The 2014 College Football Recruiting All-Underrated Team
While the 5-star and elite 4-star recruits get all of the attention, a ton of good football players fly under the radar every recruiting cycle. In fact, there are so many "underrated" recruits that a team can be assembled.
It's time for those underrated prospects to get their time in the spotlight. These players may not be hot names, nor are they ranked high on many lists, but they are still ballers.
This underrated team is so good that it would hold its own versus a team of elite prospects.
CB: Jermaine Roberts
A 3-star cornerback, Jermaine Roberts is a better prospect than many realize. Although he is only 5'9" and 175 pounds, he's a good athlete who can hold his own on an island.
Roberts, who is from New Orleans, has loose hips to mirror receivers at the line or in space. He's explosive out of transition to drive and close on balls, plus he has good hands.
He'll be beloved at Texas.
S: Drue Tranquill
Drue Tranquill is a 3-star defender who can play safety or outside linebacker. The Indiana native was initially committed to Purdue, but he is now set to attend Notre Dame.
At 6'2" and 210 pounds, Tranquill shows good speed and range from the seams. He plays with solid instincts, plus he uses his vision to quickly read and react to plays. Tranquill has enough athletic ability to become above-average at covering tight ends, as well as the strength to help in the box.
S: Koa Farmer
At 6'1" and 200 pounds, Koa Farmer is a 3-star safety with good size. The California native also has the versatility to play both safety positions, while also helping on special teams.
Farmer has adequate range on the third level, as he possesses solid speed and movement skills. Yet, he also is willing to fill alleys to stop running plays in the box. Farmer has deceptive quickness out of transition, plus he displays good hands to intercept passes.
He's committed to Cal, but Vanderbilt, Utah, USC and UCLA remain in the picture, according to 247Sports.
CB: Nigel Bethel
If Nigel Bethel were taller than 5'9", he'd likely be a 4-star prospect. However, he doesn't use his lack of height as an excuse to not make plays and annoy receivers.
Bethel, who is from Miami, uses his 173-pound frame to his advantage. He has excellent short-area quickness to mirror and recover, plus he has good instincts in coverage.
Bethel has good athleticism and awareness to recognize route concepts in zone coverage. Finally, the Sunshine State prospect doesn't mind assisting versus the run.
He could become an All-ACC cornerback at Miami.
LB: Olajuwon Tucker
Olajuwon Tucker is probably a 3-star recruit because of his limited experience as a football player. If potential were the determining factor in a recruit's rating, he'd be a 5-star prospect.
From Los Angeles, Tucker works as a 6'4", 220-pound defender who can play linebacker or defensive end. He's an exceptional athlete who possesses solid instincts for a player with such a limited background. Tucker has outstanding speed and range to chase down running backs, as well as the quickness to hunt quarterbacks off the edges.
He's committed to USC.
LB: Demarquis Gates
Other than being a bit light in the pants at 212 pounds, it's hard to find a reason why 4-star recruit Demarquis Gates isn't a 5-star linebacker.
The Georgia native is 6'2", plus he has a great feel for the game. Gates is one of the most athletic and fastest 'backers in the country, evidenced by his exceptional range. He also has the strength to challenge blockers at the point of attack, plus he has the potential to develop into an impressive player in coverage.
Ole Miss is getting a stud.
LB: Kyron Watson
Another linebacker who is underrated is 3-star prospect Kyron Watson. Hailing from Illinois, Watson is a thick and squatty 'backer who has good toughness, speed and vision.
At 6'1" and 225 pounds, the Kansas commit doesn't back down at the point of attack. He has the strength to play inside, while also possessing the range and athleticism to work on the flanks. Watson can blanket tight ends and running backs in coverage, as well as pressure passers as a blitzer.
DE: Don Hill
A former Washington commit, 3-star defensive end Don Hill is now headed to USC. The Trojans are getting a fine football player in Hill, who is mainly underrated because he's from Idaho.
With his ability to also play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, the 6'4", 225-pounder is explosive at the snap. Hill can jump on top of tackles on the edge before bending to get to the quarterback. He's also strong against the run, as he has the ability to set the edge and challenge blockers.
Hill is going to have get a lot better with his technique and hand usage, but he's got upside.
DT: Jamiyus Pittman
Hailing from Georgia, Jamiyus Pittman is a 3-star defensive tackle who is not going to generate a lot of headlines. However, he's going to be known around the SEC.
At 6'2" and 282 pounds, Pittman uses his frame to get under the pads of offensive linemen to walk them back and sit them in the quarterback's lap. This guy has impressive strength and power at the point of attack, plus he has the ability to make a mess in the trenches by anchoring versus running plays.
He's committed to Ole Miss.
DT: Enoch Smith Jr.
Enoch Smith Jr. is one of the better run-defending defensive tackles in the Midwest. The Chicago native plays for regional powerhouse Mount Carmel, but is now preparing to take his talents to Michigan State.
At 6'2" and 270 pounds, Smith is not the biggest player at his position. Yet, he has great strength to challenge and anchor at the point of attack, plus he seems to have a knack for finding the ball in traffic. He'll help as a pass-rusher, but his value comes from what he can do versus the run.
DE: Conor Sheehy
With Wisconsin transitioning to a 3-4 scheme this year, 3-star defensive end Conor Sheehy is the type of player the Badgers need.
He can play defensive end or defensive tackle, as he is 6'4" and 260 pounds. Sheehy has a great motor, plus he plays with solid strength. He flashes good quickness at the snap, as well as the heart of a warrior. The Milwaukee native is exactly the kind of recruit Wisconsin uses to routinely contend for Big Ten titles.
RT: Montel McBride
For starters, 3-star offensive lineman Montel McBride is going to be a guard in college. Yet, he'll be categorized as a right tackle on this list for various purposes.
The Florida native isn't the most athletic blocker in the country, nor will he impress many people with his agility. However, the 6'4", 329-pounder has outstanding strength and power. McBride is lethal in a phone booth, as he can maul defenders as a run-blocker and sustain as a pass-protector.
Alabama will work him into shape before developing him into a solid guard in Tuscaloosa.
RG: Connor Mayes
Connor Mayes is a 3-star guard from Texas who has the vision of a running back. He rarely falls for twists and stunts, plus he has the awareness and ability to quickly find his target when he's pulling.
Mayes isn't going to beat defenders with athleticism, but he has great size at 6'5" and 320 pounds. He displays good power at the point of attack, plus he fights to stay in front of rushers when protecting the quarterback.
He should develop into one of the smartest offensive linemen in the Big Ten at Minnesota.
OC: Jacob Bragg
Although he could play guard at Kansas, Jacob Bragg fits as a center on this team. The Texas native is a 3-star offensive lineman who gets the job done with strength.
Bragg, who is 6'3" and 314 pounds, has solid quickness out of his stance. He does a great job of punching with power, plus he has the strength to sustain his block through the whistle. Bragg isn't an impressive athlete, but he appears to have adequate movement skills in short areas.
He's tough player who should be solid in Lawrence.
LG: Kammy Delp
From California, Kammy Delp is a 3-star offensive lineman who fits best at guard. He's 6'4" and 305 pounds.
Delp has admirable toughness, as he plays strong and stout at the point of attack. He can anchor versus rushers, plus he hustles to block in the running game. Delp displays adequate quickness out of his stance to get in front of defensive linemen before executing his assignment.
Schools such as UCLA, Oregon State, Washington and Arizona State are in the mix, says 247Sports.
LT: Tyrell Smith
The starting left tackle on the all-underrated squad is 3-star offensive lineman Tyrell Smith. The New Jersey native has the potential to become an amazing player on the left side of the offensive front.
Smith is one of the best athletes at his position in the country, plus he has great strength. Although he is 6'5", Smith needs to add more bulk to his 265-pound frame.
However, he has great quickness and agility to dance with rushers on the edges, plus he can perform an array of blocks in the running game. Virginia Tech has his commitment.
TE: Kendall Blanton
At 6'6" and 227 pounds, Kendall Blanton is an impressive prospect at tight end. He not only has good size, but he also has the potential to become a complete player at his position.
Blanton, who is committed to Missouri, has solid quickness and speed for his size. He doesn't waste much time getting in and out of his breaks, plus he has adequate ball skills. Blanton fights and hustles as a blocker, plus he shows above-average strength and power at the point of attack.
He's a likable 3-star tight end.
WR: Dorian Baker
Dorian Baker has a chance to develop into a good receiver at Kentucky. He has a big 6'3", 205-pound frame, plus he displays above-average speed.
Baker can stretch the field from the perimeter or slot.
He's a solid athlete who has the ability to make sharp cuts, which is why his route-running should improve in Lexington. Baker's mitts can snatch a pass or two away from his frame, plus he's not bad after the catch.
WR: Jesse Jackson
Explosive and big are two words that can be used to describe 3-star receiver Jesse Jackson. The Mississippi native can use his 6'2", 195-pound frame to launch into his routes.
Jackson can shoot out of his breaks to skate away from defenders to get open on underneath routes. He also is impressive with the ball in his hands, as he has the vision and strength of a running back in the open field.
The Mississippi State pledge should be utilized well by head coach Dan Mullen.
RB: Traevohn Wrench
While Traevohn Wrench is a 4-star running back, he still doesn't get as much love and attention as other runners in this 2014 class.
He's the best player in Kansas' recruiting class due to his well-rounded skill set. At 6'0 and 180 pounds, Wrench has the speed and quickness to make a big play or two each game. He's also got deceptive strength to run through arm tackles, plus he has solid vision and instincts.
Head coach Charlie Weis will know how to get the best out of Wrench.
RB: Kamryn Pettway
Kamryn Pettway is a 3-star running back from Alabama who is committed to Auburn.
He appears to be coming to The Plains to be a hammer for head coach Gus Malzahn's rushing attack.
Pettway, who is 5'11.5" and 221 pounds, loves to attack downhill with strength. He has adequate quickness through holes, plus his speed isn't bad. Yet, Pettway is at his best when he can powerfully challenge defenders at the point of attack to wear them down for four quarters.
QB: Tyler Harris
After considering several other quarterbacks, the pilot of the all-underrated team is 3-star passer Tyler Harris.
Harris, who is 6'3" and 205 pounds, hails from Georgia. He has excellent arm strength to all levels of the field, plus he is a better athlete than given credit for. Harris has a quirky delivery, plus his footwork needs polish, but he has great talent.
He makes good decisions with the ball, as he knows when he should attack and when to be cautious. Harris is committed to Central Florida.