College Football’s Most Underrated Players

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Joe Broback

Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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If you’re underrated, you automatically have a chip on your shoulder. When people overlook your accomplishments, the label of underrated takes on a personal meaning. There are players in college football who are underrated for reasons ranging from their size to the conference they reside. We take a look at the most underrated college football players in the country, and tell you why you need to pay attention.

QB D’Eriq King, Houston

He’s the definition of underrated. All he did last year was account for 50 touchdowns, one of three players in college football to do so last season. What does that get you? Second place in Conference Player of the Year and no Heisman love. King’s one of college football’s most electric players, and it’s time he gets the respect he deserves.

RB JJ Taylor, Arizona

Undersized (5’6″, 185 pounds) but never overmatched. Taylor rushed for over 1,400 yards last year, and he was just a sophomore. His quarterback, Khalil Tate, receives a ton of attention, but Taylor’s an explosive option out of the backfield. He’s also not afraid to lay into a defender, so don’t take him lightly.

CB Kindle Vildor, Georgia Southern

When we’re watching the 2020 NFL Draft, Vildor’s name will sky rocket up draft boards. He’s proved against any level of competition that he’s elite, and he’ll be making a lot of money by this time next year. It’s just going to take time for analysts and experts to notice him.

QB Charlie Brewer, Baylor

There’s a lot to love about Brewer’s game, but he gets overshadowed in the Big 12. He can make any throw on the field, and also has some wheels to get out of trouble. If he can fine tune his decision making and accuracy, he’ll be an elite quarterback. He’s already played 21 games in his college career, so his stock is rising.

RB Patrick Taylor, Memphis

Darrell Henderson received most of the love last year for his production. What most people forget is that Taylor rushed for 1,122 and 16 touchdowns as the backup. Now, the 6’3″, 223 pound back gets his chance to run the show. Don’t be surprised if he puts up even bigger numbers than Henderson.

WR James Proche, SMU

Arguably the best receiver in the AAC, Proche doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. After being the third option behind Courtland Sutton and Trey Quinn two years ago, Proche proved he has top receiver talent. If SMU can make a run in the conference, he’ll get noticed more. NFL teams will like his game as well.

LB Markus Bailey, Purdue

All he’s done in his 38 games is produce 310 tackles (26.0 for loss), 13.5 sacks, and pick off six passes. Yet Bailey gets overlooked in a Big Ten Conference filled with talent at the position. He’s a leader for the Boilermakers, and draft analysts have already picked up on his game.

QB Jordan Love, Utah State

Grab some Jordan Love stock while it’s still low, because it’s already beginning to rise. Love’s frame and game give NFL scouts a ton to like, and last year put him on the map. After passing for 3,567 yards and 32 touchdowns, it’s going to be tough to convince him to stay another year.

LB Colin Schooler, Arizona

If you’re getting flashbacks of Scooby Wright, you’re not alone. Schooler’s not trying to be like Wright, but his numbers are certainly trying to do that. In his first two seasons with the Wildcats, he’s accounted for 215 tackles, 35.0 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and four interceptions. Arizona’s defensive struggles get talked about a lot, but Schooler is one of the good players on that side of the ball.

DE Carter Coughlin, Minnesota

In a conference that has Kenny Willekes and Chase Young, it’s tough to stand out. Coughlin continues to be ignored within his own conference, but is poised to have a big year. Adding to his 30.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks will send attention his way.

RB Cam Akers, Florida State

Akers appeared to be the next great Florida State running back after his freshman year, but his sophomore slump hit hard. Then again, the Seminoles as a team collectively took a step back. Still, he’s got the talent to eclipse 1,000 yards, and his team needs a big year from him.

QB Nathan Rourke, Ohio

Rourke, Ohio, and the MAC don’t get enough love. He’s produced 77 touchdowns the last two seasons, and is a huge reason the Bobcats have a great chance of winning the conference. If you need a reason to watch MAC football, Rourke’s your guy to watch.

LB Nate Evans, UCF

UCF’s defense wasn’t elite last year, but there are a couple guys who can play. Evans is one of them. The offense should continue it’s winning ways this season, and it comes down to how well the defense gets the ball back. Evans returns as the leader of that group, and the Knights are hoping he does even better in 2019.

DE Carlos Basham, Wake Forest

“Boogie” (his nickname) showed great potential last year. His athleticism jumps off the screen, and now it’s time for him to put together an elite season. He already produced 11 tackles for loss, but he’s capable of so much more. Arguably the most underrated and overlooked defensive player in the country.

RB Zack Moss, Utah

College football returns a ton of elite running backs this year, and Moss will get overlooked again. His team finds themselves as one of the favorites (new territory for them), but their star running back finds a familiar storyline. Injuries have kept him off the field for extended periods of time, but he’s a great back when healthy.

RB Juwan Washington, San Diego State

After Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny, I think there were many that expected a drop-off. Washington’s shown that’s not the case. His healthy becomes the main concern after his size (5’7″, 190), but he’s the next great Aztec back when he’s on the field.

S Innis Gaines, TCU

TCU doesn’t stay down for long, and their defense always gives them a chance. Gaines plays football without any fear, and it results in big hits and big plays. The Horned Frogs defense will be one of the best in the country this year, and Gaines is ready to take another step himself.

QB Zac Thomas, Appalachian State

No one thought the replacement of Taylor Lamb would be this good. Thomas has the potential to be even better than his predecessor. After contributing to 31 touchdowns in his first year as a starter, he’s ready to explode as a junior.

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