College Football

10 Most Underrated Offensive Recruits in Class of 2015

Sanjay KirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystAugust 18, 2014

10 Most Underrated Offensive Recruits in Class of 2015

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    Lawrence Cager is currently ranked as the nation's No. 50 WR, but after turning heads at The Opening, he's made a strong case to be billed as one of the most underrated weapons in the 2015 class.
    Lawrence Cager is currently ranked as the nation's No. 50 WR, but after turning heads at The Opening, he's made a strong case to be billed as one of the most underrated weapons in the 2015 class.Pic courtesy 247Sports

    The 2015 class is stacked with plenty of offensive weapons destined to help keep scoreboard operators busy for the foreseeable future.

    However, recruiting has never been proven to be an exact science.

    For example, none of the three quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft—Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater—were ranked as Top 100 recruits in the 2011 class.

    In particular, Bortles rose from a player tabbed as the No. 169 recruit in the state of Florida into the No. 3 overall pick of the Jaguars. 

    The 2015 class has its share of offensive standouts who carry a rating of 3-star or below.

    Which offensive players in the 2015 class are underrated and being overlooked by recruiting experts?

    *All players listed in alphabetical order. All recruiting info courtesy of 247Sports and all rankings courtesy of 247Sports Composite Rankings unless otherwise noted.

     

Jess Anders

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    Pic courtesy 247Sports

    From: Aledo, Texas (Aledo HS)

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 36 All-Purpose Running Back

    Last season, Aledo High School set a national record for the most points scored in a single season en route to a 16-0 record and a state title, as noted by Greg Riddle of The Dallas Morning News.

    One of the key cogs in the Bearcats' offensive explosion was running back Jess Anders, who accounted for 1,998 yards of total offense and 40 total touchdowns in 2013. 

    The 5’8”, 165-pounder averaged nearly 12 yards per touch.

    Despite his level of production, Anders—who checks in as the nation’s No. 36 all-purpose running back—only received offers from four schools: Colorado State, Southern Miss, Texas State and UT-San Antonio. He committed to the Roadrunners in April. 

    While his offer list and ranking may not reflect it, Anders is one of the nation’s most explosive playmakers with the ball in his hands.

     

Lawrence Cager

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    From: Towson, MD (Calvert Hall College HS)

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 50 Wide Receiver 

    July was a busy month for Lawrence Cager.

    The 6’5”, 202-pound receiver attended summer camps at Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Alabama and Ohio State. All of those schools ended up offering the Maryland native, who is currently ranked as the nation’s No. 50 wideout.

    The visit spree followed Cager’s strong showing at The Opening, as detailed by Josh Newberg of 247Sports.

    Judging by the recent surge of interest he’s generated, Cager—who hauled in 50 receptions for 580 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior—is a player whose ranking is poised to rise as signing day approaches.

Antonio Callaway

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    Pic courtesy 247Sports

    From: Miami, FL (Booker T. Washington HS)

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 112 Wide Receiver

    Miami’s Booker T. Washington High School is no stranger to producing big-time recruits.

    While Tornadoes running back Mark Walton is rated among the nation’s best at his position, wideout Antonio Callaway has just recently started to make waves with a strong showing on the summer camp circuit.

    The 5’11”, 175-pound Callaway is ranked as the 112th best wideout in the 2015 class. However, he’s racked up 12 offers—including one personally delivered from Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher after a standout performance at FSU’s camp, as noted by Ryan of 247Sports (subscription required). 

    With offers from powerhouses such as FSU, Miami, Florida and Georgia, expect Callaway’s name to keep buzzing heading towards national signing day.

Quinten Dormady

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    From: Boerne, Texas (Boerne HS)

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 13 Pro-Style Quarterback 

    Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers have put together one of 2015’s surprise classes. The Vols currently have the No. 9 class in the 247Sports Team Rankings

    While he isn’t the highest-rated pledge in the Vols’ group, 3-star Texas product Quinten Dormady may represent UT’s quarterback of the future.

    The 6’4”, 210-pound Dormady—who missed the entire 2013 season recovering from a torn labrum—picked the Vols over offers from schools such as Alabama, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. 

    The injury may have caused him to fly under the radar, but as Barton Simmons of 247Sports (via Ryan Callahan of GoVols) points out, Dormady has the physical tools necessary to be an elite talent.

    “He can make every throw on the field, and if he had played his junior year, I have no doubt that he would have been one of the real big names in this recruiting cycle from the start,” Simmons said.

    While Dormady doesn’t have the buzz of passers such as Josh Rosen and Ricky Town, he’s a player who possesses the same type of upside as both of those 5-star signal-callers.

     

Cody Ford

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    Pic courtesy 247Sports

    From: Pineville, LA (Pineville HS)

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 57 Offensive Tackle

    Louisiana has traditionally been a breeding ground for sleeper recruits such as Morris Claiborne and Matt Forte.

    Oklahoma may have found another gem from the Pelican State with its most recent pledge Cody Ford—a mammoth offensive lineman who was committed to TCU.

    As Joey Helmer of OUInsider detailed (subscription required) recently, Ford’s head coach at Pineville High School—Robbie Martin—offered high praise for his star pupil.

    Yeah, he moves extremely well for someone his size. And as he continues to develop upper body strength, the sky’s the limit for him. You know, he’s got that good footwork, good quickness. He’s big and he plays—like I said, he plays nasty with aggressiveness, and I think he’ll be a good pickup for OU.

    At 6’4”, 320 pounds, Ford is a versatile and athletic specimen capable of playing either guard or tackle at the next level. Currently rated as the nation’s 57th best offensive tackle, Ford’s skill set and size suggests that his current rating is vastly undervaluing his enormous potential.

De'Andre Johnson

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    From: Jacksonville, FL (First Coast HS) 

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 10 Dual-Threat Quarterback 

    In July of 2012, 3-star Jacksonville dual-threat quarterback De’Andre Johnson became Florida State’s second commitment in its 2015 class.

    Two years later, Johnson is one of three field generals who have committed to play for Jimbo Fisher in Tallahassee. 

    Following the commitments of 4-star passers Deondre Francois and Kai Locksley on July 31, the 6’0”, 175-pound Johnson has become somewhat of a forgotten man among FSU’s star-studded class. 

    This is the case even though Johnson has starred at First Coast High School since his freshman season, completing more than 60 percent of his passes while throwing for 7,875 yards and 75 touchdowns over the last three seasons, according to MaxPreps.

    Those sterling on-field credentials are part of what makes Johnson the most underappreciated member of the nation’s No. 6 class.

Kyle Oliver

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    Pic courtesy 247Sports

    From: Murfreesboro, TN (Oakland HS) 

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 18 Tight End

    After playing wide receiver for the last two seasons, Kyle Oliver is a newcomer to the tight end position.

    However, at 6’5”, 228 pounds, Oliver has the physical tools necessary to grow into the type of pass-catching tight end that is causing fits for defensive coordinators in the college and pro ranks.

    Oliver—who committed to home-state power Tennessee in June—was recently compared to former 3-star recruit and recent first-round draft choice Eric Ebron by Simmons.

    Considering that he has that type of potential, it’s hard to envision 17 tight ends who project more favorably to the college level than Oliver.

     

Bryce Perkins

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    Pic courtesy 247Sports

    From: Chandler, AZ (Chandler HS)

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 20 Dual-Threat Quarterback

    Arizona State has put together a solid class, with 4-star quarterback Brady White serving as the headliner for Todd Graham’s 2015 group.

    However, in-state 3-star passer Bryce Perkins is a player who has the chance to become a special player in Graham’s uptempo system.

    The 6’2”, 200-pound triggerman for Chandler High School—who ranks as the nation’s No. 20 dual-threat quarterback—completed nearly 73 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,250 yards and 25 touchdowns in his first season as a starter. He also added another 808 yards and 18 scores on the ground.

    Those numbers are comparable to former Chandler product and current UCLA standout Brett Hundley’s senior season on the prep level. As JC Shurburtt of 247Sports notes, even if things don’t work out for him at quarterback, Perkins possesses NFL-type potential if he switches to receiver.

    With that type of athleticism and his ability to play other positions in college, Perkins is an intriguing talent whose stature should continue to rise during his senior season.

Tyree St. Louis

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    Pic courtesy Tyree St. Louis

    From: Bradenton, FL (IMG Academy) 

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 36 Offensive Tackle

    Considering he didn’t play football until he entered the ninth grade, Tyree St. Louis has come a long way in the last three years.

    While he began his foray into football with a solid frame, he’s taken his lumps and now worked himself into an offensive tackle prospect with more than 20 offers.

    The 6’6”, 300-pounder committed to Miami last month over offers from Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina, among others.

    Currently rated as the No. 36 tackle in the country, St. Louis is an intriguing lineman whose athleticism and physical tools give him a chance to turn into an elite tackle in college.

Kalen Whitlow

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    Pic courtesy 247Sports

    From: Dothan, AL (Northview HS) 

    Ranking: 3-star, No. 41 Dual-Threat Quarterback 

    Kalen Whitlow is no stranger to the recruiting process. He saw his older brother, Jalen, go through it two years ago before deciding to sign with Kentucky.

    Both brothers are on the move this summer due to transfers. Jalen is headed to Eastern Illinois while Kalen will line up for Northview High School in Dothan, Ala. after spending the last two years at Prattville (Ala.) High School.

    The 6’1”, 180-pound Whitlow passed for 1,804 yards and 14 touchdowns over the last two seasons, according to MaxPreps.

    His only two offers to date are from Navy and Appalachian State, but Northview head coach LaBrian Stewart notes that several schools such as South Florida, Cincinnati and Nevada have shown interest and other schools have mentioned the possibility of offering Whitlow as a corner. 

    However, Whitlow prefers to stay at quarterback. His playmaking ability is part of what makes him one of the nation’s most underrated quarterbacks in this cycle, according to B/R recruiting analyst Tyler Donohue via Twitter.  

     

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