BCS championship game: Under-the-radar players

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 6, 2014 

Auburn running back Corey Grant doesn't garner as many headlines as backfield mates Nick Marshall or Tre Mason, but he could be every bit as important in swinging the outcome of tonight's BCS championship game.

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

Editor's note: Everyone knows Jameis Winston, Nick Marshall and Tre Mason. But what less-heralded players could swing the outcome of today's BCS championship game? Auburn beat writer Ryan Black highlights six players (three for each team) he believes fit the bill.

AUBURN

COREY GRANT

Pos.: Running back

Ht.: 5-foot-11

Wt: 205 pounds

Class: Junior

Stats: 65 carries, 650 rushing yards, six touchdowns

He's qualifies as under-the-radar because: like every player in Auburn's backfield aside from Nick Marshall, Grant has been overshadowed by Tre Mason's exploits. Though he is known more for his top-line quickness — as his team-best 10 yards per carry proves — the Opelika, Ala., native has also shown a willingness to lower his shoulder and take on contact as the season has progressed.

GREG ROBINSON

Pos.: Offensive lineman

Ht.: 6-foot-5

Wt: 320 pounds

Class: Sophomore

Stats: N/A

He's qualifies as under-the-radar because: he's an offensive lineman, of course. But don't think NFL scouts haven't paid attention to the third-year sophomore charged with protecting Marshall's blindside. Considered one of the strongest players — if not the strongest — on the team, Robinson is widely viewed as a first-round pick in May's draft should he choose to leave early.

RYAN SMITH

Pos.: Defensive back

Ht.: 6-foot-2

Wt: 194 pounds

Class: Senior

Stats: 62 tackles (41 solo, 21 assisted), 0.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, three pass breakups

He's qualifies as under-the-radar because: he's not Dee Ford or Chris Davis. Unlike his two fellow seniors, he isn't prone to making spectacular, game-changing plays. But few players on the Tigers' defense has been as consistent as Smith. He's tied for third on the team in tackles, saving his best for last, as 30 of those takedowns have occurred in the last four games.

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FLORIDA STATE

KARLOS WILLIAMS

Pos.: Running back

Ht.: 6-foot-1

Wt: 223 pounds

Class: Junior

Stats: 86 carries, 705 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns

He's qualifies as under-the-radar because: he's only been at running back for one season. In his first two years with the Seminoles, Williams was a backup defensive back as well as a kick returner. Moving to running back hasn't hurt him a bit, as he's been able to use his blend of size and speed to make the most of his limited touches behind feature back Devonta Freeman.

CAMERON ERVING

Pos.: Offensive lineman

Ht.: 6-foot-6

Wt: 320 pounds

Class: Junior

Stats: N/A

He's qualifies as under-the-radar because: while he was named ACC's top blocker at the league's annual awards banquet, he didn't garner the same national recognition as teammate (and starting center) Bryan Stork, who won the Rimington Trophy and was a semifinalist for the Outland. Even so, Erving has been one of the key components in keeping Heisman winner Jameis Winston upright, which has helped the Seminoles score an ACC-record 644 points this season.

TERRANCE BROOKS

Pos.: Defensive back

Ht.: 5-foot-11

Wt: 200 pounds

Class: Senior

Stats: 50 tackles (33 solo, 17 assisted), 7.0 tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles He's qualifies as under-the-radar because: he plays in the same secondary as Lamarcus Joyner, who was a finalist for the Thorpe Award. Brooks is no stranger to being overlooked, though, as he arrived in 2010 as an unheralded three-star recruit in a class loaded with five-star prospects. Four years later, he's one of the leaders of the Seminoles' defense with an NFL career in front of him.

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