Each year there are small school prospects in the draft. Some go high, some don’t. Some make an impact, others never see the field. Lets take a look at who could be the next stars from some of the lesser known programs. (In no particular order) This is the first of a three part series.
Tom Compton – South Dakota – Offensive lineman
Compton is a big tackle/guard prospect coming out as a senior. He was recruited by many bigger schools. But a knee injury his senior year made the bigger school’s scatter. He chose to go to South Dakota. There Compton redshirted his first season. After that Tom made 43 starts without missing a game. He played left tackle in college. I think in time he could play on the left side in the NFL. His measurables are on par with or better than the top Tackles in this draft. Compton’s upper body needs to get stronger. But his lower body is as strong as it gets. He can squat 700 pounds. At worst Compton will be a good guard. Look for Tom Compton to come off the board somewhere in round 3 or 4.
Trumaine Johnson – Defensive back – Montana
Trumaine Johnson was recruited by bigger programs but chose to go to Montana. He was very immature in his early years. His sophomore year he missed games due to suspension. He was never considered a team leader in his 4 years at Montana. If Johnson can get drafted by a team with a strong veteran lockerroom things could change. He has great size at 6’2” 205lbs. Which helped him dominate the competition. Johnson is best suited as a safety at the next level. He played a lot of cover 2 and off-man coverage. His tackling skills are good. loves to make the big hit. Trumaine Johnson is likely to come off the boards in round 2.
Josh Norman – Cornerback – Coastal Carolina
Josh Norman has the size and ability to start at the next level. The self-professed “Turn over machine” had 13 interceptions at Coastal Carolina. Norman played so well at the East-West shrine game, he was invited to the senior bowl. He played well in that game also. It may take a year or two, but Norman should be a solid corner at the next level. Josh Norman should be drafted in the third round.
Brian Quick – Wide Receiver – Appachian State
Quick had a nice career at Appalacian state. He caught 31 touchdowns in 4 seasons. He has the size (6’5” 220lbs) to compete at the next level. Goes up and gets the pass. Played well all week during the senior bowl. He may come off as early as the second round. Best fit for a team that doesn’t need him to be the number one target right away.
T.Y. Hilton – Wide Receiver – Florida International
Hilton is a diminutive speedster. He came onto the scene as a freshman. Starting 5 games and racking up 1,013 yards and 7 touchdowns. His sophmore and junior season weren’t as impressive. In 2011 he bounced back with 72 receptions for 1,038 yards. Hilton has big play ability. His size is an issue. Only weighing about 180lbs. Injuries have slowed him at times. He can return kicks which will add to his value. Should help a team in several areas next season. T.Y. Hilton will be drafted in the 4th or 5th round.
Coming up in part 2, Dwight “Bill” Bentley, B.J. Coleman, LaDarius Green, Justin Bethel and Amini Silatolu.