SDS will rank the SEC’s potential instant impact freshmen–using the month of March–by ranking them No. 31 down to No. 1. This gives our readers an idea of which 2014 signees we believe will step up in the fall and possibly contribute in a big way. Junior college prospects are always players to keep an eye on, obviously, as they’ve already played college ball … and high school prospects at certain positions sometimes flourish early.
Here’s a look at who we think has the ability to step into a good situation and be in for key snaps, and be sure and check out all the impact newcomers at the bottom.
No. 26 – Cory Johnson, Kentucky
HOMETOWN: Chambersburg (Pa.)
RANK: Three-star prospect; No. 30 JUCO prospect in America.
THE SKINNY: Johnson is a junior college transfer from ASA College in Brooklyn (N.Y)–and he’s not coming to Lexington to sit on the bench, that much is for sure. He really made an impact at the junior college level, tallying 72 tackles and 24.5 tackles for loss over a two-year span. He originally signed with Temple out of high school, back in 2011, before redshirting in 2011 and then going JUCO.
WHERE HE’LL MAKE AN IMPACT: Johnson will be an immediate impact guy, thanks to his explosive “burst” as defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot put it. He’s a big guy with all kinds of athleticism, which is exactly what a defensive coach like Mark Stoops wants.
JOHNSON TELLS SDS: “The kids (the Wildcats) have coming are great. They only see big things happening for Kentucky and that’s a step in the right direction. Coach (Mark) Stoops is a defense guy. His staff is known for helping players get to that next level. I just feel that I can get it done with them.”
COACH SAYS: “Big guy from ASA junior college. Six-foot-four, 300-pound D-tackle. Very productive player. Big, physical guy. Very mature. Again, very active on the D-line. Very excited for Cory.” — Kentucky head coach Cory Johnson
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the 247Sports.com composite rankings for high school prospects.
Other impact newcomers:
- No. 1 Leonard Fournette, LSU
- No. 2 Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
- No. 3 Dontavius Blair, Tennessee
- No. 4 D’Haquille Williams, Auburn
- No. 5 Speedy Noil, Texas A&M
- No. 6 Jalen Tabor, Florida
- No. 7 Malachi Dupre, LSU
- No. 8 Bijhon Jackson, Arkansas
- No. 9 C.J. Hampton, Ole Miss
- No. 10 Tony Brown, Alabama
- No. 11 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
- No. 12 Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
- No. 13 Jalen Hurd, Tennessee
- No. 14 DaVonte Lambert, Auburn
- No. 15 Kyle Allen, Texas A&M
- No. 16 Roc Thomas, Auburn
- No. 17 Aeris Williams, Mississippi State
- No. 18 Avery Gennessy, Texas A&M
- No. 19 Thaddeus Snodgrass, Kentucky
- No. 20 Fahn Cooper, Ole Miss
- No. 21 Nifae Lealao, Vandy
- No. 22 Rod Taylor, Ole Miss
- No. 23 Drew Barker, Kentucky
- No. 24 Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama
- No. 25 Jermaine Eluemunor, Texas A&M
- No. 26 Cory Johnson, Kentucky
- No. 27 JoJo Robinson, Arkansas
- No. 28 Nate Brown, Mizzou
- No. 29 Abu Lamin, South Carolina
- No. 30 Trey Quinn, LSU
- No. 31 Xavier Dampeer, Auburn