Year after year gems and diamonds in the rough pop up in college football, and we all go "well where the heck was this guy ranked and why didn't my team pick him up?" These are those guys I think will surprise more than a few college football spectators throughout their college football careers.
The rankings I'm using are the 24/7 composite rankings.
Derrius Guice - RB - LSU - 46th overall, #5 RB
I know I know, a top 50 guy doesn't seem very underrated when there are 1000's of high school athletes, but I think even being ranked 46 is too low for this guy. For a guy that looks like he is a power back, he still shows a lot of speed and is also amazing as a receiver (2 receiving TD's in U.S. Army All-American Game). This is yet another stud RB going to the Bayou Bengals and will play alongside Leonard Fournette in what will probably the nastiest RB stable in the country. He is the perfect type of back to complement a downhill every-down type of back like Fournette, because he can be the guy that can come in on goal line packages and make great plays in the flats on pass plays, or he is big and fast enough to run it down the defense's throat. Won't be fun for opposing defenses at all.
Prince Tega Wanogho Jr. - SDE - Auburn - 110th overall, #8 SDE
Any defensive end that is 6-8 has the potential and the frame to become an absolute monster throughout his career. When you also have the ridiculous closing speed and the ability to finish big plays the way that this guy does though? You have a bad, bad man. Auburn was smart for pulling in this kid from the clutches of Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. This kid will be a huge difference maker for the Tigers. He needs to work on getting off quicker at the point of attack and his hand quickness could use some work, but I'm sure the coaches down in Auburn can't wait to get started on developing this guy into a possible All-SEC First Team monster.
Garrett Taylor - CB - Penn State - 125th overall, #16 CB
This kid has decent size at the corner position at 6-1, 195. He has amazing instincts, the main knack that knocked him down was speed. I think all of the other skills he brings though more than make up for his speed. I also believe Franklin up at Penn State will improve that aspect of his game and that this guy will be the whole package by the time he done at PSU. He has all the intangibles you want out of a kid and when you add in the size I believe you have someone who was knocked down significantly because he was slightly below average in one aspect of his game.
Carlos Strickland - WR - California - 165th overall, #20 WR
I don't know how all the big schools let this guy slip to the California Golden Bears when he is all the way from Dallas, Texas, but I have a feeling they are going to regret it by the end of Strickland's career. He is a hell of a physical specimen for a WR at 6-5, 190. Also, you know when LSU shows interest in a WR that they have to be pretty damn good. I'm just surprised LSU didn't pull him in instead of Cal. With his size and 4.50 speed, he shows good stride and has a knack for racking up yards after the catch. With Jared Goff at QB and Strickland at WR, I think they could have a dangerous passing game the next few years.
Dwayne Lawson - Pro-Style QB - Virginia Tech - 214th overall, #9 PRO
Lawson is a guy who has shown that he has pretty good accuracy, decent arm strength (with lots of room for growth in that area of his game), and that he can stay in the pocket and deliver the ball downfield while not being afraid to take hits due to his size (6-6, 207). He is a guy that has shown potential in almost every aspect of the game, and that with just a bit of coaching, he could be a star because he already has all the things you can't coach. Could Virginia Tech have their next big QB in line behind the likes of Vick and Thomas? I think Lawson definitely has the potential, we have seen what big athletic QB's with proper coaching can do up in Columbus, Ohio.
Christian Pellage - OT - South Carolina - 276th overall, #27 OT
Pellage is one big dude, he is 6-7, 282 and he isn't even done growing yet. Yet despite his size, and all the big time SEC schools offering and going after him, he still wasn't even ranked in the top 25 at his own position. That sounds pretty damn underrated to me, I don't know what all of the recruiting boards don't see in him to not put him near the top of their boards at the OT position like the SEC schools did but there is obviously something missing here. I could understand if he was undersized or really, really slow, but he also runs a 5.10 which isn't that bad at all for an OLineman. I'm sure Spurrier is just happy to get this guy on campus though, and probably won't be too bothered the impact this guys low ranking might've had on South Carolina's class rankings.
Sterling Johnson - DT - Clemson - 373rd overall, #24 DT
Clemson won a huge battle landing this guy over competitors like Alabama, Florida, and Florida State. Sterling said he wanted to be a Clemson Tiger over all of the rest and I'm sure Dabo Swinney is more than happy to have him on board. This guy is huge and wrecks absolute havoc up the middle at 6-5, 281. This is another case where all the biggest schools down south saw something in him that apparently the recruiting boards did not. I can't believe this guy is a 3-star, it is no wonder Clemson always has good defensive lines if this is the type of "3 star" defensive linemen they get.
J.W. Ketchum III - ATH (QB) - Baylor - 413th overall, #30 ATH
Ketchum is one of the top athletes coming out of the Houston area which has always produced pretty athletic guys including legendary Texas QB Vince Young. The main thing that knocks down Ketchum is the fact that he wants to play QB but is right under 6 feet tall. His ridiculous speed and athleticism and instincts I believe make up for being slightly undersized, kind of like Kyler Murray, but without all of the 43-0 hype coming out of Allen. The question is can Ketchum beat out Jarrett Stidham or Seth Russell for the QB spot at Baylor? Will Briles eventually convince him to make a position change to be of use at somewhere else in that high octane Baylor offensive system if he can't grab the starting QB spot? This kid has lots of potential and worth watching out for down in Waco, TX.
Kavontae Turpin - WR - TCU - 850th overall, #107 WR
I have seen this kid make some ridiculous plays I didn't even know were possible. He can burst through the tiniest of seams for a huge touchdown. He is undersized at 5-9, 165, but that is kinda what this kid is all about, being the little guy that the defense can hardly see until he is already past them running for 50+ yards towards the endzone. With a weapon like this, that dangerous TCU offense can only get scarier for the rest of the country and the Big 12.
Donta Thompson - WR - Texas Tech - 1390th overall, #161 WR
After watching this kid live in the 5A State Championship, I honestly can't believe how under-recruited and underrated this kid is. He is 6-5, 205, has made huge game winning plays at nearly the highest level of high school competition, and yet his best offer came from Texas Tech. How this kid is so under the radar blows my mind. If you don't think this kid is ready for the next level, you should see how easily he makes what should be much harder plays look in the biggest of situations. He is #11 in this next clip making the game winning catch, break tackle, and run at the end. Tell me that kind of athlete shouldn't be ranked higher.
- WindyCity iGGY likes this