The SEC is not accustomed to seeing many JUCO players make an impact in their first season, but recent history proves it can and will happen. I don’t have to remind you about the massive impact Cam Newton and Nick Fairley had at Auburn or Cordarrelle Patterson had at Tennessee. It’s never a good thing to sign too many JUCO players, but sprinkling them in at specific positions of need can bode well for instant impacts.
Here are five who will make an impact in 2014, and four of the five play offense:
Dontavius Blair, OT, Tennessee (6-8, 303): Tennessee is the only team in college football to lose all five starting offensive linemen. So, Dontavius Blair will get his opportunity immediately and should step in and play day one at tackle. Blair is a big-time run-blocker who will need to hone his pass-blocking skills.
Jermaine Eluemunor, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 300): With Jake Matthews graduating, it immediately opens up one tackle slot. Cedric Ogbuehi does return, and Eluemunor will have an opportunity to form quite a tandem with him. Eluemunor’s game is versatile, and he can run and pass block.
Dominick Jackson, OT, Alabama (6-7, 307): With Cyrus Kouandjio heading to the NFL, Dominick Jackson could immediately become his replacement. He’s an elite run blocker who could also move to guard if necessary. Jackson is good enough to play game one.
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Abu Lamin, DT, South Carolina (6-4, 300): With Kelcy Quarles heading to the NFL, Abu Lamin should get early looks to replace him. Lamin is already enrolled, and he’ll get a chance to earn that spot this spring. Watch for Lamin to wreak havoc in the middle for 2014.
D’haquille Williams, WR, Auburn (6-3, 213): Williams’ biggest problem to having a huge season at Auburn will be the passing game, because the offense is so run-heavy, but Williams is a big-time player who has all the makeup of a future NFL receiver. He has legit 4.4 speed and can make big catches over the middle or get behind the secondary.
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