Predicting an instant-impact freshman is a tough and oftentimes monumental task. Prospects enter schools with much hype, but sometimes things never seem to click when the lights come on, especially as first-year players.
Nothing is ever certain in recruiting, but here is SDS’ best guess at 10 players who will have a chance to make an impact for their team in 2014.
Kyle Allen, QB, Texas A&M (6-3, 200): Allen was the best QB prospect in the entire country in 2014, and he has the tools make an instant impact, especially with Johnny Manziel now gone. Allen will battle for playing time with Kenny Hill.
Related: 2014 All-SEC recruiting team
Drew Barker, QB, Kentucky (6-4, 210): The Cats need a quarterback, and Drew Barker arrives just in time. There will be some growing pains, but Barker should play immediately, especially knowing he’s an early enrollee who will go through spring practice.
Tony Brown, CB, Alabama (6-0, 188): Brown is an all-world athlete who’s currently running track for the Tide, and as an early enrollee, he gets a head start on fellow five-star Marlon Humphrey for one of the starting corner slots.
Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU (6-3, 187): With receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham gone, Malachi Dupre will get every opportunity to start immediately. Coming from a run-first offense in high school, Dupre is still scratching the surface on his potential.
Related: SEC’s top 5 current 2015 commits
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (6-1, 226): With Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue both leaving for the draft, the depth chart is ready for Leonard Fournette to make plays alongside Terrance Magee and Kenny Hilliard. Many say Fournette is the next Adrian Peterson.
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M (6-4, 240): The Aggies need help defensively, and Myles Garrett is a beast waiting to make plays. He could instantly become the defense’s best lineman.
Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee (6-3, 230): Rajion Neal had a fabulous year, but the Vols are still looking for Travis Henry and Jamal Lewis. Jalen Hurd could be the next great Tennessee running back, and he’ll play in year one.
Dante Sawyer, DE, South Carolina (6-3, 262): With Jadeveon Clowney gone, Dante Sawyer should play immediately. He was a huge pickup for the Gamecocks in the signing class.
Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida (6-1, 182): Florida has a knack for having great freshmen corners, and early enrollee Jalen Tabor will compete to start opposite Vernon Hargreaves game one. He’s the type of corner Will Muschamp loves.
Rod Taylor, OG, Ole Miss (6-4, 305): Don’t tell Ole Miss you can’t play freshmen O-linemen, as Laremy Tunsil had a brilliant first year. Now, Rod Taylor, the country’s top-ranked offensive guard, gets his chance. He’s a road grader.
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