Published March 13, 2013 - 8:35am
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Now with National Signing Day in the books, let’s look at the top newcomers in the SEC for 2013. Predicting the top newcomers is often very tough, and these aren’t just merely rankings of the top players. We’re going to look at what type of impact they’ll make and where they’ll make it.
No. 8 – Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
From: Yulee, FL (Yulee)
Size: 6-3, 240 pounds, 4.54 40
The Skinny: Despite dominating high school football as arguably the top running back in the country, the skepticism remains whether or not jumbo athlete Derrick Henry will even play running back at Alabama. Whether or not his impact will be felt at running back, H-back, tight end or even linebacker is debatable, but what isn’t debatable is that Henry will make an impact in his first year. He’s simply too good to be high-fiving on the sidelines, despite Alabama’s stacked offensive roster. In high school, Henry rushed for 12,212 yards in his career, adding 4,261 rushing yards and 55 (55!) touchdowns his senior season. Henry was just simply too big and too powerful to bring down, and all eyes will be on Alabama to bottle that up and develop him at some position. I’m betting he’ll make in impact in his first year at running back, backing up TJ Yeldon and primarily being the short yardage back.
What Alabama is getting: The Tide are getting the most athletic defensive end in the country, only he plays in the offensive backfield. With tight end Michael Williams and H-back Kelly Johnson graduated, Henry could battle current early enrollee OJ Howard for playing time at either position, and with Eddie Lacy gone as well, he’ll get his first crack at backing up TJ Yeldon. Remember, Yeldon was an early enrollee last season, and with a spring under Henry’s belt, he will have all the ingredients to be the biggest freshman breakout player at Alabama. Henry isn’t overly polished as a back, but his raw athleticism, combined with added muscle, will be a force to contend with, although Bama’s coaching staff will have to work with Henry about lowering his pad level. Nonetheless, Henry is simply too good not to make an impact his freshman season.
Other impact newcomers:
- No. 9 Tre’Davious White, LSU
- No. 10 Alex Collins, Arkansas
- No. 11 Chris Jones, Miss State
- No. 12 Za’Darius Smith, Kentucky
- No. 13 OJ Howard, Alabama
- No. 14 Marquez North, Tennessee
- No. 15 Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M
- No. 16 Leon Brown, Alabama
- No. 17 Fred Ross, Mississippi State
- No. 18 Tray Matthews, Georgia
- No. 19 Jonathan Allen, Alabama
- No. 20 Ben Bradley, Auburn
- No. 21 Alex Anzalone, Florida
- No. 22 Carl Lawson, Auburn
- No. 23 Frank Herron, LSU
- No. 24 Larenz Bryant, South Carolina
- No. 25 Ryan Timmons, Kentucky
Photo Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports