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Three-Point Stance: NIL, underappreciated players, Illinois Mt. Rushmore National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with a preview of serious issues that could arise down the road due to NIL, a list of 10 more underappreciated players since 2000 and his Mt. Rushmore of Illinois football.


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Mark Emmert
Mark Emmert (USA Today Sports Images)

Name, Image and Likeness is coming to your favorite program and it will change college football in many predictable and unpredictable ways. Here are some things that I feel will become common in the future thanks to this massive change to the sport.

Lawsuits – Players will be promised one thing by colleges in regards to their earning potential and when it doesn’t happen... Bam! Lawsuit. Have you ever seen a quarterback sue a school over being named the backup? Well, get ready. Restricting my earnings ability by not playing me is going to be a thing.

Transfer portal increase – Some say the portal will be less crowded because of the NIL changes and some think it will be more crowded as a result. Personally, I see it becoming more active as promises and expectations aren’t met and players look for a new home to make their name and some money. Some feel existing deals with companies at their current program could keep players in place a bit more but I assume all agreements will have a transfer/exit clause. You can’t sell tires in Athens, Ga. when you’re in Columbus, Ohio.

Players sitting out – The three-year NFL rule could change in the next decade but until then players will sit out even more than ever. But wait, the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams is supposed to help this, right? It will, but players making money on NIL might cause them to re-think injury and such. If they are a big enough star they can still profit off their name. Jadeveon Clowney might have been more apt to skip his third year in college with some serious money in his pocket.

Agents in college football – This isn’t a bad thing as players will now be able to sign deals with player agents and marketing firms. But it will be another voice in their ear and certainly college coaches don’t want agents scouting and courting their players. They want them focused on the work ahead. But this will become commonplace probably as early as July 1.

Player-coach disputes – The balance of power is all with the college coaches right now but that can change. Will we see a player sit out a game due to a disagreement with their coach because they now have a source of income? It won’t be common but it could happen. Remember these are young men and a little bit of money seems like a lot at that age and can lead to some different decisions.

Locker room disruption – OK, so the quarterback has three big deals and is raking in the money. Meanwhile, the offensive line has nothing. Would it affect their drive to protect him? Would CB2 on the team be jealous of CB1 as he gets better deals and more attention? There is already jealousy on college football teams, trust me. Add in money and you might have more.

Conflicts of interest – What happens if a college program has an apparel contract with NIKE, but the star quarterback strikes a deal with adidas? I have no idea, and neither does anyone else.



Bobby Rainey
Bobby Rainey (USA Today Sports Images)

I continue to roll through my list of underappreciated players from the the last 20 years of college football.

CB Daymeion Hughes, Cal -- A two-time first-team Pac-12 player and consensus All-American as a senior, Hughes was a true ballhawk at corner for the Bears. He finished his career with 15 INT's, four pick-sixes, and both the conference Defensive Player of the Year and Lott IMPACT award winner in his final season in Berkeley.

QB Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State -- My first (and probably only) FCS player on this list, Edwards was a four-year starter for a dominant Mountaineers team that won two national titles under his leadership. The first player to ever win the Walter Payton Award (The Heisman of FCS) twice, he finished his career with more than 10,000 yards passing and 4,300 yards rushing, and 129 total touchdowns. Oh, and he owns more than 70 school records.

CB Antrel Rolle, Miami -- Although overshadowed by some of the more notable DB's on his Miami teams (Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Mike Rumpf, Philip Buchanon just to name a few), Rolle was a true lockdown corner. A unanimous first-team All-American and Tatum Award winner as a senior, he held Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson to a combined 5 catches for 36 yards.

DE Dave Ball, UCLA -- Ball led the nation in sacks as a senior with 16.5, and still holds the UCLA school record. The unanimous All-American was both the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2003 and a two-time first team all-conference selection. He was a true stalwart for the Bruins DL over the entirety of his career.

WR Jabar Gaffney, Florida -- Despite only playing two seasons after redshirting during his first year on campus, Gaffney left a mark during his short time in Gainesville. He had 2,375 yards receiving and 27 touchdowns, two First Team All-SEC nods, and a unanimous All-American. Gaffney was the definition of uncoverable.

QB Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan -- Just how prolific was LeFevour over his four years for the Chippewas? He had more than 15,000 total yards and 150 total touchdowns while leading Central Michigan to three MAC titles. He's still the only player in college football history with more than 12,000 passing yards and 2,500 rushing yards.

WR Titus Young, Boise State -- Easily the best wide receiver in the history of the school despite some off-the-field issues while at Boise State, Young was a three-time first team all-WAC receiver and amassed 33 TD's and 3,413 yards from scrimmage despite missing most of his sophomore season.

QB Rakeem Cato, Marshall -- When most people think of Marshall QB's, they immediately go to Byron Leftwich or Chad Pennington. But it's in fact Cato who owns nearly every school passing record. He threw for over 14,000 yards and 131 TD's in his career, and added another 15 on the ground, and he owns the NCAA record for most consecutive games with a TD pass at 46.

RB Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky -- The two-time Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year was an absolute workhorse for the Hilltoppers, with more than 700 rushing attempts and 3,300 yards during his final two seasons. He was also an excellent returner, leading the conference in return yards as a sophomore.

RB Donald Brown, UConn -- Arguably the greatest player in school history, Brown's senior season was something special with nearly 2,200 yards from scrimmage and 18 TD's. He led the country in rushing and was the Big East offensive player of the year and All-American selection.



Illinois Football
Illinois Football (USA Today Sports Images)

I’m going to start my Mount Rushmore series listing the best players since 1980 for each Power Five program. I’ll start alphabetically in the Big Ten with Illinois.

DE Simeon Rice (1992-95) -- A menace off the edge, Rice finished his career as the Big Ten's all-time leader in sacks with 44.5, and he still owns the program record with 69 tackles for a loss. As a true freshman, he was the conference's Freshman of the Year, and was a two-time first team All-American as a junior and senior.

WR David Williams (1983-85) -- If you want to know who owns any receiving record at Illinois, the answer is Williams. The two-time consensus All-American hauled in 262 passes for 3,392 yards and 24 touchdowns in three seasons, all while being constantly double-teamed. The Hall of Famer was only the second player in history to catch 100 passes in a single season and graduated as the second leading receiver in college football history.

LB Dana Howard (1991-94) -- Simply put, Dana Howard was a tackling machine. He racked up 595 stops over his career on the way to being a two-time consensus All-American and Butkus Award winner. Along with Rice and Kevin Hardy, he formed the backbone of some great defenses for the Illini in the early 1990s.He’s not as famous as Hardy but surpasses him in many categories.

DT Moe Gardner (1987-90) -- Although he was never the biggest player on the line, Gardner was still among the most menacing for opposing guards and centers. The two-time All-American and four-time all-conference selection was a constant presence in rival Big Ten backfields and led the Illini to three consecutive bowl games from 1988-90. He was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 1990.