- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
The steady flow of preseason All-American and All-Conference teams is great news to college football fans as it augurs the start of the next season. And yet said teams are pretty darn predictable. The only debate is how much a team projects forward or rewards past performance.
But what about the guys who fall short when it comes to public acclaim, preseason or otherwise, the guys who do their jobs well but remain in obscurity, appreciated only by teammates and coaches? Ah, the lot of the underrated.
So we have our "All-Underrated" team. None of these guys were first- or second-team All-Pac-12 a year ago, and for the most part they aren't rating as preseason All-Conference players.
More than a few are going to change that by season's end. Others might not make a media ripple in college, but will eventually get paid to play on Sundays.
QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford: Our belief is the Hogan over the final three games of 2014 is the true Hogan. We also believe Hogan will raise more than a few NFL eyebrows this fall.
RB Thomas Tyner, Oregon: We like Royce Freeman as much as anyone, but don't forget how Tyner ran over and through the Florida State defense. He's a home-run threat with power. All he needs to do is stay healthy.
RB Tre Madden, USC: Speaking of staying healthy, Madden has missed two of the past three seasons with injuries. But don't forget, when healthy, he rushed for 583 yards the first five games of the 2013 season.
WR Gabe Marks, Washington State: For various reasons unrelated to injury, Marks took a redshirt last season, but he led the Cougars with 74 receptions for 807 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013.
WR Victor Bolden, Oregon State: The Beavers' leading receiver a year ago, he turned in his best work over the second half of the 2014 season. He should thrive in the Beavers' new spread offense.
WR Samajie Grant, Arizona: The Wildcats' second-leading receiver a year ago, Grant totaled 718 yards on 45 receptions with six TDs. His 16 yards per catch led the team.
OL Joe Dahl, Washington State: At left tackle, Dahl gave up only one sack last season. Don't be surprised if he ends up first-team All-Pac-12.
OL Vi Teofilo, Arizona State: Teofilo last week benched pressed 225 pounds 40 times. So, yeah, he's strong.
OL Conor McDermott, UCLA: Started the last seven games of the season at left tackle and played well.
OL Dexter Charles, Washington: Sure, his 2014 season had some issues, on and off the field, but he's a four-year starter and the only full-time returning starter on the Huskies' offensive line.
OL Siaosi Aiono, Utah: There are a lot of good centers in the Pac-12, but this three-year starter might be as good as any of them.
DL Tashon Smallwood, Arizona State: He's built like Will Sutton, and there's some expectation he might start to play like Sutton as a true sophomore.
DL Lowell Lotulelei, Utah: When he signed with Utah, some thought it was only about his last name. Nope. This sophomore can straight up play.
DL Derek McCartney, Colorado: He led the Buffaloes with 4.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman.
LB Jared Norris, Utah: Though lost in a strong field of linebackers last season, Norris is an All-Pac-12 candidate and good NFL prospect.
LB Blake Martinez, Stanford: He led the Pac-12's best defense with 102 tackles last season, but suffered the same fate as Norris.
LB Michael Barton, California: He put up nice numbers for a bad defense in 2014, and will be a key figure in what should be a vastly improved unit.
LB Viliami Moeakiola, Arizona State: He is the engine of a defense that should advance from rebuilding to strong this fall.
S Will Parks, Arizona: Officially a "Spur" linebacker, Parks operates as a hybrid strong safety who ranked second on the team in both tackles for a loss (13) and passes defensed (10).
S Reggie Daniels, Oregon: The Ducks' leading returning tackler and only returning starter in the secondary.