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.
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.