This particular post will be about football players who were not highly recruited out of high school and attended a smaller college as a result. These players are usually undersized and hit a growth spurt in college or simply go unrecognized by scouts from the bigger colleges. They often dominate their competition at the lower level, which is a good indicator they will succeed at the next level. The most recent player that really stood out was Khalil Mack who played at the University of Buffalo. When UB played Ohio State he was undoubtedly the best player on both teams. Ohio State went on to have one of the most talented teams in recent years with many of those players also succeeding in the NFL. In this, I will try to pinpoint who the next great player from a small school could be.
Haason Reddick – Temple
Reddick played mostly defensive end in college, but due to his small size, NFL teams want him to play linebacker. At the Senior Bowl in Alabama, he played linebacker and made some big plays at that position. He also has the versatility to get to the quarterback as he showed in college when he amassed nearly 10 sacks last season. He also had 3 takeaways, that is a solid amount for any defensive lineman. Reddick is only 6’1″ 237 lbs. so his best position is at linebacker, but he could also play defensive end on passing downs if he continues to add size and strength. He has a knack for making plays in the backfield.
Gerald Everett – South Alabama
Another slightly undersized player from a small school, you can see the trend. Everett plays tight end but is more a pass catcher than a blocker. This particular draft class is known to be loaded at his position. Over the past two years at South Alabama, he amassed 12 touchdowns, 90 catches, and well over 1,000 yards. Those are some serious stats for a tight end in the Sun Belt conference. He did not back down from the competition when playing SEC teams and even caught a touchdown against Mississippi State.
Forrest Lamp – Western Kentucky
Forrest Lamp is a great offensive lineman who could play either tackle or guard. He is a very polished blocker and would be an asset to any NFL team. You simply cannot have enough lineman or cornerbacks in the NFL these days. There are 5 offensive line starters, that is more than any other position. Forrest Lamp is a mauler and he proved he could do just that against higher level competition at the Senior Bowl. He should certainly be a first round pick in a draft that is weak on the offensive line.