Some college football recruits are so good that they can literally pick and choose what position they want to play, and we classify those stud recruits as athletes.
Sometimes, it's a big quarterback who can lower his shoulder and run the ball like a back, or other times, it's a quick cornerback with great hands and the ability to go up and get the ball like a receiver. Whatever the situation, these players are good enough to play multiple positions, and smart coaches are able to figure out where they fit best at the college level.
The kicker here is, the best decision on how to use the recruit's talent isn't always made.
Here are five athlete recruits that should have played different positions in college.
Chris Whaley was a 4-star athlete recruit when he came into Texas in 2009 with a ton of potential.
He redshirted his freshman year and only played four games at running back in his first season, according to texassports.com. He's gradually moved to the defensive side of the ball to play on the line, and the rest has been history.
Whaley now checks in at 292 pounds and plays defensive tackle. This season, he's totaled 11 tackles and hasn't played in two games.
How Whaley went from a stellar running back to an average defensive lineman is shocking to me, and he certainly made the wrong move to go from a position that he truly excelled at to the defensive line.
5-star athlete Richard Samuel never really panned out as a running back, but that's what he tried to be during the early going with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Samuel is now a senior at Georgia and has only rushed for 812 yards and four touchdowns. Considering he came into college as a 5-star recruit that ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, according to Rivals.com, that's incredibly disappointing.
He's had to compete with the likes of Knowshown Moreno, Caleb King, Washaun Ealey, Isaiah Crowell and now Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. Looking back on it, going defense right off the bat would have been the smarter move for the 5-star recruit.
Samuel now finds himself playing linebacker for the Bulldogs, but it's a bit too late. Had he played defense instead of offense, he wouldn't have had to compete with all of those great running backs, and maybe his true 5-star talent could have been featured.
Samuel hasn't lived up to his potential as a running back. Had he chosen to play defense, where he also had experience, we could be taking about him in a different light.
He started off as a running back, and considering he ran a 4.4 40 at 5'11", 194 pounds, according to Rivals, having his speed in the Crimson Tide backfield made a lot of sense.
The coaches at Alabama decided to move him over to cornerback, though, where things just didn't work out for the stud recruit. He ended up leaving Alabama and instead wound up at South Alabama, which is somewhat of a step in the wrong direction.
Had he never played cornerback, perhaps things would have ended up differently for Scott, who came in with incredible potential.
Scott should have never gone along with the move to the defensive secondary.
Often times, it's one simple decision that alters our lives forever. In the case of 4-star athlete Nick Marshall, his choice of playing cornerback instead of quarterback could have been pivotal.
Marshall decided to play corner and was recruited by Georgia, even though he was a stellar high school quarterback—he passed for a state of Georgia record 103 touchdowns in high school.
While at Georgia, Marshall was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules, and he now finds himself playing quarterback again, but for Garden City junior college in Kansas, according to Michael Carvell of ajc.com.
How different would things be if he decided to pursue playing quarterback instead of corner? He most likely wouldn't have been recruited by Georgia, which means that he never would have ran with the crowd that got him dismissed.
Instead of playing JUCO ball, he could be the quarterback for a big-time program right now. He certainly had the numbers and clout to get attention as a quarterback from a major school.
The decision to stay at quarterback instead of switch to corner could have kept Marshall out of the position he finds himself in right now.
Right now, he's viewed as an incredible waste of potential, unfortunately.
We all know Denard Robinson as the electric quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines, but a very strong argument could be made that Michigan has used him incorrectly for the past few years. He's an absolutely great runner and is near impossible to stop when he has the ball in his hands. Well, except for when he's throwing the ball.
For as good as Robinson has been as a running quarterback, he's been equally as bad as a passer. He's thrown for 39 interceptions compared to 49 touchdowns during his time at Michigan, and he's currently completing just 53.5 percent of his passes. Meanwhile, he's run for 4,129 yards and 41 rushing touchdowns so far, and Michigan's offense is extremely effective when he is running the ball.
Many Michigan fans will tell you that their biggest frustration in the past few years has been Robinson's inability to be a true quarterback, and he is the major factor that's hindering head coach Brady Hoke from moving to a pro-style offense.
Imagine if Robinson was a slot receiver, though. Michigan would be able to get him the ball in open space already in stride and just ask him to make defenders miss. He would be excellent as a slot receiver. The Wolverines could put him in motion and run him out of the backfield, throw quick bubble screens to him or even test a defense by sending him deep and asking him to make an athletic play on the football.
How much better would things be for Robinson as well? Right now, he has an extremely small chance of being an NFL player. There's talk about him transitioning to a return specialist or receiver, but we haven't seen him even take reps at those positions.
He's basically a non-factor to NFL scouts, but if he were already a receiver at the college level, he would be an extremely intriguing option. A team would want to take a chance on him with the hopes of him becoming a Devin Hester, Josh Cribbs or even a Randall Cobb type player.
If Robinson was a slot player at the college level, both he and the Michigan would be better off right now.