10 Most Underrated 2015 College Football Recruiting Classes

Damon Sayles@@DamonSaylesNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 6, 2015

10 Most Underrated 2015 College Football Recruiting Classes

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Alabama, USC, Florida State. Three programs with three outstanding 2015 recruiting classes. Everybody knows about these teams.

    It's the potential sleeper classes that you have to be on the lookout for in a couple of years.

    Part of the excitement of national signing day involves the last-minute targets who commit, which ultimately results in where a team finishes in team rankings. Alabama has dominated the team rankings the last five years, but USC and Florida State gave the Crimson Tide stiff competition this year.

    But what about those teams that don't get the national publicity for their efforts on signing day? What about those programs without the 5-star names?

    Here are 10 programs who signed recruiting classes some might consider under the radar. These underrated teams—not listed in any particular order—were chosen on overall talent level and includes players with the potential for seeing early playing time.

Stanford Cardinal

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    Stanford's Class Has Nice Numbers for David Shaw To Work With
    Stanford's Class Has Nice Numbers for David Shaw To Work WithMarcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Signees: 22

    4-star players: 5

    Stanford's class features 4-star skill-position players to watch in cornerback Frank Buncom IV on defense and wide receiver Trent Irwin and running back Bryce Love on offense. Keep an eye on 4-star athlete Cameron Scarlett, the top-ranked player in the state of Oregon who could be a reliable power back, as well as 4-star offensive interior lineman Nick Wilson, who could see time at either guard or center.

Louisville Cardinals

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    Bobby Petrino Got Some Help On the Defensive Side of the Ball
    Bobby Petrino Got Some Help On the Defensive Side of the BallTimothy D. Easley/Associated Press

    Signees: 24

    4-star players: 2

    The first full class for Bobby Petrino has a few names to be on the lookout for. Perhaps the biggest name for Louisville—and one of the biggest in the conference—is 4-star defensive end Devonte Fields, the top-ranked junior college player and former star at TCU. Fields was named the AP Big 12 Player of the Year in 2012 but was dismissed from the team in 2013 for off-the-field issues. Fields is expected to be a difference-maker on defense, along with 4-star linebacker Darius Smith, an athlete who hits like a linebacker but runs more like a safety.

North Carolina Tar Heels

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    There's Excitement With Larry Fedora and the Expectations in Chapel Hill
    There's Excitement With Larry Fedora and the Expectations in Chapel HillGerry Broome/Associated Press

    Signees: 19

    4-star players: 4

    North Carolina's class is one to watch primarily because of who already is on campus. Defensive end Jalen Dalton, offensive tackle William Sweet and running back Ty'Son Williams are three 4-star athletes who could make a lot of noise early in ACC play. Dalton is a special kind of defensive end who can be the lone reason why an offense alters its system. Tommy Hatton is a 4-star interior lineman expected to control the line as a center.

Washington Huskies

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    Chris Petersen Has Talented Players To Work With In This Class
    Chris Petersen Has Talented Players To Work With In This ClassTed S. Warren/Associated Press

    Signees: 24

    4-star players: 5

    If you're a Washington fan, you've got to like the Chris Petersen has put together. The Huskies will be led on offense by 4-star quarterback Jake Browning, the nation's No. 5 pro-style quarterback, and on defense by 4-star defensive end Benning Potoae, the top-ranked player out of Washington. The Huskies did well in keeping the in-state players close to home, as Potoae, 4-star cornerback Austin Joyner (No. 2 in the state of Washington) and 4-star offensive tackles Henry Roberts and Trey Adams (Nos. 3 and 6, respectively) all submitted letters of intent.

Virginia Tech Hokies

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    Look For Frank Beamer To Get a Lot Out Of His New Signeess
    Look For Frank Beamer To Get a Lot Out Of His New SigneessAssociated Press

    Signees: 24

    4-star players: 4

    Defensive tackle Tim Settle is one of those playmakers who can immediately boost a team, and the big, 4-star standout is expected to be a major run-stopper in Virginia Tech's defensive scheme for the next few years. Settle will team with fellow 4-star tackle Yosuah Nijman on defense, while offensively, the Hokies should get help from athletic, 4-star quarterback Dwayne Lawson and 4-star offensive tackle Austin Clark, who flipped from Miami and South Carolina, respectively.

Michigan Wolverines

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    Jim Harbaugh Has Players To Build Around In His 1st Year
    Jim Harbaugh Has Players To Build Around In His 1st YearCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Signees: 14

    4-star players: 6

    New coach Jim Harbaugh would prefer fans to look at the quality of the 2015 class rather than the actual size of it. Nearly half of the signees are 4-star athletes, including three of the top-ranked athletes in their respective states in Michigan athlete Brian Cole, New Mexico quarterback and former Texas commit Zach Gentry and New York tight Tyrone Wheatley Jr., the son of the former Michigan star running back and current Wolverines running backs coach with the same first name. Gentry, at 6'7" and 230 pounds, will battle for playing against quarterback Alex Malzone, another 4-star, in-state signee.

Baylor Bears

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    Art Briles' Baylor Bears Will Have Offensive Firepower
    Art Briles' Baylor Bears Will Have Offensive FirepowerTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Signees: 19

    4-star players: 3

    Baylor's class was smaller than most others nationally, but the Bears are excited more about the quality rather than the quality of talent signed. Offensively, it all starts with 4-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham, the nation's No. 2 dual-threat quarterback. Stidham will have a big target to work with in 4-star wide receiver Blake Lynch, as well as a speedy all-purpose back in the backfield in 4-star Ja'Mycal Hasty. Both Stidham and Lynch are early enrollees, along with 3-star offensive tackle Dominic Desouza, which can be an advantage in a productive-yet-competitive offense.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

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    The Incoming Talent Should Make Dave Doeren (And Fans) Happy
    The Incoming Talent Should Make Dave Doeren (And Fans) HappyAssociated Press

    Signees: 23

    4-star players: 4

    North Carolina State has a running back tandem that potentially can do some damage in the ACC. The 4-star duo of burly back Johnny Frasier and scatback Nyheim Hines can be a new-age "thunder and lightning" package for the Wolfpack. Offensive tackle Emanuel McGirt is a 4-star talent with good size and a lot of upside. Defensively, expectations are high for 4-star Darian Roseboro, an athlete versatile enough to line up at either defensive tackle or defensive end.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Mike Riley Has Some Key Additions To His Roster
    Mike Riley Has Some Key Additions To His RosterNati Harnik/Associated Press

    Signees: 20

    4-star players: 3

    Give coach Mike Riley credit; he was able to keep a solid class together, and he added a big piece to the puzzle late, offensively, in 4-star offensive guard Jalin Barnett. Defensively, the Cornhuskers got better with the addition of 4-star cornerback Eric Lee. The Huskers also signed 4-star athlete Avery Anderson, who could be used on both sides of the ball and on special teams, depending on what Riley sees during the spring. Lee and Anderson both are early enrollees.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Texas Tech Should Be Better All Around for Kliff Kingsbury
    Texas Tech Should Be Better All Around for Kliff KingsburyTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Signees: 19

    4-star players: 5

    Texas Tech loves to score points, and its 2015 class has athletes to continue the trend. Corey Dauphine is a 4-star running back with sprinter's speed. Offensive tackles Conner Dyer and Madison Akamnonu are 4-star players who will keep defenders away from the quarterback. Additionally, the Red Raiders were able to flip 4-star wide receiver J.F. Thomas—a player with loads of upside—from TCU. Defensively, 4-star tackle Breiden Fehoko is expected to be an all-conference defensive lineman sooner than later. He and 3-star safety Jamile Johnson Jr., who the Red Raiders flipped from Texas, are players who could have that defense trending.

    Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' Composite ratings. Follow Damon on Twitter: @DamonSayles

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