With the 2010 season finished and the draft declarations already made, it's time to look ahead at 10 players who are underrated going into 2011.
Some are guys that had monster seasons that aren't getting their just due; others are guys due to have a breakout season. A lot of players at smaller schools still fly under the radar despite monster seasons simply because of a lack of exposure.
He posted already impressive numbers in 2010, throwing for 2,700 yards and 24 touchdowns with only seven touchdowns. However, his 2011 numbers look to have a huge leap due to factors he has no hand in.
Dana Holgerson has been tabbed as the new West Virginia offensive coordinator with a planned promotion in 2012 to head coach. This is the same man that took Oklahoma State from the 61st-ranked offense to the No. 1 ranked offense his first year there and has studied under pass-offense guru Mike Leach. Short of a heroin addiction, nothing will stop Geno from having a monster 2011.
The No. 2 quarterback in his high school class and a 5-star recruit.
While Christian Ponder was the starter and featured quarterback over the past two years, Manuel has led FSU to some of their most important victories—first by winning two straight as a freshman to become bowl eligible then, in possibly the most meaningful non-championship game Florida State has been in. This win allowed Bobby Bowden to go out on a high note with a Gator Bowl MVP performance, taking down the Mountaineers 33-21. He added to his list of clutch performances by beating South Carolina in the 2010 Chick-Fil-A Bowl, earning MVP honors.
Will be the starter next year on a talented FSU team.
The cornerback dominance in LSU continues. Patrick Peterson is gone, but here comes Tyrann Mathieu.
Earned the Defensive Player of the Game award against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, even contributing an astonishing acrobatic interception. Finished off the season with two picks, two forced fumbles, five sacks and 59 tackles.
The definition of a playmaker. He is a speedy athlete who can contribute whether the ball is handed off to him, thrown to him or kicked to him.
Agile and quick, he comes straight from the Percy Harvin mold. Like his quarterback, Geno Smith, his numbers will see a huge boost with Holgersons' pass offense, which is good for him because he gets most of his stats through receiving. Completed his sophomore season with 159 yards rushing (10.6 yards a carry though) and 787 receiving yards with nine total touchdowns.
Set a Tennessee freshman record by throwing for 1,849 yards, even though he didn’t receive his first start until the eighth game of the season where he immediately led them to four straight victories and a bowl berth.
Standing 6'6", he certainly has the physical attributes to have a successful career, and due to his college career taking place at Tennessee, he is drawing heavy, but deserved, comparisons to Peyton Manning.
Has even already done something the legendary quarterback never accomplished—threw for five touchdowns in a half. If Bray can avoid an Erick Ainge-esque fall from grace his sophomore season, he has a bright future.
The freshman finished out his season with 1,000 yards and six touchdowns and deserved the Pac-10 offensive freshman of the year, even if that’s not what the coaches decided.
Compiled 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns his freshman campaign but has hip injury issues that could haunt him. But it’s still hard not to be blown away by that 228-yard, two-touchdown game just three weeks into his first year.
The Utes looked flaccid without him in the Las Vegas bowl, and with his injury looking to keep him out all of spring camp, not much is expected out of him.
However, this is still the same guy that was the offensive leader of a temporarily fifth-ranked team. If he’s healthy, his progress as a quarterback should continue.
The No. 2 overall rated prospect chose Oregon because he claimed God wanted him too—now that his redshirt season is over, it’s time to see what he has.
In a fairly stacked Ducks backfield, he will have to work hard and earn every touch, but when he does get the ball, expect lightning in a bottle.