Best 2014 College Football Recruits from Small Areas

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IAugust 13, 2013

Best 2014 College Football Recruits from Small Areas

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    With California, Florida, Texas, Ohio and SEC country being the dominant hotbeds in college football, that leaves little room for prospects to shine from small areas. College coaches know where the majority of recruiting talent comes from, as they spend most of their time in those areas.

    However, coaches are willing to go anywhere for a recruit, should the player have the talent and potential to help a program win games. While SEC country, the Golden State, the Lone Star State and the Buckeye State continue to be where most of the top recruits hail from in 2014 recruiting, several prospects from small areas have made a breakthrough.

    A defensive tackle from Utah is an elite player at his position, as he is joined by a tight end on this list who also hails from the same state. Also on the list is a running back who chose to stay home and build up his local program in an unpopular state for talent, rather than go to a powerhouse school.

    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals247Sports and ESPNU.

Dalton Schultz, TE

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    Utah has programs such as BYU and Utah in its state, but it is not the best place to go for college football talent. Cooper Bateman, an elite quarterback who signed with Alabama in 2013, was a rare exception.

    However, tight end Dalton Schultz is a Utah native who is helping the state get more respect on the recruiting trail. Schultz, who is 6'5" and 215 pounds, is a great blocker who has excellent ball skills.

    He can move defensive ends off their spots as an in-line blocker and get on the second level to put a hat on linebackers. He also has the mitts to snatch passes over defenders. 

    However, do not look for Schultz to stay in Utah, as he is expected to sign with Stanford, according to 247Sports' experts.

Traevohn Wrench, RB

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    When one thinks of areas that produce great running back prospects, Texas, Florida and California immediately come to mind.

    However, Kansas also boasts a great running back in its state named Traevohn Wrench. At 6'0" and 180 pounds, Wrench has the ability to slash through holes with quickness and race upfield with speed while flashing solid strength.

    He is committed to Kansas, where he will put his overlooked native state on the map. 

Allen Lazard, WR

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    Iowa is not exactly the first place college coaches make plans to visit when recruiting. Yet, receiver Allen Lazard is the kind of prospect who must be a priority.

    Lazard, who is 6'4.5" and 207 pounds, is a big receiver who scored 11 receiving touchdowns as a junior. He has the strength to bully his way through press coverage, can leap over defenders to pluck high passes and has solid build-up speed in the open field.

    Lazard is committed to Iowa State. 

Braden Smith, OL

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    Braden Smith is a tough and rugged offensive lineman from Kansas. Offensive linemen are always wanted, but Kansas is not a place that routinely produces elite talent like Smith.

    At 6'6" and 290 pounds, he has the ability to play tackle or guard upfront. Smith plays like a giant at the point of attack, has deceptive quickness and is in peak physical condition. He has the demeanor, power and tenacity to become a starter early in his career.

    Keep an eye on TCU. 

Jeff Jones, RB

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    Minneapolis is not a small city, per se, but it is not a hotbed area on the recruiting trail. If Jeff Jones were from California or Texas, he would probably be ranked higher than his 172nd slot in the 247Sports composite rankings.

    That is a certainty because the 5'11", 196-pound running back can make defenses look bad as a runner and receiver. Jones has 3,261 yards and 36 rushing touchdowns since 2011, while also adding 13 receiving touchdowns.

    He has solid speed, flashes good quickness and can be a great challenge for a defender at the point of attack. Jones is committed to Minnesota, where he should become a key contributor immediately for the Gophers. 

Bryan Mone, DT

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    College coaches would go to Mars if they found out the planet had a beastly defensive tackle prospect. Thankfully for the budgets of college football programs, it is cheaper to get Utah than it is to land on the red planet.

    While Utah is not a consistent hotbed, it does boast Bryan Mone as its top prospect in 2014. Mone, who is 6'4" and 338 pounds, is one of the best defensive tackles in the nation.

    He has good quickness at the snap, plays with violent hands and has excellent strength at the point of attack. Mone is headed to Michigan, as he has a chance to get early snaps in defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's defense. 

Ross Pierschbacher, OL

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    Elite prospects typically do not come from Iowa, so Ross Pierschbacher could be considered a trail blazer, as the talented offensive lineman is ranked No. 59 in the 247Sports composite rankings

    Pierschbacher, who is 6'4" and 290 pounds, was previously committed to Iowa, but is now pledged to play for Alabama, says 247Sports. He is a good athlete in the trenches who shows fantastic quickness, light feet and the ability to perform an array of pull/trap blocks.

    Pierschbacher can play offensive tackle, but he is at his best as a guard. Alabama does not venture into Iowa often, but the Tide struck gold in landing this outstanding blocker.


2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map

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    See if you can find several prospects on this list by checking out the Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map!

    It is easy to see where the majority of the talent stems from in the 2014 class.

    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 and Cleveland Browns.