7 College Football Players Who Proved to Be Steals of the 2012 Recruiting Class
One of the things we always tend to forget in recruiting is to not write off lower-rated prospects. Just because a guy is a 3-star player or someone you really never heard of on signing day doesn't mean he's a bad football player.
The 2012 recruiting class had its share of elite 5-star and 4-star prospects. However, it had also a large amount of prospects who flew under the radar. This following read will look at seven players from the 2012 class who'll prove to be steals.
These players were either rated low, not rated at all or forgotten about, but they will show that a parade should have been thrown when their letter of intent was signed.
7. Aaron Porter, LB
Porter didn't make an on-field impact for the Bruins, but Jim Mora knows he has himself a good football player for the future in the 6'1", 230-pounder.
Porter is a stout Mike 'backer who can bring the wood at the point of attack. He should be in the mix to not just play in 2013, but start and be a defensive leader for the Bruins. Keep your eye on him: He was a decorated high school player and just knows how to effectively play the LB position.
6. JaQuay Williams, WR
Williams was a member of the 2012 recruiting class and committed to Auburn. Yet he had to go the prep school route for the 2012 season and is now headed for Texas A&M.
The 6'4", 204-pound WR will prove to be a steal from this class as his size, solid speed and length should be great fits in the Aggie offense.
While Derrick Henry and Ricky Seals-Jones get all the attention in the Aggies' class this year and you hear talk about Tony Stevens and LaQuvionte Gonzalez too, don't sleep on Williams.
5. Trevon Stewart, CB
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Scout.com ranked Stewart as the 122nd best CB prospect in the country last year—not overall, just in their CB rankings. Stewart already has shown that he was a clear cut steal as all he did was net 126 tackles, break up seven passes, pick off one and also come up with a sack.
Stewart became a FWAA Freshman All-American and appears to be ready to become a team leader and pillar player for the Cougars.
4. Tyler Matakevich, LB
USA TODAY Sports
Matakevich wasn't highly rated and barely received interest. Temple came through with an offer, and it seems the 6'1", 220-pound LB is bent to make them proud—and other schools pay.
Matakevich played in 11 games for the Owls, started eight of them and led the team in tackles with 101. His hustle and productivity got him on the FWAA Freshman All-American team, and Temple got a steal here.
3. Kenneth Dixon, RB
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Louisiana Tech signed Dixon last year, and pretty much everyone thought he was just another RB. No disrespect to Dixon, but he frankly wasn't mentioned as being an elite RB prospect.
Well, he is now because Dixon went to Louisiana Tech and rushed for 1,161 yards and 26 TDs. The 6'0", 215-pound runner bullied his way to his yards, and I'm sure Skip Holtz knows he has a cornerstone player in Dixon, who was named a FWAA Freshman All-American.
2. Amari Cooper, WR
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
A FWAA Freshman All-American, Cooper spurned the traditional Florida powers to head to Alabama, and even though he was a 4-star recruit, he still outplayed that rating as a true freshman.
Cooper caught 59 balls for 1000 yards and 11 TDs. He set freshman marks for the Tide and appears to be their best WR prospect since Julio Jones.
Cooper, 6'1" and about 200 pounds, has great speed, quickness, hands and RAC skills. The Freshman All American will be a focal point of Doug Nussmeier's offense next year as 'Bama tries to three-peat.
1. Wes Lunt, QB
USA TODAY Sports
Lunt was just a 3-star QB coming to Stillwater with a quick release who I thought would be a solid back up for J.W. Walsh. Well, he beat Walsh out for the job and before Lunt got hurt, he was lighting it up.
He started five games for the Pokes and threw for over 1100 yards and six TDs, completing nearly 62 percent of his passes. Anytime you get a 3-star prospect and he becomes a starter, that's a steal.
However, when you get a 3-star QB to start as a true freshman and put up great numbers, then that's flat out robbery.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He 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 and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly 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.