Seems evident: every college football fan comprehends that a program is built based on the under-the-radar guys who are lightly recruited or perhaps, not recruited at all. If your main YouTube clip isn't north of 40,000 views, that's fine. These five guys could still shake up fall Saturdays down the road.
Perhaps the best name in this year's recruiting class, Tjong-A-Tjoe has been playing football for just a year as part of a NFL Europe youth football program. (Yet, he was all-state this past season in Idaho.) Having lived overseas most of his life, his football IQ is surprisingly high on the field. At 6'3 and a shade over 300 pounds, college coaches are willing to bet that he can learn the game more and become a dominant DT. He's headed to Boise State (close to home) which should help his development.
Wilcox is from Bobby Stoops' backyard (Edmond, Oklahoma) but is headed to BYU instead (Oklahoma wasn't on his final three). He's one of the most exciting linemen entering the conference in 2009, possessing some of the best feet of any player in the trenches in the West. He pulls incredibly well and often blocks very far downfield on plays. On the line, he is nimble enough to keep up with smaller and faster defenders and he is big enough (6'7, 265) to match nearly any defensive end or defensive tackle.
Holding only one other offer from a BCS program, Pratt had an outstanding senior season for Palmyra (NJ) HS and had he not committed to the Scarlet Knights, his recruitment would have blown up. At 6' and 170 pounds, he projects in the secondary for Greg Schiano's program, but his versatility on offense (WR) and defense (CB) coupled with 4.5 speed in the 40 makes him an intriguing prospect.
McCall is considered a "tweener" by some standards (6'2, 200), but he can play outside linebacker and secondary. Baylor is in the process of building out their program under Art Briles in the uber-competitive (remember, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford are coming back) Big 12. McCall, who is praised as having a good nose for the ball, should be a positive addition to the Bears.
He could well be the shortest player on a junior varsity team, but the 5'7 Smith is big on the field, and will be taking his blazing speed to Happy Valley. (They'll like his versatility in the Spread HD.) Smith runs a 4.4 in the 40 and was the fastest player on the field last February at the Premier Showcase. Penn State is getting perhaps the most exciting player in the nation who has garnered the least number of headlines. Watch out for Smith…if the television cameras can keep up with him.