This is not necessarily a list of the top players in this recruiting class, but the ones that I think could have the earliest impact. A lot of times that is going to depend on how much talent a particular team will have returning. But, sometimes a recruit is simply too good to keep off of the field.
QB: Jacob Eason – Georgia: Bloodlines, size, arm strength, touch, you name it and Eason looks to have it all. He was the top Quarterback recruit in the country and he certainly played like it in the Bulldog Spring Game. It’s only a Spring Game, but Eason should start the first game. I don’t know that he will, but he looks like Georgia’s answer at Quarterback for this year and the future. With guys leaving early for the NFL, Kirby Smart should get as much playing time out of Eason as possible. He should be this year’s Josh Rosen on a better team.
QB: Shane Buechelle – Texas: The Longhorns Quarterbacking problems have been well
documented, but they may finally have their answer. Buechelle is the son of a former Texas Ranger infielder and he is very accurate with his passing. Charlie Strong is a defensive minded coach and may prefer an older Quarterback, but Buechelle should start against Notre Dame. He is a natural born leader.
QB: Khalil Tate – Arizona: Anu Solomon was injured some last year and I just have the feeling that maybe they are tired of seeing wide open receivers over thrown so often. Tate is more like the style that Rodriguez likes at Quarterback and he supposedly has a canon for an arm.
QB: Brandon McIlwain – South Carolina: It appears that maybe McIlwain was promised the starting job if he signed with South Carolina and he started the Spring Game. He is definitely an athlete with all of the tools other than size. He has a strong arm and he can run and he is probably better than the other options available for new coach Will Muschamp.
RB: Miles Sanders – Penn State: The Nittany Lions have Saquon Barkley, but Sanders should play right away. He’s really fast, shifty and smooth. Coming from Pittsburgh, the James Franklin coaching staff stole him right out from under the Panther’s noses.
RB: Beau Bisharat – Colorado: Bisharat could be a big time contributor for the Colorado Buffaloes. This was a major victory for the Buffaloes program with their recent struggles. Read more about Bisharat here: Beau
RB: Kareem Walker – Michigan: Walker will be one of the top new Running Backs in the country and another true freshman coming in from Alabama, Kingston Davis, will also be good. Davis was
only a 3 star but impressed Michigan coaches in the Spring. Walker is a smooth, 6-0, 210 back from New Jersey.
RB: Antonio Williams – Ohio State: Although he was not their highest rated Running Back in the Buckeye’s last class, he looked really good in the Spring. The Buckeyes will need somebody to step up to replace Ezekiel Elliott.
WR: Jordan Duncan – California: Hattiesburg, Mississippi native Duncan signed with the Bears and arrive early to participate in Spring Drills. He got homesick and nearly quit but Spring Break and a trip home put an end to that. Brett Favre was his high school Offensive Coordinator. Duncan could be really good and he will see the ball a lot.
WR: Donnie Corley – Michigan State: looked awesome in Spring for the Spartans. He should play in game one and maybe start.
WR: Collin Johnson – Texas: Johnson is the son of Longhorn legend Johnny Johnson, but Collin has something his father never had. He is 6 inches away from being a 7 footer. Tall receivers are all the rage and Johnson is athletic and can jump. He was a 4 star recruit and everybody was after him, but he committed to Texas to follow his father early and never faltered.
WR: Sam Bruce – Miami: Big time play maker from St Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft Lauderdale. He’s not very tall, but he has super hands and he can fly.
WR: Dillon Mitchell – Oregon: This guy was hell during his spring practices and the spring game. made some spectacular catches and he’s going to be a great one. He just seemed to come out of nowhere to take the ball away from a greedy Defensive Back.
WR: Devin Duvernay – Texas: Duvernay signed with Baylor, but switched to Texas after the scandal. In high school, Duvernay ran a 10.2 100 meters so he can fly and there will be plenty of opportunity for him to play as a true freshman. He is also listed as running a 4.38 40 and that would not surprise because of his 100 time. He is rated by ESPN as the third best Wide Receiver in the country.
WR: N’Keal Harry – Arizona State: The nation’s top rated Wide Receiver by some services. He elected to sign with the home state team and if he’s as good as the last #1 WR out of Arizona, Christian Kirk, look for Harry to make a huge difference at Arizona State. Harry is a big receiver at 6-3, 220 and while he’s not an all out speedster, he is more than fast enough and he is a fighter that will not go down easily fighting for every yard.
TE: Isaac Nauta – Georgia: The top rated Tight End in the nation, Nauta looked impressive catching the ball in the Spring nd he appears to be about as good as advertised. Georgia, under Mark Richt, loved the Tight End but it remains to be seen what Kirby Smart thinks about the position. There is
quite a bit of talent in front of him, but Nauta is really good.
TE: Thaddeus Moss – North Carolina State: One of the top Tight End recruits in the country and it’s a position of need for the Wolfpack.
OT: Gregory Little – Ole Miss: He could be this year’s Cam Robinson, but maybe not quite on that level. He was rated as the top Offensive Tackle in the country and the Ole Miss Rebels lost some talent up front. There may be an opportunity for the big Tackle from Allen, Texas.
OT: Sean Foster – Iowa State: Huge Offensive Lineman at 6-8, 285 that could help the Cyclones out right away.
OT: Austin Myers – TCU: Myers is one of the very best Offensive Tackle prospects in the country and he should have an opportunity with the Frogs to play really early.
OG: Michael Jordan – Ohio State: Not only does he have a cool name, but he evidently as the talent to match the name as well. Jordan probably starts at Left Guard for the Buckeyes in September
OG: Patrick Hudson – Baylor: He wants out of Baylor now with the scandal going on. He was rated the top Offensive Guard prospect in the nation by some and he should be welcomed by other programs.
OG: Terrance Davis – Maryland: Davis is good, but Maryland is a struggling program trying to
start over as well and often top freshmen will start at schools like this.
OG: Michael Eletise – Arizona: A big talented kid from Hawaii should see the field pretty early on. Arizona has very little depth.
OG: Ben Bredeson – Michigan: The Wolverines have an outstanding Offensive Line returning which returns 4 out of 5 starters. But, Bredeson is just that good. He might redshirt which makes sense, but he could come in and fight for early playing time.
C: Zach Shackleford – Texas: Shackleford came in from Belton, Texas and started immediately in the Spring. He looked pretty good in the Spring Game as Texas continues with attempts to improve it’s Offensive Line.
C: Connor McGovern – Penn State: The Nittany Lions are fighting to improve their Offensive Line which has been in a shambles since they were placed on probation. McGovern is big and strong enough to play as a true freshman.
DE: Nick Bosa – Ohio State: Some people think that Nick Bosa might be better than older brother Joey and I can’t argue that. The younger Bosa is a beast much like his brother and he should play right away just like Joey.
DE: Josh King – Michigan State: The Spartans lost some talent up front from last season and King is a big guy at 6-6, 240 and he should help out fairly soon.
DE: Rashad Gary – Michigan: The best player in the country and I am not sure it’s even close.
Michigan has a good defense, but there’s no way that Gary doesn’t play often and well unless he is injured.
DE: McTelvin Agim – Arkansas: With all of the early enrollees these days, these guys have a chance to come in and get ahead of the competition. Agim looks like he could be a monster and really soon for the Pigs.
DT: Jordan Elliott – Texas: The Longhorns have little depth at Defensive Tackle and Elliott is a talent that should be on the field early and often.
DT: Mike Williams – Stanford: Williams is good and the Cardinal have almost no depth on their Defensive Line.
DT: Ed Oliver – Houston: Oliver is way too good to keep off the field and this was a major recruiting pick up for the Cougars.
DT: Boss Togaloa – UCLA: The Bruins will need some help up front and the Boss can play. He played his high school football at De La Salle High School in Concord, California.
DT: Dexter Lawrence – Clemson: Clemson just keeps churning out top Defensive Linemen year after year and Lawrence is on of the very best in the land.
LB: Rahshaun Smith – Clemson: Smith is just a brutal beast and maybe the best Linebacker in the nation. The Tigers have talent and depth, but Smith is just too good.
LB: Jeffrey McCulloch – Texas: Last year, the Longhorns brought in Malik Jefferson and this season they landed McCulloch who is a talent. With so much youth in the Texas defense it’s going to be tough keeping McCulloch out of the lineup.
LB: Devin Bush Jr – Michigan: The Wolverines lose 7 out of their top 8 Linebackers, and Bush is just way too talented to not compete for a starting spot. Bush is only 5-11, but he makes up for it with
tremendous speed and athletic ability.
LB: Shaquille Quarterman – Miami: Quarterman played a lot in the Spring as an early enrollee and he looked like the Hurricane defensive players of old. He is big, fast and delivers a blow from sideline to sideline. He should be a really good player for Miami.
LB: Erroll Thompson – Mississippi State: Thompson was one of the top recruits the Bulldogs brought in this past year. He is a big, physical Linebacker that could be intimidating.
CB: Levonta Taylor – Florida State: Last year, the Seminoles signed Derwin James and he was a beast. This year’s version of James could be Taylor. He is rated as the top Corner in the country and he appears to be worthy of that ranking.
CB: Damar Hamlin – Pittsburgh: Coaches generally like to play their own guys with head coach Pat Narduzzi taking over last season, and home town guy Hamlin can play.
CB: Treyjohn Butler – Stanford: Good athlete. The Stanford secondary is pretty good this season, but Butler could play pretty quickly.
CB: Jordan Parker – Oklahoma: The Sooners had some losses in their Defensive Backfield and Parker has a shot at playing fairly quickly.
DB: Deontay Anderson – Ole Miss: Some services had Anderson as the top Safety in the country, and some had Brandon Jones at the top. Both are Texans and both are really good. Anderson headed East and he could play fairly quickly for Ole Miss.
DB: Brandon Jones – Texas: The Longhorns are really young and especially in the secondary. I doubt it takes very long at all for Jones to get into the game and to become a difference maker. The Horns start a walk-on at one Safety spot and he should be in danger of losing his job.
Again, please remember I am not saying these are the very best freshmen in the country. These are the ones I feel are good enough and the situation is perfect for them to play a lot their first year in college football. Some of them may not play at all and the hardest to get right are the Offensive Linemen.