College Football's Top Five Under-the-Radar Players in 2009

Husker FanCorrespondent IJuly 21, 2009

BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback Pat White #5 of the West Virginia Mountaineers along with Will Johnson #6 and Noel Devine #7 line up in the back field against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on September 18, 2008 in Boulder, Colorado. Colorado defeated West Virginia 17-14 in overtime.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

In my last offering, I gave you the five most overrated players in college football.

In this offering, I'll try to give you the five guys that could become household names before the season ends. 

In the photo previewing this lead are the West Virginia Mountaineers, the team that highlighted the incredible talents of Pat White and Noel Devine. 

The player that I will highlight first is White's replacement.

1. Jarrett Brown: QB, West Virginia

At 6'4" and 221 pounds, Mr. Brown is a pure specimen. When he steps off the bus, he definitely passes the eye test. 

In the past, he has been delegated to ride the pine behind all-everything Pat White. It's hard to argue who should have been given the chance to play when you look at White's career at West Virginia. 

But what truly sticks out is Brown's pure physicality. 

He may not have the jukes, jives, and natural running ability of Pat White, but what he possesses is some similar speed in a much bigger body that can punish people, like Tim Tebow has done down at Florida.

As we have seen before, that isn't a bad thing when a spread offense is predominantly involved with the run game.

It also doesn't hurt that the shifty and quick Noel Devine is in the backfield with him.

Most will say that the drop-off from White to Brown will be too insurmountable to overcome, but I compare it to when Peyton Manning left Tennessee—only to see Tee Martin win the elusive national championship that Peyton could never produce. 

I'm not saying that Jarrett will win a national title at WVU, but I am completely sold that this specimen will produce some outstanding numbers for the Mountaineers in 2009—and become a "known" name in college football before the year is out.

2. DeVier Posey: WR, Ohio State

All the talk in Buckeye land is about whether their defense can withstand the losses of James Laurinaitis, Marcus Freeman, and Malcolm Jenkins. Personally, I think the defense will be better without them. 

The real question is, who can step up at WR for the Bucks? Chris Wells was often hurt at Ohio State, and Brandon Saine and Daniel Herron should have no problem carrying the load at running back. 

The real question and dynamic factor for the Bucks is WR.

When they have been good, and I mean really good, they have had a stud at WR. Is DeVier Posey that guy? I think so, and I look for him to have a huge season in 2009—especially when teams will look to stack the "box" with eight and even nine guys to stop the rushing talents of Terrelle Pryor and the deep backfield for OSU. 

If there is a guy to make a huge difference for Ohio State this year, look no further than this talented sophomore, out of the same recruiting class as Pryor. Many great combos come from QBs and WRs who belong to the same recruiting class. This one could be electric.

3. Jerrod Johnson: QB, Texas A&M 

Yep, you are likely to hear it here first, but Jerrod Johnson is as talented as any QB in the entire country. Yes, he plays for a befuddled A&M squad, but his physical talents are as good as you will see anywhere. At 6'5" and 230 pounds, Jerrod can run and throw.

He started his career at Texas A&M as a WR, and when incumbent QB Stephen McGee was struggling, Sherman and his staff quickly moved this multi-talented prospect to QB. 

By season's end, Jerrod had thrown for 2,435 yards, 21 TDs and 10 INTs. He also ran for 255 yards and three TDs. 

Throw in all-star recruit Christine Michael at RB, along with improving sophomore WRs Jeff Fuller and Ryan Tannehill, and this could become a strong offense though many don't expect it to be all that good. 

Then again, Tannehill was a QB recruit. Could we see a flip-flop before the season is over? Maybe. But I look for the incredible athleticism of Johnson to rule the day. 

Look for Texas A&M to be much better in 2009 with Johnson at the helm, as yet another star on the rise.

4. Russell Wilson: QB, North Carolina State

Wilson may be a poor choice for a surprise player, since he was the pick for ACC All-Conference QB. Then again, outside of ACC land, most people don't even know this kid's name.

At least, not yet.

At all of 5'11" and 208 pounds, Mr. Wilson packs a punch of both athleticism and more ability to throw the ball than most think. 

He also has Tom O'Brien, one of the most underrated coaches in all of college football, to lead the way. 

The most impressive statistic from Russell last year was his one interception, especially when you consider that he completed less than 55 percent of his passes to go along with 17 TDs. 

This dual-threat QB will have a talented backfield behind him, led by Toney Baker.

NC State has 14 players total coming back, including Wilson's top two receivers. 

The Wolfpack are a very under the radar team, and with Wilson running the show, they could actually end up in the ACC Championship Game.

5. Joe Cox: QB, Georgia

The departure of Matt Stafford at Georgia will lead many to believe that Georgia may struggle this year. Throw in the departure of Knowshon Moreno, and we have a perfect storm of why the Bulldogs will fail in 2009.

Don't be so quick in your judgment.

Before the season started last year, Georgia was decimated by the loss of their best offensive lineman, Trinton Sturdivant. He is back now, along with the entire starting front five for Georgia.

Knowshon? A household name in Georgia, but the talents of Caleb King, Richard Samuel, and Carlton Thomas are every bit as good to replace him, and maybe even better—especially with this line in front of them. 

On defense, the Bulldogs return eight starters from an under-productive squad that can only get better. 

Now we throw in Joe Cox. The fifth-year senior waited for his time to conveniently get this chance—the same chance that SEC champion D.J. Shockley waited for behind David Greene. 

Cox led a spirited comeback off of the bench against Colorado at home all of two years ago, when the "Golden Boy" Stafford couldn't get it done. 

You also can't discount the opportunity of being able to throw to a guy like A.J. Green. 

Look for the experienced Cox, a former Elite 11 QB, to have a very solid year for the Bulldogs, and don't be surprised if they end up beating the Gators for the second time in the last three years.

Those are my top five players that maybe you haven't heard of. Who do you got? Much less, who did I forget?


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