With 128 FBS teams in college football and five major conferences, it's easy for standout players to go overlooked and not get enough credit for their success. Earlier this offseason, we ranked the 128 best players in college football, plus the best players by position, and even in doing that it will always feel like deserving players have been left out.
So, it's time to look at the most underrated players in college football at each position. The All-Underrated Team is made up of 22 players who are talented, productive and worth watching this fall, even if they haven't received enough national -- or even regional -- publicity just yet.
QB: Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee. Statistically, the best freshman quarterback in the country last year wasn't Josh Rosen or Jake Browning. It was Stockstill. This is not an argument that Stockstill is better than either -- he's not -- but he had a phenomenal year for a prolific Blue Raiders offense. After redshirting, Stockstill -- the son of head coach Rick Stockstill -- beat out incumbent starter Austin Grammer and completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 4,005 yards, 30 TDs and nine INTs, ranking 17th nationally in passer rating. Not surprisingly, he struggled against Alabama, but he did throw for 330 yards and three TDs on the road at Illinois a couple weeks later. As a sophomore, Stockstill will be playing for offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, who most recently helped Jared Goff become the No. 1 pick in the draft at Cal.
RB: Brian Hill, Wyoming. The Cowboys have been mired in a frustrating rebuild, but they have a star in Hill, a 6-foot-1, 219 pound junior who ran 281 times for 1,631 yards and six TDs last year. As a freshman, Hill barely played in the first half of the season, then rushed for 796 yards anyway. In the past season and half, he has surpassed 200 yards five times, including 232 yards in the 2015 finale against UNLV to set Wyoming's single-season rushing record.
RB: Ito Smith, Southern Miss. The Eagles had a first-team All-Conference USA running back last year, but it wasn't Smith. It was Jalen Richard, who had 1,098 yards and 14 TDs. But Smith, a second-team choice as a sophomore, averaged 0.7 more yards per carry, ran for more yards (1,128) and caught 19 more passes (49 catches for 515 yards and six TDs) as a multi-dimensional weapon for a potent Eagles offense. While only 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, he's a dangerous player and may have an even larger role with Richard gone.
WR: Simmie Cobbs, Indiana. Cobbs was one of three Big Ten players to finish with over 1,000 receiving yards last season. In doing so, he averaged 17.3 yards per catch, hauling in 60 receptions for 1,035 yards and four TDs. He had 11 catches of 30-plus yards, according to cfbstats.com, making him a dangerous target in a productive Hoosiers offense that also had two 1,000-yard rushers. Cobbs is 6-foot-4, 212 pounds, and he can make plays downfield.
WR: Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M. One of the most successful positions for Texas A&M on the recruiting trail under Kevin Sumlin has been wide receiver. Last year, the Aggies brought in Christian Kirk, a five-star recruit who had 80 catches as a true freshman. The year before, they signed five-star Speedy Noil. And the year before, they signed five-star Ricky Seals-Jones. Flying under the radar in that group was Reynolds, a three-star juco transfer in 2014. All Reynolds has done is average 17 yards per catch over two years, with 52 catches and 13 TDs in 2014 and 51 catches and five TDs last year.
TE: Cam Serigne, Wake Forest. It's been hard for any offensive player on Wake Forest to get recognition, with zero Demon Deacons players earning All-ACC honors on that side of the ball in Dave Clawson's two years. However, Serigne has been a valuable weapon, catching 100 passes in his career thus far. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound junior had 46 catches for 562 yards and four TDs last year, standing out as the star of an offense that has otherwise struggled.
OL: Nico Siragusa, San Diego State. Siragusa is a first-team All-Mountain West pick, but it's not exactly easy for any offensive lineman to get national attention, let alone one on a Group of Five team that doesn't get regular exposure. Siragusa is the real deal, though. In a physical Aztecs offense, the 6-foot-5, 330-pound guard has been a huge factor in the success of star tailback Donnel Pumphrey.
OL: Jon Toth, Kentucky. A 6-foot-5, 310-pound senior, Toth has started 35 games in his career, excelling at center. While Kentucky as a whole hasn't broken through, it has had some success on the ground, especially with Boom Williams averaging seven yards per carry last season.
OL: Johnny Caspers, Stanford. Next man up for the Stanford offensive line. Last year, everybody was overshadowed by the All-American play of left guard Joshua Garnett, but Caspers was also valuable in opening up holes for Christian McCaffrey's 2,000-yard rushing season. Now, with three starters gone from the line, it's Casper's turn, as a senior, to become a star at right guard.
OL: Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers attempted 40 passes per game but allowed only 16 sacks in 14 games in another prolific season for their offense. Lamp was the chief protector of Brandon Doughty and shined in the role. While Doughty is gone, life will be a lot easier for the new quarterback knowing that the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Lamp, a senior, is entrenched at left tackle.
OL: Joseph Noteboom, TCU. Noteboom played well a as a first-year starter in 2015, playing mostly right tackle for a terrific Horned Frogs offensive line. He's the lone returning starter in 2016, but the 6-foot-5, 315-pound junior is prepared for big things at left tackle in an offense that likely won't see much of a drop-off.
DE: Jordan Willis, Kansas State. A bright spot on a defense that struggled last season, Willis finished second in the Big 12 with 9 ½ sacks and had 15 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and three pass breakups. The 6-foot-2, 258-pound senior boasts stellar athleticism off the edge, and he's one of the biggest reasons why the Wildcats can bounce back and have one of the Big 12's best defenses this fall.
DE: Noble Nwachukwu, West Virginia. The Mountaineers defense played well at times last year, and when it did, credit largely went to the secondary. But Nwachukwu has emerged as a dangerous player up front, too, making life easier for what was a talented secondary. With the linebackers and defensive backfield rebuilding, Nwachukwu is the returning star of this Mountaineers defense, coming off a junior season in which he had 8 ½ sacks and 47 tackles.
DT: Elijah Qualls, Washington. The Huskies keep churning out quality defenses. This year, the biggest returning stars are in the back seven -- Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Azeem Victor -- but they remain in good shape up front. Qualls replaced Danny Shelton in the starting lineup as a sophomore and excelled, with 4 ½ sacks in a space-clogging role in the middle of the line. He missed three games with an injury, but he anchored a run defense that finished 10th in yards per attempt allowed.
DT: B.J. Hill, N.C. State. The Wolfpack are really solid up front on defense, and end Bradley Chubb could also make this list. Hill, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound junior, became a starter the second half of his true freshman season, then shined last year. He had 50 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3 ½ sacks and three pass breakups playing on the interior.
LB: Matt Milano, Boston College. Milano was only a third-team All-ACC pick despite living in opposing backfields for one of the nation's best defenses. Individual defenders on the Eagles could get overlooked because any attention directed toward the team focused on the lackluster offensive output that resulted in a 3-9 record and zero ACC wins. But the defense led the nation in yards per play allowed and was in the top six against both the run and pass. The Eagles led the nation in tackles for loss per game, and Milano ranked first on the team with 17 ½ in 12 games.
LB: Steven Taylor, Houston. Houston had a quarterback who rushed for over 1,000 yards, and its rise to the Peach Bowl last season was led by Tom Herman, who was offensive coordinator for Ohio State's run to the national title in 2014. Naturally, Houston's offense receives a lot of the credit for its 13-1 season. But the defense ranked eighth in the nation against the run, and Taylor was a terrific weapon at linebacker, recording 92 tackles, 18 ½ tackles for loss, 10 sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. Despite leading the AAC in sacks, Taylor wasn't one of the four linebackers selected first-team all-conference.
LB: Richie Brown, Mississippi State. An All-SEC team could be made up of almost all Alabama players, and thus there isn't always room for everyone in the conference to get the recognition they deserve. But Brown had 109 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 6 ½ sacks and an interception last season, becoming the most productive player on the Mississippi State defense with Benardrick McKinney gone. In fact, after one year of starting, he might be the best player on the entire Bulldogs roster.
CB: Matthew Harris, Northwestern. The Wildcats had one of the nation's best defenses last year -- fifth in Football Outsiders' S&P+, seventh in yards per play, 12th in points allowed -- and yet the unit still lacks name recognition outside of Anthony Walker, who may be the nation's best linebacker. This team went 10-3 last year behind a strong all-around defense, which includes Harris, who was merely a third-team All-Big Ten pick in a season in which he had four interceptions, 13 pass breakups and a forced fumble. He's one of the leaders of a defense that allowed an average of 5.5 yards per pass attempt with only five passing TDs and 12 picks.
CB: Marquez White, Florida State. The Seminoles have no shortage of stars, and that's been true in the secondary: Jalen Ramsey was one of the nation's best players last year, and Derwin James will be one of the best this year. White, however, didn't get any All-ACC recognition last season despite a terrific season in which he played at the cornerback spot opposite Ramsey. According to Florida State and STATS LLC, White allowed a completion percentage of only 32.1 percent when targeted.
S: Denzel Johnson, TCU. Gary Patterson is a master of putting overlooked recruits in position to thrive in college. Johnson was a two-star recruit out of high school, but he is becoming one of the Big 12's most valuable players. In a season in which the TCU defense was hit hard by injuries, Johnson starred at strong safety in the 4-2-5 defense, with 79 tackles, 13 ½ tackles for loss, eight pass breakups and a pick-six. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior missed out on all-conference honors last year, but he's a huge part of what will be a terrific defense in 2016.
S: Kai Nacua, BYU. Players on independent teams not named Notre Dame can get overlooked, but Nacua shouldn't. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior free safety was rated the nation's No. 54 dual-threat quarterback recruit out of high school in 2013 by 247Sports. Last season, he had 66 tackles, six pass breakups and six interceptions -- including three in the win over Boise State and two returned for TDs.