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Published: June 30, 2015 at 12:01 p.m.
Updated: June 30, 2015 at 12:48 p.m.

15 for '15: Best players on non-contending teams

» Complete 15 for '15 series

CFB 24/7's "15 for '15" series continues with a look at a somewhat-controversial subject: good players from bad teams. The controversy doesn't involve the players; all these guys are good. Rather, the controversy comes from the "bad teams" part of the equation.

Our thinking is that these good players are going to toil for teams that finish with losing records this fall. (One positive aspect: If a player you think should be on here doesn't show up on this list, don't be upset; instead, be confident that means we think his team will at least finish .500.)

15 Photos Total

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, sophomore<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Boyd was one of the best freshman receivers in the nation last season, with 65 receptions for 980 yards and four TDs; he set school freshman records for receptions and receiving yards. He could stand to add some bulk, but he is athletic and has OK speed; in addition, he showed a wise-beyond-his-years ability to get open last fall. Boyd had six games with at least five receptions and also had three 100-yard outings. 15

    John Locher/Associated Press

    15. Devonte Boyd, WR, UNLV

    The particulars: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, sophomore
    The skinny: Boyd was one of the best freshman receivers in the nation last season, with 65 receptions for 980 yards and four TDs; he set school freshman records for receptions and receiving yards. He could stand to add some bulk, but he is athletic and has OK speed; in addition, he showed a wise-beyond-his-years ability to get open last fall. Boyd had six games with at least five receptions and also had three 100-yard outings.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-2, 192, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Bundrage appeared poised for a big season in 2014, but he suffered a torn ACL on the first offensive series of the season and missed the rest of the year. He had 48 receptions, with nine going for TDs, in 2013. He is athletic (he was a state-finalist high jumper in high school in Florida), has good size, runs well and also is physical. 14

    Chris Jackson/Associated Press

    14. Quenton Bundrage, WR, Iowa State

    The particulars: 6-2, 192, senior
    The skinny: Bundrage appeared poised for a big season in 2014, but he suffered a torn ACL on the first offensive series of the season and missed the rest of the year. He had 48 receptions, with nine going for TDs, in 2013. He is athletic (he was a state-finalist high jumper in high school in Florida), has good size, runs well and also is physical.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-3, 225, junior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> He is active and physical, and has made 171 tackles and 18.5 tackles for loss in his first two seasons with the Buffs. He also has good speed: In high school, Gillam was on a 4x100-meter relay team that qualified for the California state championships. 13

    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    13. Addison Gillam, LB, Colorado

    The particulars: 6-3, 225, junior
    The skinny: He is active and physical, and has made 171 tackles and 18.5 tackles for loss in his first two seasons with the Buffs. He also has good speed: In high school, Gillam was on a 4x100-meter relay team that qualified for the California state championships.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-1, 245, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Chubb has 196 tackles the past two seasons and seems a good bet to finish in the top five in the ACC in that category this season. He is a physical presence in the middle and especially good against the run. Chubb makes up for a lack of speed with good instincts and rarely seems to take a false step. 12

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    12. Brandon Chubb, LB, Wake Forest

    The particulars: 6-1, 245, senior
    The skinny: Chubb has 196 tackles the past two seasons and seems a good bet to finish in the top five in the ACC in that category this season. He is a physical presence in the middle and especially good against the run. Chubb makes up for a lack of speed with good instincts and rarely seems to take a false step.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-4, 305, junior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> He started all 12 games as a true freshman in 2012, earning some freshman All-America honors in the process, then missed the 2013 season with a fracture in his right foot. He returned at full strength last season and again started all 12 games, helping IU TB Tevin Coleman become a 2,000-yard rusher. Feeney is a physical run blocker who also possesses the ability to be a top-level interior pass-protector. 11

    Sandra Dukes/USA TODAY Sports

    11. Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana

    The particulars: 6-4, 305, junior
    The skinny: He started all 12 games as a true freshman in 2012, earning some freshman All-America honors in the process, then missed the 2013 season with a fracture in his right foot. He returned at full strength last season and again started all 12 games, helping IU TB Tevin Coleman become a 2,000-yard rusher. Feeney is a physical run blocker who also possesses the ability to be a top-level interior pass-protector.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-4, 255, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Hamilton needs to add bulk, but he was productive for the Scarlet Knights last season, finishing with 45 tackles, six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. Hamilton was a consensus national top-25 player in the 2012 signing class and will be a three-year starter for the Scarlet Knights. Hamilton has good quickness and is technically sound, not surprising when you consider his dad, Keith, played for 12 seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants. 10

    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    10. Darius Hamilton, DT, Rutgers

    The particulars: 6-4, 255, senior
    The skinny: Hamilton needs to add bulk, but he was productive for the Scarlet Knights last season, finishing with 45 tackles, six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. Hamilton was a consensus national top-25 player in the 2012 signing class and will be a three-year starter for the Scarlet Knights. Hamilton has good quickness and is technically sound, not surprising when you consider his dad, Keith, played for 12 seasons in the NFL with the New York Giants.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-3, 238, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Texas Tech's defense was rancid last season, ranking 125th overall and 126th in scoring defense. But don't blame Robertson, who had 12 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss; he also had three forced fumbles and three pass breakups. He plays what Tech coaches call the "Bandit" position, a hybrid end/outside linebacker role. He holds up OK against the run, but it's his pass-rush ability that stands out. Robertson played quarterback in high school in Longview, Texas. 9

    Michael C. Johnson/USA TODAY Sports

    9. Pete Robertson, DE/OLB, Texas Tech

    The particulars: 6-3, 238, senior
    The skinny: Texas Tech's defense was rancid last season, ranking 125th overall and 126th in scoring defense. But don't blame Robertson, who had 12 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss; he also had three forced fumbles and three pass breakups. He plays what Tech coaches call the "Bandit" position, a hybrid end/outside linebacker role. He holds up OK against the run, but it's his pass-rush ability that stands out. Robertson played quarterback in high school in Longview, Texas.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-4, 303, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> He began his career at Montana, but left there after redshirting as a true freshman in 2011. He sat out the 2012 season at Washington State as a walk-on, then earned a scholarship in 2013, when he started at guard. He moved to left tackle last season and should be one of the best tackles in the Pac-12 this season. Guard would seem to be his best position at the next level, though. Washington State has had just four offensive linemen drafted since the beginning of the 1990s. 8

    Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

    8. Joe Dahl, OT, Washington State

    The particulars: 6-4, 303, senior
    The skinny: He began his career at Montana, but left there after redshirting as a true freshman in 2011. He sat out the 2012 season at Washington State as a walk-on, then earned a scholarship in 2013, when he started at guard. He moved to left tackle last season and should be one of the best tackles in the Pac-12 this season. Guard would seem to be his best position at the next level, though. Washington State has had just four offensive linemen drafted since the beginning of the 1990s.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-5, 310, junior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Seumalo missed last season and spring practice while recovering from foot surgeries, and Oregon State coaches have said they hope he is ready for this season. He started all 25 games in his first two seasons; he was the first true freshman to start at center for the Beavers since 1978. Seumalo, who also has started at right tackle for the Beavers, was considered one of the best guards in the nation during the recruiting process; guard is a potential landing spot for him this season. 7

    Eugene Tanner/Associated Press

    7. Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State

    The particulars: 6-5, 310, junior
    The skinny: Seumalo missed last season and spring practice while recovering from foot surgeries, and Oregon State coaches have said they hope he is ready for this season. He started all 25 games in his first two seasons; he was the first true freshman to start at center for the Beavers since 1978. Seumalo, who also has started at right tackle for the Beavers, was considered one of the best guards in the nation during the recruiting process; guard is a potential landing spot for him this season.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-7, 305, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Spriggs is the second IU offensive lineman on this list, and he and Feeney will be <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000496738/article/dynamic-duos-big-ten-powers-boast-top-pairs-of-linemen" target="new">one of the 10 best offensive line duos</a> in the nation. Spriggs, who has gained almost 40 pounds since arriving at IU, never redshirted and is going to be a four-year starter for the Hoosiers at left tackle. During spring practice, Spriggs was clocked at 4.82 seconds in the 40 and had a vertical jump of 37.5 inches; he also bench-pressed 455 pounds. He needs to make sure that strength shows on the field this fall: His athleticism is impressive, but he could be more physical. 6

    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    6. Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

    The particulars: 6-7, 305, senior
    The skinny: Spriggs is the second IU offensive lineman on this list, and he and Feeney will be one of the 10 best offensive line duos in the nation. Spriggs, who has gained almost 40 pounds since arriving at IU, never redshirted and is going to be a four-year starter for the Hoosiers at left tackle. During spring practice, Spriggs was clocked at 4.82 seconds in the 40 and had a vertical jump of 37.5 inches; he also bench-pressed 455 pounds. He needs to make sure that strength shows on the field this fall: His athleticism is impressive, but he could be more physical.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 5-11, 185, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Nicholson -- a consensus national top-50 recruit in the 2011 signing class -- was a full-time starter in each of his first two seasons on campus, but has played in just six games the past two seasons (only one in 2014) because of a severe turf-toe injury. If he is truly healthy, he will contend for first-team All-ACC honors in a league that has a number of top-flight corners. He has four picks and 28 pass breakups in his tenure at UVa, and also is physical against the run. 5

    Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

    5. Demetrious Nicholson, CB, Virginia

    The particulars: 5-11, 185, senior
    The skinny: Nicholson -- a consensus national top-50 recruit in the 2011 signing class -- was a full-time starter in each of his first two seasons on campus, but has played in just six games the past two seasons (only one in 2014) because of a severe turf-toe injury. If he is truly healthy, he will contend for first-team All-ACC honors in a league that has a number of top-flight corners. He has four picks and 28 pass breakups in his tenure at UVa, and also is physical against the run.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-1, 195, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Spruce is coming off a huge season -- 106 receptions, 1,198 yards and 12 TDs (he had a combined 99 catches for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns in the previous two seasons). He should set school career records for receptions and receiving yards this season; he already holds the mark for TD receptions. Spruce is not a burner, as his 40 speed is in the 4.5s. But he is a savvy route-runner with good hands, and is quick off the line. 4

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    4. Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado

    The particulars: 6-1, 195, senior
    The skinny: Spruce is coming off a huge season -- 106 receptions, 1,198 yards and 12 TDs (he had a combined 99 catches for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns in the previous two seasons). He should set school career records for receptions and receiving yards this season; he already holds the mark for TD receptions. Spruce is not a burner, as his 40 speed is in the 4.5s. But he is a savvy route-runner with good hands, and is quick off the line.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-1, 205, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Carroo is both big and fast (he has been clocked in the high 4.3s in the 40). He was productive in 2014 working with a quarterback with a scattershot arm and will be challenged again by mediocre quarterback play in 2015. The key is to picture him working with a consistently competent quarterback. Carroo was seventh in the Big Ten in receptions last season (55), but was second in receiving yards (1,086) and third in TD receptions (10). He has 83 receptions in the past two seasons -- and 19 have gone for TDs. 3

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    3. Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers

    The particulars: 6-1, 205, senior
    The skinny: Carroo is both big and fast (he has been clocked in the high 4.3s in the 40). He was productive in 2014 working with a quarterback with a scattershot arm and will be challenged again by mediocre quarterback play in 2015. The key is to picture him working with a consistently competent quarterback. Carroo was seventh in the Big Ten in receptions last season (55), but was second in receiving yards (1,086) and third in TD receptions (10). He has 83 receptions in the past two seasons -- and 19 have gone for TDs.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-6, 316, senior<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Clark is among the most underrated linemen nationally. He redshirted as a true freshman in 2011, and has started all 38 games since; he was at guard in 2012 and has been at left tackle the past two seasons. He's a good athlete for a man his size and has quick feet. Clark would be an intriguing fit at guard for some teams at the next level. 2

    Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

    2. Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech

    The particulars: 6-6, 316, senior
    The skinny: Clark is among the most underrated linemen nationally. He redshirted as a true freshman in 2011, and has started all 38 games since; he was at guard in 2012 and has been at left tackle the past two seasons. He's a good athlete for a man his size and has quick feet. Clark would be an intriguing fit at guard for some teams at the next level.

  • <b>The particulars:</b> 6-1, 215, sophomore<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Blanding was a consensus national top-10 prospect in the 2014 recruiting class, and he began to live up to the hype with a great true freshman campaign. Blanding (who went to the same high school -- Virginia Beach Bayside -- as Nicholson) started all 12 games and led all freshmen nationally with 123 tackles; he also had three interceptions and six pass breakups. He runs well (in the 4.5 range), and he is smooth, tracks the ball well, is physical and packs a punch. Blanding has a high football IQ and is the best safety in the ACC; he should contend for All-America honors this fall. Sort of cool: His dad, Kevin, played at Division II Glenville State in West Virginia, which at the time was coached by Rich Rodriguez. 1

    Steve Helber/Associated Press

    1. Quin Blanding, FS, Virginia

    The particulars: 6-1, 215, sophomore
    The skinny: Blanding was a consensus national top-10 prospect in the 2014 recruiting class, and he began to live up to the hype with a great true freshman campaign. Blanding (who went to the same high school -- Virginia Beach Bayside -- as Nicholson) started all 12 games and led all freshmen nationally with 123 tackles; he also had three interceptions and six pass breakups. He runs well (in the 4.5 range), and he is smooth, tracks the ball well, is physical and packs a punch. Blanding has a high football IQ and is the best safety in the ACC; he should contend for All-America honors this fall. Sort of cool: His dad, Kevin, played at Division II Glenville State in West Virginia, which at the time was coached by Rich Rodriguez.