Every college football program is in need of reinforcements in the offseason, that’s just the nature of the game. However, identifying which players will come in and offer that immediate help is the tough part.
According to CBS Sports’ college football insider Barton Simmons, three summer enrolls are poised to do just that in 2018. Simmons named 10 newcomers in total he believes could contribute in the fall, but only three of the players hail from the SEC.
Here are the three selections Simmons made along with our thoughts on the players and their potential to make an impact next season:
Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Alabama
The nation’s No. 1 cornerback prospect in the 2018 recruiting cycle made waves on National Signing Day when he signed with the Crimson Tide. Long thought to be a lock to join LSU, the South Florida native broke the hearts of Tiger fans everywhere by signing with Nick Saban and Alabama.
Not that he’s enrolled in Tuscaloosa, Surtain has a great opportunity to land a starting spot in Saban’s secondary as Alabama does not return a single starter in its defensive backfield and has to replace first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick. Even if he’s not a Day One starter, it’s hard to imagine Surtain doesn’t see the field often and early for the Tide in 2018.
Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia
The nation’s No. 2 cornerback prospect in the 2018 recruiting cycle, and amazingly a high school teammate of Surtain, Campbell has a chance to find himself on the field early in Athens. The Bulldogs return only one starting cornerback (Deandre Baker) from last season and lack ideal depth at the position heading into fall camp.
While former touted recruits like Richard LeCounte and DeAngelo Gibbs have yet to live up to expectations in Athens, with Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker coaching the defensive secondary, you have to imagine one of these elite defensive back recruits is coming to hit it big in a Georgia uniform sooner or later. Don’t be surprised if Campbell is that guy.
Emmit Gooden, DL, Tennessee
The soon-to-be star of Netflix documentary series “Last Chance U” season 3, Gooden took a very winding road to get back home and play for Tennessee. After committing to the Vols in the early years of the Butch Jones era on Rocky Top, Gooden found himself playing in junior college and being courted by nearly half of the programs in the SEC before he eventually signed with Tennessee.
Considering Jeremy Pruitt’s concerns that his team wasn’t big enough upon his arrival in Knoxville, players like Gooden look to alleviate some of those concerns immediately in 2018. If Gooden doesn’t start as a 3-4 defensive end, he’ll likely be on the field often as a reserve for Pruitt’s first Tennessee defense.