10 Best Diamond in the Rough Recruits from the BCS Era

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIApril 30, 2013

10 Best Diamond in the Rough Recruits from the BCS Era

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    A good college football coach will take a motivated 2-star recruit over a privileged and lazy 5-star recruit any day of the week, and that's why some of the best players of the BCS era have been 2- or 3-star recruits.

    That's not to say that 4- and 5-star players aren't successful at the college level, because there are certainly many examples of that. That's also not to say that all highly ranked recruits are "privileged and lazy," because that's an unfair generalization as well.

    There's just something about the grit and chip on the shoulder of a talented and underrated recruit that makes him a fan favorite and gives him the drive to succeed. 

    At the Signed, Sealed, Delivered blog, these players are known as "diamond in the rough" recruits. 

    Here's a look back at the 10 best from the BCS era.

     

    Note: Star rankings courtesy of Rivals.com unless otherwise noted. 

Kellen Moore, 3-Star QB, Boise State

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    Kellen Moore was a 3-star pro-style quarterback out of Prosser, Wash.

    He had three offers, according to Rivals.com, from Boise State, Eastern Washington and Idaho. 

    Moore chose Boise State, where he became one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football.

    In four seasons, Moore threw for 14,667 yards and 142 touchdowns, compared to just 28 interceptions. (Sports-Reference.com)

    He was one of the main reasons Boise State became nationally relevant. He even had the Broncos in the national championship conversation at times.

    So what if all of this happened in the WAC and then the MWC in 2011? Boise State still notched wins over Georgia, Virginia Tech, Oregon State and Oregon during the Moore era.

    His production as a college quarterback was undeniable.

Malcolm Jenkins, 3-Star CB, Ohio State

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    When Ohio State received Malcolm Jenkins' signature back in 2005, he was a 3-star cornerback recruit.

    He went on to become a great player for the Buckeyes' defense and was drafted No. 14 overall by the New Orleans Saints in 2009. 

    In four seasons for OSU, Jenkins notched 196 tackles, 13.5 for loss. He also had 11 interceptions, two defensive touchdowns and four forced fumbles. He was an All-American in 2008. (Sports-Reference.com)

    That's the type of college career that you would expect from a 5-star recruit. Needless to say, Jenkins proved that he was underrated.

Colt McCoy, 3-Star QB, Texas

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    Colt McCoy will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in Longhorns' history.

    He was second in Heisman voting in 2008 and third in 2009. He was also an All-American both seasons. In four years with Texas, McCoy threw for 13,253 yards and 112 touchdowns. (Sports-Reference.com)

    Despite being only a 3-star recruit in 2005, according to Rivals.com, McCoy was selected in the third round of the 2010 draft by the Cleveland Browns.

    Even though McCoy hasn't found much success in the NFL, he'll undoubtedly be remembered as a great college quarterback. 

Pat White, 3-Star ATH, West Virginia

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    Pat White was one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks of the BCS era. He entered West Virginia as a 3-star recruit, according to Rivals.com.

    White had decent size at 6'1'', 180 pounds, but the recruiting world failed to correctly assess his potential.

    He threw for 6,049 yards and 56 touchdowns in his four seasons at West Virginia. He also ran for 4,480 yards and 47 touchdowns. White helped lead WVU to big wins over Auburn in 2008 and Oklahoma in the 2007-08 Fiesta Bowl. 

    White threw for two touchdowns and also ran for 150 yards in the Fiesta Bowl (Sports-Reference.com).

Anthony Castonzo, 2-Star OT, Boston College

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    Anthony Castonzo was drafted in the first round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 (No. 22 overall).

    According to his Boston College profile, he was the first true freshman to start on the offensive line for BC in 10 years, which is impressive considering that Rivals.com ranked him as a 2-star tackle coming out of Fork Union Military Academy in 2007. 

    Also according to his BC profile, Castonzo holds a school record with 54 career starts.

    From 2-star recruit to first-round draft pick. 

    Not bad at all...

Le'Veon Bell, 2-Star RB, Michigan State

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    Le'Veon Bell became one of the best  running backs in the country (and certainly in the Big Ten) when he was the featured player in Michigan State's backfield.

    In three seasons, Bell ran for 3,346 yards and 33 touchdowns. (ESPN.com) He was known as a bruising, tough back who also displayed good speed and agility.

    He was also known for only being a 2-star recruit coming out of high school (Rivals) who played well above the expectations. 

    Bell was selected No. 48 overall in the 2013 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Case Keenum, 2-Star QB, Houston

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    Case Keenum was a 2-star dual-threat quarterback in 2006, according to Rivals.com, who had only one offer, from Houston. 

    After six years, including a redshirt and medical eligibility seasons, at Houston, he broke the NCAA record for career passing yards, leaving after accumulating 19,217 yards and 155 touchdowns. (Sports-Reference.com)

    Keenum was also in the Heisman running in both 2009 and 2011, according to Sports-Reference.com.

    For a quarterback playing in Conference USA, that says a lot. 

J.J. Watt, 2-Star WDE, Central Michigan *Transferred to Wisconsin

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    J.J. Watt became a beast defensive lineman while at Wisconsin, and now he's one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.

    What many may not remember is that Watt was a 2-star recruit when he signed with Central Michigan.

    Watt actually played tight end for Central Michigan before he decided to transfer and walk on at Wisconsin (Matt Hinton/Rivals), where he was a redshirt on the scout team in 2008.

    He then developed into one of the best in college football, totaling 106 tackles, 11.5 sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles in two seasons (Sports-Reference.com).

Russell Wilson, 2-Star QB, N.C. State *Transferred to Wisconsin

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    Russell Wilson was a 2-star dual-threat quarterback signee for North Carolina State in 2007.

    He played three seasons for the Wolfpack, throwing for 8,545 yards and 76 touchdowns and rushing for 1,083 yards and 17 touchdowns. (Sports-Reference.com)

    Wilson left N.C. State because he wanted to play baseball, and he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB draft. He decided to go back to football in 2011 and ended up transferring to Wisconsin, where he became one of the most notable quarterbacks in the country. 

    Wilson led the Badgers to an 11-3 record in 2011 that included a Big Ten Championship and a loss to Oregon in the Rose Bowl. He passed for 3,175 yards and 33 touchdowns while only throwing four interceptions. He also ran for 338 yards and six touchdowns, and caught three passes, one for a touchdown (Sports-Reference.com)

    He continued to defy the odds in the NFL, becoming one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, despite being only a third-round draft pick by Seattle in 2012.

Ed Reed, 2-Star CB, Miami

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    Ed Reed will go down as a Hall of Fame safety in the NFL. He was also a tremendous college player for the Miami Hurricanes.

    He had 288 tackles, four forced fumbles, an amazing 21 interceptions and 52 passes-defensed in four seasons with Miami. He was an All-American as a junior and senior, and he was named as a freshman All-American by The Sporting News and Football News as well. He started every game as a freshman,  according to his Miami bio.

    While there is no official ranking readily available, by most accounts Reed was a 2-star recruit when he joined the Miami program in 1998.

    He's now one of the most prolific players to ever play the safety position, at both the college and NFL level.

    Reed is the ultimate "diamond in the rough" recruit.

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