I love fantasy football. Hell, I just love fantasy sports in general, whether it's the season-long variety or daily. I'm that guy who is in multiple leagues for fantasy football, fantasy baseball and has a basketball league. I'm even in a fantasy soccer league, and I'd be in a fantasy hockey league if somebody I knew wanted to start one.
I even update my rosters throughout the entire season and play until the end. OK, maybe not my soccer team, but you get the point.
The combination of my love for fantasy football as well as my fervor for college football always leads to some fun interactions with friends during the summer when the fantasy football hype train gets rolling. I can't tell you how many times I've smiled after a friend tells me about this sleeper rookie from a small school that's going to have a tremendous season. Now, sometimes this friend watched college football and followed this player while he was in school, but the overwhelming majority of the time, they have never seen the kid play a single snap of football at any level.
But they just know he's going to be great because they read an article saying it online.
This year, one of those players was Kareem Hunt. Hunt was a player I knew plenty about because I'd seen him numerous times while he spent his college years at Toledo. Well, on Thursday night, in his first NFL game, Kareem made quite the introduction to millions of people who had never seen him play before.
After fumbling on his first touch with the Kansas City Chiefs -- something he only did once in his entire career at Toledo -- Hunt bounced back to finish with 246 total yards and three touchdowns. In the league I run, that was worth 46.6 points. That was great news for my fellow college football scribe here at CBS Sports, Chip Patterson, who drafted Hunt and knew him very well from his days at Toledo.
At this point, you're likely wondering why I'm telling you about my fantasy team, or more specifically, a player on Chip's fantasy team. I assure you I have a legitimate reason.
For this week's Friday Five, I want to rank five college football running backs that aren't household names that could be the next Kareem Hunt. A back that a friend who never saw him play will be telling you all about one day before your draft.
That's right; I'm writing the article online that your friend will read and base their opinion on someday.
5. D'Angelo Brewer, Tulsa: At 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, odds are Brewer won't be used as an every down back in the NFL, but he could be a useful change-of-pace back. Last season with the Golden Hurricane, he rushed for 1,435 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 5.44 yards per carry.
4. Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan: Kareem Hunt played in the MAC, so it only makes sense we list another MAC running back. Franklin was a three-star running back from suburban Chicago that P.J. Fleck recruited to Western Michigan, and he's been a reliable workhorse for the Broncos ever since. He's started 31 games for Western Michigan, rushing for 3,679 yards and 41 touchdowns. Listed at 6-feet and 225 pounds, Franklin has the size and talent to be an NFL Draft pick next spring.
3. Rashaad Penny, San Diego State: Penny didn't get as many touches in previous seasons at San Diego State as he was behind Donnell Pumphrey on the Aztecs depth chart. With Pumphrey gone, Penny will now take over the lead role. He's not only bigger than Pumphrey, but he's also shown the ability to be just as elusive and could be even harder to bring down. He started the 2017 season with a 197 rushing yards and two touchdowns against UC-Davis last weekend.
2. Jalin Moore, Appalachian State: Moore was very impressive with the Mountaineers last year, as he finished the 2016 season with 1,402 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those would be good numbers for any running back, but they stand out even more when you learn that Moore did all of this while splitting carries with Marcus Cox. With Cox's departure, Moore's role should only expand in 2017 and he could finish with close to 1,800 yards.
1. Ito Smith, Southern Mississippi: Smith's size will cause NFL teams to hesitate a bit at only 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, but his production on the college level will be hard to ignore. Smith entered his senior season having rushed for 3,123 yards and 29 touchdowns in his first three season. Last year alone, he posted 1,459 and 17 scores. What puts him over the top on this list, however, is his ability as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Ito caught 43 passes for 459 yards and two touchdowns last season after snagging 49 catches for 515 yards and three scores as a sophomore. While he won't be an early round pick in the NFL Draft, he's somebody that could turn out to be a fantasy star for you in the future.
Honorable Mention: James Butler, Nevada; James Gilbert, Ball State; Larry Rose III, New Mexico State