2014 College Football Recruits Who Came out of Nowhere
Recruiting has grown into a huge industry, and prospects usually get on the radar as juniors. By the time their recruiting year begins, most players are known commodities and already have received several scholarship offers.
The evolution of websites, message boards, YouTube and 7-on-7 football has made it tough for an elite player to enter a recruiting cycle as an unknown prospect.
However, sometimes recruits play in areas that don't receive much coverage. Other times, they play at schools with coaches who don't send out film and seek exposure for their players. Some recruits miss their junior seasons and are forgotten, while others don't actually start to peak until right before their senior campaigns.
Whatever the case may be, each recruiting cycle has a few prospects who come out of nowhere.
A talented left tackle prospect was off the radar and now is coveted by every program in the country. A good linebacker in Hawaii did not get much attention at the start of this cycle, and his future teammate is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the country while yet to start a high school game.
Ainuu Taua, DL
Ainuu Taua does not receive same attention as many other good defensive tackle recruits, but he seems unfazed by flying under the radar.
Taua came into this recruiting year as an unknown and undersized interior defensive lineman, but he is now coveted by Ole Miss and Washington, according to 247Sports.
Taua, who is 5'11.5" and 287 pounds, has used the offseason camp circuit to increase his buzz. He earned an invite to The Opening, a prestigious camp sponsored by NIKE, and held his own against the nation's best.
Fans better learn about Taua now, because he will soon be menacing their favorite school's quarterback.
Jordan Hoiem, LB
Although Manti Te'o was a 5-star prospect from Hawaii, the state typically does not draw much attention from elite college programs. It is an area that produces talent, but players from Hawaii do not receive much exposure.
That is the main reason why Hoiem did not get as much initial coverage as his talent warrants, which is fine with Oregon coach Mark Helfrich. The new lead duck knows he is getting an athletic linebacker who can excel in coverage and will be able to lock down tight ends in the passing game.
Hoiem was so far off the radar that it is tough to find much recruiting news on him prior to his commitment to Oregon.
Sean White, QB
Sean White, who has more than 10 scholarship offers, is not on this list for recruiting reasons. White is on list because he came out of nowhere to win the MVP award at the Elite 11 Finals.
It was surprising to see White receive an invitation to the Finals, as he beat out several higher-ranked quarterback prospects for a right to compete at the 18-man camp.
With talented passers such as David Cornwell, Kyle Allen and Keller Chryst drawing all of the attention coming into the event, White was an afterthought. However, as the days wore on, White's consistency and poise began shine and he took home MVP honors in a shocking upset.
David Sharpe, OT
Sharpe, who could sign with Florida or Florida State, is a prime example of how important it is for a recruit to get his film to college coaches and recruiting websites. Locally, it was well-known how athletic Sharpe was and that the sky was the limit for the Florida recruit.
However, he was not on the national radar in the early 2014 prospect rankings.
Once Sharpe's tape began to circulate, his recruitment took off. Offers started pouring in at the end of January as Sharpe made a meteoric rise up recruiting boards.
Sharpe is one of the 20 best prospects in the country.
Morgan Mahalak, QB
Mahalak, who committed to Oregon in April, is perhaps the biggest mystery in 2014 recruiting. He has yet to become a full-time starting quarterback and has limited reps as a passer.
Mahalak is an enigma, but Mark Helfrich is a believer.
Mahalak, who is 6'3" and 190 pounds, impressed observers during passing workouts in the spring and earned an invitation to the Elite 11 Finals.
It still remains to be seen how Mahalak fares at managing game situations, handles himself in the huddle and leads from the quarterback position. But the mysterious Duck commitment does flash the physical tools to be a solid Pac-12 quarterback.