If you are a college football coach, it's always a welcomed development to get a steal in recruiting- that player that you see potential greatness in that doesn't quite garner the headlines of the elite-ranked prospects in a class, but that could be just as good or better.
There are plenty in the 2014 cycle. Here's a look at five that standout currently and it's no surprise that four of the commits are to programs where the current staffs have an outstanding reputation for evaluating talent.
1. Jarrell Owens, ATH, Palestine (Texas), committed to TCU (247Sports Composite: Rating 0.842/3 Stars, Ranking No. 88 ATH)
Owens, from the high school that produced Adrian Peterson, is the next great find for Gary Patterson and company. One look at his senior film and the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Owens is a do-it-all jumbo athlete who could play nearly any position on the field in college. He's a gigantic, explosive offensive player, but probably projects best as an outside linebacker or defensive end. There is no question he is a potential difference-maker, the only question is what position.
2. Ryan Nall, LB/RB, Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic, committed to Oregon State (247Sports Composite: Rating 0.8033/3 Stars, Ranking No. 122 OLB)
Like Owens, Nall is a versatile player who actually could get a look at running back for the Beavers. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder is considered by many high school coaches in the Portland area to be the best overall player there this cycle. The Oregon State staff is tremendous at being resourceful in recruiting, meaning they can flat-out acquire under-the-radar talent, but this one is sort of the traditional get the best in-state player for old state u. Nall has the ability to be an All-Pac-12 performer, once he finds his permanent position fit, at some point in Corvallis.
3. Brady Taylor, OT, Columbus (Ohio) Bishop Ready, committed to Virginia Tech (247Sports Composite: Rating 0.8563/3 stars, Ranking No. 62 OT)
The Hokies are yet another program that is no stranger to finding steals on the recruiting trail and they have another one in the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Taylor. Taylor has good feet, is athletic and has the frame to add weight and strength. Virginia Tech offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, who has a great reputation for evaluating the position, was high on Taylor and went after him hard, surprisingly beating Kentucky (which has cleaned up on low first and high second-tier Ohio talent this cycle) for his services. Taylor could be a starter by his second season or sooner in Blacksburg.
4. Darius Slade, DE, Montclair (N.J.), committed to Nebraska (247Sports Composite: 0.8457/3 Stars, Ranking No. 39 SDE)
The 6-foot-5, 238-pound Slade has the frame and athleticism to be a good one and enjoyed a solid senior campaign for his high school. The Cornhuskers made a push and landed the talented prospect last week after he appeared to be bound for Michigan State much of the process. Nebraska has to be resourceful in recruiting and find a few steals here and there because of their location (limited in-state talent to say the least) and the Garden State has been a goldmine for out-of-state programs over the years.
5. Keith Holcombe, LB, Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Hillcrest, committed to Alabama (247Sports Composite: 0.8500/3 Stars, Ranking No. 70 ATH)
It's hard to imagine the Crimson Tide getting a steal given the level at which they recruit, but this was one literally and figuratively. The hometown prospect was committed to Mississippi State during the summer until Bama stepped in with an offer and he subsequently flipped. Holcombe is the second-lowest rated prospect in Bama's No. 1 2014 class, but as long as he stays healthy, you can expect him to out-perform several that are rated higher than him during his college career. Just this week, Holcombe put on a show at Alabama-Mississippi All-Star practice. This kid can flat-out play the game and he's big and plays it fast.