Northwest Sports Beat

Top 5 most underrated Northwest college footballers in 2012

Better than advertised.

Being a collegiate athlete in the great Northwest certainly has its advantages, but when it comes to garnering national recognition, our favorite footballers in this corner of the country are too often left out of the picture.

The states of Oregon and Washington play host to a number of great players, and many remain underrated as the media often times forgets to look north when analyzing and praising the nation’s best.

5. Kenjon Barner, Oregon RB

To call Kenjon Barner underrated is a bit unfair considering the attention he gets on a regular basis, but from the national perspective, the Oregon Ducks have become De’Anthony Thomas team.

De’Anthony Thomas is the one with all the moves, he’s the one who seemingly scores every time he touches the ball and he’s the one who will be in the Heisman race as long as he remains at the University of Oregon.

Kenjon Barner, however, is the workhorse who is averaging almost 20 carries per game without even playing in most of the season’s second halves up to this point.

4. Jordan Poyer, Oregon St. CB

Jordan Poyer is a lockdown corner for the Oregon State Beavers.

The 6’0” senior has historically been huge on the defensive side of the ball, and his presence in the kick-return game is what makes him such an outstanding all-purpose presence week in and week out

The Beavers’ defense has been outstanding thus far, and Jordan Poyeris one of the biggest reasons why.

Keith Price leads this list of underrateds in the PNW (photo thenewstribune.com)

3. Sean Mannion, Oregon St. QB

Some questioned the decision to start redshirt freshman Sean Mannion over Ryan Katz so early last season, but after watching the now-sophomore quarterback throw for a career-high 379 yards against the No. 19 UCLA Bruins, the controversy seems to be nothing but a distant memory.

Sean Mannion doesn’t get the recognition he deserves on a relatively quiet Oregon St. team, but his big arm should earn him high praise in Corvallis this season.

The Beavers have climbed the rankings to No. 18, and while the defense of the team is the main reason why, they wouldn’t be there without the steady competence of the 6’5” underclassman behind center.

2. Travis Long, Washington St. LB

Travis Long is tied for the most sacks in the nation through four weeks, but he is a player nobody seems to be talking about outside of the state of Washington.

The 6’4” linebacker/defensive end has become one of the senior leaders of the Cougars defense, yet his NFL draft stock isn’t what you’d expect it to be.

There are concerns about his athleticism at the next level, but up to this point, he’s been a stud at Washington St.

1. Keith Price, Washington QB

There was a lot of hype surrounding Keith Price heading into the 2012 season, but following Washington’s underwhelming performance against LSU, the talk nationally has seemed to disappear.

Keith Price hasn’t shown what he can do yet this season, so part of his invisibility on the national scale is on him and the Huskies.

That being said, this is a talented junior quarterback who still has the potential to break out on a bigger scale.

In the eyes of the national fanbase, the Pac-12 belongs to the flash of Oregon and the polarizing nature of the USC Trojans.

Price threw for 3,063 yards and 33 touchdowns (11 interceptions) in 2011, and he has a chance to improve upon those numbers if he puts it together this season.

CHECK OUT OUR COLLECTION OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL POSTS FOR THIS WEEK AT NWSB!

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About Bryant Knox

NWSB Editor. Portland native and Oregon graduate, On a non-stop mission to consume as much Ducks+Trail Blazers content as humanly possible. His love of sports is what attracts him to the game, passion for writing drives him to uncover the stories. Connect w/ Bryant today!
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