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Cincinnati Football: The 5 Most Underappreciated Players in School Hisory

Alex CallosCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2012

Cincinnati Football: The 5 Most Underappreciated Players in School Hisory

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    The Cincinnati Bearcats have had a lot of talent come through their program over the years, even though they have not produced a lot of NFL talent.

    Some of the best players in school history are very well known and very much appreciated.

    Others, however, have stayed under the radar and to this day are not appreciated like they should be.

    Here are the five most under-appreciated players in Cincinnati Bearcats football history.

5. Terrill Byrd

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    Defensive tackle Terrill Byrd was a run-stopping machine during his four years in Cincinnati.

    Coming out of high school, hardly anybody wanted him because he was only 6'0".

    He was a dominant force and started for all four years at Cincinnati.

    He was a three-time All-Big East first team selection from 2006-2008 and a second-team all-American as a junior in 2007.

    Byrd anchored a defense in 2008 that helped Cincinnati get to the Orange Bowl. The group had four players drafted the next year and even though Byrd wasn't, he was by far the best of the bunch.

4. Derek Wolfe

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    Derek Wolfe just completed a marvelous four-year career at Cincinnati by winning the Big East defensive player of the year award.

    He was a second-team all-American for two consecutive seasons and is arguably one of the five best defensive players the school has ever seen.

    Wolfe was a three-year starter and in 2011 had one of the best seasons in the history of Cincinnati Bearcats football, finishing with 19.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

    Like many defensive linemen, Wolfe is very underappreciated.

3. Demarco McCleskey

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    Running back Demarco McCluskey was a workhorse for the Bearcats during his career.

    Many people may not know, but he is second all-time in rushing yards with 3.487 and has more rushing touchdowns than any Bearcat has ever had with 37.

    While he may never have been the best player on the team and played part of his career during a time when Cincinnati had a wide-open passing attack, McCleskey was as efficient a player as Cincinnati has ever seen.

2. LaDaris Dunn

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    Wide receiver LaDaris Vann is a name many Bearcat fans probably do not know too much about.

    He played from 1999-2002 and during his four-year career he caught 204 passes—more than any other Bearcat ever.

    His 2,483 yards rank him first all-time as well.

    As a possession receiver, Dunn was one of the favorite targets of quarterback Gino Guidugli and was very under-appreciated during his time at Cincinnati.

1. Gino Guidugli

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    With the exception of possibly Greg Cook, Gino Guidugli had more talent than almost any player ever to come through Cincinnati.

    The local kid played for the Bearcats from 2001-2004 and started from the beginning.

    He finished his career with 11,453 passing yards, 5,000 yards more than the next closest. He also threw for 78 touchdown passes during his career. 

    Guidugli just never had the talent around him to get recognized nationally. Even many of the local fans do not realize what he accomplished, making him the most underappreciated player in Cincinnati Bearcats football history.

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