Category archive: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Be a hero.

Those three words are among the most repeated in the coaching lexicon. And while they are directed at everyone on the team, sometimes the person who steps up to become that hero is the person you least expect.

"The MVP trophies are always going to the guys who have the big stats and the big names," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said earlier this fall. "But in the locker room, everyone knows who the real hero is. A lot of times it's a guy who never even gets mentioned by the public or the media. It's the guy who makes the plays no one in the stands even notices, but everyone who plays with him and against with him knows exactly what he did.

"Those are the guys," Saban added, with emphasis, "that ultimately determine who wins or loses the game."

October is when those guys start to step up. When the meat of conference play begins, as it does this weekend, and nearly every big team faces a "Wipeout"-like obstacle course of opponents.

Who are the unsung impact players upon whom so many of those games might hinge? Here's our list of college football's top-five "unknown" players who could make a major impact in their teams' key upcoming games.