Nation's most underrated players

These five guys have put up excellent numbers out of the spotlight

Updated: July 11, 2012, 11:59 AM ET
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider
Stu Douglass AP Photo/April L. BrownBJ Young (left) was overshadowed by other SEC freshmen last season, but that will soon change.

We've just witnessed this year's NBA draft, and now we're embarking upon the college game's July recruiting period. Both of these hardy annuals trigger much talk of the "best of the best," not to mention a good deal of discussion about which players are truly "elite."

Talk is one thing, however, and actual results are another. Every year we see a tiny number of players who are elite in their performance but who, for whatever reason, don't receive their due when it comes to acclaim.

Today I'm here to redress that imbalance by naming the five most underrated college players in the nation. The rules here are simple. If you were named first-team all-conference in your league, you're not eligible for my list. (Though Colorado's Andre Roberson certainly pushes this criterion to its extreme. He was in fact named first-team All-Pac 12 -- so were nine other guys -- but Roberson is indisputably and woefully underrated just the same. You've been warned.)

Here are the five most underrated returning players in the country: