The 2017 recruiting class saw quite a few freshman step up as contributors. Some prospects were predicted to come in and give their teams a boost, but some were surprises.
Here is a look at some of the surprising stars that came from the 2017 class.
RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
It shouldn't be too surprising that Wisconsin found a star from one of its running back recruits, given that the Badgers have had so much success at the position. But Taylor wasn't very highly sought after, with offers from Wisconsin, Rutgers, Boston College and Temple, among a few others.
All he did his first year in Madison was run for 1,977 yards, the third-most rushing yards by any FBS player. His mark trailed only Stanford's Bryce Love and San Diego State's Rashaad Penny. The Badgers are returning all five starting offensive linemen next season and 10 total starters on offense. That should equate to another big season from Taylor and could mean even more rushing yards as a sophomore.
RB AJ Dillon, Boston College
Dillon was a three-star recruit out of high school, the No. 38 running back in the country. He was originally committed to Michigan but decommitted after Michigan mentioned a potential position change to linebacker, signing with Boston College instead. The Eagles kept Dillon at running back and saw him run for 1,589 yards, which was good for fifth among FBS running backs. If he can improve on that performance in his second season, Dillon could start to become more of a national name.
LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
Murray wasn't the star of the Oklahoma recruiting class, but the Oklahoma coaches thought the Texas linebacker was a steal. The three-star enrolled early and showed potential from the moment he hit campus, which translated to the field this season. Murray recorded 78 total tackles, 7.5 for a loss. He was named co-Big 12 defensive freshman of the year and was awarded All-Big 12 honorable mention. With a few linebackers departing for the NFL and graduating, Murray and fellow linebacker Caleb Kelly could be relied upon even more next season.
It wouldn't be fair to include one and not the other because both Schooler and Fields had surprisingly outstanding seasons. Schooler was the 109th-ranked outside linebacker, and Fields was No. 33 at the position. They combined for 179 total tackles, with Fields leading the team with 91. Schooler had two interceptions and four sacks while Fields had four sacks to go with one interception. Quarterback Khalil Tate might have stolen the show in Tucson this past season with his performance, but Schooler and Fields are two names people should know for next season.
DB Josiah Scott, Michigan State
The Spartans are known for mining underrated defensive back prospects and turning them into stars, but those stars don't usually start as freshmen. Scott started 11 games this season, missing one because of an injury, the most starts by a true freshman under head coach Mark Dantonio. Scott led the team with nine pass breakups to go with two interceptions and was a big part of the defense's turnaround. Dantonio's success with defensive backs, and Scott's accelerated learning curve, could make Scott a star for the Spartans.
DB T.J. Carter, Memphis
Carter was the American Athletic Conference rookie of the year after starting all 13 games for Memphis. The Tennessee native was a three-star out of high school, playing both running back and defensive back before getting to college. He tallied five interceptions with two fumble recoveries and 69 total tackles this past season. Carter became a star on the Memphis defense and has a chance to improve on his stellar first season.