frogs for 176 yards and three touchdowns.

Hank Baskett - Wide Receiver - New Mexico
New Mexico's main deep threat, Baskett has played like a man on a mission at times this season while having a quiet stretch as well. The first two games the season, Baskett exhibited some Randy Moss'esque play, having 16 catches for 341 yards and four touchdowns, but over the last three games, Baskett has 16 grabs for 202 yards and just one touchdown. Hank is extremely important to the Lobos because he is the only receiver on their roster with the ability to continuously stretch the field for DonTrell Moore and the running game.

Jason Brown - Wide Receiver - Air Force
With talent to spare, Brown has been the Academy's go-to man this fall. So far he has 22 catches for 432 yards and two touchdowns, and he destroyed the Utah Utes with a nine catch, 184-yard performance.

Jeff Ballard - Quarterback - Texas Christain
Formerly Tye Gunn's backup at TCU, Ballard has played like anything but a backup since he replaced Gunn (who went down with shoulder injury) two weeks ago. In one and a half games, Ballard has completed 24 of 40 pass attempts for 342 yards and four touchdowns. If Ballard continues to play at this level, Gunn's position atop the depth chart may be in jeopardy upon his return.

Lynell Hamilton - Running Back - San Diego State University
Quick and strong, Hamilton is the epitome of a big-time running back. Against BYU, Hamilton ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Hamilton's game is also a hidden weapon for the Aztecs as it opens up the passing game for gunslinger Kevin O'Connell.

Mike Haas - Wide Receiver - Oregon State
Possibly the best receiver in the PAC 10, Haas has the problem of being on a bad OSU team. Big, fast, and possessing exceptional hands, Haas is the Beaver's primary deep threat and has destroyed defenses all season long.

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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