Dallas Colleges: under the radar 2013

Under the radar: Baylor

July, 26, 2013
7/26/13
10:00
AM CT
Far too often a player enters the season with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, players who are coming in under the radar. We'll start a new series today looking at those guys who should get more respect and attention than they have this offseason.

Next up: Baylor

Under the radar: RB Glasco Martin

Everybody wants to talk about the defensive improvement at Baylor, or whether or not Bryce Petty will be the next in a long line of great quarterbacks under coach Art Briles.

Lache Seastrunk speaks for himself. Loudly and confidently, I might add. However, it's his position mate who flies well under the radar across the conference and is perhaps even underrated by Baylor fans. Martin is just as important to Baylor's offense and its hopes for a Big 12 title in 2013. Seastrunk has the flash and the well-deserved hype after a crazy finish to the 2012 season, but Martin is the other half of the backfield and an absolute hammer in short yardage.

He's more than capable of starting for at least half of the Big 12 teams, coming off an 889-yard season on just 179 carries and an eye-popping 15 touchdowns. That was the second-most in Baylor history. Last season was the first time the Bears really gave him much responsibility, and he answered. For as much attention as Baylor's high-flying offense attracts, the Bears actually ran the ball more often than they threw it last season, and the basis of the offense is a power running game built on physicality at the line of scrimmage. Jay Finley had it. Then Terrance Ganaway had it. This season, Martin brings the thundering boom to Seastrunk's flash of lightning, giving Baylor the best 1-2 punch at running back in the Big 12.

When Baylor gets in short-yardage situations, Martin is the man it will call on. He's tough to bring down at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, and runs as angry as any back in the Big 12. Baylor will ask him to earn the toughest yards on the field, and he's more than capable of getting them.

Under the radar: Oklahoma Sooners

July, 3, 2013
7/03/13
1:20
PM CT
Far too often, players enter the season with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. We'll continue our series today looking at those guys who should get more respect and attention than they have this offseason.

Next up: Oklahoma.

Under the radar: RB Damien Williams

Oklahoma fans need no warning about Williams' skills (and Texas fans might not either), but Williams is criminally under the radar on a conference-wide scale. All the talk this preseason is about Baylor's Lache Seastrunk and James Sims and John Hubert, a pair of experienced backs in the Sunflower State. Even Texas' trio of backs in Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron have earned more ink than Williams.

Last season, the juco transfer didn't take long to make an impact, sealing a win over UTEP with a 65-yard touchdown run. People forget two huge things about Williams:
  • Last year was his first season playing FBS football
  • He was 68 yards away from being the Big 12's leading returning rusher

The pieces are in place for Williams to have a huge year and even lead the Big 12 in rushing. Despite his inexperience, he clearly won the starting job ahead of Brennan Clay and the flashy Roy Finch, showing great vision in tight spots and earning a little bit of NFL buzz along the way.

The 6-foot, 208-pounder has deceptive speed but runs hard and low to the ground. It's easy to see why the Sooners signed him and as a senior, great things could be in store. Despite a limited number of carries, he topped 90 yards in six games last season, averaging 5.38 yards a touch. By the end of the season, it was clear Williams was the featured back, and he'll get a chance to have the production to match this fall.

Under the radar: Oklahoma State Cowboys

July, 1, 2013
7/01/13
11:00
AM CT
Far too often, players enter the season with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. We'll continue our series today looking at those guys who should get more respect and attention than they have this offseason.

Next up: Oklahoma State.

Under the radar: LB Caleb Lavey

Not many third-year starters could qualify for being under the radar, but in this case, it's absolutely true for the Cowboys' experienced star at middle linebacker. Outside linebacker Shaun Lewis is the group's headliner, but Lavey's been an above average starter in each of the past two seasons and gets unfairly overshadowed at times.

The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder has started all 26 games the past two seasons and made 47 solo tackles among his 53 stops last season. He also equaled Lewis' 7.5 tackles for loss. Lavey doesn't have eye-popping athleticism and doesn't quite have the penchant for big plays that Lewis has had the past couple of seasons, but there's something to be said for knowing that you have a quality starter in the middle of your defense, and the All-Academic Big 12 performer in the classroom has the brains to help get teammates situated if necessary, too.

In Oklahoma State's two marquee games last season -- Oklahoma and Texas -- Lavey had 19 tackles and made 4.5 of his 7.5 tackles for loss on the season. That's the kind of player you love to have, even if he sometimes runs short on accolades for his efforts.

Under the radar: Texas Longhorns

June, 28, 2013
6/28/13
5:15
PM CT
Far too often, players enter the season with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. We'll continue our series today looking at those guys who should get more respect and attention than they have this offseason.

Next up: Texas.

Under the radar: LB Peter Jinkens

Jinkens was one of a handful of hyped recruits that headed to Austin in the 2012 class, signing with the Longhorns as the nation's No. 5 overall linebacker and the No. 57 overall recruit. The Dallas native (and No. 7 player in Texas) showed almost immediately why scouts loved him so much, proving he was ready to contribute. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder plays bigger than his size, but still has the speed you'd expect from a player with his frame.

Through nine games, Jinkens had just two tackles, but moved into a starting role against Iowa State and helped the Longhorns defense dominate, giving up just seven points. Jinkens made eight tackles, and over the next four games, showed promise that has anyone who saw it excited to see what he has in store for future seasons. He logged three tackles for loss and a sack against Kansas State, but had one of his best games against Oregon State, making nine tackles and intercepting a pass.

Texas is probably the only place in the Big 12 where a recruit in the top five at his position can be under the radar, but most of the Big 12 is blissfully unaware of Jinkens. Next season, offensive coordinators across the Big 12 will be aware. Jinkens' talent demands it.

Under the radar: TCU Horned Frogs

June, 28, 2013
6/28/13
3:15
PM CT
Far too often, players enter the season with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. We'll continue our series looking at those guys who should get more respect and attention than they have this offseason.

Next up: TCU.

More under the radar players.

Under the radar: DT Chucky Hunter

The Big 12 has had a major lack of elite talent at the defensive tackle spot since Ndamukong Suh back in 2009. The position goes underrecruited because having lots of pass-rushers and defensive backs is so crucial to fielding a good defense in the Big 12, and in part because Texas doesn't have the kind of quality that states like Mississippi and Louisiana have at the position.

Now, though, having a big 300-plus pounder who can collapse the pocket is a huge asset that very, very few Big 12 teams have. Oklahoma State's got one in Calvin Barnett, and Texas has some young talents at the position, but Hunter really broke out as a sophomore last season. With Devonte Fields out for TCU's opener against LSU, Hunter will be the man to watch on the defensive line for the Frogs, and he'll get a big test with the Tigers' beef on the offensive line at Cowboys Stadium.

The nature of offenses in the Big 12 prevents defensive tackles from putting up huge numbers, so take Hunter's 36 tackles, six tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks with a grain of salt. He's got a much bigger impact than that, freeing up linebackers to make plays and helping Fields and Stansly Maponga stay free last season. He made 3.5 of his tackles for loss in TCU's final four games, and don't be surprised if he raises his profile around the league (and, perhaps, the country) even further as a junior in 2013.

Under the radar: Texas Tech Red Raiders

June, 26, 2013
6/26/13
11:52
AM CT
Far too often, players enter the season with a profile that doesn't quite match his worth to the team.

In other words, they're coming in under the radar. We'll start a new series today looking at those guys who should get more respect and attention than they have this offseason.

Next up: Texas Tech.

Under the radar: DE Dartwan Bush

Bush is sadly overshadowed on his own team by Kerry Hyder, who could have a case as the Big 12's best pass-rusher by season's end, but Bush quietly put together a huge 2012 season and returns in 2013 with almost zero profile across the Big 12.

Bigger names like Jackson Jeffcoat, Devonte Fields and, yes, Hyder, have overshadowed him, but Bush broke out with 12 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2012. Only Fields and Hyder have more tackles for loss among returning defenders in the Big 12. He tied Hyder's sack total and only Fields and Baylor's Chris McAllister had more in 2012 among returning players.

He's an invaluable part of Tech's defense, which will undergo some adjustments in a new coaching staff and defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt, but it's entirely possible that Bush leads the Big 12 in both categories this season. If you made that case, though, the most common response would likely be: Who? It's too bad, because Bush is a talent worth watching. He took over the starting spot midway through 2011, but what I liked most about his 2012 campaign was four of his sacks came in conference play. Fields won the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year trophy and he had 4.5 sacks in Big 12 play.

Keep an eye on Bush this time around.

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