These 10 Guys Are the Best Kept Secrets in College Football
These 10 Guys Are the Best Kept Secrets in College Football
Throughout college football there are players who quietly put up massive numbers and lead the country -- or are among the leaders -- in the statistical categories that measure the success of their position. These guys aren't necessarily on teams that play often on television or among those pushing for a BCS bowl bid at the end of the season. They aren't Teddy Bridgewater, or Johnny Manziel, or Brett Hundley, or Bishop Sankey.
They are however, just as talented as their peers, and in many cases end up having just as much, if not more at the NFL level when the time comes for them to make a move. Most of these guys won't be first-round draft picks or be the object of affection from NFL scouts and talent evaluators, but for those who have a keen eye they'll be impact guys on Sundays.
The most obvious of this bunch is always the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, the skill players that have measurable metrics against their peers. There are defensive players also who may not be as obvious, but are still having a big impact on the success of their teams from one Saturday to the next.
These 10 guys are some of the best kept secrets in college football. You may occasionally catch them on television, but chances are, they're playing some of the best football in the country out of sight and out of mind. Check em out!
DAVID FLUELLEN - SENIOR RB - TOLEDO
Toldeo Rockets senior running back David Fluellen has posted an impressive 846 yards and nine touchdowns over nine games, averaging 141 yards per contest. At 6'0", 215 pounds Fluellen is a bruising back with a frame that suggests he could pack on even more pounds over time and become an NFL grinder, a workhorse which is now so coveted by pro teams due to their rarity.
The Rockets star posted 1,498 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012 and should easily eclipse these numbers in 2013, leading him to be projected as a mid-to-late round steal for a team willing to take a slight risk in the 2014 NFL Draft.
JACE AMARO - JUNIOR TE - TEXAS TECH
Texas Tech junior tight end Jace Amaro has emerged as the country's top tight end receiving threat -- by far -- and is in fact among the country's top wideouts overall. At 6'6", 260, Amaro is a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. His speed equals that of larger receivers and his height makes him an impossible cover for average-sized linebackers and smaller guys in the secondary.
In fact, Amaro's receiving numbers in terms of average yardage per game and total yardage place him among the top 20-25 wideouts in the country, earning him some early comparisons to other former productive Big 12 tight ends like Martellus Bennett, Jermichael Finley and David Thomas. It would surprise few to see Amaro taken as one of the first, if not the first, tight ends of the 2015 NFL Draft.
TYLER MATAKEVICH - SOPHOMORE LB - TEMPLE
Temple Owls sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich is a football player's football player. He's a bit of a throwback with a gigantic skill set. Matakevich leads the country in solo tackles with a whopping 65 through six games of the 2013 season, with the next closest being San Jose State linebacker Keith Smith who has tallied only 45.
At 13.67 tackles per game, Matakevich is third in the country in average and second in total tackles in the country, again to Smith, with 82. The 6'1", 220 pound 2012 Big East Conference Rookie of the Year and 2012 Big East First Team All-Conference performer is catching the eye of college football followers across the country and has an exceedingly bright future ahead of him.
TY MONTGOMERY - JUNIOR KR/WR - STANFORD
If there's one word to describe Stanford junior kick returner/wideout Ty Montgomery, it's explosive. Montgomery leads the nation in kick return yardage (596), yards per return (37.25) and kick return yardage per game (99.3) making him the most feared special weapon at any team's disposal in the highly-competitive Pac-12.
The 6'2", 215 pound Dallas, Texas native has also tallied 514 yards receiving and five touchdowns on the season, and along with his rushing yardage, has posted 1,179 yards of total offense through 6 games. Had Stanford not lost suprisingly to Utah, Montgomery could have begun to be a part of the Heisman Trophy conversation, but is still regardless a sure-fire first-team All American whose stock is skyrocketing for the 2015 NFL Draft.
SHAQUIL BARRETT - SENIOR LB - COLORADO STATE
Colorado State senior linebacker Shaquil Barrett may be the best defensive player that few know about. At 6'2", 250 Barrett is a powerful LB who could even project as a defensive lineman at the next level given his massive frame. Barrett is third in the country in sacks through six games (6.5) and first in tackles for loss (12.5), both of which have contributed to his 42 total tackles.
SHANE CARDEN - JUNIOR QB - EAST CAROLINA
While some occasionally knock his lack of consistency, there's little doubt that East Carolina Pirates junior QB Shane Carden is one of the more intriguing prospects in college football. The 6'2", 218 pound Houston native has the best completion percentage in the country (7.36) through six games and has thrown for 2,017 yards and 13 touchdowns. Carden is fifth in the country in average yardage per contest (336.2) and has been a two-time Conference USA Player of the Week so far in 2013.
With a little bit of polish, Carden will continue to be rated among the top quarterback prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft and his stock promises to skyrocket.
ANTONIO ANDREWS - SENIOR RB - WESTERN KENTUCKY
Antonio Andrews may be the best running back in America. The Western Kentucky senior has 884 yards and nine touchdowns through six games, averaging an obscene 147 yards per contest. Andrews is second nationally in rushing yardage behind Washington star Bishop Sankey, but leads the country in all-purpose yardage.
Andrews' 3,161 yards of all-purpose offense in 2012 was good for second all-time in a single season behind college football and NFL legend Barry Sanders. In short, Antonio Andrews is a rising star, one certain to make an immediate impact on Sundays in the fall of 2014 for a lucky NFL team.
SEAN MANNION - JUNIOR QB - OREGON STATE
After a shaky 2012, Oregon State junior QB Sean Mannion has exploded onto the scene in 2013, leading the country in total passing yardage, touchdowns and passing yardage per contest. Mannion has thrown for 2,511 yards and 25 touchdowns through six games versus only three interceptions and has posted an impressive 67.1% completion percentage. It certainly doesn't hurt to have arguably the country's best wideout in Brandin Cooks as a target, but there's no questioning Mannion's improvement.
His lights-out QB rating of 166.59 is augmented by an average of 418.5 yards per game through the air, all numbers that are helping him rapidly improve his position in preparation for the 2015 NFL Draft.
JAMISON CROWDER - JUNIOR PR/WR - DUKE
The absolutely explosive Duke Blue Devils junior punt returner & wideout Jamison Crowder may be the nation's most exciting player. When the ball is in Crowder's hands, you never know what excitement will follow. Crowder is far and away the nation's best punt returner, totalling 297 yards on returns good for an average of 49.5 yards per game.
Crowder has returned two punts to the house for touchdowns and also leads the Blue Devils with 618 yards receiving and two touchdowns as the team's No. 1 overall wideout. If NFL scouts are looking for a pure athlete who can make an impact in a variety of ways, Jamison Crowder is that guy.
WILLIE SNEAD - JUNIOR WR - BALL STATE
Perhaps the most surprising wide receiver in college football is Ball State Cardinals junior Willie Snead. Snead has posted 867 yards and seven touchdowns already through seven games, and has paired with emerging quarterbak prospect Keith Wenning to make for one of the more intriguing pass-catch combinations in all of college football.
Snead is second in the country in total yardage and fifth in yards per game with the entirety of 2013 and 2014 left to prove just how much more he can improve. While Snead may benefit greatly from Wenning, and 2014 will be a different test for him, there's little doubt he will establish himself as a deep round prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft.