This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.
Some of the top collegiate players we have been watching play over the past few years were selected at the NFL Draft in New York City over the weekend. Players from schools all across the country achieve a life-long goal when they hear their name called or see it scroll across the bottom of the television screen, but some players with NFL dreams who were stars in college end up not being drafted.
The reality of some of last year’s top collegiate players not getting drafted, like Texas’ Jackson Jeffcoat (a consensus All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year), got us thinking. Who are the players from the past 10 years who achieved remarkable success in the collegiate game in their final season, but ultimately did not get drafted?
TOP FIVE INDIVIDUAL SEASONS FOR A PLAYER WHO WENT UNDRAFTED
No. 4: Freddie Barnes – Bowling Green (2009)
If your favorite team was facing Bowling Green in 2009, you knew one thing for certain: the ball was going to Freddie Barnes.
In year one under Dave Clawson (now at Wake Forest), the Falcons, with senior Tyler Sheehan under center, threw the ball 63 percent of the time. Sheehan’s favorite target was Barnes, a 5-foot-11 senior receiver from Chicago.
After hauling in 82 receptions and nine touchdowns in his sophomore season, Barnes caught only 40 balls and didn’t make into the end zone a single time as a junior. With Clawson’s new pass-happy offense installed, Barnes made his last season count, setting an NCAA single-season record with a whopping 155 catches and 19 touchdowns.
Barnes made it clear that he was the Falcons’ top target from the get go. In the team’s opening game, a 31-14 win over Troy, Barnes caught a career-high 15 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
While the team struggled, Barnes would go on to break his own individual record and the school’s single-game reception record with 17 catches two weeks later in a 17-10 loss at Marshall.
After two down weeks with 11 catches and 108 yards combined in two more losses to Boise State and Ohio, Barnes and the Falcons bounced back in a big way in Week 6 at Kent State.
The Falcons came back from a double-digit deficit to win 36-35 on a Sheehan touchdown run with five seconds to go in the game, but they would not have been able to come back without a ridiculous performance from Barnes. The senior set two more school records with an insane 22 catches and 278 yards while scoring three times.
Barnes would follow that game up with several more impressive performances as the Falcons rounded out the last six games of the regular season with five wins to finish at 7-5.
Barnes caught at least eight passes in each of the team’s final six regular season games and topped the 100-yard mark in five of those games.
The Falcons accepted an invitation to the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl against Idaho where Barnes set the single season record on his fifth catch late in the first quarter. He ended sprinting past Manny Hazard’s old record (142 catches for Houston in 1989) by hauling in 17 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns to finish the season with 155 catches for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Another standout performance from Barnes wasn’t enough for the Falcons however, as they let up an Idaho touchdown pass and two-point conversion with four seconds and lost a heartbreaker, 43-42.
Barnes was named All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which went to Notre Dame’s Golden Tate (93 catches, 1,496 yards and 15 touchdowns).
Barnes’ lack of size and speed ultimately led to him not being selected by any NFL teams in the 2010 draft. He did end up signing with the Chicago Bears and spent much of the season on the team’s practice squad before being released. He also suited up for the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League and the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
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