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August 27, 2011
These guys out to make a name for themselves
Here's the real test: Can you name the returning player with the second-highest rushing total from last season?
Even die-hard fans who sit in front of the TV from noon to midnight each Saturday might not be familiar with Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey, who rushed for 1,649 yards last season. Rainey gained 155 yards against Nebraska and 184 yards against Kentucky, yet he's a household name only in his own household.
You won't find Rainey on any preseason All-America teams, but he holds a prominent place on our list of the nation's most underrated players.
There are plenty of reasons why these guys go underappreciated. Maybe they play on a losing team. Maybe they play for a conference whose games only show up on TV on weeknights. Or perhaps they're overshadowed by superstar teammates.
Maybe this is the year these guys become household names. Right now, they're the 12 best players you probably don't know -- but should.
WR Damarlo Belcher, Indiana
DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
RB Lance Dunbar, North Texas
CB Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
WR T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
RB Doug Martin, Boise State
G Ryan Miller, Colorado
CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia
DT Roosevelt Nix, Kent State
OT Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
RB Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky
LB Bobby Wagner, Utah State
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