A vastly overlooked avenue of recruiting are junior college players. Known more casually as "JUCO" prospects, these are players that for some reason—academic, personal or other—are playing at junior colleges across the country.
You better believe that FBS and FCS schools hit the JUCO trail for prospects, too.
Bill Snyder at Kansas State has used JUCO recruiting as a prime function in order to stay competitive year in and year out. This season, players like Cordarrelle Patterson at Tennessee and Cornelius Carradine at Florida State are two former JUCO players who are doing big things right now.
For this read, I'm going to give you 11 JUCO recruits that you, a college football know-it-all, need to know about.
JUCO: East Mississippi (MS)
Cox is a 6'2", 190-pound safety with great speed. He can factor as a free safety or as a strong safety. With his athleticism and range, he could be an immediate contributor to a program.
247Sports.com reports that Arkansas and Mississippi State are his top two schools. Cox has three years of eligibility left.
JUCO: Pierce College (CA)
Combs is from Tennessee but plays at Pierce College in the Los Angeles area. He's a 6'3", 310-pound defensive tackle who can get it done inside. He's a load for guards and can push the pocket as a rusher.
Combs, who has three years to play, was committed to Ole Miss, but he backed off of his pledge due to issues with his academic transferability to the SEC.
He'll visit Arizona State soon and has already been to Kansas, reports Scout.com.
JUCO: Georgia Military (GA)
At 6'7" and weighing 345 pounds, Brown is a huge offensive tackle. He has excellent size, length and agility to stay on the edges. Brown can play on the left or right side of an offensive front.
247Sports.com is reporting that Brown is favoring Georgia and Florida.
JUCO: Grand Rapids (MI)
From Ohio, Smith is a 6'1", 190-pound perimeter player that likely will play WR at the next level. He has all the tools to be a good one due to his good speed, separation quickness and his skills running after the catch.
Smith does an excellent job of playing his recruitment close to the vest. Scout.com reports he took a recent trip to Mississippi State but has no favorites.
JUCO: Hutchinson (KS)
He spent his freshman season at Kansas before heading to Hutchinson JC. Originally from Georgia and a teammate of Toby Johnson, Bradley is from the same JC that gave the Vols Cordarrelle Patterson.
The 6'3", 315 pounder is headed to Rocky Top next year. He will fit right in as a DT in Knoxville.
JUCO: Pierce College (CA)
At 6'6" and 250 pounds, Sandland has a huge frame and solid receiving skills which could make him a complete TE. He is big enough to play in-line and factor as a blocker, while his length allows his catch radius to expand for balls all around his frame.
He will not play in SEC due to issues with an on-line math class that the SEC doesn't accept. 247Sports.com lists Oklahoma, Cal, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Texas Tech as schools to watch.
JUCO: Holmes (MS)
A big 6'5", 215-pound wideout, Rumph has good athletic ability, length and a big strike zone. He's QB-friendly and can be the boogey man to defenses in the red zone.
Scout.com shows his main interests as Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Texas Tech and Mississippi State.
JUCO: Hinds (MS)
Leslie plays JUCO ball in The Dixie State and is also originally from Georgia. I like his size at 6'4", 195 pounds. He flashes good speed to get around the field. His length allows him to pluck balls out of the air and he can get yards in the post-catch phase of a play.
He's committed to LSU, but Scout.com lists a visit to Ole Miss will happen this weekend.
JUCO: Hutchinson (KS)
Another player from Hutchinson JC in Kansas, Stewart is a 5'11", 185-pound running back with great speed and slippery quickness. He can dart past defenders, elude well in tight spaces and can be dangerous in the open.
According to Scout.com, a core four of West Virginia, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee exists.
JUCO: ASA—The College For Excellence (NY)
At 6'6" and 308 pounds, Brown has the feet, length, size and strength to become another great Crimson Tide offensive lineman. He can fit in as either a tackle or guard and wants to get better.
Look for Alabama to coach him up hard next spring so he can be ready to get playing time in the fall of 2013.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.