Just days from the 2018 season opener, those most affected are the true freshmen. Of the large contingent of young men just a few months removed from their high school proms, some will immediately turn into impact players on Saturday. At a school like Kentucky, there’s often a chance to play early. So we’re taking a shot at naming six true freshmen who you’ll see in week one for the Wildcats — and why.

Christopher Oats, LB

Oats is the kind of player who Kentucky historically doesn’t land. A speedy and strong linebacker (6-3, 228 pounds) from Cincinnati’s prestigious Winton Woods High, Oats will likely crack Kentucky’s thin depth chart at linebacker, either backing up middle backer Kash Daniel or filling one of the outside spots. Kentucky has players who are as big as Oats or as fast as Oats, but few who are both. The kid will play early and often.

Marquan McCall, DT

The massive McCall, who is listed at 6-3 and 368 pounds is one of those players who the relaxed redshirt rule will help. He’ll plug the middle for Kentucky, and given the ability to try him out for up to four games but still ultimately redshirt him, UK will get him some snaps in week one. McCall was the No. 3 recruit in Michigan last year, so don’t be surprised if McCall’s early look turns into him working his way up the depth chart in a hurry.

DeAndre Square, LB

The Michigan product was one of UK’s higher ranked recruits, and has the advantage of having completed spring practice in Lexington. In fact, with Jordan Jones sitting out the spring game, Square ended up as the second leading tackler in the game with six stops. Much as with Oats, the combination of the talented freshman and some injury issues at the position will get Square on the field.

Chance Poore, K

The expectation entering fall camp was that Poore, a recruit from South Carolina who was ranked highly by kicking-related websites, would take the starting placekicking job. Poore has apparently had some issues adjusting to the college game. But while former walk-on kicker Miles Butler has experience and accuracy, Poore has the bigger leg. So look for him on kickoffs or long field goal tries at first. He might play his way into more time on the field.

Brendan Bates, TE

Kentucky should be set at tight end with senior C.J. Conrad being one of the most underrated players in the SEC. But behind Conrad, there’s not much depth. Junior tight end Justin Rigg missed much of the spring with injury issues, and Bates, a 6-4, 240-pound target from Archbishop Moeller High in Cincinnati will get an early chance to play. Kentucky has used some two tight end sets in the past, so if Bates can handle the physical side of the SEC game, he could see increasing time.

Akeem Hayes, WR

As a recruit, Hayes, who hails from Hollywood, Fla., was a late shift to UK from Louisville, where he had earlier committed. Word on the grapevine is that the Kentucky staff loves his athleticism, and that he’s even getting some looks returning punts. Kentucky has a ton of scholarship receivers, but if Hayes can use his athleticism to stand out from the crowd, there’s plenty of opportunities to emerge in this young receiving corps.