General Sports

John Doe

They are anonymous.  Their faces are unfamiliar.  Their teams are not national powerhouses.  No major bowl games, no major fan fare.  Their names might as well be John Doe.  One of them is Mean and Green.  Another is a Blazer, and the third is simply a Falcon.  Regrettably, Jamario Thomas, Roddy White, and Omar Jacobs are the three best college football players you have never seen play.  While Roddy White and Omar Jacobs both began their seasons as starters, University of North Texas running back Jamario Thomas began his year on the bench.  He did not even anticipate getting much playing time this year because he was expected to be the back up to Patrick Cobbs, who lead the nation in rushing last year. Following a season ending knee injury to Cobbs, the Mean Green figured their rushing attack would suffer, but surprisingly Thomas picked up right where Cobbs left off.  

In his first game as a starter, the 5-11, 195 pound freshman ran for 247 yards on 32 carries, averaging almost eight yards a carry against Colorado.  Versus the same team, Oklahoma’s freshman phenom, Adrian Peterson, rushed for 172 yards, while Cedric Benson of Texas ran for 141 against the Buffaloes.  From that game on, Thomas has proven to be one of the best running backs in college football, all the while remaining virtually unknown.  Thomas ran for over 200 yards in six of the eight games he started. No other running back in the nation had more 200 yard rushing games.  Furthermore, he is sixth in the nation in rushing with 1,709 total yards.  Thomas also leads the nation with an average of 190 yards per game.  

The slightly undersized back has no problem reaching the end zone either.  Only four running backs rushed for more than Thomas’s 17 touchdowns, and all four played at least two more games.  As a key player for the Mean Green, Thomas is the predominant force behind their offensive attack.  As the season approached its close, Thomas became an instrumental leader, taking his team to the Wyndham New Orleans Bowl.  It only makes one wonder how much more Jamario Thomas can do with three more years ahead of him.

Like Jamario Thomas, who gained yard after yard by running the football, University of Alabama-Birmingham wide receiver Roddy White gained yards by catching the football.  As a senior, White was second in the nation in receiving, totaling 1,339 yards, finishing only 60 yards behind Ball State’s Dante Ridgeway.  But unlike most of college football’s wide receivers, this UAB Blazer is the model of consistency.  Since October 27, 2001, White has had at least one catch in every game he has played.  That is a stretch of 38 games.  In fact, White would have an extended streak if not for one game missed against Florida in his sophomore year.

As far as this year is concerned, White hauled in no less than 3 catches in every game.  Much like Jamario Thomas, White is a prolific scorer having earned 13 touchdowns, proving his ability to be a finisher. This attribute of White’s play is a major reason why the Blazers earned their first ever bowl bid in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.  

The 6-3, 205 pound wide out caught for at least 100 yards in 7 of his 11 games this year, reaching over 150 yards three times.  Moreover, White averaged just over 20 yards a catch demonstrating that he has big play potential.  As opposed to Dante Ridgeway, the nation’s leading receiver, who caught for 1,399 yards on 105 receptions, White gained his 1,339 yards with only 65 receptions, a staggering 40 less catches.  In fact, White has the fewest receptions of any receiver who registers in the top 5 of receiving yards. What is astonishing about White’s accomplishments is the fact the he has had all of his success even as he has continued to be nameless.  Perhaps it is fair to say that White will have a decent professional calling in the NFL if he obtains recognition because the NFL is full of players like Roddy White, that is, players who had brilliant but silent careers in college.

It is also fair to say that Bowling Green’s quarterback, Omar Jacobs, is the best known player among these three unknown athletes.  The Falcons were at one time ranked in the top 25 and that success is due in large part to Jacobs’s ability to run their offense.  As a sophomore, Jacobs has produced the fourth best passer rating in college football, with a value of 167.78.  In addition to completing over 67% of his passes, the 6-4, 222 pound play caller is third in the nation in passing yards, throwing for 3,637 yards on 418 attempts.  That is better than both Heisman winner Matt Leinart of USC and Oklahoma’s sixth year senior Jason White.

Additionally, Jacobs boasts the nation’s best touchdown to interception ratio having thrown for 36 touchdowns while being intercepted only three times.  Jacob’s ability not to turn the ball over is the most obvious reason why the Falcons will be playing in the GMAC Bowl.  As the leader of the team’s offense, Jacobs is responsible for the team’s ability to score and that is exactly what Bowling Green does.  In  9 of their 11 games, the Falcon’s have scored at least 38 points proving, like Jamario Thomas and Roddy White did, that in order to be successful you must find the end zone consistently.

While Jacobs has shown that he can pass with the best of the best quarterbacks he has also quietly illustrated that he is just as versatile on the ground, only being sacked 8 times this year.  His mobility and capacity to get out of the pocket quickly has allowed Jacobs to also tally 4 rushing touchdowns, ranking him the most productive quarterback in scoring.  It is astounding that a quarterback can total 40 touchdowns yet remain practically unheard of.  Maybe things will change over the next two years as Omar Jacobs may become the next big MAC quarterback to emerge.

As Jamario Thomas, Roddy White, and Omar Jacobs all play their bowl games in the next few weeks, it is essential to watch their games because it is unfair that these players are not as highly touted as some of the players in the BCS conferences.  Their careers ought to be recognized and celebrated rather than ignored and discounted because their competition may not be as skilled as those who face teams in the PAC-10, Big XII, ACC, or SEC.  The only thing that is more amazing than their success on the field is the fact that to this day, they all remain as nameless as John Doe.

2 replies on “John Doe”

Very good job Really well written. No complains (and trust me, I am a negative critic so it pains me).

Good luck and keep up the great work.

thanks thanks for the positive feedback.  i am sure i will offer some story soon enough that will beg for criticism.

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