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 the SEC countdown of impact newcomers at the bottom.
No. 9 – C.J. Hampton, Ole Miss, DB
HOMETOWN: Meridian (Miss.)
RANK: Four-star prospect; No. 96 overall prospect in America.
THE SKINNY: A coach’s son, he’s already a step ahead of the game as far as being prepared for the next level. He’s a very smooth runner and has all of the qualities a good defensive back should have–speed, quickness, killer instincts for somebody in the secondary. Work ethic is a definite strength here, and he has great size and tenacity–exactly what you want in a head-hunting safety.
WHERE HE’LL MAKE AN IMPACT: Hampton is in the perfect position to be an instant impact guy. The Rebels had some struggles in the secondary last fall, and this good-sized safety could step right in and plug those holes.
HAMPTON SAYS: “I am staying with family. Ole Miss is where I want to be. It’s always been my dream school, so once they put the offer down on the table, I pretty much jumped on it. I knew that’s where I wanted to be, so I went ahead and made a verbal. We are going to build something special at Ole Miss, I’m sure ot it.”
COACH SAYS: “We believe C.J. will bring the all-around safety skills, including excellent skills in coverage, that you need to win in the SEC. He’s a great kid who wants to be the best he can be and he brings a particular skill set to our secondary that is exciting. I am anxious to see him put on the pads on this level and develop.” — Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze
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