Every season, there are certainly many productive college football players who fly under the radar nationally. Those players are often overlooked by many fans as well as the national media. Shedding light on these underrated players is a great privilege. Below is this year’s list of the ten most underrated college football players.
Underrated college football players
Essang Bassey – Cornerback – Wake Forest – Senior
Essang Bassey clearly deserves to be on the most underrated college football players list. Certainly, diehard ACC fans know who Bassey is as he has been terrorizing their wide receivers the last couple of seasons. In fact, he has broken up 34 passes during his career, with 31 coming the last two years. Additionally, he has picked off four passes while forcing a fumble and recovering two. Bassey has tallied 168 tackles with 10 of those for loss and also has a sack to his credit. He has proven to be one of the top cover corners in college football, hands down. Look for a big senior season from Essang Bassey in 2019.
Reed Blankenship – Safety – MTSU – Junior
The massively underrated Reed Blankenship is a no-brainer for the most underrated college football players list. Blankenship earned First Team All-C-USA honors last season while garnering Honorable Mention All-C-USA honors as a freshman. However, most people, outside of some analysts, have no idea who this guy is, which is a travesty. Blankenship has already accumulated 175 tackles, 15 tackles for loss with two sacks so far in his career. Additionally, he has picked off six passes, one of which he returned for a touchdown last season. Remember, MTSU produced NFL All-Pro safety Kevin Byard recently. Reed Blankenship hopes to follow in those footsteps.
Spencer Brown – Running Back – UAB – Junior
Spencer Brown enters his junior season with the third most rushing yards of any active player. In fact, only Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin and AJ Dillon of Boston College are ahead of him. Additionally, his 2,556 rushing yards is only 261 yards short of UAB’s all-time rushing record. Brown has scored 27 total touchdowns during his career as well. Last season, he received First Team All-C-USA honors after rushing for 1,227 yards and a school record 16 touchdowns. The six foot 220 pound back is ready to have a big junior campaign in which he hopes to become a national name. Meanwhile, he is a perfect fit on the list of the most underrated college football players.
Cooper Edmiston – Linebacker – Tulsa – Senior
Cooper Edmiston, the six-foot-three-inch linebacker from Gatesville, Texas is next up on the most underrated college football players list. Clearly, Edmiston has been a highly productive player for Tulsa for the last two years. During his career, he has registered 237 tackles, with all but 18 coming in 2017 and 2018. Also, he has tallied 9.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions, one pass breakup, along with three quarterback hurries. Additionally, Edmiston has recovered five fumbles, while forcing three and has also blocked a kick. Due to Tulsa’s struggles on the field in the AAC, Edmiston has gone largely unnoticed. He hopes to change that in 2019.
Mason Fine – Quarterback – North Texas – Senior
Mason Fine leads all active quarterbacks in passing yardage with 9,417 so far in his career. That is also enough to be the all-time leading passer in North Texas history. Additionally, his 64 passing touchdowns are second in school history while his 139.74 passer efficiency rating is first. Last season, he racked up 3,793 yards along with 27 touchdowns and only five interceptions. In high school, Fine set Oklahoma state records for passing yards (13,081) along with touchdown passes (166). Also, he is the only player to be named Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year twice. Certainly, the tremendous high school production has carried over to college, although most still do not know about him. The five-foot 11-inch Fine plays bigger than his size and is still one of the most underrated college football players.
Joe Gaziano – Defensive End – Northwestern – Senior
If you have not heard of Joe Gaziano by now, you clearly have been missing out. The Massachusetts native ranks second among all Big Ten players with 16.5 sacks over the past two years. Gaziano has 21 total for his career from his defensive end position. Additionally, he has picked up 104 tackles along with 31.5 tackles for loss during his time in Evanston. Making Gaziano more impressive is that he has deflected 10 passes while forcing seven fumbles and recovering two as well. The majority of that production has come in the last two seasons. Expect Gaziano to have a monster 2019 for the Wildcats and finally get the national recognition he deserves.
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Jeff Gladney – Cornerback – TCU – Senior
Jeff Gladney certainly deserves to be on the most underrated college football players list without a doubt. Many cornerbacks are overlooked in the Big 12 due to the proficiency and effectiveness of the passing offenses. However, Gladney is a lockdown corner. In fact, Pro Football Focus rated him number one in the Big 12 in lowest passer rating allowed (46.9) with a minimum of 200 coverage snaps in 2018. Additionally, he ranked number one in the conference by only surrendering a reception every 16.5 coverage snaps. Gladney has 115 tackles in his career with 4.5 of those for loss as well as a sack. He also has four interceptions along with 28 pass deflections with a forced fumble. Clearly, he is a force to be reckoned with who will have a huge senior year.
D’Eriq King – Quarterback – Houston – Senior
D’Eriq King is a tremendous quarterback who happens to be an incredible athlete. He missed the last 2.5 games of the season in 2018 and Houston faltered down the stretch without him. King has put up amazing numbers completing 311 of 487 passes for 4,262 yards along with 44 touchdowns and only eight interceptions so far. Additionally, he has rushed for 1,109 yards with 22 touchdowns and has 59 receptions for 504 yards with three touchdowns during his career. King even has 289 return yards with a touchdown registered while at Houston. Last season, he set the AAC’s touchdown responsible for in a season record with 50. Look for King to put up huge numbers in 2019 under new coach Dana Holgorsen.
James Proche – Wide Receiver – SMU – Senior
SMU has produced several electric wide receivers in recent years including Courtland Sutton, Trey Quinn, Emmanuel Sanders, and Aldrick Robinson. Next in line is James Proche, who is every bit as good as those others. In fact, Proche is the active leader in receiving yards with 2,724 for his career. Additionally, he ranks second among active players with 190 catches. Proche has scored 24 receiving touchdowns while on campus as well. He has been used in the return game at times, accumulating 817 return yards. Despite all of that, he is still one of the most underrated college football players in America.
Kyahva Tezino – Linebacker – San Diego State – Senior
The explosive Kyahva Tezino demands your attention coming off of a stellar junior campaign for the Aztecs. In 13 games, Tezino put up 127 tackles with 14.5 tackles for loss as well as 8.5 sacks. He also deflected two passes for the season. Tezino earned First-Team All-MWC honors after his brilliant season last year. Expect him to continue to thrive this season. Certainly, he hopes to become a national name, but for now, he is one of the most underrated college football players in the country.
There you have it, the ten most underrated college football players in 2019. Below are five more players who were considered for this list. Keep checking back with FPC-College for plenty more college football content as we get ready for the season to kick off in late August.
Others considered: Kennedy Brooks – Running Back – Oklahoma, Javon Hagan – Safety – Ohio, Ronnie Rivers – Running Back – Fresno State, Evan Weaver – Linebacker – California, David Woodward – Linebacker – Utah State
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